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Testing / Performance
The Powershot A570IS delivers excellent color – its results are better than many professional-level cameras. We measure the accuracy of cameras' saturation and color, and the A570IS is stellar on both counts.
We test color by photographing a GretagMacbeth color chart, and using Imatest software to measure the results. Imatest produces numerical results as well as two charts. The first chart shows the camera's image of the GretagMacbeth target. The big squares show the colors as the camera captured them. The smaller squares show the original colors, corrected for luminance, and the smallest shows the ideal color.
Imatest's other chart plots the GretagMacbeth colors on a color gamut chart. The ideal color is plotted with a square, and the camera's color with a circle. The length of the line between each circle and square indicates the amount of error. If the circle is further from the center of the chart than the square, the camera's color is oversaturated. If it's clockwise or counterclockwise from the square, then the hue is wrong.
The PowerShot A570IS's circles are very close to the squares – some land perfectly, right on top of the squares. Compare this chart with the same chart for other cameras – this one is much, much better than typical.
White balance controls adjust cameras to the color of light cast on a given scene. Outdoor shade is blue, lightbulbs cast relatively orange light, and so on. The Canon PowerShot A570IS's automatic white balance feature works best with the camera's built-in flash. In other kinds of light, it delivers less accurate results, but compared with other point-and-shoots, it delivers equally pleasing color.
The PowerShot A570IS's white balance presets gave excellent results. They are considerably better than the Auto setting for everything except flash and fluorescent. Fluorescent is always problematic, because it comes in so many varieties, and the tubes change color as they age. So, the A570IS's results weren't great with either the preset or the auto setting.
**Still Life Scenes
**Click to view the high-resolution image.
*Resolution measures how much detail a camera can record, and we test it with Imatest software, the industry standard for evaluating digital image quality. We photograph an industry-standard resolution chart with the camera mounted on a heavy studio tripod. We test each camera at several zoom settings and apertures, and report the best results. The A570IS did best at 13mm and f/6.3, but its results are disappointing. It resolved 1794 line-widths per picture height horizontally, with 11.4 percent oversharpening, and 1656 lw/ph vertically, with 12 percent undersharpening. Line-widths per picture height is a unit of measure for resolution that describes camera performance in a way that can be compared between cameras with various sensor sizes.
Oversharpening is a problem common to snapshot cameras, and the A570IS shows it in the horizontal axis. All digital cameras process and sharpen their images as they save the files. Oversharpening can show up as halos and blotches in pictures, while undersharpening simply limits the amount of detail in an image. Either way, even a point-and-shoot should have sharpening figures within 10 percent of ideal, which the A570IS came close to but did not quite meet.
Noise – Auto ISO*(1.74)
*Image noise is a lot like audio noise. When two people try to talk in a loud factory, the thing that prevents them from hearing each other is noise. For engineers, noise is anything that degrades a signal – the sounds of machinery in a factory, for instance, is noise, for people trying to talk. What they are saying is the signal.
The picture is the signal in a digital camera. The electronics that capture and process the image aren't perfect, so they add noise to the signal, and the noise looks like light and dark speckles or wrong colors. Imatest measures noise from images of the GretagMacbeth color chart.
With its ISO control set to Automatic, and in bright light, the PowerShot A570IS delivered noise scores as if the ISO were set to 200. The A570IS's noise performance is better at 80 and 100, so it should have used ISO 80 in bright light.
Noise – Manual ISO*(4.01)*
The PowerShot A570IS is not a low-light camera. The noise levels are acceptable from ISO 80 to 200, but they take a big jump at ISO 400, and keep rising steeply at 800 and 1600. Users should avoid going over 200 unless they can't get the shot without higher ISO. The noise level at 1600 produces images that are obviously low-quality, even at small sizes. The image noise at higher ISOs shows up with light and dark speckles, and oddly-colored spots (see color charts below).
Our low light tests use the GretagMacbeth chart, We photograph it in 60, 30, 15 and 5 lux of light. 60 lux is enough to read by. In a room lit at only 5 lux, it's hard to see the furniture.
The PowerShot A570IS has an automatic noise reduction algorithm for long exposures, which helps. Still, most users will want to use high ISOs in low light, and image noise will be a problem for them. On a positive note, the A570IS maintains good color accuracy at low light levels and in long exposures, with mean color errors of 8.07 at 5 lux, and 6.7 in a 15 second exposure.
