Pros Quick to fire up, simple controls, long battery life (if you use 2500 mah batteries), excellent zoom, optical viewfinder
Cons LCD screen hard to see in sun, no "fill-flash" icon or easy way to do it
Summary We bought the A-540 to replace our last film camera and to have a camera on our just completed Caribbean cruise vacation. The A-540 performed admirably and gave us some wonderful photographic memories. I shot all photos at the 3 megapixal setting, not needing to use the maximum 6.2 capability; there is no reason for overkill for photos to be viewed on-screen or printed out to 4 X 6 size. Even 2.2 mp gives perfectly adequate photos.
My wife wanted a camera that she could use (meaning easy and not complicated). The "Auto" mode performed beautifully in all situations, indoors, outside on deck of the ship around the pool, on a sunny-sandy beaches and on cloudy days. I tried using some of the more specific modes but found I didn't really need to, the camera handled all situations well. I initially used two 1200 mah Ni-Mh batteries, but the camera quickly devoured them after about 25 photos. So, I switched to Radio Shack 2500 mah Ni-Mh and they worked superbly; I could not exhaust them in a full day of shooting, taking maybe 100 photos during a day of travel. Energizer 2500 mah Ni-Mh batteries also performed as well. I chose this camera over other cameras, because of these reasons: 1) Ability to use AA batteries of any kind,and not a specialty battery. You can buy AA's about anywhere if your batteries run down and you don't have spares to bail you out. 2) It has an Optical Viewfinder, which you don't find on many digital cameras anymore. I like to have the option of using a conventional optical viewfinder instead of the LCD screen, which can be washed out by the sun on sunny days. 3) Ease of use, including a good feel in your hand. the finger grip on the right side lets you get a good grip on the camera and avoids "fumble-itis." 4) SD Memory card usage. The SD memory cards are easier to find and cheaper than other cards. I have other digital equipment that uses SD cards and I wanted to be able to use them in my other devices (pda, digital camcorder with snapshot capability.
5) Canon name. I love Canon cameras because they are rugged and reliable. I have a Canon TL SLR purchased in 1974 that still works perfectly. Unfortunately, it uses film, which I am no longer using since I have gone digital. 6) Great zoom. The 4x optical zoom is great and gives you a little more than the typical 3x zoom found on most cameras in this price range. It does have a digital zoom which works well, too. 7) Pocket-ability. The camera fits in my pants pocket without being to bulky and also fits in my wifes handbag without taking up too much space (very important-I like having her carry it whenever possible.) 8) Video capability. I took some video with the camera and it is fantastic. I don't need to carry a video camera now; whenever I have a desire to capture something that moves, I just rotate the convenient dial to "video mode" and shoot. I've found that one can capture all the footage they need in a few short six to 9 seconds of video scenes. The video I shot looks great on my computer screens and television screen. I used a 1 GB SD card and would recommend buying a card at least this big if you intend to shoot video; video does eat up your memory, but not so much that you shouldn't use the capability, just be judicious with it.
A couple of negatives, though: 1) I've had trouble figuring out how to fire a fill-flash when in Auto mode. Also, the LCD screen does get washed out in the sun, requiring use of the optical viewfinder. But, hey, if that's all that's wrong with this camers, then, it ranks way up there with all the more expensive ones out there.
I only paid $247 on line for it, with no tax and free shipping. Go for it, you won't be disappointed.
That's it, I'm tired of writing about the camere.
Pros Excellent battery life, awesome pictures, generous zoom capabilities, reliable!
Cons None to mention
Summary As a Federal Safety Inspector, I use a government owned Canon Powershot A520 offshore. For the past year, I have been so impressed with its durability and capabilities that I purchased the A540 for my personal use. These cameras are so easy to use my nine year old daughter even takes perfect pictures. The video quality is suprisingly great, as well. I purchased a 2 GB memory chip so I can take 650 or so pictures and several minutes of video between downloads to my desktop. I owned a Kodak previous to this camera and it was unreliable (but to be fair it may have just been a lemon). Anyway, I recommend this camera and the family of Canon Powershot models to anyone who wishes to take a good quality picture everytime. As for the 10 perfect rating, my job requires a tough, reliable, and capable camera to capture evidence from the cockpit of helicopters to the drilling platform of a rig and this camera has stood the test of time.
