Canon 170 IS

Canon PowerShot ELPH 170 IS front
  • 20MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 2.7" Fixed Display
  • ISO 100 - 1600
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 25-300mm (F3.6-7.0) lens
  • 141g - 100 x 58 x 23mm
  • Launched January 2015
  • Alternate Name is IXUS 170
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Canon 170 IS overview

Canon 170 IS is Canon's Ultracompact camera first launched on January of 2015. It uses a 20 MegaPixel, CCD 1/2.3" sized sensor and has a maximum resolution of 5152 x 3864. It is also known as "IXUS 170" in other regions.

The 170 IS is scored #19 out of 151 in Ultracompact cameras & all around #728 out of 1465 for cameras in our collection. Remember to check our Advanced camera filter to get camera results based on your personal factors.

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Below is a chart of various criteria used in the scoring system.

Canon 170 IS family

The Canon 170 IS is part of a family of products. You can read the detailed range below.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Canon-PowerShot-ELPH-160 front thumbnailCanon 160
170 IS vs 160
Canon-PowerShot-ELPH-170-IS front thumbnailCanon 170 IS25-300mm
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Canon 170 IS Pros and Cons

Below is a checklist of benefits and drawbacks of the Canon 170 IS based on aspects that are often viewed as useful in a camera.

built in image stabilization (Optical)
decently wide (25mm)
features face detection focus
features tracking autofocus
flash built-in
good zoom range (25-300mm 12.0 x zoom)
great min ISO (100)
MP count good (20MP)
very long reach (300mm)
can't use external flash
doesn't offer selfie friendly display
focusing manually not possible
has no phase detect auto focus
has no RAW support
lack of aperture priority mode
lack of external microphone support
lack of HDMI out
lack of headphone support
lack of Timelapse recording
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
low quality video (1280 x 720 pxls)
max fps low (0.8 frames/s)
max zoom aperture not good (f7.0)
no manual control
no shutter priority
screen does not articulate
screen has low resolution (230 k dots)
screen is somewhat small (2.7 inches)
slow maximum aperture (f3.6)
tiny sensor (1/2.3")
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Canon 170 IS Sensor details

The Canon 170 IS houses the DIGIC 4+ processor. The sensor measurement on the Canon 170 IS is 6.17mm x 4.55mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor has the ability to resolve 5152 x 3864 pixels at aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9. The camera has Image Stabilization (Optical). Optical stabilization is superior than digital stabilization since the latter can cause cropping.

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The CCD sensor has 20MP and supports a native ISO range of 100 to 1600. Sadly, RAW photos are not supported so the user has less margin for error.

The graphic below displays the 170 IS's sensor dimensions compared to other common sizes. The 170 IS sensor has a crop factor of 5.8 and is outlined in green.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 170 IS sensor size Photography Glossary

To get an idea of different aspect ratios, you can refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Canon 170 IS dimensions

Canon 170 IS weighs about 0.31 lb (141 gr or 4.97 oz) & has outside size of 100mm x 58mm x 23mm (3.9" x 2.3" x 0.9"). The weight of normal Ultracompact camera is 121 gr and the Canon 170 IS is more heavy when compared with other competitors.

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Below is a pic of the Canon 170 IS with a softdrink to help you get a sense of its scale.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 170 IS dimensions scale

The top view here will highlight the button layout on the 170 IS.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 170 IS topview buttons dials

Canon 170 IS Lens specs

The 170 IS features a fixed lens providing a focal range of 25-300mm making it a 12.0 x zoom which won't be perfect nevertheless it could be handy in a few conditions.

At the widest 25mm, it has an aperture of f3.6 which is rather slow and not the best for low light situations and you will probably find it difficult to get good bokeh. You will probably also have to boost the ISO setting producing noisy files. On the tele end, 300mm is great zoom and comes to f7.0 which is fairly slow and you might need to set slow shutter speeds.

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Canon 170 IS Connectivity

The 170 IS has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Cameras that include NFC and Bluetooth compatibility are able to be used wirelessly through smartphones. You can easily transfer photos and oftentimes change settings without connecting straight to the camera.

Many applications even allow a Liveview and click the shutter when you aren't near the camera. If the camera has a HDMI port, it can easily be connected to an external display. Almost all cameras will allow you to recharge the battery using the USB socket.

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Canon 170 IS Video specs

The maximum video resolution on the Canon 170 IS is 1280 x 720 and you can capture in MPEG-4 and H.264 format. 720p is awful for today's requirements. You really should go for a minimum FUll HD resolution for video. The camera doesn't feature a microphone and headphone jack so you have no control over the sound. It is perhaps a better idea to order another camera in case you want decent sound for your video clips.

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Canon 170 IS Weather Sealing

There is no weather sealing in the Canon 170 IS so you need to be cautious in rainy and dusty situations.

Canon 170 IS Display and Viewfinder

The Canon 170 IS houses a 2.7" fixed display screen boasting a resolution of 230k dots.

Please be aware that the display has no touch support.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 170 IS screen and viewfinder Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing

The View Finder details for Canon 170 IS are below:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders are rather useful for bright outdoor situations which might make the camera display washed out and hard to see.

