"Great pics, easy to use, feels good in the hand"4.0 starson by sdrass
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.