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Canon PowerShot SX150 IS review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £153
inc VAT

A low-cost camera with a generous 12x zoom, but in most other respects – including image and video quality – it's nothing special and battery performance is a worry


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.

Canon PowerShot SX150 IS

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.

Canon PowerShot SX150 IS

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.

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Basic Specifications

Rating **
CCD effective megapixels 14.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 12.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-336mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,320×3,240
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type 2x AA
Battery Life (tested) 320 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 306g
Size 73x114x46mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £153

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 15 to 1/2,500 seconds
Aperture range f/3.4-8 (wide), f/5.6-8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, red, green, blue, skin tone, i-Contrast
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer

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