Canon 170 IS Shutter specs

Canon 170 IS continuous shooting speed is 0.8 frames/s. The highest shutter speed is 1/2000s.

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Canon 170 IS Flash and Hot shoe specs

Canon 170 IS has only integrated flash without external flash ability.

Canon 170 IS Autofocusing specs

Canon 170 IS has just Contrast Based Auto Focus & lacks Phase Detect Auto Focus. Phase Detection focusing is more faster and exact when compared with Contrast Based focusing. The camera boasts Face detect which is valuable for portrait photography.

The AF system boasts 9 focus points to pick from. It also features Tracking Auto Focus for things that move. Canon 170 IS lacks manual focusing. Manual focusing can be useful for low light situations or you require more precise control on focusing.

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Canon 170 IS Battery life

The battery (NB-11L/LH) in the Canon 170 IS is made to last for 200 photographs based on the CIPA standards making it about the same as it's rivals. The general Ultracompact camera battery life is 214. Nikon L32 offers the highest possible (320) battery life for this category of cameras.

Following is a number of Ultracompact cameras with the highest battery life:

Canon 170 IS for various categories of photography

The following graph provides a summation of the Canon 170 IS for various categories of photography. To check out more, scroll to the specific paragraph below.

Canon 170 IS Portrait photography information

The Canon 170 IS receives a points total of 39 which is dreadful, and means the camera is just not very good to use for portrait photography. Taking portrait photos leans greatly towards sensor resolution, RAW support & option to work with external flash.

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MP count good (20 megapixels)
includes face detection focus
no manual focus
manual mode not possible
external flash not possible
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
has no RAW support

Canon 170 IS as a Street photography camera

Coming in at a reasonable points total of 59, the Canon 170 IS is relatively suited for street photography. A good street photography camera provides a good balance of image quality and portability.

Photography Glossary
image stabilization (Optical)
no articulating screen
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
lack of RAW files

Canon 170 IS Sports photography details

A dreadful sports photography points total of 44 indicates the Canon 170 IS is just not very good for photographing sports. A camera must have excellent tracking and fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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has image stabilization (Optical)
decent megapixels (20MP)
offers tracking focus
low frames per second (0.8 fps)
no shutter priority
very small sensor size (1/2.3")
lack of phase detect AF

Canon 170 IS Travel photography information

Portability is really important when getting a travel camera. All round, the Canon 170 IS gets a above average 70 as a travel camera which is a good fit to purchase for your holidays.

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good resolution (20 megapixels)
has built in flash
decently wide (25mm)
very long zoom (300mm)
lack of Time Lapse mode
display isn't selfie friendly
slow max aperture (f3.6)

Canon 170 IS Landscape photography features

In case you're planning to purchase a digital camera for landscape photography, the most significant factor will be image quality. The Canon 170 IS with it's dreadful rating of 41 for a landscape camera is just not very good within the current marketplace.

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reasonably wide (25mm)
image stabilization (Optical)
decent MP (20MP)
no manual focus
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
sluggish maximum aperture (f3.6)
tiny screen (2.7 inches)
lack of manual mode
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
no RAW support
doesn't have Timelapse function

Canon 170 IS as a Vlogging camera

A vlogging camera should really offer a moving screen, mic input and if possible image stabilization. Considering every thing, the Canon 170 IS is just not very good for vlogging as it gets a dreadful rating of 32.

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rather wide (25mm)
image stabilization (Optical)
supports face detection focusing
sluggish max aperture (f3.6)
does not have a selfie friendly screen
low video resolution (1280 x 720 pixels)
doesn't have external microphone socket

Canon 170 IS Alternatives

If you are in the market for alternatives to the 170 IS, below is a selection of the top ranked cameras that fall in to the family of Ultracompact.

The diagram followed below shows you a bird's eye view of the 170 IS compared to it's highest rated rivals shown above.

These are some more cameras you may consider as alternate options. To review a thorough comparison, click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Canon PowerShot ELPH 170 IS
Also referred to as
IXUS 170
Physical type
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
6.17 x 4.55mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
4:3 and 16:9
Maximum resolution
5152 x 3864
RAW support
Maximum native ISO
Lowest native ISO
Focus manually
AF touch
AF continuous
AF single
AF tracking
Selective AF
Center weighted AF
Multi area AF
AF live view
Face detect AF
Contract detect AF
Phase detect AF
Total focus points
Lens support
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
25-300mm (12.0x)
Max aperture
Macro focusing distance
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Fixed Type
Display size
2.7 inches
Display resolution
230k dots
Selfie friendly
Touch function
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Slowest shutter speed
15 secs
Maximum shutter speed
1/2000 secs
Continuous shooting rate
0.8 frames/s
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Change WB
Image stabilization
Integrated flash
Flash distance
4.00 m
Flash options
Auto, on, off, slow synchro
Hot shoe
AE bracketing
WB bracketing
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Video resolutions
1280 x 720 (25p), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Maximum video resolution
Video data format
MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone support
Headphone support
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
141 grams (0.31 pounds)
100 x 58 x 23mm (3.9" x 2.3" x 0.9")
Battery life
200 photos
Type of battery
Battery Pack
Battery ID
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec, custom)
Time lapse shooting
Type of storage
Card slots
Cost at launch