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8x5x4 Onsite Svc review: 8x5x4 Onsite Svc

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The Good Manual and automated exposure and focus controls; solid image quality; robust burst mode; usable ISO 800 shots.

The Bad Long flash-recycle time; LCD washes out in direct sunlight.

The Bottom Line Solid image quality plus manual and automated exposure controls make the Canon PowerShot A540 a nice low-cost option for snapshooters and photo enthusiasts.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

5.5 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 6
  • Performance 5
  • Battery 6
  • Support 5

Review Sections

page 2

page 2

Solid image quality, usable ISO 800 performance, and a full set of manual controls make the Canon PowerShot A540 an excellent choice for photo enthusiasts looking for an almost-pocketable second camera, or for budding photographers who aren't ready to move up to a superzoom EVF model or digital SLR. Only a flash that's slow to recycle lessens the appeal of this camera's 4X zoom lens, 6-megapixel resolution, and otherwise excellent performance. There are even more than a dozen scene modes for those times when you're tempted to switch on the autopilot. The A540 is a more full-featured, less compact alternative to the spritely PowerShot SD600, though its position in the A series between the very similar 5-megapixel A530 and the 6-megapixel A700 seems to exist solely to fill the price gap between the two. At 3.6 by 2.5 by 1.7 inches and 7.8 ounces when loaded with an SD memory card and a pair of AA batteries, this camera feels relatively lightweight and fits comfortably in your hand. You zoom via a jog dial that's concentric with the shutter button. Rotating the dial is easier when shooting with two hands; still, one-handed shooting is entirely practical. The coarse, 85,000-pixel, 2.5-inch LCD tends to wash completely out in direct sunlight, but you can always use the bright optical viewfinder instead. Canon's usual A-series mode dial sits atop the camera and, like the conveniently arranged array of buttons on the camera back, can be operated with your right thumb. Together, these controls make the A540 responsive and easy to navigate. For example, you can spin the mode dial to switch between auto, programmed, manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority, plus scene modes including Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Stitch Assist, and Movie. Another 10 scene modes are available at the SCN notch on the dial. Beginners and less experienced shooters will likely opt for program autoexposure, switch to full auto, or choose one of the scene modes. Metering options include evaluative, center-weighted, or spot. When in a shooting mode other than auto, manual, or movie, the trash/EV button adjusts exposure to plus or minus 2EV in 1/3EV increments. It's accompanied by a print-sharing button and a Disp key that varies the amount of information displayed on the LCD. Up and down keys toggle flash and macro focus modes, respectively. Other setup and shooting functions are logically divided among menus accessed through the menu and function/set buttons. Intermediate and advanced shooters will love Canon's user-friendly exposure controls. Left/right cursor keys let you make shutter- and aperture-priority adjustments. In full manual mode, the EV button toggles between shutter speed (15 seconds to 1/2,000 second) and f-stop (f/2.6 to f/8) control. The 35mm-to-140mm (35mm-camera equivalent) zoom lens focuses to as close as 2 inches using lamp-assisted and one- or nine-point autofocus or manual focus. Finally, you can shoot movies at a maximum of 640x480 pixels at 30fps. page 1

