Canon teases PowerShot SC500 IS and SX160 ahead of Photokina

canon powershot new cameras sc500 is sx500New camera announcements are coming fast and furious as the industry preps for the huge Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany, September 18 through 23. But those expecting anything earth-shattering from Canon now will need to keep holding their breath for another month. This week, the company only added two power zooms to its line-up, the PowerShot SX500 IS ($329) and SX160 IS ($229), both due in September.

Not to say these are horrible cameras, they just don’t have the sizzle of the mirrorless M series announced earlier. We’d be far more excited if they did something really radical, like introducing a full-frame DSLR for $1,000. We’ll keep hoping for one of those, but if you’re looking for affordable point-and-shoots in time to capture the changing seasons, check these two out.

The 16MP SX500 IS has a 30x optical zoom with a range of 24-720mm. Canon took a feature we loved in the SX40 HS 35x mega-zoom and incorporated it here. Called Zoom Framing Assist, this lets you quickly pull back from a telephoto shot, then zoom right back at the touch of a button. Many times you lose sight of your subject at extreme telephoto and this helps you recapture it. With any mega-zoom you need some serious stabilization, and SX500 uses optical image stabilization (Canon Intelligent IS). It’s done right by us in the past, helping to eliminate blur from extreme telephoto images. Since this is primarily for aim-and-forget photography, the SX500 IS has Smart Auto that chooses from 32 possible scene types and makes the proper settings to match it. We’ve always been impressed by this one as well. Other features include a 3-inch LCD and 1080p HD video at 25 fps. Canon is way behind the curve here, as most Nikons shoot 1080p at 30 fps, and some Sonys shoot AVCHD Progressive 1080p at 60 fps.

The SX160 IS is another 16-megapixel camera but the less-expensive model only has a 16x zoom (28-448mm). It too has optical image stabilization and Smart Auto. The camera operates on AA batteries.

Nikon joined in on the pre-Photokina parade earlier this week with the Coolpix S800c, its first Android-powered point-and-shoot cam.