Canon PowerShot A590 IS
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The Canon PowerShot A590 IS is a entry-level camera that doesn't skimp on features. It offers a 4X optical zoom, image stabilization, a 2.5" LCD display, full manual controls, and a VGA movie mode. Not a bad deal for a camera selling for around $160!
Canon has a ton of models in their A-series lineup, and the chart below will show you what differentiates one from another:
Hopefully that helped clear up any confusion you may have about the A590 and its siblings.
I've always been a big fan of Canon's A-series cameras. Will the PowerShot A590 IS continue that tradition? Find out now in our review!
What's in the Box?
The PowerShot A590 IS has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
Canon is really the only camera manufacturer still bundling a memory card with their cameras -- everyone else just builds a paltry amount of memory into the camera itself. They include a 32MB Secure Digital card with the PowerShot A590, which holds eight photos at the highest image quality setting. That means that you'll want to buy a larger memory card right away, unless you already have one. The A590 supports numerous types of flash memory, including SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, and HC MMCplus. I'd stick with the first two, as they're the most readily available, and more likely to be compatible with card readers, printers, etc -- and go for one 1GB in size. While it's worth spending a little extra for for a high speed card, there's no need to go overboard with a 300X ultra ultra extreme card.
Like most of the cameras in the A-series, the PowerShot A590 uses two AA batteries for power. The alkalines that come in the box will quickly find their way into the trash (or better yet, the recycling bin), 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:
The PowerShot A590 is just shy of the top spot for battery life in this class (when equipped with decent NiMH batteries, that is). It offers a roughly 10% improvement over its predecessor, as well.
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. All of the cameras in Canon's A-series use AAs (hence the name, I'm guessing).
The PowerShot A590 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no clunky lens cap to deal with.
Just because it's entry-level, it doesn't mean that the PowerShot A590 can't have a lot of accessories. Have a look:
The chart illustrates why I've long been a fan of the A-series cameras: they're very expandable. The one thing not supported here is an underwater case -- Canon offered one for the A590's predecessor, the PowerShot A570 IS.
CameraWindow in Mac OS X
Canon includes version 33 of their Digital Camera Solution Disk with the PowerShot A590. The first part of the Browser software that you'll probably encounter is Camera Window (pictured above), and you'll use it to download photos from your camera.
ImageBrowser in Mac OS X
Once that's done you'll find yourself in either ImageBrowser or ZoomBrowser, for Mac and Windows respectively. The Mac version is Universal, allowing it to run at full speed on Intel-based systems. The Browser twins let you view, organize, e-mail, and print your photos. If you categorized any photos on the camera (more on this later) then that information is transferred over to the Browser software.
ImageBrowser edit window in Mac OS X
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. There's also an auto adjustment option for those who want a quick fix.
PhotoStitch in Mac OS X
A separate program called PhotoStitch can combine photos you've taken side-by-side into a single panorama. The A590 doesn't have the Stitch Assist feature that you'll find on many other Canon cameras, but that doesn't mean that you can't take panoramas -- just make sure each photo overlaps a bit with the previous one.
Canon includes several manuals with the A590, and thankfully, they're all printed. For the camera you'll get a thick manual which covers the basics for the first 38 pages or so, and then goes into detail for another 170. While it's not the most user-friendly manual out there, it'll answer any question you may have about the A590. There are separated manuals available for the Canon software package and for direct printing via PictBridge.
Look and Feel
The PowerShot A590 IS looks more-or-less like its predecessor, with just a few cosmetic changes, mainly on the back of the camera. Although it's a plastic camera, it doesn't feel cheap like many entry-level cameras do. The camera can be operated with one hand, with the important controls in the right places. Canon left a spot for your thumb, so it doesn't rest on a button or dial.
Now, here's a look at how the PowerShot A590 compares to other cameras in its class in terms of size and weight: