Besides those features, the A560 has the standard handful of scene presets and image adjustment settings. The camera boasts four movie modes, including 30 frames per second (fps) VGA (640x480) and a pleasantly unexpected 60fps QVGA (320x240) high-speed mode. Finally, like most Canon PowerShot A-series cameras, the A560 conveniently takes AA batteries.
In our lab, the A560 performed well in almost all of our tests. After quickly starting up and capturing its first image in 1.5 seconds, we could snap a shot once every 1.6 seconds, a great improvement over similar previous PowerShot models. Unfortunately, with the onboard flash enabled, that time nearly tripled to 4.5 seconds per shot. The camera's shutter proved responsive, lagging only 0.5 second with our high-contrast target and a modest 1.4 seconds with our low-contrast target. In burst mode, we managed to capture 35 full-resolution shots in 21.6 seconds for a rate of 1.6 frames per second.
Photos looked pretty good, though they're marred by overprocessing and fringing in spots. Colors reproduce well, though indoor photos shot with automatic white balance come out very yellow, a common problem for most snapshot cameras. Noise is low up to ISO 400 sensitivity, where a fine grain starts to appear. Images are predictably noisy at ISO 800 and ISO 1600 sensitivity, with speckling damaging fine details and softening colors. ISO 800 and higher settings are usually reserved for low-light and high-speed shooting, and everyday snapshots shouldn't have many problems.
With quick performance and decent photos, the Canon PowerShot A560 makes a solid budget camera. It doesn't boast a bevy of special features and isn't particularly small or light, but it's a strong choice if you don't want to spend a lot for your snapshots. If your caffeine-ridden, shaky hands often make your pictures blurry, you should note that the next model up in Canon's line, the A570IS, is very similar to this one, but also includes optical image stabilization.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|