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on March 5, 2008
I own a DSLR and consider myself a photography enthusiast. I wanted a small compact camera with me when I don't want to lug around my DSLR + lenses and equipment. After a previous good experience with the Canon A720 IS, the new A590 IS seemed like a good choice. Since I'm an advanced photographer, I'll focus on the advanced features of this camera. The auto modes work as well as any other camera in its class, but the extensive manual features is what sets apart the Canon A series. What I like about the camera:

+ Compact, stylish. It's smaller than older A Powershots, and the dark grey color gives it a seriousness compared to the typical bright silver finish.

+ Image stabilization works very well, it allows me to take blur-free photos 2-3 stops below the recommended shutter speed, that means at 35-50mm f2.8 1/10 sec shots are CONSISTENTLY possible indoors without using flash.

+ Good image quality. Expected from Canon, but even better is adjustable contrast, saturation, and sharpness settings, along with the typical JPG compression and resolution sizes.

+ Fast and responsive. I was surprised how responsive this camera is even compared with my DSLR. Shutter lag is very low for a compact digicam, and when I pre-focus with manual focus, it's even faster.

+ Manual modes. Aperture priority and shutter priority are great, the M mode is even better than other A Powershots such as the A720 because now there's a light meter on the right side that adjusts live based on what the camera thinks is the optimal exposure setting. And you can adjust aperture/shutter speed and see how it affects the final exposure. Ideally a live histogram would be even better, but this is very handy.

+ Manual focus. Although the LCD resolution is not good enough, even with the point zoom option, manual focus helps in close-up work and pre-focusing for action or creative photography.

+ Manual flash modes. In addition to automatic flash. The manual flash allows me to adjust the flash power in 3 levels, and prevents a pre-flash. This last part is important for using a remote optical slave flash. I can basically take professional looking studio pictures with this camera with my external flash equipment.

+ Optical viewfinder. I don't use this much yet, but can come in handy in bright sunlight conditions, or when battery conservation is needed.

+ Battery performance seems improved over previous A powershots too. The official specs give it 220 shots on regular alkalines and 500 on rechargeable NiMHs. Good news is they use common AA batteries that you can buy anywhere instead of proprietary models with specific chargers.

Now the negatives. I hope Canon can improve these aspects in their future models.

- Slow flash recycle times. This is to be expected from a camera that takes AA batteries. Would be nice if the LCD didn't blank out after a full flash discharge. Not a big deal since I use an external flash anyway, and the camera's flash is manually set to medium output as trigger (so recharge is faster). I would not want to give up the AA battery convenience for a faster flash recycle time though.

- Higher resolution LCD. The 2.5" 115k resolution LCD is ok for framing and casual browsing, but higher resolution would be nice.

-Live histogram while shooting. This feature is available when reviewing a photo, but not live. Other manufacturers have implemented this, and Canon should also, especially since the unofficial CHDK software mod allows such a feature.

- Larger aperture would be nice. Such as f/2.0 (instead of f/2.6) at the wide end, and f/4.0 (instead of f/5.5) at the telephoto end. That way a lower (& less noisy) ISO can be used in dim conditions or when fast shutter speeds are needed to freeze action. All the electronics in the world can't replace a good large lens. Also allows more creative depth of field control.

- A wider wideangle would be nice, 28mm instead of 35mm (35mm equiv). I'd rather see a wider wideangle than a longer zoom.

- Video feature is not ideal. Optical zoom is not available during recording of video. And the more efficient MPEG4 compression is not used, so video files tend to be large. Also noticed at 640x480 resolution, the highest fps is now 20 instead of 30 from other A models. A definite step backwards.

- Noise at higher ISOs. This is due to the smaller sensor on compact cameras. But 8 MP is probably the most pixels that can be crammed into a small 1/2.5" sensor. I'd rather have a cleaner picture at 6-7 MP than a noisy 8 MP picture. And if in-camera noise reduction is used, I'd like to see an adjustable setting for how much is being applied.

- And if I were to be really critical: There's no indicator of what optical zoom level I'm at. Slight image noise is noticeable even at ISO 80 when I zoom in really close on a monitor view. When at the widest angle & aperture, there's slight barrel distortion and blurriness on the corners. Not many compact cameras can do better in terms of image quality, but I'm pointing them out here because even though this camera beats most of the competition, it still has room for improvement.

So overall it's a great camera for the price. Offering great image quality with the auto settings for the casual user, but also a powerful set of features for the more advanced photographer.
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VINE VOICEon March 10, 2008
These PowerShot "A" cameras are Canon's attempt to deliver the quality and features of its more expensive PowerShot "G" and PowerShot Pro "S" lines (such as full zoom lenses) at a budget price. The results are pretty good. (How do I know? Because I've actually gotten to use all of these cameras. I earn my living at Walt Disney World writing a travel guide, and nearly every day guests ask me to take photos of them with their own cameras, which most often are Canon PowerShots.)

