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Canon PowerShot A50
Canon's "Digital ELPHs" goes megapixel plus - great picture quality, superb portability!

(First Look review posted 6/15/99, full review 7/10/99)


1280x960 resolution

Compact, rugged case

2.5x Optical Zoom Lens

Great low-light ability (up to ISO400)

Panorama support, including 2x2 matrix!

Canon PowerShot A50 Review Index:

Included Software
Canon is unusual in the amount of private-labeled software they provide with their cameras. We're generally a bit leery of private-label programs, but Canon's are excellent. The overall application suite favors the Windows operating system, but all key functions are available on the Mac as well. Commercial applications bundled with the PowerShot A50 include Adobe's PhotoDeluxe version 3.0 for Windows and version 2.0 for the Mac, and Ulead's PhotoImpact 4.2 (Windows only).Canon's own products in clude the panorama and matrix-stitching program PhotoStitch (version 2.3 for both Windows and Mac), an unusual "album" photo-organizer program called TimeTunnel (version 2.4 for Windows, 1.6 for Mac), SlideShow Maker (version 1.3 for both Windows and Mac), an application for assembling slide shows to upload back to the camera for playback via the video output, and ZoomBrowser version 1.1 for Windows only. In addition, there are TWAIN drivers for the PC, and a Photoshop acquire module for the Mac, both version 2.4.


We didn't try all of the applications, but did play with the TWAIN drivers and ZoomBrowser on the PC a fair bit. Overall, these are very functional programs, and we liked the level of photo management that ZoomBrowser provided. The screen shot above shows the main ZoomBrowser screen, which provides a range of capabilities, essentially a mini-database program for image organization.


This shot shows the user interface of the TWAIN acquire module used by ZoomBrowser, and also for importing images from the camera into other applications.
The TWAIN acquire module is used by ZoomBrowser as the means to acquire images from either the camera directly or from disk. Many other programs on the Windows platform can also use TWAIN to acquire images without passing through ZoomBrowser or an imaging application as well. Important note: We found that the TWAIN driver produced somewhat different color and tonal characteristics when importing from the "CCD Raw" formatted image files than the camera produced in its own JPEG-formatted ones. This could be very useful for more professional applications, as we felt that the color from the TWAIN/CCD Raw images was a bit less-saturated and more natural, and the tonal range a bit greater than in the camera-produced JPEG files. (See the discussion below under "Test Results.")

A screenshot of the unique "Time Tunnel" image-organizer: Images appear spiral away into space, distance along the "tunnel" indicating distance in time when they were originally taken. (Definitely one of the more unusual software interfaces we've seen.)

This is a shot of the PowerStitch panorama/stitching application. It appears to work quite well, and will stitch horizontally, vertically, or in 2x2 matrices, to boost the effective resolution of the camera to something closer to 4 megapixels. The shots shown on-screen here show widely different exposures, due to the clouds that were racing by that day, casting intermittent shadows over the scene.

The SlideShow Maker program (shown above) was probably the least-compelling of the lot, but does solve the problem of uploading images back to the camera for a slide show that have been modified by other applications. (Most imaging programs use a different variant of the JPEG standard than do digicams, so photos that have been manipulated on the PC won't display again on the camera.) SlideShow Maker circumvents this problem by re-processing images back to the camera's format.

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Reader Comments!
See what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about the PowerShot A50, or add comments of your own. (Do you have an A50? Share your experience!) (Post questions in the general forum though, so others can easily see and answer them.) Check what's here - add your own!
Reader Sample Images!
Do you have a PowerShot A50 camera? If you'll post an album of your samples (it's easy to do, and free) on our photo-sharing service and email us at [email protected], we'll list the album here for others to see!

More Info:
View the data sheet for the PowerShot A50

View the test images from the PowerShot A50

Visit the Canon web page for the PowerShot A50


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cit usage, it may not be published, reproduced, or distributed in print or electronic and/or digital media without the express written consent of The Imaging Resource.