Canon PowerShot A570 IS
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The PowerShot A570 IS ($279) finds itself in the middle of Canon's entry-level A-series of digital cameras. It features a 4X optical zoom lens, 7.1 Megapixel CCD, full manual controls, a 2.5" LCD display, and a VGA movie mode. The A570 is also the cheapest Canon camera to offer optical image stabilization, which makes it a smart step up from the PowerShot A550 and A560 below it.
So what's the difference between all the A-series models? This chart should help:
The A570 looks pretty compelling next to the more expensive A710. About the only thing in the A710's favor is a bit more zoom power.
Ready to learn more about the A570? Then keep reading, our review starts right now!
Since the cameras share so much in common, I will be reusing portions of the PowerShot A550 review here.
What's in the Box?
The PowerShot A570 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
Canon includes a 16MB memory card along with the A570, which is quite small for a 7MP camera, holding just four photos at the highest quality setting. So, unless you already have one sitting around, you'll need to buy yourself a larger memory card. The A570 supports Secure Digital, MultiMedia, and the new SDHC memory card formats, and I'd recommend picking up a 512MB or 1GB card along with the camera. Buying a high speed card (50X or higher) is a good idea, as it does improve camera performance.
Like most of the cameras in the A-series, the PowerShot A570 uses two AA batteries for power. The alkalines that come in the box will quickly find their way into the trash, so you'll want to pick up a four pack of NiMH rechargeables and a fast charger right away. Once you've got those installed, here's what kind of battery life you'll get out of the camera:
Well, there were a bunch of other cameras I wanted to list up there (Fuji FinePix A820, Olympus FE-240, Samsung S850), but their respective manufacturers don't provide this information. Anyhow, for the group that I do have listed, the A570's battery life is above average.
As you may know, I'm a big fan of cameras that use AA batteries. They're cheaper than their proprietary counterparts, and you can use off-the-shelf alkaline batteries when your rechargeables die.
As with all of the A-series cameras, the A570 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no lens cap to fumble with.
The PowerShot A570 supports a number of interesting accessories, many of which are rarities on entry-level cameras like this. Here's the full list:
Not bad, eh? The only thing I want to mention before we continue is a note about that external flash. Being a slave flash, it's not connected in any way to the camera -- it fires when the onboard flash does.
ImageBrowser (Mac OS X)
Canon includes version 30 of their Digital Camera Solution software package with the PowerShot A570. The main applications are the ImageBrowser/ZoomBrowser "twins" that come with all PowerShot models. ImageBrowser is for the Mac, while ZoomBrowser is for Windows PCs. The Mac version is not Universal, so it doesn't run as fast as it could on Intel-based Macs.
After you download photos via the CameraWindow application, you'll end up with the screen above, which has a standard-issue thumbnail view. Photos can be organized, printed, and e-mailed from this screen.
Double-click on a thumbnail and you'll bring up the edit window. Editing functions include trimming, redeye removal, and the ability to adjust levels, color, brightness, sharpness, and the tone curve.
ImageBrowser - MovieEdit Task (Mac OS X)
The MovieEdit task lets you take your movie clips, add effects and transitions, and then save the results as a single movie.
PhotoStitch (Mac OS X)
A separate program called PhotoStitch can, well, stitch together separate photos into one giant panorama.The interface is simple, the process takes minutes, and the results are impressive, as you can see. You can use the camera's Stitch Assist feature to help line up the photos side-by-side.
The A570's documentation comes in several parts. You get a basic manual to get you up and running, and an advanced manual for more complex camera features. There's also separate manuals for the bundled software and direct printing via PictBridge. While the manuals aren't what I'd call pleasure reading, they will definitively answer any question that you may have about the camera.
Look and Feel
The PowerShot A570 IS looks a whole lot like its lower cost siblings, the A550 and A560. That means that it's a compact (but not jeans pocket compact) camera mad almost entirely of plastic. The plastic is pretty high quality though, giving the A570 a solid feel in your hands. The right hand grip is just the right size, and the important controls are all within easy reach of your fingers.
Now, here's a look at how the A570 compares with some of the competition in terms of size and weight: