Canon PowerShot A560 Optics


A nice 4x optical zoom range, with excellent performance. Digital zoom is also well done.

35mm 140mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Canon PowerShot A560's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 35-140mm range, a little better than the typical 3x offering among consumer digital cameras. Results were quite good at wide angle, with sharp details and minimal corner softness and coma distortion. Though details are soft at the 4x digital zoom, overall performance is better than average. Resolution and detail definition do suffer with digital enlargement, but the camera holds on to more detail than we'd normally expect. Great results overall.

A small macro area with excellent detail and high resolution. Flash exposure was very uneven up close.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon PowerShot A560's macro setting performed well, capturing a small minimum area of just 2.12 x 1.59 inches (54 x 40 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both excellent, though with mild softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash produced a very uneven exposure here, partially blocked by the lens with a strong overexposure in the top left of the frame. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the A560.)

Moderate barrel distortion, though very low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.8%
Pincushion at 140mm is less than 0.1%

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The Canon PowerShot A560's 0.86% barrel distortion at wide angle is about average among the cameras we've tested, although "average" is still a little high in my opinion. At the telephoto end, the A560's distortion pincushion distortion amounted only to about one pixel, which is less than 0.1%.

Chromatic aberration
High and fairly bright at wide angle, but limited to only the extreme corners. Almost none at telephoto.

Wide: high and bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: quite bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: high but less bright,
top left @200%
Tele: quite dull,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is rather high at wide angle, showing about 12-13 pixels of very bright coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The good news though, is that the colored fringes are limited to the extreme corners of the frame, so the overall effect isn't very noticeable at all. At telephoto, there's just the slightest hint of coloration.

Corner Sharpness
Some softening in the corners of the frame, mainly on the right side.

Wide: A little soft in the
corners (upper right)
Wide: Sharp at center
Tele: slightly soft in the
corners (upper right)
Tele: Sharper at center

The Canon PowerShot A560 produced slightly soft corners in a few shots, but here again the problem was restricted to only the most extreme corners. At wide angle, the upper right corner of the frame showed the strongest blurring. At telephoto, the corners showed less blurring, and again the strongest effect was in the upper right corner. Overall, the Canon A560's lens is much better than average.


A tight optical viewfinder, but good accuracy with the LCD monitor.

35mm eq., Optical 140mm eq., Optical
35mm eq., LCD 140mm eq., LCD

The Canon PowerShot A560's optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing only about 80% frame accuracy at wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. However, the LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing slightly more than 100% accuracy at both zoom settings.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot A560 Photo Gallery .

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