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Today Canon is adding two new mid-range ultra-zooms to their digital camera lineup. The Canon Powershot SX160 IS is a compact travel-zoom with an 16X wide-angle optical zoom lens and runs on AA batteries for up to 380 shots-per-charge. The Canon Powershot SX500 IS is a large ultra-zoom with a 30X ultra-wide-angle optical zoom lens that runs on a proprietary Lithium-Ion batter for up to 195 shots-per-charge.

Canon Powershot SX160 IS

These two cameras are built around the same 16 megapixels CCD sensor rather than CMOS sensors used in recent digital cameras. This should give them better image quality at the expense of speed. Given the pixel-density required for such a small sensor with so many megapixels, this probably a good thing. The most notable side-effect is that videos can be shot up to 720p rather than full HD, so take the HD designation on the side of the SX500 IS with a grain of salt!

Canon Powershot SX500 IS

The SX160 IS and SX500 IS feature full-manual controls including manual focusing. The SX160 has a zoom equivalent to 28-448mm and can focus as closely as 1cm from the front of the lens. The SX500 has a zoom equivalent to 24-720mm and can focus directly on the lens surface with its minimum focus distance of zero.

Both models are scheduled to ship next month. The SX160 can already be preordered here for $229 USD while the SX500 can be preordered here for $329 USD.

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