552 of 603 people found the following review helpful
Nice features but way too much noise,
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This review is from: Canon PowerShot A590IS 8MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Electronics)
I bought the A590 as a camera to keep with me in the book bag/briefcase that I carry around most every weekday. You may recall the old saying that the camera you have with you (when you see a photo op) is your best camera. The A590 fills that role by virtue of its small size combined with full exposure control. The big problem is that the noise generated by putting 8 mpix on a tiny (1/2.5) sensor chip can overwhelm the image and render detail moot.
I use Imagenomic NoiseWare combined with Photoshop Elements to reduce noise and sharpen the image as best I can. If possible I shoot at the lowest ISO setting, 80, which lowers the noise. I never go over ISO 100 if I can help it, and usually at -2/3 on the exposure control. It's much better to have the photo-editing software brighten up the image than the amplifier boosting the signal (and noise) from the sensor. When you play back the image on the camera's LCD, it should look a little dark -- never overly bright (which can also blow out details).
Here are two other items about the Canon A-series cameras. My 15 year old son uses a Canon A720 for what are essentially snapshots and is very happy with it. If you don't crop substantially and aren't too picky about sharpness and noise, the camera is quite capable. From what I can tell, the A720 uses the same electronics (including the sensor and image stabilization) as the A590. The A720 has greater zoom capabilities (and hence a different lens system) and is a little bit larger and heavier. If I were going to get just one of these, I would go for the A720 because of the zoom.
The second point is that the other camera I frequently use is a Canon A650, and it is far more capable than either the A590 or A720. The A650 has 12 mpix on a larger sensor (1/1.7). Comparing sensor sizes (available at [...]) and mpix shows that the A650's sensor has 1.75 times the area as those of the A590 and A720 with only 1.5 times the pix -- hence pix density is lower and the noise generated by the A650 is much better controlled. And because there are more pix, the noise gets smoothed over as a result of more little points covering the same area in the image. (FYI: Greater pix density on a sensor chip creates more noise.)
I did a noise and sharpness test with all three of these cameras plus my Nikon D40 DSLR. I set two shoes, one black and one brown (the latter with lots of texture) on a rug, just beside a sunlit spot inside my house. The shoes were well lit but not in direct sun. I shot all of the cameras at 200 ISO (because that is as low as the Nikon would go) and f/5.6, with the exposure control at -2/3 of an f/stop.
The results surprised me. For whatever reason, and despite several tries, I could not get the Nikon to focus adequately on the shoes -- this from a distance of about four feet. I know from experience that the Nikon D40, with 6 mpix on a 2/3 sensor (2/3 the size of a standard 35mm film frame) has extremely well controlled noise and excellent sharpness, but the inability to focus here took it out of the comparison.
The superiority of the A650 to the A590 and A720 was startling. Keep in mind that I "zoomed" in on the images in Photoshop after I had transferred them to my 24" iMac (a great computer for photo editing). This made different sections of the shoes appear much larger (the laces were really telling), and the 12 mpix A650 (vs. 8 mpix of the others) had more pixes to work with for any particular area I looked at. Nonetheless, the other two cameras had so much noise that the details were overwhelmed and no amount of noise reduction and sharpening could change that. The A650's image was far sharper and clearer.
The A650 has one other big advantage so far as I'm concerned and one drawback. The advantage is the articulating LCD, which I find extremely useful for many shots. Yesterday, I had to lay down on the cold, damp ground to get a shot with the A590, but with the A650 I would have put the camera at foot level and looked down into the cocked LCD. That is really nice, almost addicting. However, the A650's drawback is that it's bulky and surprisingly heavy, which is why I don't carry it along all the time.
So you pay your money and take your choice -- or, like me, pay your money twice and have it both ways. Remember, the camera that you have with you is the best camera you own -- so think about what size and type of camera you want to carry plus when and how you will use it. For some people, that means owning more than one camera.
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Showing 1-10 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 5, 2008 4:54:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2008 5:32:53 PM PDT
White Lotus says:
Ever heard of Manual focus on the D40?
