Canon PowerShot A60 Review

Canon is one of the major camera companies and has been a leader not only in 35mm cameras but has broken into the world of digital with a passion. They have several lines of digital cameras with prices around a hundred dollars to well in the thousands.

When I was looking for a digital camera to save the cost of processing film and to be able to print, edit and e-mail my own pictures I had to go with Canon.

At the time I was looking Canon kept coming up in the reviews and popularity of digital cameras. So I checked out several in the mid range of one to two hundred dollars and found that Canon had some of the best for it’s money.

I was looking to use the camera for taking pictures family pictures and for my wife to use at her day care job. She used a lot of film and it was getting expensive with not only developing film but the pictures that she did not use.

I wanted a camera that could take good portraits and action shots but was not concerned any about movies. Some of the ones I looked at had digital movies along with the regular pictures but I would not be using any of that function.

I found that Canon was again and again mentioned to be one of the best companies and went with the Canon A60. The camera has 2.0 mega pixels, enough for what I wanted. I’ll explain in a little bit about mega pixels and some other things when talking about digital cameras.

The camera had a lot of features that sounded good but I was not sure what some of them were. So I found out some on the internet and left the rest to discover when using the camera. Today I am still finding out what the camera does and have found more and more uses for it. Like the ones I am doing here, articles with pictures.

The Canon A60 has the following specifications:

2 mega pixels
5.4 wide x 16.2 tall mm lens
3x optical zoom
7.5x maximum zoom with digital
1.5 inch LCD monitor

I’ll not bother to list all the other specs here. The rest you can see at the website for Canon:

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=145&modelid=8774

The Power Shot A60 comes with many features that I knew what they did but was not sure how exactly they worked or how well they would work. Things like red eye reduction and auto focus will differ by the type of picture I was taking but I knew that I had to get some of this in order to make taking the pictures at least somewhat easier than my Canon AE-1 35mm camera.

In the past my wife and I had been into amateur photography and had spent quite a bit on things like zoom and wide angle lenses, filters and special flashes. Now most of those things can be done with the A60 and the accompanying program from Canon.

I have been able to use different filter features with the program such as sepia and black and white. The filter for sepia on my 35mm would take the whole picture and turn it into a brown tint. Now I can do that with the program for editing the pictures.

The camera comes with a rather thick book as far as cameras go. And trust me you’ll be thankful they cover so much in it. The settings and such for the camera take a while to figure out and you’ll be constantly referring to the book. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. It just let’s you know how versatile the camera is with it’s many features.

I’ll now explain some of those odd terms I listed. Mega pixels refer to the sensor size that the camera uses to take the picture. If you think about how a picture is taken, the lens focuses the view while the shutter opens and closes very quickly. The sensor records the image, it makes sense that the larger the sensor the better the picture.

If you have a camera with a large number of pixels it will record that much better, but it will cost more. You can now get cameras well above five mega pixels. Ones at eight mega pixels cost near one thousand dollars. There are some cameras, purely professional ones, that are at 12 and 13 mega pixels, $2000-$6000.

So you can see just like anything, if it’s better at what it does, it’s going to cost more. I liked the range I got for the A60, 2 mega pixels at less than two hundred dollars.

The lens size compares to a 35 to 105 mm lens in the 35mm camera type. This would be a good general purpose lens used for not only close in work like pictures of bugs on flowers but some things like vacations shots of that gorgeous mountain range.

The LCD monitor is a small screen that not only shows what the picture will be but gives the settings the camera is on. It has a view finder that you can use when you can’t see the monitor. And there will be times in bright sun that you will not be able to use the monitor.

You can shield it with your hand to make sure the settings are correct but when you go to take the picture you sometimes will not be able to see it.

The optical and digital zoom is two of the features that I was concerned with. Optical zoom is how the actual lens gets the picture to look larger for the camera. Digital zoom is using the computer in the camera to get the picture larger. You cannot see this with the view finder but you can with the LCD monitor. When you have the digital zoom on you can look through the viewfinder and see how much your subject is closer, then look in the monitor and you can see how much that 5.5x digital changes it.

I was not leery about going with a Canon, as you read I have had a couple of cameras before by that company and they are one of the very tops in cameras. They are also one of the tops in the field of digital cameras.

Some of the things that I have are things like it uses regular AA batteries. No playing with special ones that cost an arm and a leg.

The card is an industry regular compact flash card. Many companies make and sell them so I would not be stuck buying only the one kind from the camera manufacturer.

The camera also comes with a digital and audio/visual connector to hook up your camera directly to a computer and download both pictures and the quick movies it is capable of taking.

