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Is The Canon PowerShot a good camera?

The Canon PowerShot is considered one of the best point-and-shoot camera lines for beginner and intermediate photographers. Here is a quick overview of the PowerShot’s key strengths and weaknesses to help you determine if it’s a good fit for your needs.

Pros of the Canon PowerShot

  • Excellent image quality – PowerShot cameras use Canon’s acclaimed DIGIC image processors and high-quality lenses, resulting in detailed, vibrant photos and sharp video.
  • Intuitive controls – Canon prioritizes user-friendliness in its interface and menu systems. Operations like mode dial, playback and setting adjustments are straightforward.
  • Wide array of features – Most PowerShot models offer an appealing mix of capabilities for the price, including full manual controls, wireless connectivity, creative shooting modes, HD video and more.
  • Compact size – The PowerShot range includes pocket-friendly options all the way up to advanced superzooms, making it easy to find a model that fits your portability needs.
  • Budget-friendly pricing – Entry-level PowerShot models start at very affordable prices under $200, while still delivering impressive image quality and features.

Cons of the Canon PowerShot

  • Small sensors – With a few high-end exceptions, most PowerShots have 1/1.7-inch or smaller image sensors. While these are typical of point-and-shoots, image quality suffers compared to larger sensor cameras.
  • No viewfinder – The lack of an electronic or optical viewfinder on most models can make composing and stabilizing the camera more difficult in bright sunlight.
  • No external controls – Many PowerShot models lack external manual controls like control dials, forcing you to make most adjustments through the menu system.
  • No 4K video – Video maxes out at 1080p on all but a couple PowerShot models. 4K is becoming standard on many cameras today.
  • No weather sealing – PowerShot cameras lack weather sealing and are not designed for harsh conditions like rain, dust or cold.

Key Features of the Canon PowerShot

Here are some of the standout features and capabilities typically available in Canon’s current PowerShot lineup:

  • DIGIC image processor – Provides rapid operation speed, enhanced image processing and quality, and advanced shooting modes.
  • Optical zoom lenses – Ranging from small 3x zooms up to 50x+ superzooms in higher-end models. Important for flexibility in composing shots.
  • Wireless connectivity – Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow easy photo sharing to smartphones and wireless remote control.
  • Creative shooting modes – Options like Hybrid Auto, Creative Filters, Panorama Shot, Multiple Exposure and more spice up your photography.
  • Fast continuous shooting – Burst mode enables up to 10 frames per second on some PowerShots so you don’t miss a moment.
  • Selfie-friendly LCDs – Large 3-inch+ LCDs on many models flip up 180 degrees for easy self-portraits.
  • Scene modes – Automatically optimize settings for different shooting environments like portraits, sports, landscapes and more.
  • Manual controls – Higher-end PowerShots offer full manual exposure control for professional-level adjustments.

Image Quality

Image quality is one of the most important considerations when choosing a camera. Here’s an overview of the photo and video quality you can expect from Canon PowerShot models:

  • Entry-level models – Photos are perfectly suitable for casual use, sharing online or small prints. Fine details not as sharp when viewing images full size or printing very large.
  • Mid-range models – Step up in resolution, low light performance, and fine detail rendition while still being budget friendly.
  • Advanced compacts – On par with entry-level DSLRs in image quality thanks to larger 1-inch sensors and bright lenses. Capable of large, high quality prints.
  • Superzoom models – Image quality near mid-range models but varies at full zoom. High zoom versatility comes at a cost.
  • Video quality – Typically maxes out at 1080p Full HD video at 30fps or 60fps in AVCHD, MP4 or MOV formats. No 4K video available.

Camera Body and Handling

Here are some key things to know about the body design and handling of Canon PowerShot cameras:

  • Compact size – Models range from shirt pocket-friendly sizes down to only 1-2 inches thick for easy portability.
  • Light weight – Weights vary across the lineup but all generally easy to carry around, from 5 ounces up to 1-2 pounds.
  • Plastic body – PowerShots use a sturdy polycarbonate plastic shell rather than a metal or magnesium alloy body.
  • Ergonomic grip – Small grip bulge or textured surface provides secure and comfortable single-handed holding.
  • Multiple control layouts – Different models organize buttons/dials across the body, lens barrel and rear in various ways.
  • No weather sealing – Lack of dust and moisture sealing makes PowerShots less durable options.
  • Fixed LCD – Entry-level models have a fixed position LCD while higher-end models have vari-angle screens.