The Canon A650 is going for (as I type this) $298 on Amazon. The A590IS is being offered for $153 on Amazon. You're comparing two cameras in very different price brackets. Since the A650 is almost twice as much I would expect it to produce a better image.
Posted on Apr 8, 2008 8:32:48 PM PDT
the engineer-historian says:
I didn't do the manual focus on the Nikon because I thought the problem was a fluke the first time, and after the second it didn't seem worth the effort. The main purpose of my little venture was to compare the three Canon A cameras against each other. I definitely agree that it is unfair to compare one camera -- the A650 -- that sells for about twice another -- the A590. The point really was to see what extra performance the A650 had to offer and then to share that with interested people. I have nothing bad to say about the A590 or the A720, just so long as you know what their limitations are. Either camera will give you excellent results as either point-and-shoot or using limited manual control in well lit conditions at low ISO numbers, so long as you don't intend to crop too much out before you blow up the result.
So, if your demands aren't terribly high, go for the A590 or A720. I use my A590 often -- I took three shots with it this afternoon, and one of them is a real "keeper."
Posted on Apr 8, 2008 10:59:10 PM PDT
White Lotus says:
It's true that the noise generated by putting 8 mpix on a tiny (1/2.5) sensor chip can overwhelm the image and render detail moot. However that doesn't happen with this camera according to other review like DPReview or Steve's Digicam. I haven't seen anyone complain about lack of detail with this camera. I believe when compared side by side with the A570IS (the predecessor to the A590IS) they said there was more noise but it was so minimal it wasn't really a con.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2008 2:44:49 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 15, 2008 5:59:33 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2008 11:13:45 AM PDT
Cugel the Clever says:
Well, the OP said that he consistently, intentionally underexposes by 2/3 of a stop. I suspect this is the culprit. I don't know where he got the idea that this would help with noise-- it is a terrible idea from that perspective.
Posted on Jun 2, 2008 11:29:28 AM PDT
Wilfred Oslow says:
Would you recommend the 570 over the 590? It has 1 less megapixel and I'm wondering if it's possible that could result in images with less noise- given they both have the same sensory sizes.
Posted on Jul 16, 2008 7:06:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 16, 2008 7:08:54 PM PDT
G. Kalbrunner says:
Underexposing a picture will cause noise in the picture, particularly in the shadow areas. This is true even for a high end dlsr. By intentionally underexposing by 2/3 stop he is causing excess noise to be introduced. His test is no good due to the intentional underexposure. This is a fact. Google any reputable photo site about noise and underexposure and see for yourself.......
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2008 3:46:44 AM PDT
Kenneth W. Hirsch says:
Possibly the underexposing procedure was a holdover from film days when we did so to minimize light scatter within film and rely on the bare minimum of pixels exposed to retain the thinnest, just sufficient image?
Posted on Sep 13, 2008 1:55:55 AM PDT
Are you guys listening to yourselves? It's a $129 camera for heaven's sake. Do you REALLY think those of us who only want a point and shoot to "point and shoot" care about NOISE. Most of your readers want to know how the camera compares to POINT AND SHOOT camera's while you all go around a discussion between yourselves about NOISE. Most of us see our pics as GREAT, OK & CRAPPY! Does this camera "USUALLY" take GREAT, OK or CRAPPY pics.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2008 3:17:53 AM PDT
Beryl Therov says:
People read these reviews because they want to be *informed* consumers, so gathering as much detail about the product from people who've used it helps them make the right kind of purchasing decision for their own needs.
People will take what information they need from reviews (and their resulting discussions) and discard what they don't, so it's better to have a lot of information to work with than too little.
Maybe image noise may not be important and a big deal for *you* but everyone's requirements and standards are different. It's pretty narrow-minded to believe that because you consider these details to be unimportant for you and some, that they're unimportant for everyone else.
This reviewer took the time and effort to perform his tests and that resulted in a review that generated discussion which revealed more interesting facts. I.e. One cause of noise in digital photography, intentional underexposure and why it's done and why it may have invalidated this test, etc...
This review/discussion is actually more useful than a whole lot of others that tend to get posted on Amazon.