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on October 18, 2007
Although my "big" camera is a Canon, I went through several cameras before finding this wonderful gem. I was very fond of my seriously outdated Nikon Coolpix, so I tried a new one - every shot was blurry, and I have a very steady hand (years of taking low-light and no-flash shots). I moved on to a Panasonic due to the many features, including awesome 6x zoom and a very handy "backlight" option. But the noise, even on as little as ISO 200, was unacceptable. Took a shot at the GE850 with even more features, but found a harsh flash and odd color.

Exasperated with the point-and-shoot market, I finally returned to Canon and decided on the 560. I couldn't be happier! It may not have the highest optical zoom, or the most formats (it makes up for the lack of 3:2 with an overlay that allows you to compose a shot within a 3:2 grid, excellent!), or the most modes (although several of the modes on other brands are so specialized - silly even - that they are worthless). But it has what counts - the most-used settings up front on the dial, excellent color representation, the least flash-fallout of any I tried, and exceptional quality even without image stabilization. And unlike the GE, the face recognition works on pets :) This camera does have a Manual setting that allows customized white balance, metering, color options, and exposure compensation.

I will not be trading this one in!
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on August 29, 2007
I've had various point and shoots over the last 5 years (mostly Canon and Olympus). After selling my old Olympus SP-350 - I purchased a Canon Rebel XT (DSLR). However, I do a lot of family shoots (birthdays, events, etc...) and didn't want to lug a DSLR around just to take some shots for the grandparents. So I got this little camera. So far, I am *VERY* impressed with it. The Canon A560 takes amazing photos and the number of features are crazy (compared to my past Point and Shoots). Like any other P&S it is a little slow when using the flash - but a LOT faster than my previous P&S. I have taken over 50 photos (about 4 hours worth) and I'm on the original AA batteries that came with the camera!!! My old P&S would suck up 4 AAs (The A560 uses 2 AAs) in less than an hour of shooting. The LCD screen is HUGE. This camera is definitely a keeper. Would recommend this to anyone.

My sister bought this exact camera and loves it.
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on December 2, 2007
This camera is a good compromise in price between the next level up and the lowest level of camera. However, the imaging chip is the same 1/2.5 CCD as can be found in any other comparable camera. The main difference is apparently in the DIGIC III chip, which processes the images to make them look good. Canon has a reputation for solid photography, so I chose this camera to take good photos without having to think a lot about them.

Image Quality: Good

This camera, in the ISO 80 and 100 range, takes great photos. In daylight and bright indoor light, it's nice. At ISO 200, some noise pops up and that's due to the tiny image sensor. ISO 400 and above are super noisy. All in all, a decent performance. However, the color misses a bit of saturation and this can easily be fixed by post-processing.

Build Quality:

Cheap and plasticky. The zoom rocker is hard to control in fine steps. The buttons are well-placed and easy to push.

Hand Feel:

This camera is a delight to hold, even for people with larger hands. It has the battery compartment on the right side, so you can really get a hand on it. Wonderful!

Convenience:

100% awesome. It uses cheap SD cards and AA batteries. This means that you will ALWAYS be able to find batteries in a pinch. The importance of this cannot be underestimated! You can also get a cheap set of AA Ni-MH batteries and carry a spare set just in case. The battery life is great. Where this camera falls a little short is in the case department. The grip is nice for the hand, but this won't fit slimline bags, at all!

Big Flaws:

The camera's BIGGEST flaw and the major reason for losing 2 stars. The screen quality has to be seen to be believed. You won't believe that it can be as low in sharpness and color as it is! The screen is almost useless in composing photos, especially since it washes out in bright light with purple vertical bars on the highlight parts. It's not sharp enough to show you whether something is perfectly in focus, so you have to trust the camera. It's not viewable in sunlight, at all. Big minuses to Canon for cutting corners on the most CRITICAL part of the camera! This screen just doesn't have enough pixels to show the detail from the imaging chip!

Another huge flaw is the softness in the zoom lens at 4x. I turned off digital zoom and took some shots at max zoom. It looked like I had a thin layer of grease on the lens! The blurriness is not acceptable for my photos, so I had to keep myself to about 2.5 to 3x zoom, only.

