Canon Powershot A540 Review

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Canon Powershot A540

Review posted 03/27/2006


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon Powershot A540
Click to take a QTVR tour of the A540


Canon introduces two new additions to its affordable line of point-n-shoot PowerShot cameras, the A540 and the A530. The A540 features six-megapixels of resolution together with a retractable 4x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 35-140mm (35mm equivalent) The A540 model incorporates 22 shooting modes from fully automatic to fully manual to achieve optimum results for any photographic application. The A540 is also compatible with optional wide angle and telephoto lens converters, as well as a close-up lens and a wireless flash unit.

The A540 offers ISO equivalent speed ratings ranging from 80 to 800 with dramatically less noise at ISO 400 than previous PowerShot models. The camera also features a large 2.5- inch 85,000-pixel LCD color monitor, making it easier than ever to review captured images and even to do limited in-camera image editing and retouching such as a new Face Brightener function to help compensate for backlit images. The new widescreen 16:9 ratio resolution setting facilitates creating panoramic-style prints.

The A-series cameras have many of the latest advances in Canon technology including the proprietary DIGIC II imaging processor. The processor enhances picture definition, vibrancy, and quality, while helping increase the speed of the cameras' startup, autofocus, shutter response, playback, and image processing speed while reducing power consumption by 35 percent compared to the original DIGIC chip. Consumers benefit from accelerated image transfer speed (when used with a USB 2.0 compatible computer, printer, or other peripheral), thanks to the inclusion of a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port.

Canon enhanced the 'My Colors' mode found in the new PowerShot line. Where previously, users could only enable 'My Colors' while shooting, the current iteration permits captured images to be retouched as well, without the need for special software applications or tools. Available My Color playback modes include Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, and Vivid Red; lighter and darker skin tones, as well as options for creating black & white, sepia, neutral and positive film effects. A color accent setting turns all colors but the one selected by the user to monochrome and the color swap mode enables users to alter specific colors in an image by sampling another color from the same image or any other image on the memory card.

Like all PowerShot digital cameras, these newest additions to the A-series work seamlessly with Canon's petite SELPHY Compact Photo Printers - an essential PowerShot accessory. Consumers simply connect their PowerShot digital camera to a SELPHY printer - such as the SELPHY CP510 and CP710 models. Press the lighted Print/Share button, and within seconds , images emerge. Presto! It is that simple. Canon's SELPHY Compact Photo Printers are PictBridge compatible. They work with PictBridge enabled digital cameras and offer excellent image quality and ease-of-use, especially when paired with a Canon digital camera. At 28 cents-per-print , printing photos directly from a digital camera is both easy and affordable.


Powershot A540 Features:

  • 6 Megapixel CCD imager for up to poster size prints
  • 4x optical 35-140mm f/2.6-5.5 zoom, 4x digital zoom
  • 2.5" color LCD with up to 10x playback zoom
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system
  • Program AE, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority and Manual modes
  • Pre-programmed creative scene modes for beginners
  • Movie mode w/sound, 640x480 / 320x240 up to 1GB, 160x120 up to 3 minutes
  • 2.3fps Continuous burst capture of Large/Fine images
  • Evaluative metering on focus point, Center-weighted or Spot options
  • Stitch Assist mode for perfect panoramas
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Orientation sensor that automatically detects vertical or horizontal shooting
  • Low-light focus assist illuminator
  • Light-guide zoom flash, angle changes with focal length
  • Optional High-Power Flash HF-DC1
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/2000 second
  • Selectable ISO settings from 80 to 800
  • Voice memo (up to 60 secs) can be attached to images
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Powered by two standard AA type batteries
  • Direct print and PictBridge Compatible
  • USB 2.0 high speed connectivity for PC and Mac
  • Secure Digital memory cards, 16MB supplied


The PowerShot A540 digital camera will be available in March for an estimated selling price of $299.99. The digital camera kit includes a USB cable, audio and video cable, wrist strap, 16MB MultiMediaCard and two AA-size Alkaline batteries as well as the Canon Digital Camera Solution Disc Version 22, featuring the latest versions of Canon's powerful software and ArcSoft PhotoStudio.



Physical Views



Canon Powershot A540

Canon Powershot A540

Canon Powershot A540 Canon Powershot A540

Canon Powershot A540

Canon Powershot A540





Canon Powershot A540

The A540 compared to an average CD disc.





