Canon Sure Shot Z155
Point & Shoot

Canon Sure Shot Z155 Review – Fine Workmanship for a Small Price – By Thang Nguyen

November 20, 2020

The Canon Sure Shot Z155 is possibly the most underappreciated compact camera considering how little it cost now for such an amazing package. The Canon Sure Shot Z155 is a flagship compact camera from Canon released in 2002. Judging by the aesthetic of this camera, you can tell much effort was put into making these precise cuts and curves.

The design philosophy of this camera is circles, similar to the Olympus O-product. There will be circle elements throughout the camera, it is more apparent on the back of the camera where most things you see are circle shaped. The Canon Z155 has a rather glamorous front with an eye catching teal finger grip.

The Canon Sure Shot Z155 is a very sleek looking camera, most of its body is wrapped in aluminum except for the back which is made of plastic. The front of the Canon Sure Shot Z155 has a vinyl groove texture which feels nice to hold. The top of the camera has the brand engraved along with the timer/remote and shutter buttons.

Canon Sure Shot Z155 top

Canon Sure Shot Z155’s top view.

The back of the Canon Sure Shot Z155 is where the interesting bits are. Many things in the early 2000’s had curvy and more rounded designs. Everything on the back is inspired by round shapes, even the viewfinder and the zoom rocker are rounded. I found the rounded viewfinder more prone to black out than the traditional rectangle ones.

The familiar mode dials on Canon DSLRs can also be found on the Canon Sure Shot Z155. The dial also serves as an on/off switch, with the first turn being either Auto or Personal. In personal mode, your custom settings will be saved even if the camera is turned off. The rest of the modes are: fast shutter priority, slow sync flash/night-mode, portrait mode (auto composition zoom), macro mode, and spot mode (there’s a separated button on the left to activate spot focus on other modes as well).

Interestingly, the Canon Sure Shot Z155 lacks infinity focus mode, I suppose that is intentional, as the camera has advanced focusing technologies so an infinity mode is not needed. Also you can use spot focus to supplement the lack of infinity mode.

Canon Sure Shot Z155 Back

Canon Sure Shot Z155’s back with circle oriented controls.

Being an expensive flagship, the Canon Sure Shot Z155 has impressive specs and some unusual features. Such as a date stamp that lasts up to 2049, various captions that you can imprint on your photos (only on caption model). You also have exposure compensation of ±1.5 EV. The camera has an impressive top shutter speed of 1/790s and slowest of 2 seconds.

The lens on this camera is crazy sharp even at the longest focal length. The exposure is spot on even in tricky situations, preserving both highlight and shadow. The built quality of the Canon Sure Shot Z155 is also solid, the buttons and the dials are clicky and responsive. The shutter button has a positive half press and a satisfying full press.  Below are some sample photos taken on Fujifilm Superia 400.

Canon Sure Shot Z155 zoom sharpness

Shot at the longest focal length, I’m surprised how sharp and blur-free the birds are.

Canon Sure Shot Z155 macro

Shot using macro mode.

Canon Sure Shot Z155 mfd

Standard minimum focus distance at starting focal length.

Middle of the zoom range. The camera successfully focuses the small tree branch.

Canon Sure Shot Z155

I was able to frame this shot thanks to the zoom lens, the photo turned out sharp despite zooming in.

Very tricky light, but the the exposure came out perfectly balanced.

Shot with macro mode, very good contrast and sharpness.

My experience with the Canon Sure Shot Z155 was overwhelmingly positive. Beside the amazing specs and features, the camera also has a very stylish appearance. Operating the camera using the dial control was a fresh and enjoyable experience, I can quickly access the auto mode for a quick snap or a preset of settings with just 1 turn away.

I am most amazed by the lens quality, while the specification is not that exciting: 37-155mm, f4.8-f11.7, it can focus as close as 45cm in macro mode, or 60cm at the starting focal length. Every shot I took turned out sharp with picture perfect exposure, even at the longest focal length. The focus also works wonders – my shots came out in focus and free of motion blur.

The Canon Sure Shot Z155 is quite compact, the lens housing protrudes a bit from the body, so it can only fit in a coat pocket. Considering the price of the Canon Z155 on the market right now, this camera is a bargain for how little it goes.

You can find my other camera reviews on 35mmc here

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  • Reply
    Alex Vye
    November 20, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Very nice article. I’m glad I’m not the only one who takes shots of boardwalks.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    This looks like pretty cool little camera. I think that the milennium compacts are perhaps the most overlooked.

    Thang, if you don’t mind me asking, how are you scanning and editing your photos before you upload? I’ve read several of your reviews on this site, and to me the images often seem soft and lacking in detail on my end.

    • Reply
      Thang Nguyen
      November 20, 2020 at 9:20 pm

      Hello, the images you see are soft because of the compression rather than the scanning process, most of them are compressed to around 100kb to save space. The images here I have on files are much sharper than the web version.

      • Reply
        November 21, 2020 at 9:28 am

        Maybe it would be a good idea to tweak the settings a bit? It’s definitely possible to have web-sized images that look nice and sharp. Most other posts on this site don’t show the same softness. To me it seems the images might lack some sharpening as well. It kind of defeats the purpose of a camera review when all the images are soft.

        Take this in the best way, I really enjoy your posts and enjoy reviews of obscure point and shoots like this in general.

        • Reply
          Thang Nguyen
          November 21, 2020 at 4:47 pm

          Next time I will try to do a batch sharpening and see if that will help compensate for the compression. I appreciate your feedback.

  • Reply
    Michael C
    November 27, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for your review! I’m looking in to purchasing on for myself, but I heard earlier versions of this model had sharpness issues. Do you know anything about this?

    • Reply
      Thang Nguyen
      November 27, 2021 at 11:16 pm

      You mean the non-caption model? I highly doubt that is the case.

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