The Canon PowerShot SX150 IS is a compact but substantial unit. Think mini bridge camera - it's too bulky to carry around in a trouser pocket, but will slip comfortably into a coat pocket or bag.
To keep the price down, there's an abundance of plastic in the build – although it feels solid and well constructed – and the pop-up flash has to be manually flipped up.
More significantly, the Canon PowerShot SX150 IS is powered by two AA batteries. You'll either see this as an advantage or disadvantage.
On the upside, you can lay your hands on a set of AA's almost anywhere, so whether you're shooting in Acrington or Addis Ababa, you shouldn't be caught short of juice. The downside is that the Canon PowerShot SX150 IS chews through a pair of Alkaline cells faster than Monsieur Mangetout.
Canon reports an Alkaline battery life of approximately 110 shots, but in our real-world testing it came in much shorter than this. That's not surprising, once you factor in the work the lens motor and image stabiliser put in. You'll need NiMH rechargeables to hit the more acceptable measure of 320 pictures.
A brace of batteries adds a little to the weight of the Canon PowerShot SX150 IS, but it's the monster zoom that gives the camera its heft. At 28mm at its widest setting and 336mm at the telephoto end, it offers a great deal of versatility in a relatively small package – a great option for travel photography.
We clocked the Canon camera at a little under three seconds to push through its full range, but this slowed to over 10 seconds when shooting a movie. This, presumably, reduces any potential nausea from overzealous zooming, as well as reducing the volume of the motor.
In terms of handling, the Canon PowerShot SX150 IS offers a comfortable experience. A slightly deeper handgrip might have been beneficial. As with the SX130, there's only really room for two fingertips under the polished chrome insert on the front, although the slightly raised thumbrest on the rear of the body adds stability.
The Canon PowerShot SX150 IS controls are large and well placed, with the now-familiar Canon combined command wheel/four-way control pad providing quick access to the majority of camera functions.
If anything, it's a little too slick. Each of the four points around the wheel/pad features a frequently used function, such as ISO and flash: tap the point to bring up the menu and spin the wheel to adjust the setting. However, it can be too easy to inadvertently press one of the adjacent points as you're rotating the wheel with your thumb and start adjusting that instead.
There are some very well-implemented controls, though. Exposure compensation falls easily within thumb reach, and the compensation meter remains on the screen until you cancel it – a useful touch.
As with the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS, the mode dial on the top of the SX150 IS remains ridged and stiff, and you're unlikely to knock it out of position.
The new move recording button – above the control dial, next to the exposure compensation button – means you no longer have to select the dedicated movie mode on the dial before you start filming.