"Great Camera!"on by mcap56
Pros Low shutter lag, short start up time, great ergonomics, takes great pictures, easy controls
Cons LCD lacks resolution. Not pocketable
Summary Got this before a recent trip to Europe. Looked at the Elph series, panasonic and fuji cameras. I am glad I settled on this one. It takes great pictures and is very easy to use. And although it isn't quite as portable, it fits really nicely in your hands. My biggest complaint with the camera is the LCD which is lower in resoluton than some competing models, including the 700. You can't see a thing in bright light and it's hard to tell how clear your photos will eventually come out. However, the optical viewfinder is better for bright situations anyway and the LCD is good enough.
Pros excellent ability to handle sun/shade/dappling
Cons LCD screen in sun, too easy to change movie resolution by mistake
Summary This is my 6th digital camera – had 2 Olympus, a Sony and a Fuji before finally upgrading to Canon. Switched to Canon because my friend with a lower resolution Canon was consistently getting better photos in tough lighting than I was. I use my cameras often, but they are most important to me when I am camping with my horses. Since I often ride in a forest, I want a camera that can handle light to dark, dark to light, and sundappled shots… and the Canon is FAR superior to any of the other cameras I’ve owned. The unexpected bonuses of this camera are how much better it handles color that my other cameras did, and also how great the continuous shoot is for motion shots. Might not do too well for something really fast, but it is great for anything at trail riding speeds… no blurring to the shots at all, and each shot is at a substantial resolution, so cropping is viable. Shutter lag is virtually gone in most situations.
I also appreciate the higher resolution movies, but switching between still and motion could be better for my needs…that said, the stiff (for one handed operation) action of the rotary dial, and the loud clicking (which sounds alarmingly like an electric fence) shouldn’t bother anyone else.
The two things I am not thrilled with are the LCD screen that becomes virtually useless in sun, and the fact that in movie mode it is very easy to switch resolution by mistake. Imagine my surprise when after selecting the highest resolution, I filmed in the lowest because in order to have a secure one-handed grip, my palm hit the 4-way button that changes resolution. It can be avoided once you are aware of it, but not easily if you want a firm grip on the camera while riding, and need the other hand for reins. Again, not a big deal to someone who can use both hands to film.
This camera isn’t one of the really tiny ones, but it fits nicely in a small hip case. I looked at the 7.1 A700 as well, but liked the smaller A540 for carrying in my hip pack, and also liked the fact that I didn’t have to rotate a screen to use it. Again, it is that need to have one hand for the horse.
The only accessory I bought was a 2 GB ultra high speed SD card for quicker processing. The camera’s zoom is excellent with minimal shake/blur.
I like the camera’s willingness to give up control – sometimes I can see potential aperture issues I’d like to avoid. But all the gimmick features – my colors, color switch, etc. – leave me cold. I want it like I see it, and in my opinion, Canon does that better than the rest. If one handed operation isn’t a big deal for you, and the LCD screen sun problems (common with many cameras) aren’t a concern, I can highly recommend this camera. Great value for its price.
Pros Great pictures, crisp video, awesome features.
Cons Flash takes a bit long at first...
Summary I am very happy with this camera so far. I love the way it allows me to use the zoom feature even while shooting video, something I couldn't do with the A510. It takes clear, crisp video and great pictures. I bought mine from PCNation.com for $179, I found that it came out much cheaper than other sites (even Ebay) because of the free 3 day shipping. I also purchased a 2MB Kingston SD card which is a great value for just $47. I think the only complaint I have is that the flash takes longer that it should at first, but after turning it on and shooting the first couple of pictures, it works just fine (at least for my camera). Overall, I love it!