Solid image quality, usable ISO 800 performance, and a full set of manual controls make the Canon PowerShot A540 an excellent choice for photo enthusiasts looking for an almost-pocketable second camera, or for budding photographers who aren't ready to move up to a superzoom EVF model or digital SLR. Only a flash that's slow to recycle lessens the appeal of this camera's 4X zoom lens, 6-megapixel resolution, and otherwise excellent performance. There are even more than a dozen scene modes for those times when you're tempted to switch on the autopilot. The A540 is a more full-featured, less compact alternative to the spritely PowerShot SD600, though its position in the A series between the very similar 5-megapixel A530 and the 6-megapixel A700 seems to exist solely to fill the price gap between the two. At 3.6 by 2.5 by 1.7 inches and 7.8 ounces when loaded with an SD memory card and a pair of AA batteries, this camera feels relatively lightweight and fits comfortably in your hand. You zoom via a jog dial that's concentric with the shutter button. Rotating the dial is easier when shooting with two hands; still, one-handed shooting is entirely practical. The coarse, 85,000-pixel, 2.5-inch LCD tends to wash completely out in direct sunlight, but you can always use the bright optical viewfinder instead. Canon's usual A-series mode dial sits atop the camera and, like the conveniently arranged array of buttons on the camera back, can be operated with your right thumb. Together, these controls make the A540 responsive and easy to navigate. For example, you can spin the mode dial to switch between auto, programmed, manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority, plus scene modes including Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Stitch Assist, and Movie. Another 10 scene modes are available at the SCN notch on the dial. Beginners and less experienced shooters will likely opt for program autoexposure, switch to full auto, or choose one of the scene modes. Metering options include evaluative, center-weighted, or spot. When in a shooting mode other than auto, manual, or movie, the trash/EV button adjusts exposure to plus or minus 2EV in 1/3EV increments. It's accompanied by a print-sharing button and a Disp key that varies the amount of information displayed on the LCD. Up and down keys toggle flash and macro focus modes, respectively. Other setup and shooting functions are logically divided among menus accessed through the menu and function/set buttons. Intermediate and advanced shooters will love Canon's user-friendly exposure controls. Left/right cursor keys let you make shutter- and aperture-priority adjustments. In full manual mode, the EV button toggles between shutter speed (15 seconds to 1/2,000 second) and f-stop (f/2.6 to f/8) control. The 35mm-to-140mm (35mm-camera equivalent) zoom lens focuses to as close as 2 inches using lamp-assisted and one- or nine-point autofocus or manual focus. Finally, you can shoot movies at a maximum of 640x480 pixels at 30fps. Solid image quality, usable ISO 800 performance, and a full set of manual controls make the Canon PowerShot A540 an excellent choice for photo enthusiasts looking for an almost-pocketable second camera, or for budding photographers who aren't ready to move up to a superzoom EVF model or digital SLR. Only a flash that's slow to recycle lessens the appeal of this camera's 4X zoom lens, 6-megapixel resolution, and otherwise excellent performance. There are even more than a dozen scene modes for those times when you're tempted to switch on the autopilot. The A540 is a more full-featured, less compact alternative to the spritely PowerShot SD600, though its position in the A series between the very similar 5-megapixel A530 and the 6-megapixel A700 seems to exist solely to fill the price gap between the two. At 3.6 by 2.5 by 1.7 inches and 7.8 ounces when loaded with an SD memory card and a pair of AA batteries, this camera feels relatively lightweight and fits comfortably in your hand. You zoom via a jog dial that's concentric with the shutter button. Rotating the dial is easier when shooting with two hands; still, one-handed shooting is entirely practical. The coarse, 85,000-pixel, 2.5-inch LCD tends to wash completely out in direct sunlight, but you can always use the bright optical viewfinder instead. Canon's usual A-series mode dial sits atop the camera and, like the conveniently arranged array of buttons on the camera back, can be operated with your right thumb. Together, these controls make the A540 responsive and easy to navigate. For example, you can spin the mode dial to switch between auto, programmed, manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority, plus scene modes including Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Stitch Assist, and Movie. Another 10 scene modes are available at the SCN notch on the dial. Beginners and less experienced shooters will likely opt for program autoexposure, switch to full auto, or choose one of the scene modes. Metering options include evaluative, center-weighted, or spot. When in a shooting mode other than auto, manual, or movie, the trash/EV button adjusts exposure to plus or minus 2EV in 1/3EV increments. It's accompanied by a print-sharing button and a Disp key that varies the amount of information displayed on the LCD. Up and down keys toggle flash and macro focus modes, respectively. Other setup and shooting functions are logically divided among menus accessed through the menu and function/set buttons. Intermediate and advanced shooters will love Canon's user-friendly exposure controls. Left/right cursor keys let you make shutter- and aperture-priority adjustments. In full manual mode, the EV button toggles between shutter speed (15 seconds to 1/2,000 second) and f-stop (f/2.6 to f/8) control. The 35mm-to-140mm (35mm-camera equivalent) zoom lens focuses to as close as 2 inches using lamp-assisted and one- or nine-point autofocus or manual focus. Finally, you can shoot movies at a maximum of 640x480 pixels at 30fps. Solid image quality, usable