*Dynamic range describes the range of brightness that a camera can record while maintaining detail and limiting image noise. We test it by shooting a Stouffer step chart, which shows a series of rectangles that run from light to dark. They range more than 13 EV in brightness. We use Imatest to show how much of that range a camera reveals.
Again, the dynamic range test shows that the PowerShot A570IS performs significantly better at its minimum ISO of 80 than at 100.
At ISO 80, the A570IS records just under 7 EV, which is respectable for a compact camera. At 100, though, it drops to about 5 EV, which is a poor score at that setting. At 400, it's in the range of 3 ½, which is lousy, and at 800 and 1600, it has scores under 3 and 2 EV, respectively. The results at 800 and 1600 would be obviously bad, for even the most casual user.
Sometimes, our reviews report shortcomings that are common to all cameras in a class, but in this case, the A570IS is particularly bad – nearly all cameras do better than this.
***Startup to First Shot (8.0)*
It took 2.0 seconds after the PowerShot A570IS was turned on for it to rouse itself and get off a shot after being turned on. That's a long time, for users who turn on their cameras during a brief photo opportunity, but it is typical of cameras that have to extend their lenses.
In burst mode, the PowerShot A570IS shot every 0.75 seconds until the memory card was full. That works out to 1½ frames per second, which is not fast enough to get more than one or two shots of quick events, like a child blowing out birthday candles. It's not nearly fast enough for sports action or wildlife, but that's not what the camera is designed for. More expensive compact cameras offer faster burst modes. A 3-frame-per-second burst mode, which is available on many cameras, is noticeably more useful than 1½.
Most digital cameras can pre-focus – press the shutter halfway, and the autofocus mechanism operates, and stays focused until the shutter is pressed all the way. With pre-focusing, we could not detect any delay at all from the PowerShot A570IS. In contrast, without pre-focusing, it took the A570IS 0.4 seconds after the shutter was pressed to take a picture. That length of delay makes it very hard to get shots of moving subjects; in focus or not, it can be hard to even keep them in the picture for that length of time.
The A570IS takes 0.6 seconds to process a shot and record it to its SD card. This speed is faster than the burst rate, so the processor never falls behind the shooting rate. Other cameras can shoot faster than they process, and after anywhere from 3 to 100 shots, they have to stop shooting, so that the processor can catch up.
*Bright Indoor Light - 3000 lux
*The PowerShot A570IS's video image quality is inferior to its still image quality by a ghastly margin. First, let's look at bright light performance. At 23.3 percent, video color error is 5 times worse than still color error. The saturation score of 137.3 percent for video is about 15 times worse than the still score. Because the video image has such low resolution, the noise score looks pretty good; it's 0.52 percent. All told, the color is oversaturated on the scale of a comic book, and all of the colors are smeared toward the orange range.
Low Light - 30 lux
In low light of 30 lux – similar to the light in a living room at night – mean color error drops to 10.1 percent, probably because saturation has dropped to 80.13 percent, and average noise is up to 2.42 percent. The image looks dull and gloomy. On the Imatest color chart, pairs of circles, which show the camera's color, clump together because the A570IS's video mode can't distinguish between the GretagMacbeth swatches.
Standard video is 640x480 pixels so the PowerShot A570IS's horizontal resolution of 244 line widths per picture height and vertical resolution of 374 LW/PH seem within the ballpark for casual video. The A570IS undersharpens by 22.8 percent on the horizontal scale and oversharpens by 12.4 percent on the vertical scale. It's not unusual to see a disparity between the two sharpening scores, but one is too high and the other is way too low. This difference explains some of the poor numbers for resolution.
As digital video is recorded, one of the compression options is to carry over unchanged pixels from frame to frame. This can result in jerkiness if the camera saves pixels too long. The PowerShot A570IS avoids this pitfall, with smooth motion in our outdoor shots. The only problem with jerkiness we saw was as objects moved out of the frame, which is the most challenging kind of movement for these systems. Compared with other still cameras' video modes, the A570IS handles motion well.
The PowerShot A570IS's viewfinder is tiny, inaccurate and hard to see. The status LCDs next to it are distracting. The viewfinder is centered on the camera's image, but only shows about 75 or 80 percent of the final image. Canon's literature suggests that the viewfinder is just a battery-saving option, and that most users will frame shots with the LCD most of the time. That's a good idea.
