When I first saw the Canon Power shot SX130 camera's I did kind of think they looked pretty lame to say the least. I was even a little more bewildered when I found out that they had updated it by bumping it up from 12 to 14 megapixels with a whole bunch of extra features including image stabilization and called it the SX150. Essentially they were supposed to be point 'n' shoot compact camera's and by today's standards they're hardly sleek nor compact when put next to many other modern compact camera's of around the same 12x zoom capability. That was also another off putting factor, the designs on them also initially looked very dated to say the least.


That's definitely not my hand...

Another oddity is the fact that they also use a couple of double A batteries instead of a stamina lithium ion pack with charger that nearly all modern compact point and shoot camera's use these days. Why on earth would canon need to produce a relatively expensive compact point and shoot that uses double A batteries? What's the point of it on a point and shoot that they wanted to charge more then 100 quid for at MSRP??? They weren't particularly fast either.



For something below MSRP if you dig around…

With further extensive research all the seeming lameness of them didn't quite seem as lame after all, in fact they actually began to make a lot of sense if you can get them for less then 70 to 60. Sure, granted that  they're hardly the fastest of camera's, but there are plenty of vastly more expensive compact point and shoots that are the same speed with some actually being slower.




 It was in the pictures…



 What seemed to drastically change my opinion were actual samples of many amateur and pro snaps that had been taken with the SX130 and SX150. The majority of them that I came across were very much on a par with what could be produced with a full blown DSLR thanks to its lens.
 


Obviously these camera's limit you to shooting in JPEG with no options for RAW (it would probably melt if it had any such RAW shooting feature thrown in, if not maybe have time to make a brew whilst casually whistling some unrecognizable da-de-dum-de tune), but then again so do many other compacts within the same price range as is the case with many that are vastly more expensive with much crappier results in terms of the kind of pictures they produce under the same kinds of conditions.





The battery thing
 
 
Battery life on a couple of regular alkaline batteries is said to be around 100 snaps, (probably even less if you're using flash and AF or recording video) so not too great. But it is possible to buy a specialized Sanyo Enoloop charger and set of 4 rechargeable Sanyo Enoloop Ni-mh batteries with high power retention capabilities (75% charge retention for 3 years without use of a full charge) with a charge cycle of around 1500 times under optimum conditions for about 10 to 12 quid. Its claimed you can get anything between 300 to 350 snaps on fully charged Enoloops on a bright day without the flash being used. No doubt using it in total manual mode would prolong battery life even further.


 
But aside from that there's also the blindingly obvious fact that double A batteries are standard, and you can get them nearly anywhere in the world. So if you're desperate to get that discrete shot and you don't have any spares batteries or enough time to charge (or another camera to hand with power) you could either nip to the shop or raid a whole bunch of remotes you might have or find lying around. Just as a point of interest Sanyo have also started producing higher capacity 2500mAh specialized rechargeable double A's too.  

 


If you want to go that little bit further on Ni-mh batteries Sanyo also do these 2700mAh AA's, although I've no info on how many charge cycles you'll get out of them.


  
I guess in surviving a post apocalyptic scenario where there's no reliable immediate power there might be lots of usable batteries still around in abandoned shops. I don't know if that’s funny or not despite having just said it.


 
I've not seen any officially recommended propriety lithium-ion batteries for the 130 and 150
 
At this point I personally couldn't make any recommendations for generic lithium ion rechargeable AA batteries having only just seen that generic none propriety rechargeable lithium-ion AA's actually exist. But with a rating of 3.7 volts per cell on the various types that I'd actually seen it would possibly most likely have an undesired effect on the inner workings of the camera over a long term period. Standard AA have a voltage of 1.5 volts per cell with the a fore mentioned Enoloops rated at 1.2 volts per cell. But no doubt there will be some people out there that might have possibly already chanced it to have maybe successfully used specific types of of none recommended rechargeable lithium ion batteries with it without actually damaging it. Then again maybe not since I've not come across any documented accounts of successful usage of specific types of generic rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries in these camera's.  

 
 
The design…(… focal length, sensor distance, scale and other technical stuff I don't know nothing about)
 

that's not my hand either
 
In modern compact camera terms they SX130 and SX150 anything but sleek and compact, in fact from this perspective these power shot SX's look plain ugly, dated. and a bit too chunky for a modern compact camera within the price range. But then again with the added weight of 2 double A batteries and a chunkier body its certainly going to feel much more comfortable to hold and handle for all those more accustomed to handling DSLR's in comparison to every other comparatively anorexic slim-slab like point and shoot camera out there.



Don't get me wrong, the slimmer compact cameras are definitely useful, appealing, and functional for other obvious superficial and practical purposes, but stick with me to see where I'm going with this. Obviously the SX130 and SX150 is still not going to feel like handling an actual DSLR but it will be much more so the case of feeling a little more comfortable then handling something that more resembles a cassette tape box (or possible something even slimmer and smaller).


The camera also has a centralized pop up flash much like their entry level DSLR range too. I reckon it would also look much better without the silver trim on the grip of the body found on both the SX130 and SX150 in black, it definitely looks miss-placed and lame if not tacky. Given this context the external design of the camera does actually begin to look like quite a slick piece of equipment that’s based on the essence of the lager canon DSLR in compact camera form that might be ergonomically easier to handle if not actually being as easy a fit in your pocket in a discrete, convenient, and comfortable manner.



The possible clincher beyond the actual potential picture results in the right hands… (… the option to switch between automatic point and shoot mode or full unadulterated manual control in compact form on a budget by a brand everyone knows)



That’s pretty self explanatory. DSLR users more used to and wanting full manual control in a compact point and shoot form for taking more measured single shots, just nothing like at the same speeds and technical quality. I guess for the right person it maybe isn't quite so lame after all, but as stated, no doubt hardcore technical bods will look past the overall results to still gripe about it as far as central weighted lens focal clarity and barrel distortion is concerned. 



General conclusion from research… (...the trade offs if you're looking to take snaps in any impending walking dead like apocalypse with the option to maybe experiment with a little arty full manual tinkering)

 

If you want lower noise at higher ISO in your snaps, go for the earlier 12 megapixel SX130 verson, although it does lack the image stabilization that has been added to the SX150. The SX150 will also drain your batteries much more quickly whilst snapping at higher ISO's at 14 megapixels with a little more noise at anything above ISO 800, so it might be advisable that you go for the higher capacity rechargeable batteries if you should opt for the re-iterated SX150 variant.  I guess this gets much closer to a "ready to go anywhere and any time" notion of picture taking in a world where there are no commercial none battery operated camera's like there used to be with all camera's being digital these days. 



Its definitely small and compact depending on what you're comparing it to, but its hardly in the way that other much more pocket-able modern slim line point and shoots are as far as form factor is concerned. I hardly think serious sports action snappers are going to be wanting to look here either. All in all not bad for a budget option at 65 quid 99 quid (they seemed to have bumped it up which does change the power to value ratio quite a bit) giving you the option to switch from auto to full manual control with a 12 x zoom lens at Argos brand new.