Canon Powershot A540

Canon Powershot A540

The Powershot A540 and the 5-megapixel Powershot A530.





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Features & Controls



Powershot A540 Specifications
Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 6.0 million
Image Sensor 1/2.5-inch CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx. 6.2 million)
Lens

5.8 (W) - 23.2 (T)mm (35mm film equivalent: 35 - 140mm)
f/2.6 (W) - f/5.5 (T)

Digital Zoom Approx. 4x
Optical Viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 2.5-inch, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD, approx. 85,000 pixels
AF System TTL autofocus
Focus lock and Manual focus are available
9-point AiAF/1-point AF (fixed to center)
Shooting Distance (from the front of the lens)
Normal AF 45cm (1.5ft.) - infinity
Macro AF 5 - 45cm (2.0in. - 1.5ft.) (W)/
30 - 45cm (11.8in. - 1.5ft.) (T)
Manual focus 5cm (2.0in.) - infinity (W)/
30cm (11.8in.) - infinity (T)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter Speeds
15 - 1/2000 sec.
The shutter speed varies according to the shooting modes.
Slow shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. or slower operate with noise reduction.
Metering System Evaluative, Center-weighted average or Spot (Center)
Exposure Control System Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Manual exposure control
Exposure Compensation ┬▒ 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
Sensitivity Auto*, ISO 80/100/200/400/800 equivalent
* Camera automatically sets the optimal speed.
White Balance Auto, pre-set (available settings: Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent or Fluorescent H, Underwater) or custom
Built-in Flash Auto*, on*, off
* Red-eye reduction available.
Flash Range
Normal 45cm - 3.5m (1.5ft. - 11.5ft.) (W)
45cm - 2.2m (1.5ft. - 7.2ft.) (T)
Macro 30 - 45cm (11.8in. - 1.5ft.) (W/T)
when ISO speed set to Auto
Shooting Modes
Auto
Creative zone Program, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Image zone Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, Special Scene (Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, Indoor, Kids & Pets and Night Snapshot, Color Accent, Color Swap), My Colors, Stitch assist and Movie
Continuous Shooting
Approx. 2.3 shots/sec.
(Large/Fine mode, LCD monitor off)
Self-timer Activates shutter after an approx. 10-sec./2-sec. delay. Can be set using the custom settings.
PC-controlled Shooting Available (USB connection only. Exclusive software program is included in the camera kit.)
Recording Media SD memory card/MultiMediaCard
File Format Design rule for camera file system and DPOF compliant
Data Type
Still images Exif 2.2 (JPEG)*1
Movies AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG; Audio data: WAVE (monaural))
Compression Superfine, Fine, Normal
Number of Recording Pixels
Still images
Large: 2816x2112 pixels
Widescreen: 2816x1584 pixels
Medium 1: 2272x1704 pixels
Medium 2: 1600x1200 pixels
Small: 640x480 pixels
Movies
640x480 pixels, 30/15 frames/sec. (max. 1GB)
320x240 pixels, 30/15 frames/sec. (max. 1GB)
160x120 pixels, 15 frames/sec. (approx. 3 min.)
The data in parentheses refer to the maximum movie length per shooting.
Playback Modes Single (histogram displayable), Index (9 thumbnail images), Magnified (approx. 10x (max.) in LCD monitor, advance or reverse through magnified images possible), Auto play, Sound memos (up to 60 sec.) or Movie.
Direct Print Canon Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct compatible, and PictBridge compliant
My Camera Settings The start-up image, start-up sound, shutter sound, operation sound and self-timer sound can be customized using the following methods:
1. Using the images and sounds recorded on the camera.
2. Using downloaded data from your computer using the supplied software.
Interface USB 2.0 high speed (mini-B, PTP [Picture Transfer Protocol])
Audio/Video output (NTSC or PAL selectable, monaural audio)
Power Source
AA-size alkaline batteries (included in the camera kit)
approx. 90 shots with alkaline batteries
AA-size rechargeable NiMH batteries (sold separately)
approx. 360 shots using NiMH batteries
AC Adapter Kit ACK800 (sold separately)
Operating Temperature 0 - 40 degrees C (32 - 104 degrees F)
Operating Humidity 10 - 90%
Dimensions 3.56 x 2.52 x 1.70 in. / 90.4 x 64.0 x 43.2mm (excluding protrusions)
Weight Approx. 180g (6.35 oz.) (camera body only)
Specifications as represented by the Manufacter



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