Canon Powershot A590IS

A low cost, fully featured compact camera

Canon Powershot A590IS
  • Canon Powershot A590IS
  • Canon Powershot A590IS
  • Canon Powershot A590IS
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5


  • Image stabilisation, good picture quality, 4x optical zoom, low price


  • Some minor colour inaccuracies

Bottom Line

The PowerShot A590IS is another great entry-level unit from Canon. It is fully featured, with manual shooting modes and optical image stabilisation. Its 8-megapixel sensor captures impressive pictures.

Would you buy this?

With a relatively low price tag, the 8-megapixel (Mp) Canon PowerShot A590IS is an enticing entry-level camera. It packs in full manual shooting options as well as a stabilized 4x optical zoom lens and a nifty array of other features. It's a good choice for users looking to try their hand at more advanced photography on a budget.

Its sensor isn't the highest resolution on the market these days, but 8Mp is still perfectly adequate to capture good quality snaps. Our test shots were generally crisp and sharp with well resolved detail and minimal corner softening. Imatest did detect some undersharpening on our chart shots, but our real-world subject matter didn't exhibit any such issues. There was some purple fringing outdoors and haloing on high contrast edges, but this was fairly well controlled.

Colour balance was typical of Canon: generally bright, vivid hues that should satisfy users after lively colour reproduction. That said, Imatest found the colours not quite as accurately rendered as on some of the slightly pricier IXUS models. Most of the inaccuracy came in the warmer colours (mainly reds and yellows) but it was quite tolerable and there are the usual host of colour modes and a custom white balance option to help tweak this.

Image noise performance was fairly standard for a modern camera at this price point. Everything up to ISO 400 produces snaps that will be fine for all but the largest prints. At ISO 400 there is a very fine colourful haze over the shots but it is barely noticeable unless they are greatly magnified. However at ISO 800 and beyond the noise ramps up significantly; we'd advise sticking with a lower sensitivity if possible.

In our speed tests the PowerShot A590IS was a solid performer all around. It started up in just 1.3sec, took 1.4sec between shots and had a shutter lag of about 0.06sec — all of which are impressive times. The burst mode operated at 2.7 frames per second.

As with many other PowerShot units, this model offers users full manual shooting modes at an affordable price. You can shoot in shutter, aperture or program priority mode, as well as regular manual mode. There are also a variety of scene options for less experienced photographers. Aside from this the feature set is fairly standard for a Canon camera. It includes face-detect focus mode, a variety of metering options, flash adjustment and self timer. There is also optical image stabilisation to back up the 4x optical zoom; this can be tweaked to operate all of the time or only when shots are taken.

Aesthetically, the A590IS is not exactly attractive, but it does the job. The curved, gunmetal plastic body looks fine and is comfortable to hold if a touch slippery. It is relatively sturdy and the control scheme is extremely intuitive making it ideal for novice users who want to transition to more advanced photography.

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