Here's my opinion of the top-selling "A" series cameras:

A580. This 2008 model is an A590IS (see below) without image stabilization and with semi-automatic instead of manual controls. I'd spend the extra bucks for the A590IS, because those two features can make quite a difference.

A650 IS. You can do a lot with this sweet little camera, though it may be more than you need. It has a flip-out LCD panel and the option of manual controls. The shots I've seen from this model look great. Keep your ISO under 800 and you won't get any noise.

A720 IS. This fully-loaded 2007 model has all the toys, including a 6x zoom (35mm film equivalent of 35-210mm), image stabilization, adjustable flash power and optional second-curtain flash. This last feature means you can make the flash fire at the end of a long exposure, instead of the beginning, so moving subjects streak into focus instead of out.

A470. This 2008 camera is great for kids or anyone just looking for a good basic camera. It includes Canon's face detection technology and has a zoom lens, 14 shooting modes and the ability to set exposure compensation, ISO and white balance manually. Plus it looks great, and is a good bargain.

Finally, the A590IS (the camera on this page) is a 2008 upgrade to an older model, the A570IS. The face detection system works a little better than the one on its predecessor, and the new model is slightly rounder and easier to grip. I personally like that it has automatic and manual controls, though I haven't seen anyone using the manual set yet. Overall this camera is a fine performer, a great bargain and I think the best buy of the bunch. I bought one for myself.
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on October 27, 2014
I love my Canon PowerShot A590IS 8MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom. I love the pictures I have taken. It has done absolutely incredible close up shots of flower blooms with crystal clear rain drops on the blooms, along with awesome waves breaking using the zoom to bring them in closer. The waves were beautifully crisp and sharp at full zoom. The best ocean shots I have ever had. I have pictures of the kids playing soccer and it is able to catch the players and ball crisp and clear with no blur in the action. And portrait close ups that are wonderful. I have no complaints at all in each of the settings and have been completely happy with it. I use it for my most important pictures while most of my friends have switched over to their cell phone cameras. I am much happier with the quality of the pictures of this camera than with my Samsung Galaxy S3 which is known for its great camera.I have been using this camera for several years now and highly recommend it. It is also very easy to learn to use, and has the options of several pre-settings and also you can use your own settings.
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on June 2, 2008
I have had this camera a little less than a month and have already taken 1200 pictures on it! 1089 of these were on on a trip to Alaska, while the rest were "practice" shots to become familiar with the camera. I am very impressed with the results as the beauty of our trip comes through perfectly in the photos.

I bought this camera as a backup to my aging Canon S2IS with its 12X zoom, just in case it decided to quit during the trip. The S2 survived and was used almost as much as the 590 - just the opposite of what I expected. The size and convenience of the larger LCD screen on the 590 quickly made it a favorite of mine, and my wife's. Because the Canon controls were very similar on both cameras, it was easy to learn, and switch between cameras. The newer Zoom Browser software is better than the S2's, but similar and was easy to learn.

I have not figured out how to disable the flash on the Auto setting, other than after I turn the camera on. The camera takes great shots inside with some light, and the flash washes some of these out, if used. I feel the default setting should be "Off" for the flash, even in the Auto setting, but can understand why it is "On". I just have to remember to turn the flash off whenever I turn the 590 on.

The only complaint I had of the 590 was the slowness of taking a picture. However, I discovered in my haste to get a new memory card before the trip, I had picked up an SD card, rather than an SDHC card. I feel the new SDHC card I ordered will solve that problem.

I used the Landscape setting for many shots of Mt. McKinley, Denali, glaciers, and others with great results.

Thanks to Amazon and the reviews submitted by other 590 owners, I am really enjoying this PowerShot and the unbelievable beauty of Alaska that it captured!
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on July 20, 2008
The A590IS is the 8-MP sibling of the 7-Megapixel 570IS. I've played with both, and at an almost equal price, the 590 is the way to go.

- "Automatic" mode makes it easy as pie for point-and-shoot. Photo novices will find the Automatic -- and above that, Easy -- modes a welcome way to "just take the picture already!". The auto-focus, facial recognition, and adjustment features all respond quickly at half-depress... lining up a great shot is simple and quick.
- "Manual" mode gives you reign over everything about the photo, from the white balance, to the aperture, flash output, and even the part of the screen it uses to calculate gamma compensation. When you've got time to make the picture turn out just right, this little camera won't disappoint.
- The lens isn't half bad either, giving you focus-adjustment down to 2 inches from the end of the lens, and incremental up to 10 feet.

