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Canon PowerShot A520 Review

March 2005 | By Simon Joinson


Review based on a production Canon PowerShot A520

Announced just before PMA in February 2005, the PowerShot A520 is the replacement for the PowerShot A85, and continues the line of best-selling budget models that goes right back to early 2001 with the A10 and A20. The changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary; a reduction in size and weight (it's 13% smaller and 20% lighter), the inclusion of a new four times optical zoom lens (the A85 had a three times), zoom-linked flash, a shift from CompactFlash to SD card for storage and a drop to two AA batteries from four.

  • 4.0 megapixel CCD
  • 4x (35-140mm equiv.) zoom lens
  • Manual, semi automatic and fully automatic exposure
  • 20 exposure modes
  • New 'hold' function
  • Zoom flash
  • 9-point AiAF focus
  • Optional underwater housing, external flashgun and add-on lenses
  • AA battery power

Canon PowerShot A520 vs A85 (main differences)

 

Canon PowerShot A520

Canon PowerShot A85
Sensor • 1/2.5-inch CCD
• 4.0 million effective pixels
• 1/2.7-inch CCD
• 4.0 million effective pixels
Lens 35-140mm equiv. F2.6-F5.5 35-105mm equiv. F2.8-F4.8
Storage SD/MMC card CompactFlash Type I
Dimensions 91 x 64 x 38 mm (3.6 x 2.5 x 1.5 in) 101 x 64 x 32 mm (4 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
Weight (inc batteries) 230 g (8.1 oz) 300g (10.6 oz)
Continuous Shooting 1.9 fps 1.5 fps
Maximum Movie Size/Frame Rate 640 x 480, 30 secs, 320 x 240, 15 fps, max 3 mins 640 x 480, 10 fps, max 30 sec
LCD screen • 1.8-inch
• 115,000 pixels
• 1.8-inch
• 118,000 pixels
Power Source 2 x AA batteries 4 x AA batteries

Canon PowerShot A520 Key specifications

Street price • US: $270
• UK: £175
Body Material Metal and plastic
Sensor • 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 4.0 million effective pixelxels
Image sizes

• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480

Movie clips • 640 x 480, max 30 sec
• 320 x 240, max 3 mins
• 160 x 120, max 3 mins
• With audio
Lens

• 4x optical zoom
• 35 - 140 mm equiv.
• F2.6 - F5.5

Focus • TTL autofocus
• AF illuminator
• 9-point AiAF or - point AF (center)
• Manual focus
• 5cm macro mode (Wide), 30cm (Tele)
Shooting mode

• Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Aperture priority AE
• Manual exposure
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Fast Shutter
• Slow Shutter
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Underwater
• Indoor
• Kids & Pets
• Night Snapshot
• AE compensation -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

Shutter speeds • 15 - 1/2000 sec
• Noise reduction for shutter speeds slower than 1.3 sec
Apertures • F2.6 / F3.2 / F3.5 / F4.0 / F4.5 / F5.0 / F5.6 / F6.3 / F7.1 / F8.0 (wide)
• F5.5 / F6.3 / F7.1 / F8.0 (wide)
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50, 100, 200, 400
White Balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
Image parameters • Picture adjust (Vivid, Neutral)
• Sharpness (2 levels)
• Color effects (Sepia, Black and White)
Continuous • Single
• Continuous (1.9 fps, max 8 images) *
* Large/Fine with LCD off
Flash • Built-in
• Modes: Auto, On, Off
• Slow Sync: On/Off
• Red-Eye reduction: On/Off
• Range (wide): 0.45 - 3.5 m (Auto ISO)
• Range (tele): 0.45 - 2.2 m (Auto ISO)
• Zoom-linked
Storage • SD / MMC card
• 16MB SD supplied*
Viewfinder • Real Image Optical
LCD monitor • 1.8" TFT, 115,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 1.1
• A/V out
• DC-IN
Power • 2 x AA batteries
• NiMH recommended (alkaline supplied)
• (Optional AC adapter)
In the box*

Canon PowerShot A520
Wrist strap
2x AA Alkaline batteries
AV cable
USB cable
16MB SD card
Software CD ROM (Canon Digital Camera Solutions & ArcSoft Camera Suite)

Other features

Spot, Center-weighted & Evaluative metering
• Sound memo (up to 60 sec)
PictBridge, Exif Print and DPOF compatible
Playback Histogram
Built-in speaker and microphone
• Orientation sensor
• Autofocus Illuminator
Optional 0.7x Wide (WC-D52),1.75x Tele (TC-DC52A) & close up (250D) converters
Optional 52mm filter adapter
Optional waterproof case (WP-DC50)
• Optional High Power Flash (slave)

Weight (excl batt) 180 g (6.3 oz)
Dimensions 91 x 64 x 38 mm (3.6 x 2.5 x 1.5 in) Excluding protrusions

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2004 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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