Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and SX160 IS get you close to the action

Canon has announced two new zoom cameras in its PowerShot line - the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and Canon PowerShot SX160 IS. 

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS ultrazoom offers you an impressive 30x zoom lens, with a range of 24-720mm (in 35mm terms), with Canon claiming the "world's smallest" title for this model. 

The camera weighs 341g, with battery and card, and measures 104 x 69.5 x 80.2mm. Canon says that battery will give you 195 shots.

The lens gives you f/3.4 at the widest angle, getting restricted down to f/5.8 at the far end of the zoom, typical for this type of camera. The ISO range runs from 100 to 1600, which sounds fairly conservative, and the shutter speed rolls up to 1/1600 sec.

Sitting at the heart of the SX500 IS is a 16-megapixel sensor, backed by the DIGIC 4 imaging processor. Around the back you have a 3-inch display for composing and previewing your shots with an average 461k-dot resolution.

This isn't a top-of-the-range superzoom, with the new model offering only 720p video capture, although you do get an HDMI out for previewing your content on the big screen. 

Although it might not offer you the top specs, it does offer full manual control, something that will appeal to those looking to get a little more out of their photography.

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS will be available from August and cost you £279.

The second model is the Canon PowerShot SX160 IS, which looks like a reasonable spec-up from the SX150 IS.

The SX160 gives you a 16x optical zoom, 28-448mm (in 35mm terms). It offers many of the same features (in terms of shooting) as the SX500 IS, including manual control.

The internals are very much the same too, with a 16-megapixel sensor and DIGIC 4 processor. Again there is a 3-inch display, albeit with a low 230k-dot resolution and a similar aperture range.

The Canon PowerShot SX160 IS weighs 291g and measures 111 x 72.5 x 44.1mm, so although it packs in a fair amount, Canon offers more-compact models with a similar zoom offering.

One of the appealing features (for some) of this type of compact is that it's powered by AA batteries. Standard alkaline batteries (supplied) will give you only 140 shots, but nickel metal-hydride batteries will give you more like 380. 

The PowerShot SX160 IS is affordable however, at only £159. You can expect it to be hitting shops in September.