The PowerShot A570IS sports a 2.5-inch, 115,000-pixel LCD. The field of view is narrow, which means that the image is hard to see unless the viewer's eyes are lined up with the screen. The LCD is a little dim for outdoor use, though its color rendition is pleasing, and will be a good indicator of the colors in typical prints. The 115,000-pixel resolution is remarkably low for a 7-megapixel camera. It's really not enough to tell if the image is in sharp focus.
The PowerShot A570IS's flash is just about everything a camera's flash shouldn’t be: small, weak, off-centered and very close to the lens.
The size of a light source influences the quality of light it shines. Small light sources, like the A570IS's flash, make harsh light which accentuates skin blemishes and creates hard shadows. The fact that the flash is close to the lens increases the likelihood that it will produce red-eye. The A570IS's red-eye reduction scheme is a light that shines briefly before the exposure. The light slows down operation of the camera, and can annoy photographic subjects even more than the flash itself. The flash has a range of about 11 feet for wide-angle shots, and only 7 feet for telephoto images. Flash exposure is automatic, but the flash can also be set to full, 1/2 and1/4 power.
The 5.8 – 23.2 mm f/2.8 – 5.5 lens is comparable to a 35 – 140 mm lens on a 35mm camera. The wide-angle end isn't quite wide enough for large group pictures. The telephoto end is plenty for portraits and candid closeups, but it is not long enough for sports or nature photography. It's a general purpose focal range that will serve casual users well enough, but its limitations are one of the reasons some shoppers will step up to a more advanced camera.
The A570IS's aperture range is a mixed bag: the maximum aperture at the wide-angle end, f/2.8, is bright enough for some available light photography, but at telephoto, it's nearly 2 stops darker, which is very limiting for indoor use.
The PowerShot A570IS has image stabilization, and Canon's implementation works very well throughout the zoom range. Because the A570IS is small and light, stabilization is important – it's harder to steady a light camera than a heavier one. Though manufacturers tout stabilization as a means of allowing slower shutter speeds, it only helps when the subject stays still – it doesn't compensate for jumping puppies or quick-moving athletes.
Design / Layout
**Model Design / Appearance ***(6.5)*
The PowerShot A570IS is a relatively attractive budget compact camera, but it lacks the flashy styling of Canon's more expensive point-and-shoots. Its plastic shell will show scuffs and dings; the PowerShot A570IS is not a status item.
Size / Portability*(5.5)*
At 3.52 x 2.53 x 1.69 inches and a bit more than 6 ounces without batteries, the PowerShot A570IS is a small item that you can carry just about anywhere. Its poor seals against dirt and moisture make it vulnerable in rugged environments, such as purses and backpacks, but it will fit in them. It is best to put it in a protective case for safe keeping.
The PowerShot A570IS has a push button power switch and a lightweight telescoping lens. Though it is small and recessed, it could still be activated accidentally, causing the lens to extend, conceivably even while it's being carried or stored.
**Handling Ability ***(7.0)*
The PowerShot A570IS's body is made of smooth, hard plastic, which is harder to hold on to than rubberized or textured surfaces. The A570IS should have better grips. The PowerShot A570IS is small enough that the user has to think to find space for both hands without blocking functional parts of the camera. The user's middle finger may cover the microphone grille; we've seen beginners block the flash on A-series PowerShots with their left index fingers. That said, there isn't anything puzzling about the A570IS's layout or shape.
Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size*(7.0)*
The buttons on the PowerShot A570IS are small and relatively close together, but they have to be on a small camera. They are laid out well enough that it's rare that a user will hit two at once or accidentally press the wrong one. The 4-way controller works well, and users with average-size hands won't have trouble hitting the center button. Like some other Canons, the A570IS’s buttons don't seem durable or well-constructed. This includes the shutter release, which is a particular frustration. Without good tactile feedback, it's hard to take a shot at just the right moment.
Like other Canons, the PowerShot A570IS has a Menu button, which brings up Record, Playback and Setup menus that replace the live preview, and a Function button, which shows controls along the side of the preview. The Record menu settings control the way the features operate, while the Function menu settings control photographic parameters directly.
Canon menus are typically easy to read, and the A570IS follows the trend. Though the type is small, it is set in a clear, plain layout. The controls are divided between the various menus well. It's particularly useful to have shooting parameters, such as ISO, white balance and file size, accessed with the Function button. On a more complex camera, these controls often have buttons of their own, but on a simple camera like the A570IS, they're nearly always under a menu of some kind. Having them separate from other settings, and having them show up while the live preview is active, make the camera more useable that it would be otherwise.
