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Also in common with its other A-series stablemates, the A570 has a plastic body, but don’t let that put you off. It is extremely solidly made, with no creaking when squeezed, and the battery/card hatch has a metal hinge. However the shiny silver finish does mark quite easily so you would be well advised to buy some sort of soft case for it if you want to keep it looking pristine. Other than that the build quality and design is everything we’ve come to expect from Canon. The controls are solidly mounted, well positioned and easy to use, and even the rather crowded 13-position main mode dial on the top plate is fairly obvious. My only real complaint was that I found that the zoom control to be rather unresponsive. The zoom is stepped rather than continuous, with only seven positions between telephoto and wide angle, so accurate in-camera framing proved to be impossible.
As usual with Canon cameras performance is excellent, although it is noticeably slower than the lightning-quick A540. The A570 starts up in under two seconds, and shuts down again in about the same time. The nine-point AiAF autofocus system is very quick, although as with some previous models I did find that it was sometimes inaccurate, locking on to background objects rather than the main foreground subject, especially when shooting very close-up subjects. However switching it to centre-point AF solved this problem, and if anything was even quicker. Low light focusing was also very good, and almost as fast as in normal light. The AF assist lamp has a range of around three metres, and the camera is capable of focusing even in complete darkness at this range.
In continuous shooting mode the camera performed exceptionally well, shooting at a consistent two frames a second when using a good quality high-speed SD card (1GB SanDisk Extreme III), although using a slower budget-priced card did slow it down dramatically after only four shots. Again, while this is a very creditable performance it is a little slower than the A540.
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