PMA Spring 2006 Show
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Canon's PowerShot A540 digital camera. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Canon PowerShot A540 revealed
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 06:00 EST)

One up from the low end of the camera models announced by Canon prior to the Spring 2006 PMA show, the PowerShot A540 comes in just above the A530 model. The extra money you'll spend on the Canon A540 over its lower-end sibling will likely be well-spent though: While keeping the same 4x zoom lens (35-140mm equivalent) used across much of the PowerShot A-series, the Canon A540 boosts resolution to 6 megapixels, and increases the maximum movie frame rate to a full 30 frames/second, even at 640x480 resolution.

The Canon A540 also boosts performance in some other areas as well, sporting a huge 2.5" rear-panel LCD in addition to its real-image optical viewfinder, and adding aperture-priority and shutter-priority exposure modes, welcome options for more sophisticated users. ISO light-sensitivity ranges from 80 to 800. Other exposure modes include fully automatic and fully manual, plus a wide range of scene modes in between, and a "My Colors" menu that offers special effects such as Vivid and Neutral, Light or Dark skin, and Custom color adjustments. An Underwater scene mode even adjusts color balance and exposure for use with an optional underwater housing.

The Canon PowerShot A540 also offers a range of metering modes, including evaluative, center-weighted, and even spot metering. In its continuous shooting mode, the Canon A540 is rated at 2.3 frames/second, very good speed for a modestly-priced camera.

Following a growing trend, the Canon PowerShot A540 stores its images on SD memory cards, which is rapidly becoming the dominant memory card format for digital cameras. A USB 2.0 High-Speed computer connection provides for speedy downloads, fast enough that most users will find no need for a separate card reader.

At the end of the day, the Canon A540 should be a very strong-selling model in the popular PowerShot line, providing not only dead-easy use for beginners (in full-auto mode), but a complete complement of advanced exposure and metering modes for the more experienced shooter. This is a camera that offers novice photographers plenty of capability to grow into, and should make a great choice for families or couples with widely varying levels of photo expertise.

Canon PowerShot A540
Canon's PowerShot A540 digital camera. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Compact
Manufacturer Canon
Model Number A540
Dimensions 3.6 x 2.5 x 1.7"
90.4 x 64.0 x 43.2mm
Weight 180.0 g
6.3 oz
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/2.5 CCD
Aspect Ratio 4:3
Image Dimensions 2816 x 2112 (5.9 megapixels)
2816 x 1584 (4.5 megapixels)
2272 x 1704 (3.9 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Image Quality 3 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes
LCD 2.5"
Lens
Lens Type 4x optical zoom
Focal Length 5.8 - 23.2mm (actual)
35 - 140mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.6 (wide) / f/5.5 (tele)
Focusing Range Normal: 18" - infinity (45 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.0" - 18" (5 cm - 45 cm)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800
Shutter Speed 15 - 1/2000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes 20
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, Custom, Manual
Creative
Digital Zoom 4x
Movie Format AVI (Motion JPEG) with audio
640 and 4 80
Max. frame-rate: 30 frames per second
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Power
Battery Type Alkaline, NiMH
Battery Form Factor 2 x AA
Product Bundle
Flash Memory 0.0MB
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes, Plastic
Remote Control No
More Photos
Canon's PowerShot A540 digital camera. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

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