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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot A520

Canon Digital Cameras


Canon PowerShot A520 Review

Review Date: June 25, 2005

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Canon PowerShot A520

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2005 Award


Thin Ice: 1/500 sec., F5.5 and ISO 50
Danger - Thin Ice
...on a sign barely visible to the naked eyes @ 5m up in the air???
23.2mm, Program AE, Evaluative, 1/500sec., F5.5 and ISO 50

The Canon PowerShot A520 is elegant in its two-toned rugged plastic body with an ergonomic handgrip. Its construction feels solid and, with dimensions of 90.7 x 64.0 x 38.4 mm (3.57 x 2.52 x 1.51 in.) excluding protrusions and weighing 180g (6.35 oz), it is in fact just a bit smaller (in width) and lighter than the Canon A85 that it is replacing.

While the Canon A85 uses CompactFlash (CF) card, the Canon A520 uses the smaller Secure Digital (SD) or Multimedia (MMC) card. The use of the smaller memory card helps in achieving the compact dimensions of the camera and it should be easily carried in a large coat or even trousers pocket. The 16MB MMC card included in the box will hold only about 7 SuperFine Large images; a 256MB SD card will hold about 120. We recommend you get a 512MB SD card.

The Canon A520 uses only 2 AA batteries and gives excellent power consumption with approx. 300 shots per full charge. It uses a small flat coin lithium battery to retain the time even when the main batteries are removed. The Canon A520 comes standard with 2 AA Alkaline batteries, and we recommend that you purchase the optional rechargeable battery kit which includes a charger and 4 rechargeable NiMH batteries (2 in the camera and 2 spare).

The LCD monitor is still at 1.8 in., though resolution is slightly less at 115,000 pixels. However, it gains up just a little in low-light, enough to allow you to compose your shot when it gets a bit dark, but not in extreme low-light situations. There is an AF-assist Beam to help achieve focus in low-light, though it does tend to hunt quite a bit to achieve focus.

Startup is about 3 sec. There is no practical shutter lag. Autofocus is also fast, except at the long end of the zoom when it can take a couple of seconds to lock.

The Canon A520 has a new flash that actually zooms with the lens to provide a more focused beam of light at the telephoto end. Be aware that there can sometimes be a slight delay between pressing the shutter release button and the flash firing, especially if you turned the Red-Eye feature on. Flash recycle time is quite slow.

Unlike many entry-level digital cameras, the Canon A520 comes with a number of optional useful accessories. There is a wide-angle converter (24.5mm, 35mm equivalent) and a tele converter (245mm, 35mm equivalent); a close-up lens; a waterproof case that can work at depths of up to 40 meters (130 feet); and a High-Power Flash that approximately doubles the camera's flash range.

The feel and construction of the Canon PowerShot A520 is excellent for this budget-priced digital camera despite its plastic body, and the camera handles very well.

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