Canon PowerShot SX150 IS
1/2.3in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (28-336mm equivalent), 306g
Canon had a bumper year in 2011, picking up four awards and an average of 4.2 stars across our 13 Canon camera reviews. The PowerShot SX150 IS was a late arrival of the 2011 line up, so we decided to put it through its paces while we wait for the class-of-2012 cameras to reach these shores.
It's a meat-and-two-veg sort of a camera, with a useful 12x optical zoom and manual exposure controls but foregoing such niceties as a metal body or HDMI port. From the outside it's virtually identical to its predecessor, the PowerShot SX130 IS - the only significant difference being that the face detection button is now a video record button. That's a more useful function, but its position meant we regularly started recording by accident. Otherwise, the controls are excellent for a low-cost camera, with a mode dial, a rear wheel for quickly adjusting settings and dedicated buttons for exposure compensation and ISO speed. The bulbous plastic design is nothing much to look at but it's comfortable to hold.
Enthusiastic but impoverished photographers will appreciate the accessible manual controls but they won't be so impressed by this camera's performance. It took 2.7 seconds to switch on and shoot, and three seconds between shots. Continuous mode ran at 0.8fps – slow by most cameras' standards, and hindered by the lack of live view while shooting.
The worst aspect of performance was flash photography, which took 13 seconds from shot to shot with the flash set to full power. This seems to be an inevitable downside of using a pair of AA batteries. It wasn't the only battery-related drawback we encountered in this camera, though.
In our review of the SX130 IS we reported that it warned of low batteries for a long time before they actually ran out. The same thing happened with the SX150 IS, regardless of whether we used alkaline or Ni-MH batteries. More annoyingly, it often ran out of juice while recording videos, even though there was power available to take dozens more photos afterwards. The camera's date and time reset itself even though the batteries hadn't run out.