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Conclusion - Pros

  • User-friendly, easy to operate interface/design
  • PASM shooting modes
  • Versatile 12X zoom lens
  • Effective optical image stabilization
  • Good image quality at low ISO sensitivities
  • Decent, if not outstanding sharpness across zoom range
  • Reliable metering/AWB systems in most conditions
  • Ubiquitous AA batteries will appeal to some consumers

Conclusion - Cons

  • Relatively sluggish operation especially when using flash
  • Image quality drops off above ISO 400 as noise levels increase
  • Sharpness drops off towards frame edges throughout zoom range (and CA is noticeable)
  • 230,000 dot screen isn't as sharp and detailed as we'd like
  • 'Chunky' form factor makes the camera less compact and pocketable than competitors
  • Battery life from alkaline AAs is disappointingly low (sometimes <100 shots depending on use)

Overall conclusion

Although not the most slender compact camera out there, the SX150 IS comfortable and easy to use, and its stabilized 12X optical zoom offers impressive versatility coupled with good (for this class) image quality at low ISO sensitivity settings. A well-rounded feature set meets the needs of snapshooters along with those who have (or want to have) more experience with manual controls.

Slow performance and noticeable image noise at mid/higher ISO sensitivity settings are the two major drawbacks to this otherwise appealing camera. Other than fairly responsive face detection and autofocus (in good light), the SX150 IS feels somewhat sluggish. It takes a couple of seconds to start up, and shot-to-shot times aren't great, especially when using flash.

Battery life is bottom-of-the-barrel at around 100 shots using conventional alkaline cells, although there are a number of users who will inevitably prefer the convenience of ubiquitous AA batteries over proprietary rechargeables. Image noise is also an issue, even at ISO 80-200 (if you look close enough at shadows and areas of plain tone). But if you plan to shoot outdoors during the day, you're unlikely to be troubled by it.

Aside from these shortcomings, the camera is capable of delivering some really nice images and comes with enough controls and options for a wide range of shooters to enjoy. The fact that it can currently be found for well under $200 makes it a terrific bargain, too.

Canon PowerShot SX150 IS
Category: Compact Camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Exposure and focus accuracy
Image quality (jpeg)
Flash performance
Low light / high ISO performance
Optics
Performance (speed)
Movie / video mode
Value
PoorExcellent
Good for
Casual day to day photography, where the 12X lens is very useful
Not so good for
More critical work, or anything requiring speed and responsiveness (which is where the SX150 IS really falls down)
Overall score
67%
The Canon PowerShot SX150 IS is a neat little camera with some interesting tricks up its sleeve. Its weighty, contoured body makes it nicer to hold than some of its smaller peers, and in favourable conditions at low ISO settings, image quality is very good. A versatile lens and effective image stabilization system make this a great 'go-everywhere' camera as long as you can live with the relatively slow performance and poor battery life.

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
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