Canon PowerShot A570 IS

      Photo Review 9

      In summary

      Plenty of useful shooting controls at an affordable price point for family photographers and photo hobbyists.Canon’s PowerShot A570 IS is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to learn more about shooting controls. At just under $450 (RRP), it represents pretty good value for family photographers and offers a lot more control than most similarly-priced point-and-shoot competitors. Sporting a 7.1-megapixel CCD imager and 4x optical zoom lens plus a 2.5-inch LCD the A570 IS also comes with optical image stabilisation, a comprehensive range of shooting modes and Canon’s latest DiG!C III image processor. . . [more]

      Full review


      Canon’s PowerShot A570 IS is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to learn more about shooting controls. At just under $450 (RRP), it represents pretty good value for family photographers and offers a lot more control than most similarly-priced point-and-shoot competitors. Sporting a 7.1-megapixel CCD imager and 4x optical zoom lens plus a 2.5-inch LCD the A570 IS also comes with optical image stabilisation, a comprehensive range of shooting modes and Canon’s latest DiG!C III image processor.
      Like other DiG!C III-equipped cameras, the A570 IS comes with Face Detection Technology, automatic red-eye correction in playback for flash shots plus sensitivity settings up to ISO 1600, all noteworthy ‘firsts’ for the PowerShot A-Series. The Face Detection function is found in the AiAF section of the shooting menu, which has three positions: On, Off and Face Detect. With Face Detect, the camera can identify up to nine faces in a scene and automatically set the appropriate focus and exposure. If flash is required, Face Detection FE (Flash Exposure) sets the flash level to ensure all subjects are correctly illuminated. This function will more than justify its price for many family photographers.
      DiG!C III also introduces new noise-reduction processing to support the camera’s high ISO settings. It seems to work well at ISO settings up to 400 but fails to quell the increasing noise thereafter. Manual ISO adjustment is only supported in the P, Av, Tv and M shooting modes but not universally. Pressing the Function button calls up a range of pre-sets, with Auto operating in the Auto, P, Av and Tv modes; High ISO Auto for the Auto and P modes and the remaining pre-sets (ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600) usable only in the P, Av, Tv and M shooting modes.
      In addition to the Auto, P, Av, Tv and M Creative Zone settings, the mode dial on the top panel carries Canon’s familiar Image Zone settings, which include pre-sets for Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets and Indoor modes plus a Scene mode that accesses seven additional pre-sets. The Stitch Assist mode for shooting panoramas and the Movie mode are also included in this section of the mode dial.


      The body of the A570 IS is made from plastic, with some shiny metal trims to improve its appearance. The lens retracts into the camera body, with an automatic cover to protect the front element. There’s a moulded grip that will suit users with small hands and is secure enough to allow the camera to be operated with one hand. No thumb rest is provided on the rear panel and your thumb tends to cover the speaker grille when the camera is in use.


      Most of the rear panel is covered by the LCD but the viewfinder above it is large enough to be usable and the control buttons are straightforward to use. A slider on the top left corner selects between shooting and playback modes and the Display button lets you choose between standard (no shooting data), detailed (with data) and off settings for shooting and playback modes. The battery/card cover is a bit flimsy and can be difficult to close.
      The Display Overlay setting in the Shooting Menu allows you to overlay on the LCD either a set of grid lines or a 3:2 guide that outlines the area that will be printable on 15 x 10 cm paper. Both overlays can be applied together, if you wish. A histogram can be called up in playback mode to check exposure levels. Photographers looking to extend the camera’s capabilities can select from a range of optional accessories that includes wide and tele converter lenses, a close-up lens, rechargeable batteries and power adapters and high-capacity memory cards.

      In many respects, the test camera’s performance was quite impressive. Pictures taken in bright outdoor lighting had the usual blocked highlights but shadows were adequately recorded and image colours looked realistic. Colour saturation was, typically, somewhat elevated, although not excessively so. Edge-to-edge sharpness was excellent and there was little evidence of coloured fringing in outdoor shots. Noise was well controlled up to ISO 200 and thereafter became progressively more visible until shots taken at ISO 1600 were too noisy-affected to be really usable.
      Imatest revealed resolution to be slightly below expectations but there was little difference in resolution between the centre and edge of the frame. Resolution remained relatively constant from ISO 80 to ISO 800 but deteriorated markedly at ISO 1600. However, high levels of under-sharpening left some test shots looking quite soft. Lateral chromatic aberration was generally low.
      Digital zoom shots were outstanding for the camera’s resolution and zoom range. Close-ups were also quite impressive, thanks to a macro focus range that extends down to 5 cm. Flash performance was better than average as the camera produced well-balanced images at all ISO settings from 100 to 1600 and only slight under-exposure at ISO 80.
      White balance performance was slightly better than many compact digicams. The auto setting was unable to remove the orange cast of incandescent lighting but produced good results with fluorescent lighting. The pre-sets and manual measurement controls delivered excellent results with both lighting types.
      Response times were unexceptional. When the flash was turned off, the camera took just under two seconds to power up and record a shot and the same to process the image and display it on the LCD. With flash, shot-to-shot times averaged approximately five seconds. We measured an average capture lag of 0.55 seconds, which reduced to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. The continuous shooting mode recorded shots at 0.5 second intervals and it took just over three seconds to process a 10-shot burst. The supplied batteries were flattened less than half-way into our tests but, since the resplacements (rechargeable NiMH batteries) still had plenty of power left after just over 100 additional shots, we feel the camera’s batteries may have been used beforehand.

      Overall, the PowerShot A570 IS provides a huge range of controls and functions for its price. It’s a camera family users can ‘grow with’ and, despite some reservations about image noise, some slow response times and poor auto white balance performance under incandescent light, we think buyers would be hard-pressed to find a digicam that offers so many advantages for the money.







      Digital zoom.


      A 1.5 second exposure at ISO 1600 showing the whole frame (above) and an enlarged section (below) showing image noise.


      The auto white balance setting used with incandescent light.


      The manual pre-sets and custom measurement settings produced results similar to the sample above.


      Sample images showing colour rendition on an overcast day with the auto white balance setting.




      Image sensor: 5.76 x 4.29mm CCD with 7.4 million photosites (7.1 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 5.8-23.3mm f/2.6-5.5 zoom (35-140mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 4x optical, 4x digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies ““ Motion JPEG/WAV
      Image Sizes: Stills – 3072 x 2304, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 640 x 480; Movies ““ VGA/QVGA ““ 30/15 fps; QVGA ““ 60 fps; QQVGA ““ 15 fps
      Shutter speed range: 15 – 1/2000 sec
      Image Stabilisation: Optical
      Exposure Compensation: ± 2 EV in 1/3-EV increments
      Focus system/range: TTL AF with Face Detect, 9-point AiAF, 1-point AF; range 45 cm to infinity, macro 5-45 cm
      Exposure metering/control: Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot metering; Auto, P, A, S, M shooting modes plus 14 scene modes and 5 My Colours modes
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent (x2), Underwater, Custom
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, On, Off (Red-eye reduction is available); flash output adjustable +/- 2EV in 1/3Ev increments
      Sequence shooting: Approx 1.7 shots/sec
      Storage Media: SD, SDHC, MMC cards
      Viewfinder: Real-image optical zoom viewfinder
      LCD monitor: 2.5 inch Amorphous silicon TFT colour LCD; approx. 115,000 pixels
      Power supply: 2x AA batteries (Alkaline, Lithium or rechargeable)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 89.5 x 64.3 x 42.8 mm
      Weight: Approx. 175g





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