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  • Canon PowerShot A590 IS

    The PowerShot A590 IS will astound you with its power-packed performance and impressive value. With 8 megapixels, a 4x optical zoom, an Optical Image Stabilizer, and a large 2.5-inch LCD. Enhanced Canon Face Detection assures natural-looking results, while Motion Detection Technology reduces blur. It receives our highest rating and is now available for more than a 25% discount!

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Canon PowerShot A590 IS Review

Canon PowerShot A590 IS

Canon PowerShot A590 IS

The Canon PowerShot A590 IS digital camera has received many positive reviews from both the amature to the more advanced photographers.

In this Canon PowerShot A590 IS review, I will try and explain while I personally enjoy using the Canon PowerShot A590 IS Digital Camera.

Hard To Beat

These PowerShot “A” cameras are Canon’s attempt to deliver the quality and features of its more expensive PowerShot “G” and PowerShot Pro “S” lines (such as full zoom lenses) at a budget price. The results are pretty good. (How do I know? Because I’ve actually gotten to use all of these cameras. I earn my living at Walt Disney World writing a travel guide, and nearly every day guests ask me to take photos of them with their own cameras, which most often are Canon PowerShots.)

Here’s my opinion of the top-selling “A” series cameras:

A470. This 2008 camera is great for kids or anyone just looking for a good basic camera. It includes Canon’s face detection technology and has a zoom lens, 14 shooting modes and the ability to set exposure compensation, ISO and white balance manually. Plus it looks great, and is a good bargain.

A580. This 2008 model is an A590IS (see below) without image stabilization and with semi-automatic instead of manual controls. I’d spend the extra bucks for the A590IS, because those two features can make quite a difference.

A650 IS. You can do a lot with this sweet little camera, though it may be more than you need. It has a flip-out LCD panel and the option of manual controls. The shots I’ve seen from this model look great. Keep your ISO under 800 and you won’t get any noise.

A720 IS. This fully-loaded 2007 model has all the toys, including a 6x zoom (35mm film equivalent of 35-210mm), image stabilization, adjustable flash power and optional second-curtain flash. This last feature means you can make the flash fire at the end of a long exposure, instead of the beginning, so moving subjects streak into focus instead of out.

Finally, the A590IS (the camera on this page) is a 2008 upgrade to an older model, the A570IS. The face detection system works a little better than the one on its predecessor, and the new model is slightly rounder and easier to grip. I personally like that it has automatic and manual controls, though I haven’t seen anyone using the manual set yet. Overall this camera is a fine performer, a great bargain and I think the best buy of the bunch. I bought one for myself.


A Camera that’s Powerful and a Great Value

I own a DSLR and consider myself a photography enthusiast. I wanted a small compact camera with me when I don’t want to lug around my DSLR + lenses and equipment. After a previous good experience with the Canon A720 IS, the new A590 IS seemed like a good choice. Since I’m an advanced photographer, I’ll focus on the advanced features of this camera. The auto modes work as well as any other camera in its class, but the extensive manual features is what sets apart the Canon A series. What I like about the camera:

+ Compact, stylish. It’s smaller than older A Powershots, and the dark grey color gives it a seriousness compared to the typical bright silver finish.

+ Good image quality. Expected from Canon, but even better is adjustable contrast, saturation, and sharpness settings, along with the typical JPG compression and resolution sizes.

+ Fast and responsive. I was surprised how responsive this camera is even compared with my DSLR. Shutter lag is very low for a compact digicam, and when I pre-focus with manual focus, it’s even faster.

+ Manual modes. Aperture priority and shutter priority are great, the M mode is even better than other A Powershots such as the A720 because now there’s a light meter on the right side that adjusts live based on what the camera thinks is the optimal exposure setting. And you can adjust aperture/shutter speed and see how it affects the final exposure. Ideally a live histogram would be even better, but this is very handy.

+ Image stabilization works very well, it allows me to take blur-free photos 2-3 stops below the recommended shutter speed, that means at 35-50mm f2.8 1/10 sec shots are CONSISTENTLY possible indoors without using flash.

+ Manual focus. Although the LCD resolution is not good enough, even with the point zoom option, manual focus helps in close-up work and pre-focusing for action or creative photography.

+ Battery performance seems improved over previous A powershots too. The official specs give it 220 shots on regular alkalines and 500 on rechargeable NiMHs. Good news is they use common AA batteries that you can buy anywhere instead of proprietary models with specific chargers

+ Manual flash modes. In addition to automatic flash. The manual flash allows me to adjust the flash power in 3 levels, and prevents a pre-flash. This last part is important for using a remote optical slave flash. I can basically take professional looking studio pictures with this camera with my external flash equipment.

