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Canon PowerShot SX150 IS Review

May 2012 | By Theano Nikitas

14.1MP | 28-336mm (12X) Zoom | $249/£199

The 14.1 megapixel Canon SX150 IS is a superzoom camera with a wide-ranging 12x image-stabilized optical zoom, providing an equivalent focal length range of 28-336mm. Like other advanced Canon compacts, the SX150 is outfitted with a well-rounded feature set that includes manual and semi-manual exposure modes as well as easy-to-use automatic options. Special creative and color effects, including fisheye, toy camera, selective color, black and white or sepia, are among some of the extras offered by this rather chunky little camera.

Unlike many of its more recent rivals, the SX150 IS is based around a CCD, rather than CMOS sensor. This means it's missing high-speed features that such a sensor would allow, so video is limited to 1280 x 720 pixels (rather than 1920 x 1080 resolution), and continuous shooting is just 0.9 frames per second (0.6 fps if you want autofocus and live view).

The SX 150 IS features a 12X optical zoom lens, which spans a focal length range of 28-336mm (equivalent). These pictures were taken from a fixed position at either end of the SX 150 IS's zoom, and should give you a good idea of the flexibility that this range gives you when it comes to image composition.

Key Features:

  • 12x zoom (28-336mm equivalent).
  • 14.1MP CCD sensor
  • ISO 80-1600
  • 3", 230k-dot LCD
  • PASM shooting modes
  • 'Intelligent' Image Stabilization (7 modes selected depending on scene)
  • 720p video mode
  • Weight (with battery): 306g / 10.7 oz.
  • Dimensions: 113 x 73 x 46 mm (4.45 x 2.87 x 1.81in)

Click here for full product information including reader reviews and image samples (opens in new window)

Handling and Operation

Available in black or red, the SX150 IS is fairly chunky compared to Canon's ELPH/IXUS series of cameras, although it's smaller and lighter than its SX40 with its 35x wide-angle zoom. It weighs 306g (10.8 ounces) with batteries and SD/SDHC/SDXC media card installed. We wouldn't call this a pocket camera but it will fit into larger pants and jacket pockets. The camera is easy to operate and if you're used to Canon PowerShot controls and menus, you're home free. Even if you're a newcomer to the PowerShot user interface, the SX150 IS has a built-in guide that explains the functions of all the menus settings, which helps make the camera a good learning tool. Or you can just set it to Auto or Easy mode and snap away.

The SX150 IS is a chunky camera for its class but this makes it comfortable to hold. Exposure mode is set via the mode dial on the camera's top plate.

External controls are, for the most part, conveniently located and within easy reach. The top deck consists of a manual pop-up flash (arguably more convenient than an auto-pop-up design). To the right of the flash are the mode dial, shutter button/zoom and a good-sized power on/off button. The rear panel's controls include playback, exposure compensation, video, display and menus buttons along with a 4-way controller (ISO, flash, self-timer, manual focus/macro) that doubles as a rotating dial to scroll through menus.

The SX150 IS's 3" LCD has a disappointingly low resolution of 230,000 dots, but isn't bad considering the camera's price point, It isn't as detailed as we'd like, but visibility and clarity is good under most lighting conditions. In super bright sunlight, it's difficult to compose shots accurately but the same is true of most compact cameras.

The 'FUNC/SET' button is a signature control on Canon's PowerShot range, and when pressed, it brings up a quick menu from which it is possible to access key features like image quality and white balance.

A clickable dial around the periphery of this button provides direct access to ISO, flash modes, drive modes, and focus modes.
The SX150 IS's top-plate is relatively sparsely populated and plays host to the exposure mode dial, a combined zoom toggle/shutter button and on/off switch. A pop-up zoom is housed in the bulge above the lens barrel.

A center Function/Set button is one of the camera's main go-to controls since it calls up a quick menu to change most-often used settings such as white balance, image size and compression, metering and video quality (720p HD or 640x480 SD). While we appreciate a direct 'red' video record button, it's a little too easy to accidentally activate the movie mode while gripping the camera normally. Overall, however, the camera's relatively large body allows for decent-sized controls, making the SX150 IS a comfortable option for those with larger hands.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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This article is Copyright 2012 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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