Available in either black or white, the is sleek and more intuitive than previous models—which is saying something given Canon’s knack for simple menus and ergonomic button layouts. One of the more convenient features is the position of the exposure compensation button at the top-right of the manual controls. We also really liked the menu design—as we do on most Canon products. Everything just makes sense, from the fluid animation to the logic of the layout. It’s something both amateurs and experienced photographers can appreciate.
The offers just enough features to satisfy beginners looking to expand their knowledge of digital photography, though the manual exposure controls are a bit lacking. The aperture range of f/3.5 on the wide end to f/5.9 at full telephoto is pretty pedestrian, although the maximum shutter speed 1/3200sec is rather impressive for a $200 point-and-shoot (the otherwise superior SX500 can only hit 1/1600). On the other hand, we felt slightly mugged by the max ISO of 800, especially considering the SX150 had a ISO 1600 maximum. Furthermore, the autofocus speed was pretty slow, especially while zooming in and out.
Headlining specs aside, the has a pretty mundane array of features. The 16-megapixel sensor, image stabilizer, and 16x zoom work to ensure decent image quality, but there’s not a whole lot else that stands out. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—after all, this camera is intended to fill a pretty boring position in the market. What’s most important about this camera, particularly as it relates to others in its class (like the Nikon Coolpix L610), is that despite its limited controls, it's still one of the most flexible cameras in its price bracket. In that regard, we’d recommend it—or really any PowerShot—as a solid starter camera.
For a price of just over $200, it’s hard not to recommend the to budding photographers. It’d make the perfect gift for a wet-eared enthusiast, but it could also function as a reliable travel camera—especially thanks to its use of ubiquitous AA batteries. There’s enough manual exposure control to allow a novice to learn, even if the ISO and aperture ranges are a bit restrictive. But everything about the SX160 comes back to the price... it's simply a great value.
The newly released replaces the older SX150 as one of ’s affordable range of enthusiast point-and-shoots. New to the SX160 is an upgraded 16-megapixel CCD sesor (compared with the 14-megapixel unit in the SX150) and a longer 16x zoom lens. It’s still powered by two AA batteries and features a limited set of manual exposure controls, but the SX160—along with its predecessors—remains an affordable solution for beginner photographers.
Meet the tester
Tyler Wells Lynch
Tyler Wells Lynch is a freelance writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Vice, Wirecutter, Gizmodo, The Rumpus, Yes!, and the Huffington Post, among others. He lives in Maine.
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