Canon Powershot A590 IS Review

Review Date: June 23rd 2008
Author: Gavin Stoker

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 8 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 2.5Mb.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Canon Powershot A590 IS which you can select at any time if the camera is in any of the creative shooting modes. The Canon Powershot A590 IS performed acceptably at most ISO settings, and although noise was obvious at ISO 800, reaching detail-softening proportions by ISO 1600, again it's fairly hard to raise a grumble given that this is a 160 (at most) camera. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default setting ideally and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes via the My Colors menu option.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   
   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Powershot A590 IS handled chromatic aberrations well during the review. Purplish pixel fringing is well controlled between areas of high contrast, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
 

Macro

The Canon Powershot A590 IS offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

   

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot A590 IS are Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Sync Speed and Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m. Some corner shading is evident at the wide end of the zoom range, which gets even more pronounced when the flash is used. At the telephoto end, flash coverage is much more even.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (35mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64
ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (140mm)
ISO 64
ISO 64
   

And here are some portrait shots. The Flash On setting caused a noticeable red-eye effect, which was was reduced but not completely eliminated by using the Red-eye Reduction setting.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye reduction

Red-eye reduction (100% Crop)
   

Night Shot

The Canon Powershot A590 IS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great for night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/8th second, f/2.6 at ISO 200. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)
   

Overall Image Quality

I was testing the Canon Powershot A590 IS across a period that was fairly unsettled weather wise, and so usefully provided extremes in terms of lighting conditions at the time. In general terms, left to its auto default setting, the colours delivered by the A590 IS are slightly more muted than we're used to seeing from Canon of late. Shots also have a definite digital look to them and, though very few digital compacts excel on overcast days, appear slightly flat straight out of the camera unless given a boost and edge-to-edge definition courtesy of plenty of available sunlight. In fairness though, there is a manually selectable 'Vivid' setting on the 'my colours' menu bar however for those who prefer a bit more in-camera saturation and added overall 'punch'. In terms of exposure and metering, the Canon Powershot A590 IS tends to lose detail in the highlights. This is no worse a showing than other snapshots in its class however, and of course you have enough manual control on offer to over-ride its auto performance. Purplish pixel fringing is fairly well controlled between areas of high contrast and when you zoom into images you're rewarded with a pleasing level of detail if conditions are favourable. In lower light I still got a few soft images despite the 'IS' being set to continuous though again this is something that can be lived with. The Canon Powershot A590 IS performed acceptably at most ISO settings, and although noise was obvious at ISO 800, reaching detail-softening proportions by ISO 1600, again it's fairly hard to raise a grumble given that this is a 160 (at most) camera, and it's a fairly reasonable 'catch all' device for that money.

Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Powershot A590 IS have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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