The movie mode is OK, but doesn't seem as smooth as offerings from other manufacturers. The "smooth" movie mode takes a tiny (320x240) movie at 60fps, but the playback just makes it look like an old silent movie with the unusual speed.

This could have been a 5-star camera with just 100000 more pixels in the LCD screen. As it is, now, this is just an average camera, but should serve well as a pocket or everyday camera.
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on July 16, 2007
I bought this camera as a birthday present for my wife. She wanted a point-and-shoot digital camera, and the A560 fit the bill.

The good: Big screen -- it's huge compared to many, and very clear. It's easy to use -- easy to use and understand controls, the zoom is in a great place, and the camera is shaped such that it was easy to hold and shoot. It takes 2 "AA" batteries, which is great since they're available everywhere in a pinch, and rechargeable batteries are cheap. Most importantly, the pictures look great.

The downsides: The camera's battery life is okay, but not outstanding, which is probably to be expected in AA batteries. The camera does not come with a case, though Amazon will sell you a Canon case (which I bought) for under $10 at the time of writing. It comes with a memory card, but it's so small that I think they shouldn't bother. In low light, it was pretty slow to autofocus. Once I learn more about the camera, I may be able to get around this. The only average battery life and included accessories (or lack thereof) kept it from getting 5 stars. Both are easy to remedy -- carry spare batteries if you're doing heavy shooting, and buy a case and card(s).

As an aside, while the camera comes with a CD for Windows and Mac, it's not necessary to install the software. I use Debian Linux at home, and even though it's not listed as supported in the manual, I had no trouble retrieving pictures from the camera.

I would definitely buy this again.
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on August 19, 2007
Kind of difficult to review a point and shoot when my main camera is an Eos 30D. Still, this bulky, clunky thing does a good job as the vacation/backup camera.

I had a little Nikon 6MP that I hated even worse than my ex-wife - still, it was faster and better then the Canon alternative, given this was two years ago. That camera was stolen off the dock while we were fishing with the kids, and as pissed as I was I have to admit I couldn't wait to start pressing buttons on new cameras.

I don't know why this particular camera won me over - there are a dozen others out there that seem just as good - but it got me. Price, maybe. The face focus feature actually seems to work, even on my cats and my dog. And it recovers fairly fast between shots with the flash off, and not too bad with it on - about 6 seconds. Multi-frame shooting seems to yield about 2 FPS or so, which I like. Auto orientation is a cool feature too.

It's FINALLY quick enough for kids. I've written reams of letters to Canon and Nikon, chastising them for the crap electronics the shoved into older cameras and lag times of up to a second from the press of the button to shutter release. Older cameras were criminally foul in this regard. Parents everywhere have suffered through this lunacy with shot after shot of a blurry ear, just seconds after what could have been the best photo ever, because older cameras were pieces of electronic dog crap.

Maybe that's what sold me here: I chased my son around the store and kept getting good shots. The camera recovered, balanced the shot for fluorescent lighting, framed his face with the Face detection feature, and I'd press the button: "click" Shutter lag? What shutter lag? Shot after shot. Slam dunk, for me.

On the other side, it's a pig. Big, bulky, not heavy but a fistful. For me, though, that's not a serious negative - it makes the camera much easier to hold, even if it's harder to carry. Battery life seems pretty good - the thing does so well in low light that the batteries last a lot longer than that old Nikon, which sucked batteries dry in minutes.

The pics? Well, what can you say? 7.1 megapixels aren't worth squat unless the sensor is built tight and the images are collected with good color, focus, and clarity. Overall I'd say it's a vast improvement over cameras just a year old - different modes do things to the colors and focus, but it gathers everything in sharp detail. I haven't shot it side by side with a Nikon or other, and it can't touch the 30D, but it takes very, very good photos.