As with most new Digital Cameras, the viewfinder has been long-since replaced by the back LCD, which provides a helpful and adjustable HUD. The color spectral graphs are especially nice to have on-hand if you're worried about balancing multiple shots against each other.

The only cons are inherent in the design: the viewfinder and flash are almost useless when the camera is fitted with an optional lens hood / adapter. The buttons and dial adjustments are also small, so it pays to familiarize yourself with the user interface.

All in all, a fantastic camera for the price. Image stabilization, a 4x zoom, optional attachments, and a trim pricetag make this a great deal for anyone looking to upgrade to a non-SLR picture snapper.
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on May 28, 2016
I still have this camera after eight years of purchasing it. The reason is that the pictures and videos are excellent for such a low priced product. I've used it for family photographs and also extensively for travelling. The images have been good, even amazing. In South Africa I asked a couple from The Netherlands to take a photo of myself. To my surpirse, they had the same camera than me. The only negative aspect is its high consumption of batteries, so we need to have a reserve of them when travelling.
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on May 28, 2009
This is one Awesome Camera !

I've already used this camera indoors, outdoors, in the woods, at the beach, in an Aquarium, in light and dark situations, and everything in between.
Quick boot up / start up time, Auto settings, easy setting, well placed controls and menu's, Full Manual for those who like to use their talent in photography.
Easy to pack and carry and use.
Great pictures, great color and resolution, just an all around sweet sturdy little workhorse of a camera.

I was really surprised when I tried the video mode at the Aquarium, even in low light, in the glass tunnel under the shark tank, I got Awesome video With Sound ! That video is now a favorite of the Grand-kids AND Grandma ! :)

Uses easy to find SD cards and AA batteries, I recommend this camera to everyone !

A 2 GB SD card holds over 500 pictures at Max size and resolution.

As others have mentioned, normal alkaline batteries die fast in this camera...get the rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, found at Walmart, KMart, Walgreens, even in grocery stores.

Great Product, Great Price, and no issues with Amazon marketplace vendor Adorama Camera's product, delivery, or service.

@ Steven T Crowley
By the Way, this camera does have a timer.
As you would have seen in the manual, the timer is in the function set menu settings, Driver mode.
There is a 2 second timer, a 10 sec timer, and one you can custom set.

One of the beauties of this camera, one can point n shoot with it straight out of the box.
And one could read the manual and discover the huge abundance of advanced settings this camera has.

Truly a camera for all types !
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on January 22, 2015
My first one was stolen in 2010, and I was shocked to find out how much it would cost me at the time to replace it. About three times as much as I had paid for it. I loved the camera and was devastated to loose it. After trying several different brands/models over the next 4 years, only to find none of them matched the quality of this camera, I finally looked for this one again on Amazon and got it (used, in "like new" condition). Haven't had much opportunity to really test this one out yet, but it is definitely like new, and exactly the model I had before, so I expect to be just as happy with it.
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on December 4, 2011
I've had this camera for about three years. I normally don't write reviews, but I started looking for a new (additional) camera with a longer lens which got me to realize what a terrific buy this was. I have taken super pictures with it. I don't understand some of the reviews that complain of battery life. I've had a great experience with battery life. Now if I can only find a comparable camera with a much longer lens I would be very happy. The newer cameras have a gps for some reason and no optical viewfinder which is necessary in bright light situations. Dropping the optical viewfinder was a big mistake and many of the new bells and whistles hardly make a difference. I don't understand why manufacturers don't build on previous successes and instead wander off into the great unknown. As someone who is only interested in stills, I would like not to sink money into movie capabilities and gps's. Cannon seems to be asleep at the wheel. Don't they notice that the A590 is selling for many times its original price? Apparently not. Why could they not have simply improved on the 590 with a longer lens and possibly more pixels? Too easy? This seems to be a problem with the corporate culture. Idiots.
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on May 10, 2009
Last January, I bought a Canon PowerShot G-10 to be my new flagship camera (see my review for this product). I was so impressed with it, that when I was looking for a sidekick to this camera, I decided to stick with Canon, and bought a PowerShot A590IS (both cameras bought from Amazon). The A590IS is a pretty good camera with a good set of features and a menu and operation that are consistent with the G10. Its pictures are quite good, and I'm hard pressed to tell the difference in the pictures taken by both cameras. The camera is well built with a good quality plastic case, fits well in the hand and can be carried in a pocket. It may not be my #1 camera, but it's a great little camera in its own right.
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