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It would help to have some more information to give you any meaningful advice.
2. What kinds of subjects do you intend to photograph and do you want to do video?
Do you want to use your camera to take a lot of selfies?
3. What kinds of output will you produce? e.g. large prints, small prints, digital display, social media?
4. Will the camera be used in rain, salty air, other challenging environments?
Hello Trevor. thank you for considering my question. In answer to your questions ... I started out looking for something under $500, but I"m willing to go a little higher than that. I like to take photographs and blow them up into larger prints. I will take some selfies. (in the past I have done the auto timer set it up and run thing). I don't do a lot of video. I do a lot outdoors ... hiking, kayaking, biking. But not so much in a salty environment. I live in the midwest. I'm getting a new camera because my last one got wet and didn't make it. I'm getting set to go hike Pike's Peak and want to be able to get some great photos.
I don't think any Powershot would have protection against the elements. Any type of moisture/dust protection typically is available in Canon's more expensive gear. And the robustness of such protection then increases as cost increases.
Having said that, if you wish to remain very light and compact, I'd think a few of the more recent Powershot cameras should be OK for what you need (except of course for any weather protection as outlined above).
Most capture images at around 20 MP, so if printing at 300 dpi, you could make up to 10 x 16 inch prints. Larger if you don't need as high a DPI value.
Canon don't make many cameras that work well as environmentally sealed cameras in the PowerShot range. Canon DO make the Poweshot D30 tough camera, released in 2014 see DP Review article, and a review by them of the best waterproof cameras HERE. I have the Canon D10 and the Olympus TG-5 and they are both rugged units, but the Olympus is IMHO the better one.
They are designed for really challenging conditions, although (being sealed) their screens don't flip for easy selfies etc. They do video and amazing close-ups too. They DO have small sensors - but so do almost all tough cameras, so you will be limited somewhat in the size of images you can make.
Thank you, Trevor. I will look at the Olympus. Perhaps you would consider one more thing and weigh in. Despite the fact that I like to be somewhat adventurous, I think image quality is more important to me than the ruggedness of the camera. I got burned once, but I'm generally pretty careful with the camera. I appreciate the input.
Frankly, if you want better imagery you want a bigger sensor and that will cost you more money. Depending on how serious you are about your photography you may be prepared to invest more. What kinds of subjects do you capture? If it is mostly scenery and people, then a camera like the PowerShot G1X MkIII could be useful. It has a full APS-C sensor, is environmentally-sealed (but NOT a rugged camera), has a 24-72mm equivalent lens and it is relatively compact.
If you want to have a fabulous camera that has a brilliant sensor, fabulous Zeiss lens and a focal range from 24-600mm, then the top unit is the Sony Rx-10MkIV. It can shoot stills at up to 24 frames per second! It has a 1", 20MM BSI and Stacked sensor, environmental sealing (but not rugged) IS, does video etc. But it's not cheap and it's hard to get right now. I have one and it's amazing - it will take brilliant images of everything from landscapes to birds or bears. It's a bridge super-zoom camera, so works from full auto to full manual and is about the size of a small DSLR but its a mirrorless camera.