The zoom feature is a handy turn switch around the shutter button that is easy to use when you are standing and getting that shot. You simply move the zoom in or out to frame the shot how you want it and then move your finger a little to the center of the button to snap the shot.

The camera has many features that I understood but was not sure how well they would work. I am glad to have found out that all the features I wanted as well as many others work very well indeed.

The camera has a button on the top for the different types of setting such as portrait, landscape, fast shutter and others that are the different types of pictures I would be taking. These are all the types people would normally want to be able to change to in a hurry when they are using their camera.

A few of the features such as red eye reduction, macro and flash are changed and checked on the monitor using the four buttons below the monitor and the four next to it. To change from one feature to another you use a combination of these buttons and the features are shown on the LCD what is on and off for the camera.

I have used the red eye reduction and it is just that. It reduces the amount of the red eye or crazy look that can happen with some pictures of people or animals. I still have to use the red eye feature on the program to get rid of it altogether.

I have been taking a lot of still and close up pictures with the macro and have been really impressed with the quality. I have also taken pictures of family like school photos and Christmas pics and have been very pleased with the results.

I have the program that came with the camera and use that for downloading the pictures and viewing which ones I want to use for what. I also use the photo stitch and remote capture features.

The download program is called Zoom Browser. It is easy to use. I have a San Disk card reader that I use to read the flash card, when I put the card from the camera into the reader which is hooked to the computer it comes up with the auto play and I choose the Zoom Browser. I then have to go through a couple of windows to download the pictures.

I usually use another program to do things like edit the photos but the program that comes with it is quite good for some simple things like removing red eye and enlarging or shrinking.

I have used the photo stitch, which is a neat feature where you can take several shots like a panorama of a scene and then on the computer you bring each shot into the scene. I did one of my mother in laws kitchen to show the new cabinets she had installed. I would not have been able to get the whole width of her kitchen in the same shot and did get it in three shots which I added together with the program.

I have been using the remote capture on some writing projects that I have been doing recently. You can set the camera up with a computer and use the computer to take each shot.

This is handy when doing things like stills that you want to get several pictures of rather quickly. I am taking pictures of a model tank and have the camera on a tripod so that I don’t have to hold the camera and move it around any. You set up the camera with the digital cord hooked to a computer, my laptop in this case, and just look through the view finder to male sure the subject is centered.

You then hit a key on your computer that you choose or use the mouse to snap the picture. You can also use this feature for some trick photography. I found this out by taking pictures of a model and then viewing them in a slide show. The background doesn’t move from one picture to the next but the tank moves around as I moved it and took the pictures.

This is how some movies and Tv shows are created. It is called stop animation. Clay animation is also done in this manner. You have the camera and you don’t move it between each frame. You just take one picture and then the next after moving your subject slightly.

The camera I purchased came with a few things. It has a flash card that holds 16 mega bytes of pictures. When you are talking about meg bytes and flash cards we need to explain what it means in terms of how many pictures the flash card will hold. The camera has two things that change the size in megabytes of the picture it stores on the flash card. The resolution or size in pixels and the compression or quality.

The resolution can be from 640 X 480 to 1600 x 1200. That is from small to a larger picture. And the compression is just in normal, fine or super fine. If you want to see how many this means with a photo quality 8 x 10 inch picture it would be about four pictures on a 16 megabyte card. That’s not much and that is why I bought a larger card.
I normally don’t take pictures with that setting and have used a 64 megabyte card. I have not had a problem in the past with running out of flash card space.

The camera also came with a digital cord for hooking up the camera to a computer. It hooks into the USB port of my computer to download photos or use the remote function.

I have had to buy some extra things that I would recommend for any digital camera user, regardless of which camera you buy. I have a small fanny pack that I use to carry the camera around in. It is the perfect size to carry the camera, extra batteries, the manual (a must to keep with the camera) and an extra flash card.

I bought an extra flash card, 64 mega bytes to go along with the one that it came with. I carry both when I go anywhere in case one runs out and I want to get a few more pictures.

I also bought some rechargeable batteries and a charger for it. This is why I wanted to go with the Canon A60, regular batteries that last a decent amount of time. I can carry some extras with the camera and always have them when I go somewhere.

Overall I am very happy with my Canon Power Shot A60. I would say it is an excellent camera with many features and is useable for many types of picture taking. I have been taking pictures as an amateur photographer for almost 25 years using 35mm cameras in the past and developed my own film and processed pictures.

I have switched to the new technology of digital and have found that Canon is a brand that can still be trusted in the world of photography. In the future, it will be hard to get me to switch to another brand due to Canons strive to remain tops in the field.

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