I've read too many reviews which are based upon this sort of one-sided take - "I bought it, I like it, so everything else must suck." Seeing as how I bought this before serious side-by-side testing, I can't offer comparisons, but for a father of five who has about ten thousand shots of the back of my kids' heads, this bulky, ugly camera is a revelation.
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on July 19, 2007
My Panasonic Lumix died on vacation, I needed a small camera that took an SD card and either the same battery as the Lumix or AA batteries. I took it out of the box and went hiking and was impressed by the ease of use and the AWESOME macros it took. The only drawback is that it does not have Image Stabilization which is makes for a few fuzzy photos when zooming in of a moving thing like an eagle flying or waterfall at a distance...you have to be VERY steady or use a tripod for those shots. All-in-all, I would NOT go back to the Lumix because it had no viewfinder and in full sun you could not see what you were shooting and it had issues with darkness like in museums (exposure issue). I would recommend this camera to the individual looking for a small size, easy-to-use general user who takes a lot of people photos because of the "face recognition" feature to aid in focusing. It is best at macros, absolutely top notch for the person who wants to take photos of flowers or bugs or tiny things. It gives photos a yellow/orange tinge at night indoors under low incandescent lighting which can be adjusted with software. I have looked many months before for a camera and have not found a digital camera that is a better value than the Canon PowerShot a560 camera for the general purpose user that uses SD cards. It is quick to take the shot and with a high quality (fast) SD card, it writes to disk quickly (meaning you press the button and you will not likely miss the shot if you've got a steady hand). For sports shots or moving subjects, I might recommend a camera with a sports shot mode to freeze the subject and with Image Stabilization.
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on June 14, 2007
I finally bought this camera after doing quite a bit of research. I'm not a pro when it comes to photography, so I didn't need one of those expensive cameras with tons of options. I was merely looking for something that had decent options in terms of settings, high mega-pixels and was compact enough to carry around without having to strap it on your shoulder. Needless to say, this camera fit the bill perfectly. Adding a 2gb card to it gives me about 650 photos on the highest settings. The photo quality is just perfect for my non-professional eye, and I have yet to hear anyone say a negative word about the quality of the shots I've taken. It has enough preset options to take great photos in almost any setting, while also allowing for you to manually set the options for your shots. I was also surprised to see just how nice the videos turned out. Not camcorder quality, but for capturing a few minutes here and a few minutes there, it's more than sufficient. Loading to the computer was also a snap with or without removing the card.

Since owning this camera I've recommended it to every one that's been in the market for an upgrade from their cameras of lesser MP's. For the price you can't beat the A560. I'm looking forward to capturing a ton of memories for years to come.
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on August 10, 2007
I LOVE this Camera. I bought it to use on my recent road trip to Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The camera took great photos, even the ones when we were riding down the road at 65-70mph. They were not blurred. I bought a 2 GB. chip for it, so even on the 7.1 setting I could still take over 1000 photos. It was nice to have the 4x zoom lens, that can actually go up to 16x.
Before the road trip, I took this to a ballgame, and was able to get better and closer shots of the players at bat, than my friends 35mm camera with a zoom lens.
I am very satisfied with this camera. And you can't beat the price.
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on July 1, 2007
I got this camera a few days ago and have been taking pictures of everything! This camera isn't packed with a lot of features, but the options it does offer are very nice. This camera is so easy to use, and you don't have to go through a million menus to get what you want. You can change the colors (from normal) to black and white, sepia, vivid, or custom color (lets you change the contrast, sharpness, ect.). You can also specify what kind of lighting you are in and it adjusts colors accordingly so the picture doesn't look strange. My favorite though is the Macro setting. This feature lets you take really close up pictures, and they look gorgeous! I've taken numerous pictures of beautiful flowers in my yard, and the pictures turn out even better than I thought they would. Also, when I hold this camera, it doesn't feel like it will slip out of my hand. It's small, but not too small. And not too slim either. Many of my pictures would have turned out much more blurry if I felt like I couldn't really hold onto the camera. Finally, it's very very easy to upload pictures using the software and cord they give you. The software installs quick and easy, and with one click you can have all your pictures you've taken. I would recommend this camera to just about anyone, especially people who are beginners in photography or who just want to take great pictures on a vacation.
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on October 10, 2007
OK, I'm married to an electronic engineer camera geek. He has more cameras than anyone should, and I'm not allowed to touch them. Taking pictures is a major operation for him, but he loves it. I bought this for myself, so that I would have a point and shoot camera in my handbag, ready to use. When it arrived, I thought I was going to lose it to him. He was fascinated by the quality and the ease of use. I like the viewfinder, which is clearer than his fancy camera's. This camera is smarter than I am, and the pictures are very sharp. The low price + free shipping and no tax was super. This is a wonderful all-around everyday use camera for anybody except a camera snob like my husband.
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