Canons for beginners

Canon has two new PowerShot A-series cameras on the way.

Canon is on a roll. Just after the release of the PowerShot A460 and the A550, the company announced two new PowerShot A-series cameras on the way, the Canon PowerShot A560 and the A570 IS.

The two 7-megapixel cameras are nearly identical, save for one important distinction. The A570 IS, like other Canon -IS cameras, the PowerShot SD800 IS and the A710 IS, uses optical image stabilization. This handy feature mechanically shifts the lens to reduce the effects of shake when shooting. Optical image stabilization can be very useful when zooming in to take shots. The A560 doesn't have image stabilization, but it can hit up to ISO 1600 just like the A570, which can offer a small boost when shooting zoomed-in or low-light photos.

Besides image stabilization, the A560 and A570 share the same features. Both use a 35-to-140mm-equivalent lens, sport a 2.5-inch LCD, and have the standard handful of scene presets and shooting modes. Both cameras can reach up to ISO 1600 sensitivity. This is very useful in the A560, as increased sensitivity can help make up for its lack of image stabilization. On top of the standard 30 frames per second VGA movie mode, both cameras also have a 60fps QVGA (320x240) movie mode, capable of taking high-speed video clips up to a minute long.

The PowerShot A560 and the A570 IS should appeal to cost-minded snapshooters who want more than the bare-bones features the A460 and the A550 offer. The A570 IS is priced just out of the budget camera range, but its image stabilization, a feature normally found in high-end cameras, justifies the significant premium over the A560.

The Canon PowerShot A560 and PowerShot A570 IS ship in March, with suggested retail prices of $230 and $280, respectively.

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