Ease of Use*(7.0)*
People familiar with other digital cameras won’t have a hard time getting used to the PowerShot A570IS. However, users who are a part of the shrinking segment of the camera market that is unfamiliar with digital cameras will have a longer learning curve, and the A570IS lacks the extensive help systems some other entry-level cameras have.
The PowerShot A570IS's special features – face detection and image stabilization – kick in automatically in auto modes, but their controls aren't obvious in the manual modes. Face detection is under the auto focus menu, which makes sense to people who are familiar with how cameras operate, but might not to casual users. Image stabilization has its own menu entry, but it's way down the list. Most users ought to simply leave both features on.
Older A-series cameras had separate doors for batteries and the memory card. It's too bad the A570IS has one compartment for both; users beware the batteries may slide out when replacing the memory card.
The PowerShot A570IS's manual overrides work with scene modes as well as the standard manual modes, which more sophisticated shooters will appreciate.
The PowerShot A570IS offers a full auto mode, which sets every parameter and control on the camera except zoom, but allows overrides of a range of exposure and color controls.
Program mode, which is grouped with the manual modes, sets both aperture and shutter speed. Other shooting settings, such as ISO and white balance, are set automatically in program mode.
The PowerShot A570IS has an impressive range of options for video file sizes, though it records sound only in mono - and the sound quality is not pleasing. The A570IS can shoot at 640x480 pixels at 30 frames per second, which is standard video. To make smaller files, it can also shoot 640x480 at 15 fps, 320x240 at 30fps or 15 fps, and 160x120 at 15 fps. To catch fast action better, the A570IS can shoot at 60 fps at 320x240. The A570IS is no substitute for a camcorder – most shooting controls are locked in video mode.
Drive / Burst Mode*(6.0)*
The PowerShot A570IS shoots either one shot at a time or in bursts, but the burst mode is very slow, clocking in slower than 2 frames per second. That's not good enough for sports action, or even for getting more than one or two shots of someone blowing out candles on a birthday cake. It's not really much of an advantage over the single shot mode. The A570IS also has a self-timer, which can delay shooting 2 or 10 seconds. The self-timer offers a custom setting, which can delay up to 30 seconds, and take up to 10 images.
The PowerShot A570IS's playback mode offers the basics. The display can show up to 9 images at a time in thumbnail mode, while many compact cameras show 16, 20 or 25 at a time. The relatively low resolution of the A570IS's display is probably the limiting factor in this regard. The A570IS can zoom in on very small sections of individual images to check quality, but again, the low-resolution display limits how well it can show the detail in a 7.1-megapixel image.
The user can opt to display just the image or the image accompanied by shooting information, including white balance, exposure data, image size, file name and so on. The A570IS offers a small histogram and a highlight warning mode, which makes pure white areas blink.
The A570IS offers Canon's typical image navigation, so it's possible to jump 10 or 100 images at a time and to view images by date or folder. The A570IS allows users to record audio annotations to associate with an image.
The slide show option shows all the images on the memory card in sequence, with or without image data. It does not offer a choice of transitions or the option to show only selected images, or change the display interval. Users can choose to loop the show, start over from the beginning, or show images continuously. The slide shows shows movies in sequence with still images.
The user can delete single images, a selected group of images, or all unprotected images on a memory card.
Custom Image Presets*(7.5)*
Five custom image presets are accessible using the mode dial: Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets and Indoor. Portrait uses a wide aperture to blur the background, which accentuates the subject. Landscape uses a small aperture to maintain focus on both near and far subjects. Kids & Pets tries to freeze movement with fast shutter speeds; Night snapshot uses flash, moderately long exposures and image stabilization to retain as much detail as possible in a near subject and a darker background. Indoor uses image stabilization to shoot indoors without flash, to keep color and lighting natural.
Eight more modes are available via an onscreen menu. They are Night Scene, which uses longer exposures than Night Snapshot, Foliage, which accentuates plant colors; Snow, which maintains detail in photos of people when they're in front of a snowy backgrounds and gets rid of the blue tint common in snow scenes; Beach, which also maintains exposure against bright backgrounds; Fireworks, which makes an exposure of several seconds with the focus set to infinity; Aquarium, which sets the right color balance and ISO for shooting fish in a tank, and boosts colors; Underwater, which adjusts settings for using the A570IS underwater in a waterproof housing; and Stitch Assist, with helps the user create panoramic images by combining multiple shots of a scene.
