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Canon 150 IS

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Canon ELPH 150 IS Review -- First Impressions

Preview posted

Originally, the Canon ELPH camera line was known for a few main things: compact bodies with approachable handling and attractive designs. More than that, though, the Canon ELPH 150 IS is also extremely affordable. With a list price of just US$150, there's very little standing in between you and your purchase of an ELPH camera, despite a generous zoom reach and high resolution.

At the heart of the Canon 150 IS is a 1/2.3-inch type CCD image sensor with an effective resolution of 20.0 megapixels. Compared to the CMOS chips used in most cameras these days, CCD sensors are rather slower, but they do save a little on cost.

The Canon 150's sensor sits behind a far-reaching 10x optical zoom lens that covers everything from a generous 24mm-equivalent wide angle to a handy 240mm-equivalent telephoto. Maximum aperture isn't the brightest, though, started from f/3.0 at wide angle and falling to f/6.9 by the telephoto position.

Thankfully, an optical image stabilizer is included that helps to fight blur from camera shake. The lens can also offer up a 0.4 inch macro focusing distance.

And on the rear of the ELPH 150 IS is a 2.7-inch TFT LCD monitor. It's smaller and lower-resolution than average -- the total of 230,000 dots translates to just a 320 x 240 pixel array -- but not unreasonably so given the price.

Where the CCD sensor makes itself known is in the rather sedate burst-shooting performance. At full resolution, you'll manage just 0.8 frames per second, which may prove challenging with active subjects. Switch to low-light mode and you'll increase this to a still-modest 2.2 fps. ISO sensitivity is also rather abbreviated, with a range of ISO 100 to 1600 equivalents on offer.

Not surprisingly, you won't find a great degree of manual control on offer here. The Canon ELPH 150 IS provides Program, Auto, and a variety of scene / effect shooting modes. Exposures are determined using evaluative, center-weighted or spot metering, and +/- 2.0 EV of exposure compensation is available in 1/3 EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 15 to 1/2,000 second, and seven white balance modes including Custom are available.

If you need to shed a little more light on your subject, a built-in flash is provided, covering everything from a 13-foot wide angle to a 6.6 foot telephoto.

You can also record high-definition movies at up to HD (1,280 x 720 pixel; 720p) resolution, albeit only at a rate of 25 frames per second. Movies are saved with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression in a .MOV container.

Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Connectivity options include USB data and NTSC / PAL standard-definition composite video, with both types sharing a single, proprietary connector. Power comes courtesy of an NB-11LH lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack, rated as good for 230 shots on a charge, or 310 shots in ECO mode.

Available from February 2014 in blue, red, silver and black, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 150 IS is priced at around US$150.