Canon PowerShot SX500 IS
16 megapixel CCD sensor; 30x optical zoom with 24mm wide-angle; 720p HD video; 3-inch LCD with 461,000 dots; Manual modes; New Zoom Framing Assist feature; Lithium-ion battery
The SX500 IS comes in somewhere between the just-announced SX160 IS and the high-end SX40 HS, combining the price-cutting features found on the former with the zoom range on the latter. The 30x extended zoom is built into an impressively small body that doesn't appear to sacrifice ergonomics. While the SX500 IS does use a 16 megapixel CCD sensor that isn't likely to offer fantastic low-light performance, Canon is boasting over 30% reductions in both shutter lag and focus lock over the more expensive SX40 HS. Also of interest is the new Zoom Framing Assist feature, which quickly zooms the lens out and then back in again to help you find your subject at longer focal lengths. The initial asking price of $329 sets the camera firmly in competition with Canon's own SX260 HS, however, which offers better image quality in a smaller (albeit with less zoom range) package.