The PowerShot A570IS's scene modes include options for the many kinds of pictures that snapshooters like to take. The A570IS doesn't include the oddball modes that used to pop up on beginners' cameras, such as "food," "business card," or "online auction." Experienced users with more sophisticated cameras would choose different settings from the ones the A570IS sets in some cases, but the small camera achieves its goal of maximizing the number of usable images shot.
Manual Control Options
The PowerShot A570IS offers a surprising range of manual control for such a simple camera. The user can manually set aperture and shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and focus.
The PowerShot A570IS analyzes data from the imaging chip to set the autofocus. That's typical of compact cameras, and it is one of the differences between them and DSLR cameras, which have independent focus sensors. The DSLR system works faster, but it is more expensive, and usually covers a smaller portion of the frame. The A570IS can focus on 9 rectangular areas toward the middle of the frame. When set to display the preview on its LCD, the A570IS shows green around the rectangles where it focuses. In AiAF mode, the A570IS chooses which of the 9 areas are most important. With AiAF off, only the center rectangle is active. In Face Detection mode, the A570IS identifies faces in the frame, and focuses on them.
The A570IS focused well in low light, getting sharp shots even when it had to underexpose them. It is also accurate in more typical lighting. The focus mechanism isn't fast enough for squirming puppies or other moving subjects. Compact cameras have a hard time with that, and the A570IS rates about average, but compact camera users shouldn't expect fast focusing from inexpensive, small cameras.
The face detection option in the PowerShot A570IS's AiAF autofocus mode works as it should; it finds the human face – or multiple faces – in a scene, and focuses on them. It works with real people, photographs of people, and even somewhat expressionistic paintings of faces. It does not, however, work on animals. When the system recognizes a face, it shows a rectangle around it on the LCD and tracks it as the face moves around the screen. It works for both horizontal and vertical photos. Oddly, when we rotated the camera to about 45 degrees after it had latched onto a face, the camera wasn’t able to track it.
The PowerShot A570IS offers a workable manual focus system. In manual focus mode, the center of the frame is enlarged, and the 4-way controller racks focus near to far. A distance scale appears on screen. The distance scale isn't much use, but the magnified area is pretty easy to read. Manual focus is slow, but the mechanism stops immediately when the user stops pressing the controller. That's a big advance over other manual systems, where the camera over- or under-shoots the focus point.
Generally, the auto focus system works better than the manual system, but in the rare case where a crowed scene flummoxes the AF, manual might be the way to go. The PowerShot A570IS’s auto focus can be activated when in the manual focus mode with a tap of the shutter release.
The user can set exposure compensation 2 EV above or below the metered reading in 1/3-EV steps on the PowerShot A570IS. The option is available in most scene modes as well as aperture and shutter priority and the program modes. Flash compensation is available only in manual, aperture and shutter priority and program. The A570IS doesn't offer bracketing.
When engaged, the A570IS's face detection system will also set the exposure for dected faces, helping ensure the people in the frame are visible and properly exposed.
The PowerShot A570IS has the three standard metering patterns: evaluative, spot and center-weighted. The automatic modes use the evaluative system, which reads several locations across the frame. The spot mode reads a small area at the center of the frame, and is useful for manual exposure. Center-weighted takes a single reading of the whole frame, but concentrates its sensitivity in the middle, which is useful for landscapes.
The PowerShot A570IS's meter produced well-exposed images in good lighting, but the evaluative system is not smart enough to handle backlighting or other high-contract scenes well. It compromised too much, leaving the subject too dark and the background a little too detailed – it should have overexposed the background to allow a better exposure of the subject. To get better results, the user must use the spot meter in one of the manual modes.
The PowerShot A570IS has automatic white balance, presets for sun, cloudy, tungsten, two kinds of fluorescent tubes, and underwater scenes. It also allows the user to take manual readings. The auto system worked well for snapshots, and the presets delivered pleasing color in casual shooting. Several low-end cameras offer white-balance fine-tuning, allowing the user to tweak color manually. The A570IS lacks that feature, and advanced options such as direct Kelvin settings and white balance bracketing. A simple camera shouldn't be expected to have complicated features, but there would be situations where an A570IS user would benefit from the option to fine-tune white balance.
