Tech

Canon Introduces PowerShot SX160 and SX500 Long Zooms

Both are aimed at a casual crowd, with fewer bells and whistles than higher-end superzooms.

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Canon quietly announced a pair of PowerShot long-zooms today, both aimed at casual photographers.

The Canon PowerShot SX500 is notable for 30x zoom range (24-720mm). Other vital specs include a 16-megapixel CCD point-and-shoot sensor, Digic 4 processor, a 3-inch, 461,000-pixel LCD, optical image stabilization, a maximum ISO setting of 1600, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, rated for a mediocre 195 shots per charge. As far as we can tell, it's a new entry in the SX series, with no immediate predecessor. It will be available in September for $379 in black.

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The other announcement is the SX160, packing a 16x zoom range (28-448mm), a 16-megapixel CCD point-and-shoot sensor, Digic 4 processor, a 3-inch, 230,000-pixel LCD, optical image stabilization, and AA-battery power. The sturdy SX1xx series has been kicking around for a while, basically sticking to the same budget-friendly formula year after year. It will be available in September for $279 in red and black.

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Neither announcement is likely to generate much interest among the enthusiast crowd. Since they're both built around CCD sensors, the SX160 and SX500 are stuck with last-generation performance specs. Their burst speeds are limited to just 0.8 frames per second and high-def video is stuck at 720p. Indoor and low-light performance aren't likely to impress, either. Canon claims that autofocus and shutter lag are improved compared to last year's long-zooms, but real-world impact is tough to gauge.

Does this leave open the possibility for a proper, higher-end superzoom in the coming weeks? Most likely. The SX40 HS wasn't announced until mid-September 2011, a few weeks after the SX150. It was a top-notch superzoom, and Canon tends to operate on a yearly replacement schedule.

For more information, head to the Canon U.S.A. website.