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The Canon Powershot SX160 is the latest pocket zoom from Canon in the long line of AA powered SX1x0 series, this model updates the 12x optical zoom SX150, with a 16x optical zoom lens, a 16 megapixel sensor as well as HDMI out.
The Canon Powershot SX160 is described as family friendly, and takes two AA batteries. It features full manual controls, as well as an Auto mode, scene modes, and creative effects. The camera records 720p video, with stereo sound and allows the use of the optical zoom while recording. A focus assist lamp and pop up flash help in dark conditions, and built in optical image stabilisation adds to the cameras capabilities. The 16x optical zoom lens starts at 28mm wide-angle and zooms all the way to 448mm equivalent, with the option for 32x digital zoom called "ZoomPlus".
- 16 megapixel CCD sensor
- 16x optical zoom lens, 28-448mm equivalent
- Optical image stabilisation
- 3 inch 230k dot screen
- Manual controls, P/A/S/M
- 720p video with stereo sound
- ISO100 - 1600
- Creative effects
- 1cm macro mode, Manual Focus
- Available in black, red or silver
Handling - The plastic bodied camera feels well built with a slight grip on the front of the camera, and a raised dot area on the back for your thumb. The mode dial is well placed and the buttons on the back are large and easy to see and use. On top is the pop up flash that is activated with a physical button on the back, and to close you simply press the flash back down. The battery compartment features a lock to stop you accidentally opening it.
Menus – Built in hints and tips explains each option on the camera. Manual focus is available, as well as flash compensation, and the camera gives an overlay of the most common options making it easy to choose and change settings when you press the Func/Set button. The menu button lets you set additional photo and setup options. In playback there are also playback and print options. You can quickly set exposure compensation, ISO, focus, flash and self-timer using the buttons on the back of the camera making it even easier to set these options without having to go into any menus.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 140 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results using Alkaline batteries, or 380 shots with rechargeable Ni-Mh (2500mAh) batteries, we were able to take over 200 shots before the battery went flat using Alkaline batteries.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Canon SX160 IS
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.25||0.3|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.2||2.2|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||2.6||0.9|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||6.2||2.1|
(shots before slow down)
|1.4s||7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||4.0s||1.6s|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||N/A||4fps (13 shots)
Focus and shutter response is very quick, but shot to shot and continous shooting is quite slow, becoming very slow if you are using the flash.
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Canon Powershot SX160 IS Sample Photos
Portrait Flash | 1/60 sec | f/4.5 | 14.5 mm | ISO 100
Drive | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 200
Water | 1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 27.2 mm | ISO 100
Yellow Leaves | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 200
Thoresby Hall | 1/200 sec | f/4.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Spiders Webs | 1/1000 sec | f/5.9 | 80.0 mm | ISO 200
Sample Photos - The portrait photo using the onboard flash shows excellent colour and very little to no red-eye in the photo. Exposure and colour is generally excellent in photos, although setting the exposure compensation to -0.3EV can help give images stronger saturation. Dynamic range can be expanded with the use of i-Contrast.
Canon Powershot SX160 IS Lens test images
Wide | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 200
Some Zoom | 1/1000 sec | f/4.5 | 15.4 mm | ISO 200
Full Optical Zoom | 1/200 sec | f/5.9 | 80.0 mm | ISO 200
32x Zoom Plus | 1/100 sec | f/5.9 | 80.0 mm | ISO 200
Trees | 1/100 sec | f/4.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/6 sec | f/3.5 | 5.0 mm | ISO 200
Lens Performance - Purple fringing and chromatic abberations are visible in areas of contrast such as tree branches against a bright sky. Detail is good into the corners at wide and telephoto settings, and the lens performs well with little to no barrel or pincushion distortion noticed. The most noticeable problem with image quality is due to noise, and noise in some of the outdoor shots in areas of shadow is a little higher than expected, at ISO200. Macro performance is impressive, with the camera focusing on subjects as close as 1cm away from the front of the lens.
Canon Powershot SX160 IS ISO test images
1/8 sec | f/4.5 | 16.9 mm | ISO 100
1/15 sec | f/4.5 | 16.9 mm | ISO 200
1/30 sec | f/4.5 | 16.9 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/4.5 | 16.9 mm | ISO 800
1/125 sec | f/4.5 | 16.9 mm | ISO 1600
(4mp) 1/20 sec | f/4.5 | 16.9 mm | ISO 2500
ISO Noise Performance - ISO100 shows low noise. At ISO200 and ISO400 noise starts to creep in, particularly in the darker shades. At ISO800 noise beings to remove detail from the image. ISO1600 is best avoided as detail and colour is lost. Above this, you need to be in one of the low light scene modes, where the image size is reduced to 4 megapixels and the ISO setting is increased if the camera feels the need.
Canon Powershot SX160 IS White-balance test images
AWB Tung | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset | 1/10 sec | f/4.0 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
AWB Flu | 1/4 sec | f/4.0 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent Preset | 1/4 sec | f/4.0 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a much more nuetral result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting with the preset giving a slightly warmer result.
Canon Powershot SX160 IS Digital filters
Black and White | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Fisheye | 1/250 sec | f/3.5 | 5.0 mm | ISO 100
Monochrome | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 6.2 mm | ISO 100
Nuetral Colour | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Positive Film | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Poster Effect | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 6.2 mm | ISO 100
Sepia | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Super Vivid | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 6.2 mm | ISO 100
Toycam | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 6.2 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Blue | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Colour | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Miniature | 1/160 sec | f/5.0 | 29.4 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - There are a number of colour effects that can be applied, as well as a number of digital effects, as shown above. The camera doesn't feature an automatic panoramic mode.
Video - Videos are recorded at 720p, with stereo sound and optical zoom. Wind cut is an option in the menus.
Value For MoneyThe Canon Powershot SX160 IS is available for £149 which makes it good value for money, it's up against the following cameras, shown below:
15x optical zoom
|Fujifilm FinePix F660, 15x optical zoom||Panasonic Lumix TZ25, 16x optical zoom||Sony Cybershot HX10, 16x optical zoom||Nikon Coolpix S9300, 18x optical zoom|
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Canon Powershot SX160 IS Pros16x optical zoom lens
Improved design over previous model
AA batteries readily available
Excellent macro performance
Good colour and white balance performance
Canon Powershot SX160 IS ConsLow resolution 3 inch screen
Lacks auto panoramic mode
Shorter battery life with Alkaline batteries
Noise performance above ISO200
Slow flash charge
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Canon Powershot SX160 IS Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.5 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||28mm - 448mm|
|CCD pixels||16Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||230,000 dots|
|Touch Screen||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/3200sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||15sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 1600|
|Stereo Sound||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No Data|
|Battery Type||2x Size-AA Alkaline or Ni-MH Batteries (NB-3AH)|
|Box Contents||No Data|