ISO is the camera sensor's sensitivity to light. It's variable, because the camera can amplify the sensor's signal. The PowerShot A570IS's ISO settings are 80, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600. It used to be rare to see compact cameras with settings of 800 and 1600, but they have become common. The high settings produce lower-quality images, but they allow photography in dark situations.
The PowerShot A570IS has two auto ISO settings. One biases lower, for better quality, and the other goes higher, for faster shutter speeds. Both are available in auto modes, plus Program and the aperture and shutter priority modes. In the non-auto modes, the user can set ISO manually. More sophisticated cameras allow the user to set ISO in finer increments, such as 160, 250 or 500, rather than just the full jumps. That's a useful feature, but one that users typically give up with a simple camera like the A570IS.
**Shutter Speed ***(7.0)*
The shutter speed is set with the 4-way controller, which is clumsy, but typical for this camera class. The PowerShot A570IS allows exposure times from 1/2000 to 15 seconds. In many of the scene modes, the full range is not available, but in the manual modes the range is available in 1/3-EV steps. The A570IS has a noise reduction system that kicks in for exposures of 1.3 seconds or longer. The range is completely sufficient for typical A570IS users.
The maximum aperture on the PowerShot A570IS ranges from a fast f/2.8 to a slow, dark f/5.5. With focal lengths from 5.8 to 23.2 mm, the smallest useful aperture is f/8 or 9. The slow aperture at telephoto settings may be the biggest photographic limitation the A570IS user faces. F/5.5 is too small for low-light photography, and too small for really shallow depth of field for portraits – the backgrounds won't be as blurry as the Portrait scene mode description suggests. The 4-way controller isn't an ideal aperture control, but it works. In manual modes, the aperture can be set in 1/3 EV steps.
Picture Quality / Size Options*(7.5)*
The PowerShot A570IS records images in the following pixel dimensions: 3072x2304, 2592x1944, 2048x1536, 1600x1200 and 640x480, plus a wide-aspect setting of 3072x1728. The quality levels are called Superfine, Fine and Normal. It makes senses to shoot in Superfine if there is any chance that the image will be printed; Fine and Normal each show significant decreases in quality.
Picture Effects Mode*(7.75)*
The PowerShot A570IS includes some of Canon's My Colors options, but not nearly as extensive a selection as some older A-series PowerShot models, such as the A620. The camera can be set to shoot with Vivid or Neutral color, black and white, and sepia. Each setting can be adjusted with contrast, sharpness and saturation controls. The Vivid setting looks cartoonish. Ideally, users should set the camera to Neutral, and boost color with a computer after shooting if necessary.
Connectivity / Extras
*ZoomBrowser EX and ImageBrowser ship with the PowerShot A570IS. The programs are useful for downloading, sorting and printing images, creating email-friendly versions of large files, and stitching together panoramas. They can edit movies and extract stills from movie clips. The software is simple, and suited to the target market for the camera.
The software packages also allow the A570IS to be controlled remotely via a USB cable, by either a Windows or Macintosh computer. It's not a feature most buyers will use much, but it might make it easier to get shots of the inside of the refrigerator with the door closed, or baby hamsters without getting on the mother's nerves.
Jacks, Ports, Plugs (6.25)
The PowerShot A570IS has a USB 2.0 port, analog A/V output, and a jack for an external power supply (which is not included). These three cover the bases for the typical compact user, allowing printing, downloads, showing slide shows on a television, and powering a slide show or printing for long periods.
*Direct Print Options (7.0)
*The PowerShot A570IS offers DPOF, PictBridge and Canon's own Bubblejet Direct and Canon Direct Print. DPOF allows the user to create print orders that are saved on the memory card, and downloaded to a printing machine at a store. PictBridge and the Canon systems allow the PowerShot A570IS to connect directly to a compatible home printer.
The PowerShot A570IS can make individual prints or index prints. It offers the option of imprinting the date and time, and filename on the print.
The A570IS does not have an elaborate printing function, but it covers the basics, just as it does with shooting options.
*The PowerShot A570IS uses two AA batteries. In our tests, it went through batteries quickly, even high-capacity NiMH rechargable cells. The advantage of AA batteries is that they are available nearly everywhere. The disadvantage is that they hold less power than the custom Lithium-ion batteries that Canon puts in its DSLRs and other high-end cameras. * **
The PowerShot A570IS takes SD cards, including high-capacity cards. It wrote to a 4 GB card in our tests, which would hold many hundreds of images.
