As long-zoom cameras get smaller and smaller, features that used to be commonplace are becoming harder to find. For example, if you want a new camera with a sizeable handgrip, a camera that runs on AA batteries, or a model with a CCD sensor, you may be looking around for a while.
In the current point-and-shoot market, Canon's latest PowerShot SX cameras are practically throwbacks. The 30X-optical zoom PowerShot SX500 IS and 16X-optical-zoom PowerShot SX160 IS are beefier than compact long-zoom cameras, but they both offer manual exposure controls, aperture- and shutter-priority modes, and raised handgrips. The PowerShot SX160 IS also runs on two AA batteries.
Both new SX series cameras offer 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch-type CCD sensors, and although Canon is touting fast autofocus speeds for each camera, you won't find the super-high-speed shooting modes and 1080p video capture featured in Canon's CMOS-based PowerShots. Video recording for both cameras caps out at 720p resolution at 24fps.
The PowerShot SX500 IS is along the lines of a full-size megazoom camera, and its 30X-zoom lens reaches from 24mm wide-angle to 720mm telephoto.
The SX500 IS's maximum aperture is F3.4 at the wide-angle end, which pinches down to a maximum of F5.8 at full zoom. It's priced at £232 plus VAT and will be available in September.
The smaller PowerShot SX160 IS will replace the PowerShot SX150 IS, and offers a 16X-optical-zoom lens (28mm to 448mm; F3.5 to F5.9) as opposed to its predecessor's 12X lens. It's also available in September, priced at £132 plus VAT.