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The SX170 IS is almost identical to its predecessor, the SX160 IS. Basically, Canon changed the power from AA-size batteries to a rechargeable lithium-ion pack and, in turn, changed the body a bit. Otherwise, they're the same cameras.
The SX170 is one of the few inexpensive point-and-shoots with semimanual and manual shooting modes along with a full assortment of auto options.
The other noticeable difference from the SX160, is that Canon dropped that model's Mini-HDMI port for the SX170.
The camera's flash needs to be manually lifted.