+ Optical viewfinder. I don’t use this much yet, but can come in handy in bright sunlight conditions, or when battery conservation is needed.

Now the negatives. I hope Canon can improve these aspects in their future models.

- Higher resolution LCD. The 2.5″ 115k resolution LCD is ok for framing and casual browsing, but higher resolution would be nice.

- Slow flash recycle times. This is to be expected from a camera that takes AA batteries. Would be nice if the LCD didn’t blank out after a full flash discharge. Not a big deal since I use an external flash anyway, and the camera’s flash is manually set to medium output as trigger (so recharge is faster). I would not want to give up the AA battery convenience for a faster flash recycle time though.

- Larger aperture would be nice. Such as f/2.0 (instead of f/2.6) at the wide end, and f/4.0 (instead of f/5.5) at the telephoto end. That way a lower (& less noisy) ISO can be used in dim conditions or when fast shutter speeds are needed to freeze action. All the electronics in the world can’t replace a good large lens. Also allows more creative depth of field control.

- A wider wideangle would be nice, 28mm instead of 35mm (35mm equiv). I’d rather see a wider wideangle than a longer zoom. (Although Wide Angle & telephoto converter lenses are available)

- Video feature is not ideal. Optical zoom is not available during recording of video. And the more efficient MPEG4 compression is not used, so video files tend to be large. Also noticed at 640×480 resolution, the highest fps is now 20 instead of 30 from other A models. A definite step backwards.

-Live histogram while shooting. This feature is available when reviewing a photo, but not live. Other manufacturers have implemented this, and Canon should also, especially since the unofficial CHDK software mod allows such a feature.

- Noise at higher ISOs. This is due to the smaller sensor on compact cameras. But 8 MP is probably the most pixels that can be crammed into a small 1/2.5″ sensor. I’d rather have a cleaner picture at 6-7 MP than a noisy 8 MP picture. And if in-camera noise reduction is used, I’d like to see an adjustable setting for how much is being applied.

- And if I were to be really critical: There’s no indicator of what optical zoom level I’m at. Slight image noise is noticeable even at ISO 80 when I zoom in really close on a monitor view. When at the widest angle & aperture, there’s slight barrel distortion and blurriness on the corners. Not many compact cameras can do better in terms of image quality, but I’m pointing them out here because even though this camera beats most of the competition, it still has room for improvement.

So overall it’s a great camera for the price. Offering great image quality with the auto settings for the casual user, but also a powerful set of features for the more advanced photographer.

Fantastic Camera

My one Daughter lost her camera, so I gave her my two year old Kodak point and shoot camera and hit the Internet to find me a replacement for that one. After spending several hours looking and reading reviews, I picked the Cannon A590IS. The things I liked about the camera when I first saw it, was the shape. I don’t like those real small flat ones. They are great to stick in your shirt pocket, but are hard to hold steady and shoot. This one had a nice handle like grip where the batteries fit in and you can hold it and shoot with one hand if you want to. It’s still small enough to fit into a coat pocket, purse and pants pocket. It had great reviews and the price was great. I sure wasn’t disappointed when I got it and got a chance to use it. It was everything people were saying it was. Easy to figure out, took great pictures and had a good zoom.

I wanted a camera that used AA batteries, which you can find anywhere if your batteries die on you. The Cannon had that too. But it had something my Kodak didn’t have and that was a view finder. Not many cameras have a view finder anymore. It really comes in handy when the sun is bright and washes out your LCD screen.But I soon discovered another great use for it. The view finder can stretch the life of your batteries a long way. On many shots, I turn the screen off and shoot using the view finder. The screen will light up for a second or two and show me what I shot and turn off again. That really is a great battery saver if used and would take care of most of the complaints about this camera.

A good safety feature you can use, is when putting your camera away, put the switch in (review) mode and not in (shoot)mode. That way if it accidentally gets turned on, the lens won’t open up and push against what ever you put it in with and mess up the lens.

There are so many features on this camera, both automatic and adjustable that it’s hard to believe it sells for so little. It should satisfy the needs of about anyone, novice or skilled camera user.

I liked this camera so much, I just ordered two more. One for my other Daughter and one for my Son. They should get them this week and I’m sure they will love it as much as I do.

If your looking for a good point and shoot camera with most of the bells and whistles on it and small enough to put in your pocket, but big enough to get a good grip on it, you can’t go wrong with this camera. You will love the Cannon PowerShot A590IS.