Connectivity Options

Canon includes sufficient wired and wireless connectivity options in most PowerShot models for convenient photo sharing and remote control functionality:

  • Wi-Fi – Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) enables wireless connections to smartphones, tablets, computers and compatible printers.
  • Bluetooth – Low-energy Bluetooth connectivity available on newer models for easy pairing with mobile devices.
  • NFC – Near Field Communication provides instant Wi-Fi connections via compatible Android devices.
  • Remote control – Canon Camera Connect app allows remote shooting control and live view from mobile device.
  • HDMI – Mini-HDMI port found on most models for hookup to high definition TVs and monitors.
  • USB – USB 2.0 port for wired connections to computers and recharging. Some models add USB-C charging.

Performance and Speed

The DIGIC processor and startup/autofocus speeds make PowerShot cameras responsive in use. Here are some key performance factors:

  • Fast startup – Power on to first shot as quick as 1.6 seconds to avoid missing fleeting moments.
  • 9-point autofocus – Entry-level models use a 9-point AF system for accurate and fast focus acquisition in 0.5-1 second.
  • Continuous shooting – Up to 10 frames per second burst rate available on high-end PowerShots like the G7 X III.
  • Short shutter lag – Almost instant response when pressing the shutter button thanks to pre-focus and fast image processing.
  • DIGIC processor – Provides faster focus, operation, face detection and processing compared to PowerShots without DIGIC chips.
  • Eco mode – Conserves battery life by disabling LCD and shutting off after idle period. Slower overall performance as a result.

Battery Performance

Canon includes several power-efficient features and battery options in the PowerShot line:

  • Eco mode – Disables screens and shuts camera off to conserve battery life when not active.
  • USB charging – Recharge batteries in-camera via USB instead of needing a separate charger.
  • Official batteries – Using Canon’s NB series batteries maximizes compatibility and battery life.
  • Third party support – PowerShots are compatible with affordable third party batteries from brands like Watson or Wasabi.
  • Battery life – Ranges from 150 shots per charge on small models up to 400 shots on larger PowerShots. Dependable but not exceptional stamina.

Lens Quality and Performance

From wide angles to super telephotos, Canon equips PowerShot cameras with high quality lenses well-suited to their design. Key lens features include:

  • Optical zoom – Most models offer 3x to 60x or more optical zoom range for versatility in composing shots.
  • Wide angle – 24-28mm wide angle at smallest focal length captures expansive scenes.
  • Image stabilization – Lens-shift stabilization counteracts camera shake for sharper handheld shots and video.
  • Macro – High quality macro/close-up mode focuses as close as 0 inches from the lens on some models.
  • Customizable rings – Control rings allow manual control of zoom, focus, aperture and other settings.
  • Fast apertures – Advanced PowerShots have bright f/1.8 or f/2 apertures for better low light shooting and background blur.

Size and Weight Comparison

The PowerShot lineup spans a wide range of camera sizes and weights to suit various portability needs. Here’s an overview:

Model Lines Weight Dimensions
ELPH/IXY 5 – 7 oz 3.9 x 2.3 x 0.9 in
PowerShot SX Compacts 14 – 19 oz 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.6 in
G Series Advanced 10 – 20 oz 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.6 in
PowerShot SX Superzooms 16 – 31 oz 5.0 x 3.5 x 4.1 in

As you can see, the ELPH/IXY models are the most compact and portable, while the superzooms offer the most zoom range but in a much larger package.

Price Range

PowerShot cameras cover a wide spectrum of budget-friendly to premium price points:

PowerShot Line Price Range
ELPH/IXY $100 – $300
PowerShot SX Compacts $250 – $500
Advanced G Series $500 – $800
PowerShot SX Superzooms $400 – $600

Consider stepping up to a mid-range model if your budget allows to access additional features and better image quality. The latest entry-level models still offer great value for beginners.

Ideal User for Canon PowerShot

Canon PowerShot cameras are well-suited for the following types of users:

  • Beginners – Easy to use menus and modes help novice photographers capture great shots immediately.
  • Travelers – Lightweight and compact design is ideal for carrying around all day on trips and vacations.
  • Parents – Great for capturing family activities and children thanks to responsive autofocus and fast burst rates.
  • Vloggers – Flip-out LCD on many models make PowerShots good for self-recording video blogs.
  • Photography enthusiasts – Manual controls on higher models allow you to grow your skills beyond automatic settings.

With their versatility, affordability and image quality, PowerShots are a smart choice for anyone wanting a capable point-and-shoot camera that is still compact enough for everyday use.


In conclusion, the Canon PowerShot makes an excellent compact digital camera choice for photographers of all skill levels. Key strengths like impressive image quality, user-friendly design, speedy performance and a great range of features characterize the lineup. While limited controls, small image sensors and lack of 4K video leave something to be desired, most casual users will find the PowerShot can beautifully capture life’s everyday moments. For the balance of quality, size, and price, the Canon PowerShot earns its reputation as one of the best compact camera series on the market today.