Canon's A series models have never been the prettiest cameras on the block, but they've also managed to avoid being too 'budget' style in design or construction. Externally the A570 IS is slightly curvier and larger than your typical credit card sized compact camera but it is still small enough to easily slip into most pockets. The control layout is almost identical to previous models from the same series and will be familiar to anyone who has ever used an A series PowerShot. External controls are fairly minimal considering the huge feature set, with most everyday shooting functions accessed via the excellent FUNC menu - although once again Canon have not put an ISO button on the A series cameras. For budget camera the A570 IS is surprisingly well put together and feels very solid despite having a lot more plastic than other Canon compacts.
In your hand
The boxy, slightly larger design of the A570 IS might not be as sexy as some of Canon's more stylish Ixus / Elph models, but it does make for excellent, stable handling. The A570's grip is fairly small but a very helpful feature, especially when using the camera with one hand. Shutter release and zoom controls are perfectly positioned and - the whole thing works very well in the hand.
Nothing earth-shatteringly different here; Canon has a formula for the A series that, for the most part, works well, and users of any other camera in the range will find no surprises if they pick up the A570 IS.
The top of the camera is home to the main power button, mode dial and shutter release (in the middle of the circular zoom rocker). Like the A series models, the shutter release has a nice positive feel and a distinct 'half press' point.
The A570 IS has the same 4x optical zoom as the A560 (covering 35 - 140mm equiv. range), the A570 IS adds image stabilization, which enhances usability at the long end.
As with previous A series cameras the ring around the base of the lens can be removed to allow the attachment of wide or tele converters.
The built-in flash has a range of around 45cm - 3.5m (W) or 45cm - 2.2m (T).
The card and two AA batteries sit under a hinged door on the base of the camera. The A570 IS is compatible with the SDHC standard and comes with a 16MB card. Alkaline Batteries provide power for approximately 120 shots. This number increases to 400 when using NiMH batteries (CIPA standard).
The optical viewfinder (something of a rarity on a camera like this these days) is nothing to write home about; small, with no dioptre adjustment and only showing around 80 per cent of the frame (This cropping is needed to reduce parallax error problems at the long end of the lens). If you do decide to use the optical viewfinder you can, however, extend the battery life to almost 900 shots on a single set of NiMH cells - and reduce shutter lag.
The rear controls will be familiar to anyone who has used an A-series Powershot in recent years; the four-way controller (with direct-access buttons for focus, flash and the Func menu) sits above the DISP button (for changing the amount of information displayed on-screen) and the Menu button. The direct print and the combined delete/exposure compensation buttons are located above the four-way controller .
The A570 IS has the same big, bright 2.5-inch screen as the A560 and several other A series models. The resolution is at 115,000 pixels, comparatively low for this screen size, which means the image looks a bit pixilated close up, but the screen is very bright, has very little lag and a pretty high refresh rate. It's also very good in low light and still usable even in direct sunlight.