Canon announce PowerShot A520 – big brother to the recently released PowerShot A510. The super compact 4.0 Megapixel PowerShot has a 4x zoom, is smaller than many 3x zoom cameras and features 20 shooting modes, VGA movies, a powerful zoom flash, extended direct print functions, plus an optional waterproof case and adaptor lenses.
Compact and powerful
13% smaller and 20% lighter than its predecessor – the popular PowerShot A85 – the PowerShot A520’s 4x zoom lens uses Canon’s Glass Moulded Optics (Gmo) lens technology to deliver uncompromising, high clarity image quality at a fraction the size of conventional lenses. Extending reach at the telephoto end, the powerful 35-140mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.6-5.5 zoom lens also features a new rear-focus system for more efficient focus that limits power consumption. A redesigned flash unit, optical viewfinder, and a move from Compact Flash to SD memory card also contribute to a lighter, more elegant and compact body.
For maximum versatility and ease of use, Canon has given the A520 a total of 20 shooting modes. These include eight 'Special Scene' modes which help produce stunning results in difficult lighting conditions by optimising the camera's white balance, exposure and other settings for specific shooting situations. Scene modes include 'fireworks', 'foliage', 'beach', 'snow', 'underwater' (for use with the camera’s optional 40m depth case) ‘kids and pets’ and ‘night snapshot’. Movie clips of up to three minutes can be recorded, complete with sound and with the option to cut and edit in-camera. Manual mode allows more experienced or adventurous users to take control of settings such as white balance, exposure compensation and shutter speed.
Enjoyable and convenient
For enjoyment, convenience and ease of sharing images while shooting, a new ‘Hold’ function allows users to extend the display of newly shot images on the large and bright 1.8” LCD indefinitely, and to delete them immediately if necessary without the requirement to switch to replay mode. When the shutter button is pressed again, the camera returns to shooting. Ease of use increases with an improved, simple and more intuitive button layout.
Floating lens barrel
Another advance on the PowerShot A520 is the floating lens barrel retention mechanism, which works in conjunction with the optional Wide and Tele converter lenses. By allowing minute lateral shifts in lens position parallel to the sensor surface, the mechanism ensures that adaptor lenses are precisely aligned along the optical axis for perfectly sharp results.
In a first for its digital camera line-up, Canon introduces a zoom flash. Linked to the zoom lens, the zoom mechanism narrows the flash’s angle of throw to extend flash range at the telephoto end. A new optional High Power Flash accessory, the HF-DC1, further extends the options for night and indoor shooting. With a guide number of 18 (ISO 100, metres), the slave flash automatically fires in-sync with the camera’s in-built flash, ignoring any pre-flash. It can be adjusted to three power output settings based on the aperture value of the camera. The unit attaches to the camera with a supplied bracket that maintains the ability to mount both camera and flash on a tripod.
The camera features Canon's Print/Share button, which lights up when a successful connection is made between the camera's USB port and any PictBridge compatible printer. Pushing the button when lit initiates a print of the currently displayed image, without the need to navigate through any in-camera menu. The Print/Share feature also simplifies uploads to any Windows PC.
Extended print functions
When linked to printers such as Canon’s SELPHY CP400 Compact Photo Printer, the PowerShot A520 allows for super fast, super convenient 85 second photo prints without the need to first upload to computer. Extended print functions also include a ’Movie Print’ mode, which divides the selected movie clip into equal parts and prints up to 63 equally spaced thumbnail frames onto a single sheet of Postcard Size Paper (100 x 148 mm). This feature is ideal for analysing a golf swing or tennis serve, for example. An ‘ID Photo Print’ function prints a number of durable passport photo size images (of selected height and width) to a single sheet.
With nine focus points distributed across a wide area of the frame, the camera’s AiAF system is capable of fast focusing, even when the subject is off-centre. Users can also switch to single centre-point AF and manual focusing. An auto-assist beam helps to focus in low light conditions and the camera has a 5cm closest focusing distance. The flash can be synchronised to a slow shutter speed and includes red-eye reduction. A 1.9 frames per second shooting speed can be maintained for up to an 8 shot burst at Large/Fine resolution with LCD monitor off.
Great speed, great results
The PowerShot A520 features Canon’s critically acclaimed, powerful DIGIC processor for superb image quality, responsive camera performance and low battery consumption. Like an in-built photographer's assistant, Canon’s iSAPS system analyses composition factors such as zoom position and luminosity in order to predict the type of photo being taken. This results in faster auto-focusing, more accurate auto-exposure and precise auto white balance. An Intelligent Orientation sensor detects the orientation of the camera as shots are taken, optimising the image quality and automatically rotating the image for playback.
As well as the converter and close-up lens, optional accessories include a waterproof case that offers underwater protection up to 40m depth and defence against dust, sand and snow. The case incorporates a flash diffusion plate to help eliminate the ‘snow’ effect caused by foreign particles suspended in the water. A 16MB MMC card is supplied with the camera.
Software and access to CANON iMAGE GATEWAY
Software supplied includes ZoomBrowser EX (Windows) and ImageBrowser (Mac) for viewing, managing and archiving images. Other software includes PhotoStitch and PhotoRecord, plus photo manipulation software ArcSoft PhotoStudio. Drivers include TWAIN (Windows 98/2000) and WIA (Windows Me). Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) support allows the camera to connect to any Windows XP (SP1 – 2) and Mac OS X (v10.1.5 - 10.3) system without the requirement for a driver installation.
Camera ownership entitles the purchaser to register for 100MB storage space on the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, an online gallery where images and movies can be stored in albums and shared to selected friends and family. New ‘My Camera’ functions (such as shutter sounds and start up images) can also be downloaded to the camera from CANON iMAGE GATEWAY.