When I saw a camera markedly superior to the one I have been using for the last two years on sale for about $150, including a 2GB memory card, it seemed that the time to upgrade had arrived. I was drawn to the Canon Powershot A570 mostly because of the image stabilization, which allows sharper photos in lower light. It is also nice that it has ISO ratings going up to 1600 – compared with 400 on my old A510. It remains to be seen how the graininess of the two cameras compares at fast speeds. The controls on the new camera are nearly the same as the old, though it will take a while for them to become as utterly intuitive as the A510 was after its years of valued service.
What surprised me most about the A570 is how pleasantly quick it is. The time lag from pressing the shutter to taking a photo is much shorter. All sorts of other camera operations are faster too; transferring photos to my computer is about three times faster. The Digic III processor is probably responsible for most of that. As you can see from the two linked images, the A570 also seems to blow out highlights less than the A510. Those frequent white patches were one of the most substantial failings of a camera that is excellent overall.
The old camera remains perfectly serviceable. Virtually every picture posted on this blog has been taken with it. It will probably be available at low cost to a friend who will use it well.
[1 January 2008] The camera has passed to Emily Horn. May she use it well.