Canon PowerShot A510 Review
Timing & Performance
Like most of Canon's A series PowerShots (and its twin brother, the A520), the A510 has fairly pedestrian performance that reflects its pricing and positioning as a budget camera. Some aspects of operation feel very snappy indeed - the menus are very fast and shutter lag is pretty low, and overall performance is as good as you could expect at this end of the market. But there are times when the A510 feels very sluggish if you're used to a faster camera. We can live with the rather leisurely power up and power down times and slow playback (image to image browsing), but the slow focus (especially at the long end of the zoom) and long shot-to-shot time - especially with flash - is more serious, and something you need to be aware of if you like to fire off a lot of shots in rapid succession. It's a real pity Canon couldn't justify the new DIGIC II processor in the A510, as I'm sure this would've boosted performance significantly. Note that whilst overall performance is very similar to the A520, there are areas (particularly playback) where the A510's smaller files speed things up slightly.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2048 x 1536 SuperFine JPEG image (approx. 1,140 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.5|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||2.1|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.8|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens already retracted||~0.5|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||1.7|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~1.2|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.1|
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||~1.7|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (10x)||~0.9|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.5|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||1.1|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||35 to 140 mm (4 x)||1.7|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle||~0.8|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto||~0.8 - 1.5|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view||~0.1|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||Viewfinder||<0.1|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.9|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~3.3|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||2.1|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (with or without redeye)||~ 7.0|
|*1||This is for none-rotated (i.e landscape orientation) shots. If auto rotate is enabled each vertical shot takes approx. 2.0 secs to display.|
Lag Timing Definitions
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. The media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
The A510 has only a single continuous shooting modes, which in our tests averaged around 2 fps (a little short of the 2.3 fps quoted by Canon, but we were shooting using the LCD screen). In continuous shooting mode the A510 does not show a live preview, but does display a brief review image for each picture taken.
Frames in a burst *1
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Super Fine||Continuous||1.95 fps||9||1.0 fps|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||Continuous||2.0 fps||15||1.0 fps|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Normal||Continuous||2.0 fps||32||1.2 fps|
|1600 x 1200 JPEG Super Fine||Continuous||2.0 fps||14||1.0 fps|
|1024 x 768 JPEG Super Fine||Continuous||2.0 fps||29||1.2 fps|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||The A510 does not stop shooting once the buffer is full, but the frame rate drops significantly. The rate varies, so the figure shown is an average measured over 20 frames.|
Not a bad performance at all for a camera in this class - and it's nice that the camera doesn't lock up once the buffer is full, but starts to write to the CompactFlash card, meaning you can go on shooting - albeit at a slower pace.
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when the activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card.
Time to store
Time to display
File size *1
Images on a *2
512 MB Card
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Super Fine||~2.1||~0.55||1,140 KB||302|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||~1.8||~0.5||720 KB||542|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Normal||~1.5||~0.6||325 KB||1066|
|1600 x 1200 JPEG Super Fine||~1.9||~0.7||750 KB||483|
|1024 x 768 JPEG Super Fine||~1.5||~0.6||360 KB||835|
|*1||All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).|
With write times averaging around 2.1 seconds for a 3MP (1,140 KB) Super Fine JPEG the A510 is fairly speedy for a camera of this classs, but the transfer rate - approximately 550KB/s - means fast cards will offer little advantage in this camera.
|2014_1211_140657AA by old shutter bugger|
from The Bride
|Overloaded by NZ Scott|
from Your City - Delivery Boy
|Barley by Will B Milner|
|APPLE & ROACH by TX Photo Doc|
from Delicious - Unpalatable
Try your hand at this blind portrait shootout between the Canon 1DX Mark II, Nikon D5 and Sony a9. With all bias removed, you might just rank your favorite camera brand worst.
Photo sharing site 500px has just added support for wide-gamut color profiles such as AdobeRGB and ProPhotoRGB, even allowing users to filter their searches by color profile.
DJI just released a mandatory firmware update for the DJI Spark. If you own a Spark and don't update your firmware by September 1st, DJI will remotely ground your drone.
Affordable flash manufacturer Godox has updated its smartphone app so that it can be used to control all of its wireless X flash units, not just the A1 smartphone flash.
Western Digital's new My Book Duo external desktop storage system offers up to 20TB of storage capacity, and comes with RAID-optimized WD Red hard drives.
Version 1.04 of the Sony a6500 firmware can be downloaded from the Sony Support website now.
Not sure how to choose your first drone? In this article, the second of a 3-part series, we discuss what factors you should consider when deciding what drone is right for you.
NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky didn't just capture the solar eclipse from his vantage point in Wyoming, he also managed to capture the ISS buzzing across what remained of the sun.
In these videos, talented photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco breaks down several tips that will help flash photography newbies start experimenting with artificial light.
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."