Canon PowerShot SX170 IS: The Ultimate Beginner's Compact Camera

The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS offers an impressive array of features for novice photographers seeking a compact, user-friendly camera. With its 16 megapixels and 16x optical zoom, this camera captures crisp, vibrant photos and videos.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Canon PowerShot SX170 IS article cover photo

Key Features

Aug 22 2013


16 megapixels


Sensor Type1/2.3-inch

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Overview of the PowerShot SX170 IS

Are you a budding photographer looking to invest in a reliable, user-friendly camera? Look no further than the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS. With its sleek, compact design and impressive range of features, this camera is perfect for beginners seeking a high-quality yet easy-to-use device. Equipped with a 16 megapixel sensor, 16x optical zoom, and high-performance DIGIC 4+ image processor, the PowerShot SX170 IS delivers crystal-clear photos and videos. Its intelligent Image Stabilization technology ensures steady shots even in low-light environments, while its Smart AUTO feature analyzes the scene to select the best possible settings for your shot. Whether you're capturing family memories or your latest travel adventure, the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS is the ideal companion for beginners seeking a reliable, high-performing compact camera.

Canon PowerShot SX170 IS Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High-quality images
Excellent zoom capabilities
Optical image stabilization
Easy to use and operate
Affordable price point


Battery life could be improved
Low-light performance is lacking
Limited manual controls
No RAW image capture
Bulkier than some compact cameras

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Canon PowerShot SX170 IS

Weather sealed
Dimensions108 x 71 x 44mm

Weather Sealing

The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderNone
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution230k dots
Body typeCompact

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 230k dots. This makes the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


Canon PowerShot SX170 IS does not include a viewfinder. The lack of a viewfinder on the PowerShot SX170 IS camera may make it less suitable for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Canon PowerShot SX170 IS has a 16MP sized CCD sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 16 pixels. Canon PowerShot SX170 IS has a native ISO range of 100 - 1600 which can be boosted to null - null.

Key Features

Aug 22 2013


100 - 1600

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution4608 x 3456 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the PowerShot SX170 IS is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: 1/2.3-inch



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life300 shots
Battery ModelNB-6LH
Wireless Connectivity


The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS supports SD/SDHC/SDXC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS uses the NB-6LH model of battery pack. This is rated for 300 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. However it lacks an external flash shoe, which limits you to using the built-in flash.


The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/3200s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS includes contrast detection autofocus (AF), with null number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS?

The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS features a CCD sensor

Is the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS weather sealed?

No the PowerShot SX170 IS does not have weather sealing.

When was the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS announced?

The Canon PowerShot SX170 IS was announced on Aug 22 2013

Does the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the PowerShot SX170 IS does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS?

The PowerShot SX170 IS has a native ISO range of 100-1600, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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