ISO 800 performance, and a full set of manual controls make the Canon PowerShot A540 an excellent choice for photo enthusiasts looking for an almost-pocketable second camera, or for budding photographers who aren't ready to move up to a superzoom EVF model or digital SLR. Only a flash that's slow to recycle lessens the appeal of this camera's 4X zoom lens, 6-megapixel resolution, and otherwise excellent performance. There are even more than a dozen scene modes for those times when you're tempted to switch on the autopilot. The A540 is a more full-featured, less compact alternative to the spritely PowerShot SD600, though its position in the A series between the very similar 5-megapixel A530 and the 6-megapixel A700 seems to exist solely to fill the price gap between the two. At 3.6 by 2.5 by 1.7 inches and 7.8 ounces when loaded with an SD memory card and a pair of AA batteries, this camera feels relatively lightweight and fits comfortably in your hand. You zoom via a jog dial that's concentric with the shutter button. Rotating the dial is easier when shooting with two hands; still, one-handed shooting is entirely practical. The coarse, 85,000-pixel, 2.5-inch LCD tends to wash completely out in direct sunlight, but you can always use the bright optical viewfinder instead. Canon's usual A-series mode dial sits atop the camera and, like the conveniently arranged array of buttons on the camera back, can be operated with your right thumb. Together, these controls make the A540 responsive and easy to navigate. For example, you can spin the mode dial to switch between auto, programmed, manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority, plus scene modes including Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Stitch Assist, and Movie. Another 10 scene modes are available at the SCN notch on the dial. Beginners and less experienced shooters will likely opt for program autoexposure, switch to full auto, or choose one of the scene modes. Metering options include evaluative, center-weighted, or spot. When in a shooting mode other than auto, manual, or movie, the trash/EV button adjusts exposure to plus or minus 2EV in 1/3EV increments. It's accompanied by a print-sharing button and a Disp key that varies the amount of information displayed on the LCD. Up and down keys toggle flash and macro focus modes, respectively. Other setup and shooting functions are logically divided among menus accessed through the menu and function/set buttons. Intermediate and advanced shooters will love Canon's user-friendly exposure controls. Left/right cursor keys let you make shutter- and aperture-priority adjustments. In full manual mode, the EV button toggles between shutter speed (15 seconds to 1/2,000 second) and f-stop (f/2.6 to f/8) control. The 35mm-to-140mm (35mm-camera equivalent) zoom lens focuses to as close as 2 inches using lamp-assisted and one- or nine-point autofocus or manual focus. Finally, you can shoot movies at a maximum of 640x480 pixels at 30fps. Solid image quality, usable ISO 800 performance, and a full set of manual controls make the Canon PowerShot A540 an excellent choice for photo enthusiasts looking for an almost-pocketable second camera, or for budding photographers who aren't ready to move up to a superzoom EVF model or digital SLR. Only a flash that's slow to recycle lessens the appeal of this camera's 4X zoom lens, 6-megapixel resolution, and otherwise excellent performance. There are even more than a dozen scene modes for those times when you're tempted to switch on the autopilot. The A540 is a more full-featured, less compact alternative to the spritely PowerShot SD600, though its position in the A series between the very similar 5-megapixel A530 and the 6-megapixel A700 seems to exist solely to fill the price gap between the two. At 3.6 by 2.5 by 1.7 inches and 7.8 ounces when loaded with an SD memory card and a pair of AA batteries, this camera feels relatively lightweight and fits comfortably in your hand. You zoom via a jog dial that's concentric with the shutter button. Rotating the dial is easier when shooting with two hands; still, one-handed shooting is entirely practical. The coarse, 85,000-pixel, 2.5-inch LCD tends to wash completely out in direct sunlight, but you can always use the bright optical viewfinder instead. Canon's usual A-series mode dial sits atop the camera and, like the conveniently arranged array of buttons on the camera back, can be operated with your right thumb. Together, these controls make the A540 responsive and easy to navigate. For example, you can spin the mode dial to switch between auto, programmed, manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority, plus scene modes including Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Stitch Assist, and Movie. Another 10 scene modes are available at the SCN notch on the dial. Beginners and less experienced shooters will likely opt for program autoexposure, switch to full auto, or choose one of the scene modes. Metering options include evaluative, center-weighted, or spot. When in a shooting mode other than auto, manual, or movie, the trash/EV button adjusts exposure to plus or minus 2EV in 1/3EV increments. It's accompanied by a print-sharing button and a Disp key that varies the amount of information displayed on the LCD. Up and down keys toggle flash and macro focus modes, respectively. Other setup and shooting functions are logically divided among menus accessed through the menu and function/set buttons. Intermediate and advanced shooters will love Canon's user-friendly exposure controls. Left/right cursor keys let you make shutter- and aperture-priority adjustments. In full manual mode, the EV button toggles between shutter speed (15 seconds to 1/2,000 second) and f-stop (f/2.6 to f/8) control. The 35mm-to-140mm (35mm-camera equivalent) zoom lens focuses to as close as 2 inches using lamp-assisted and one- or nine-point autofocus or manual focus. Finally, you can shoot movies at a maximum of 640x480 pixels at 30fps.

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