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Review: Canon Powershot A560

Posted On 2007-11-26 by FortyPoundHead
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Overview
The Canon PowerShot A560 was introduced in January of 2007, as one of the lower-end models in the A-series lineup. It`s a near-twin upgrade of the A550 model that came onto the market slightly before it, but as we`ll see, the Canon A560 actually sports a number of worthwhile enhancements relative to the 550 model. To make the comparison easier, here`s a list of enhancements the Canon A560 boasts over the A550:

  • A bigger 2.5" LCD, vs the 2.0" one on the 550

  • Face-detection autofocus

  • Higher light sensitivity, to ISO 1600 vs 800.
    (Although noise very much becomes a factor at ISO 1600)

  • About 10% longer battery life

  • Somewhat more readable menus

  • Red-Eye correction is available in Playback mode


Like the A550, and also an upgrade from earlier low-end models, the Canon A560 has a higher resolution image sensor: 7.1 megapixels, up from 5 megapixels in last year`s A530. The 2.5-inch LCD screen also edges out its 1.8" forerunner and the 2.0" screen on the A550. To accommodate the larger file sizes generated by its greater resolution, the A560 is compatible with SDHC memory cards. The A560 is also more energy efficient. With high-capacity rechargeable AA NiMH batteries, you can take up to 1,400 shots with the LCD off, or 550 with the LCD on, impressive numbers by any standard.

The A560ís 4x zoom lens with a 35-140mm 35mm equivalency is a very attractive feature, easily besting the more common 3x zooms. And while many people prefer to simply leave the camera dial permanently on AUTO, this cameraís easy-to-set scene modes are also a help in what might otherwise be challenging conditions.

With its high quality imaging, competent feature set, and wide availability for less than $200, the Canon PowerShot A560 is a great all-around camera, able to meet the needs of a wide range of users. For pros and advanced amateurs, itís nice to have a pocket-sized alternative to a more bulky digital SLR, yet the price makes this camera an attractive entry for anyone who has been thinking about going digital. As I`ll describe below, the camera is not only easy to use, but highly intuitive, making the A560 a great choice for non-technophiles.

Summary
The Canon PowerShot A560 is an excellent basic digital camera for all-around usage. While not as small as many subcompacts, it fits in most pants pockets or larger purses, and avoids some of the optical, image quality, and performance trade-offs that are often found in subcompact models. It offers a lot of capability (and great looking images) for the money, and a range of features that should suit beginning through intermediate photographers very well. All in all, it`s a great entry-level camera, but one with at least some features to grow into as your photographic skills mature.

If you have just a little more money, you might consider the A570 IS, which adds a few higher-end features from the ELPH series in about the same form factor, as well as an image-stabilized lens for sharper shots under dim lighting. If you`re just looking for a simple, good-performing digital camera to get started with though, the Canon A560 is hard to beat.

Basic Features
  • 7.1-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as large as 3,072 x 2,304 pixels

  • 2.5-inch color LCD monitor

  • Real-image optical viewfinder

  • 4x 5.8-23.2mm lens (equivalent to 35-140mm zoom on a 35mm camera)

  • 4.0x digital zoom

  • AiAF 9-zone autofocus and a single zone autofocus mode

  • AF Assist light for low-light focusing

  • Automatic modes plus a long shutter setting, as well as 11 preset Scene modes

  • Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments

  • Shutter speed range from 1/2,000 to 15 seconds, depending on aperture

  • Built-in flash with three operating modes plus red-eye reduction

  • SDHC/SD/MMC memory storage

  • Power supplied by two AA batteries or optional AC adapter



Special Features
  • 30fps 640x480 Movie mode (with sound); up to 60fps at 320x240 in Fast Frame Rate mode

  • Still frame sound caption recording

  • Continuous Shooting in Manual and Scene Modes

  • Menu-set variable delay/multi-shot Self-Timer mode

  • Creative Effects menu

  • Auto White balance plus five preset white balance modes and custom white balance setting capability

  • Auto ISO adjustment with six ISO equivalents up to ISO 1600 plus a HI ISO setting to automatically boost sensitivity to high levels in low light shooting

  • Evaluative, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering options when shooting in manual mode

  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility


In the Box

The Canon PowerShot A560 box includes the following items:
  • Canon PowerShot A560 camera

  • Wrist strap WS-800

  • Two AA-type alkaline batteries

  • USB cable IFC-400PCU

  • AV cable AVC-DC300

  • 16MB MMC memory card MMC-16

  • Software CD

  • Instruction manuals, software guide, and registration kit


About the Author

FortyPoundHead has posted a total of 1974 articles.

 


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