Canon PowerShot ELPH 160

Canon PowerShot ELPH 160

             Canon PowerShot ELPH 160

The Canon PowerShot Elph 160 is one of the least expensive compact cameras on the market. It’s actually a speedy performer in terms of startup and autofocus, and its 8x zoom lens covers a lot of range. But it doesn’t include Wi-Fi, 1080p video capture, or other advanced features found on more expensive cameras, and its lens omits optical stabilization.

Design and Features

The Elph 160 measures 2.1 by 3.7 by 0.9 inches (HWD) and weighs just 4.5 ounces. It’s not the smallest compact you can get—that honor goes to the Nikon Coolpix S02 (2 by 3 by 0.7 inches, 3.5 ounces), but the S02 has a very limited 3x zoom range. Canon offers the Elph 160 in white, black, silver, and red.

Controls are typical for a compact camera of this type. The zoom rocker, shutter release, and Power button are placed on the top plate, with the remainder of the buttons on the rear, to the right of the LCD.

There you’ll find Playback, Movie Record, Menu, and Help buttons, as well as a four-way control pad with a center Func./Set button. Directional presses toggle the shooting mode, control the flash, change the amount of information shown on the rear display, and activate the camera’s power-saving Eco mode.


The Elph 160

The Elph 160 feels very solid in the hand—more than you’d expect from a budget camera—but the rear LCD is certainly a low-rent affair. It’s a 2.7-inch panel with a 230k-dot resolution, and it suffers from very poor viewing angles. It’s best viewed straight on, as turning the camera washes it out and presents false colors to your eye.

There are cameras out there with better LCDs for not much more money, including the Canon SX600 HS, which uses a 460k-dot LCD with better viewing angles.Out of the box, the Elph 160 is set to fully automatic operation. If you’re unsure of what these functions control, the on-screen Help menu (launched via the ? button) is there to guide you.

Performance and Conclusions

The Elph 160 starts and shoots in a very reasonable 1.4 seconds, focuses in just about 0.1-second, and shoots continuously at 0.7fps. You can gain some shot-to-shot speed by moving up to a more expensive camera—the N100 rattles off images at 3.6fps—but improvements in startup time and autofocus will be less dramatic.

On our standard center-weighted test the Elph 160 scores 1,755 lines per picture height. That’s just a little shy of the 1,800 lines we like to see in a photo. The Elph 170 IS is a bit sharper; it scores 2,215 lines on the same test.

Digital Camera Test

Imatest also checks photos for noise. We look for images that show less than 1.5 percent, but the Elph 160 shows 1.7 percent at its lowest sensitivity, ISO 100. A side-by-side examination shows that the Elph 170 IS shows a bit more detail there, although both are rough at ISO 800.

The Elph 160 records 720p video at 30fps in QuickTime format. The footage has a grainy look, but the camera is quick to focus as the scene changes. The real issue is the stability, or lack thereof, of the footage. Handheld video has a shaky look; a compact camera with optical stabilization, like the Elph 170 IS, does a better job with handheld video.

The only digital port is a mini USB connector, located under a flap on the right side. The SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot is located in the battery compartment. Canon does include an external wall charger; in-camera charging is not supported.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 160

MSRP $119 / £99 / €129
Body type
Body type Ultracompact
Max resolution 5152 x 3864
Other resolutions 5152 x 2896 (16:9), 3648 x 2736, 2048 x 1536, 640 x 480
Image ratio w:h 4:3, 16:9
Effective pixels 20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 21 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor type CCD
Processor DIGIC 4+
ISO Auto, 100-1600
White balance presets 5
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization Digital only
Uncompressed format No
JPEG quality levels Fine
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.) 28–224 mm
Optical zoom 8×
Maximum aperture F3.2–6.9
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Center
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoom Yes (4X)
Manual focus No
Normal focus range 5 cm (1.97)
Macro focus range 1 cm (0.39)
Number of focus points 9
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 2.7
Screen dots 230,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type None
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 15 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/2000 sec
Aperture priority No
Shutter priority No
Manual exposure mode No
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range 3.00 m
External flash No
Flash modes Auto, on, off, slow synchro
Continuous drive 0.8 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 10 sec, custom)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions 1280 x 720 (25p), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Mono
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC card
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Microphone port No
Headphone port No
Remote control No
Environmentally sealed No
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description NB-11L/LH lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 220
Weight (inc. batteries) 127 g (0.28 lb / 4.48 oz)
Dimensions 95 x 54 x 22 mm (3.74 x 2.13 x 0.87)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording No
GPS None



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