Canon A580 Optics


A nice 4x optical zoom lens with very good performance. Digital zoom performance is about average these days.

35mm 140mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Canon PowerShot A580's optical zoom range covers the equivalent of a 35-140mm zoom on a 35mm camera, a slightly larger range than the average consumer digital camera. Details are sharp at full wide angle, with low levels of coma distortion and only minor blurring in the corners of the frame. Results at full telephoto are also good, though details are actually a little soft. The camera's 4x digital zoom performs about average, with pretty good detail but a lot of artifacts and less definition.

A small macro area with good detail and high resolution. Closest focusing distance is too close for the flash.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon PowerShot A580's macro setting performed well, capturing a small minimum area of 2.01 x 1.51 inches (51 x 38 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both good at the center of the frame, though there's some softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The Canon A580's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area, however, and was also partially blocked by the lens, resulting in a very uneven exposure. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the A580.

Slightly high barrel distortion, though very low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.9%
Pincushion at 140mm is less than 0.1%

The Canon PowerShot A580's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is a little higher than average, and quite noticeable. At the telephoto end, the A580's less than 0.1% pincushion distortion is very low, and almost imperceptible. 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).

Chromatic aberration
A little high at wide angle, but very low at telephoto.

Wide: High and little bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: High, strong blurring too,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Very low,
top left @200%
Tele: Quite low,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is on the high side at wide angle, showing about 8-9 pixels of fairly bright coloration on either side of the target lines. However, it's worth mentioning that very strong blurring in the top right corner intensifies the effect, as does a small amount of blurring in the top left corner. At telephoto, the effect is much lower, and not nearly as bright, with only about 3 faint pixels visible. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Fairly significant blurring in the right corners at wide angle, only slight blurring at telephoto.

Wide: Quite soft in the
right corners (upper right).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Softer in the
corners (upper left)
Tele: Sharper at center.

The Canon PowerShot A580 produced very soft corners of the frame at full wide angle, particularly on the right side of the frame. The left corners were also a little blurry compared to the center of the frame, but the effect wasn't as strong on this side of the frame. At full telephoto, all four corners of the frame were slightly blurry when compared to center, but the effect wasn't very strong.


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

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

The Canon PowerShot A580's optical viewfinder was a bit tight, showing only 80% frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 79% at telephoto. The camera's LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing about 103% of the final frame at full wide angle, and about 100% at telephoto. Though results are slightly loose at wide angle, the LCD monitor performed very well here.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot A580 Photo Gallery .

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