SD cards are the most common memory format for cameras. They are very small, relatively durable (though their size makes them vulnerable), and less expensive than less common memory formats. They're also available just about anywhere – some supermarkets sell them.
**Other Features ***(5.25)*
Remote Control – Shooting via a laptop computer is an appealing, if unnecessary option. It ought to be fun for some users.
Accessory Lenses – Canon sells wide-angle, telephoto and macro accessory lenses. We haven't tested them, but if the wide-angle is even pretty good, it would vastly increase the A570IS's usefulness to real estate agents, contractors and others in need of quick-and-easy location shots.
Manual Flash Output – The flash can be set to full power, or two lower settings, which can be useful when auto exposure would be fooled.
The PowerShot A570IS sells for just over $200 at a variety of vendors, which is an attractive price for an entry level camera. With image stabilization and face detection, it wins the features race not only at $200, but also at $300. Canon image quality is very competitive at a variety of price points, and did well enough here.
The biggest drawback in the PowerShot A570IS's value proposition is its durability. With poor seals and a lightly-built lens assembly, it doesn't seem as tough as some of its competition.
***FujiFilm F40fd* – The FujiFilm F40fd also offers face detection that works well. It lacks image stabilization, a flaw that FujiFilm tries to compensate for with ISOs up to 2000. The F40fd and the PowerShot A570IS both have maximum apertures of f/2.8 at wide angle, but the apertures shrink at the telephoto end. The F40fd goes down to f/5.1, which seems better than the A570IS's f/5.5, but the F40fd's lens only zooms out 3x. The A570IS hits f/5.5 at 4x. The best news for the PowerShot A570IS is that the F40fd runs almost $100 more – even without stabilization.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 – The LZ7 sells for about $30 less than the PowerShot A570IS, but it lacks face detection. With a 6x zoom, the LZ7 brings in distant subjects much better than the A570IS, and it does so with a maximum aperture range that runs from f/ 2.8 down to f/ 4.5 – about half a stop brighter even though it's 50 percent longer. Panasonic upgraded its image stabilization with the LZ7, which may be significant – it was excellent to begin with. The LZ series typically have extensive manual controls, so users who demand flexible white balance should look at the LZ7 before committing to an A570IS.
Pentax Optio W30 – Without stabilization or face detection, the Optio W30 leaves the technological edge to the PowerShot A570IS. The W30 is much more durable, however. About $30 more expensive than the A570IS, the W30 is waterproof. The seals against water also protect it from dust. The W30's lens stays flush with the face of the camera even when it’s zoomed out, so it is much more durable than the A570IS. For casual users looking for a camera to take everywhere, the W30 is a very good option. Consumers who get caught in the rain, who plan to stuff a camera into a coat pocket, or who are just plain rough on their things, might want to get a camera that won't break.
Who’s this Camera For?
Point-and-Shooters – The casual user is the obvious target market for the PowerShot A570IS. It's simple and inexpensive, and takes the kind of snapshots consumers want.
Budget Consumers – Again, the PowerShot A570IS is an attractive option for this group. At about $200, it's at the low end for cameras, in general, yet it offers both image stabilization and face detection.
Gadget Freaks – The PowerShot A570IS is a budget gadget, combining image stabilization and face detection, two cool technologies. Neither is brand new, but they're a nice combination, especially at the price.
Manual Control Freaks – The PowerShot A570IS's manual controls are not nearly convenient enough to use all the time, and the images are snapshot quality, and this segment usually wants better than that.
Pros/Serious Hobbyists – Many serious photographers like to have a simple camera to slip into a pocket for the unexpected opportunity, but the A570IS probably isn't the right choice. It's not durable enough, and the maximum aperture at telephoto is very dark. Finally, face detection is pretty much wasted on this crowd.
It's a shame that Canon doesn't put more effort into making low-end cameras durable. Pentax and Olympus prove that it can be done. Sadly, more than a few PowerShot A570ISs will likely end up damaged or broken. However, for just over $200, the PowerShot A570IS is a bargain for casual users, who will benefit from its hefty feature set. The face detection and image stabilization combination will save, conservatively, gazillions of snapshots taken by the careless, clueless or chemically-compromised user. It's less likely that the A570IS's other advances – a 7.1-megapixel sensor and a high-end ISO of 1600 – will help users as much, though their inclusion, coupled with the camera's manual controls and exceptional color performance, make the A570IS an unusual bargain at its price.
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Specs / Ratings