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Canon PowerShot A520

alaTest has collected and analyzed 1144 reviews from magazines and websites. Views about the image quality and portability are generally positive. The battery and usability are also mentioned favorably. The control panel and focus get mixed reviews. Many are less positive about the low light performance and features.

value for money, usability, battery, portability, image quality

performance, responsiveness, flash, features, low-light

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Digital Compact Cameras the Canon PowerShot A520 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 84/100 = Very good quality.

See all Canon Digital Compact Cameras

Review analysis

(Based on 1144 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 343 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 343 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (299)

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot A520


Get good-looking pictures (and even decent-looking video) with this value-priced digicam.

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot A520


Canon's PowerShot A520 compact digital camera combines the simplicity of a family-focused camera, a high resolution four megapixel image sensor and a powerful 4x optical zoom to produce pictures that you can be proud of with the image quality Canon is ren

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot A520


Versatile manual and automated controls; strong image quality; zoom flash; quick burst mode; available lens converters and underwater housing.

Not as compact as many pocket cameras; many common settings require trip to menus; long flash-recycle time.

Strong image quality and a good mixture of manual and automated exposure controls make the Canon PowerShot A520 a low-cost option for snapshooters and enthusiasts alike.


Expert review by:

Canon Powershot A520 Camera


The $300 Canon PowerShot A520 is an affordable point-and-shoot for the budding photography student. This camera is essentially a 4-megapixel version of the $200 PowerShot A510 (a 3.2-megapixel camera that won a Best Buy in our May 2005 issue). The two...

Many manual controls and features

Very limited battery life

Canon offers a variety of accessories for the A520, including wide-angle ($99), telephoto ($129), and close-up ($120) converters. To attach one of these, you have to remove a plastic ring around the lens and attach a $20 lens adapter tube. Also, you...

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot A520


Megapixels: 4, Included Memory Amount: 16 MB, Included Memory: Media Card, Media Format: Secure Digital, Type: Comp...

Excellent manual controls. Accepts conversion lenses. Smaller and lighter than predecessor. Good battery life.

Very slow recycle time. Analog controls aren't responsive enough. LCD could be a bit bigger. Disappointing movie mode. No on-screen help.

There's plenty to like about this camera, especially the manual controls, but it's slow. Image quality is good but unexceptional.

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot A520


Announced just before PMA in February 2005, the PowerShot A520 is the replacement for the PowerShot A85, and continues the line of best-selling budget models that goes right back to early 2001 with the A10 and A20. The changes are evolutionary rather...

Good resolution ; Bright, vivid - though natural - color ; Good edge-to-edge sharpness ; Useful new 35-140mm equiv. 4x zoom lens ; Reliable focus and exposure ; Lots of manual controls ; Excellent build quality for a budget camera ; Very little purple...

High noise at ISO 400 ; Focus can be slow - especially at the long end of the zoom ; Flash recycle way too slow ; Minimum two-second shot-to-shot time ; Slow start-up

It would be hard to find a more suitable first digital camera for the novice digital photographer than the PowerShot A520. No matter what the situation, the A520 turns out perfectly exposed and focused results shot after shot. And the fact that as well...

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot A520 Digital Camera Review


The Canon PowerShot A520 is a compact digital camera with an unusual range of manual controls and capabilities within the sub-$299 (USD) price bracket. Replacing the A85, the PowerShot A520 expresses a 13% frame reduction, down to 3.6 x 2.5 x 1.5...

-Manual control is complete and easy to use -White balance system offers custom setting -Small and light while remaining substantial enough to handle -Produces vibrant, accurate colors -Excellent software -Accessory lens and flash options

-Construct is questionable - it squeaks when you squeeze it, and the plastic parts have manufacturing blemishes. -Images are extremely noisy (ISO 200 and 400) -Video mode is atrocious - barely usable -Runs on AA batteries, rather than a...

With a 1/2.5-inch 4.0 megapixel CCD, 4x optical zoom lens, and full range of exposure modes, the A520 has a lot to offer consumers for less than $300. While there is significant competition within this price bracket, the manual controls are what set...

Expert review by:

Digital Cameras - Canon PowerShot A520 Digital Camera Review, Information, Specifications


Featuring a 4.0-megapixel CCD, automatic, partial, or fully manual exposure control, and a wide range of preset shooting modes, the PowerShot A520 is another fine addition to Canon's A-series of digital cameras. Built on the same long-tested design as...

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot A510/A520


The two cameras have the same resolution as the old models: 3.2 Megapixel for the A510 and 4.0 Megapixel for the A520. The only other difference between the two cameras is the color of their bodies

Excellent photo quality ; 4X optical zoom lens ; Full manual controls, unusual for a camera in this price range ; Compact body feels solid for the price ; Support for optional conversion lenses, external flash, underwater case ; Above average battery...

Poor low light focusing, despite having an AF-assist lamp (worse than old models) ; Redeye (worse than old models) ; Movie mode still needs some work ; Noisy images at ISO 200 and above ; LCD doesn't "gain up" very much in low light ; Including...

If you're trying to decide between the A510 and A520, note these tradeoffs. The A520 will let you make larger prints and gives you more flexibility when cropping your photos. However, images are slightly noisier, especially at high ISO sensitivities....

Expert review by:

Canon Powershot A520 and A620 Digital Camera Review


First of all I confess that for me, Canon has the best image quality I've experienced. A520 and A620 make no exception at all. The Canon A520 is just slightly smaller and definitely lighter than the A85 it replaces (A520 only uses 2 AA accumulators,...

Product Specifications

A powerful 4x zoom is just the start of this affordable digital marvel. Easy enough for the whole family to use, and with manual functions and optional accessories for your creative side. Versatility is the name of the game for the 4.0 Megapixel PowerShot A520. It is delightfully easy for the whole family to use, yet incorporates a multitude of advanced features and manual modes to challenge the most inquisitive user. With a powerful Canon original 4x zoom and 20 shooting modes, including 8 special scene modes, at your disposal, you can cover any shooting situation from a sweeping panorama to the tiniest details on an intricate flower. The special scene modes are stored shooting presets ideal in tricky shooting conditions when you don't want to use the manual controls. There is even an 'Underwater' mode for use with the exciting optional waterproof case. Take up to 3-minute movie clips, complete with sound recording and fun playback on the large 1.8" LCD monitor. For very high definition playback on a TV, the camera can also record up to 30 second VGA clips. Every function on the PowerShot A520 works with you to get great results. 9-point AiAF keeps everything sharply focused - even with off-center subjects. Canon Visionary Technology combines in the form of a superb quality lens, precision sensor and super fast processor to ensure accurate colors and high clarity images. To speed up focusing and optimize exposures, the camera analyzes the scene and makes setting adjustments even before the shutter release is pressed. A Print/Share button makes printing direct to any PictBridge or Canon Direct Print compatible printer a breeze, and simplifies uploads to any Windows PC. When connected to a Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printer, the PowerShot A520 allows you to print a sequence of movie clip frames, and produce your own ID photos. ZoomBrowser EX (for Windows) and ImageBrowser (for Macintosh) software helps you arrange photo albums, crop photographs and adjust contrast and brightness with ease. To help you get more out of your camera, the range of optional accessories includes a 40m depth waterproof case, large capacity rechargeable batteries, wide and tele-converter lenses and a High-Power Flash for extending night shooting range.

Audio Input



Battery Form Factor:Standard form factor
Supported Battery Form Factor:AA

Camera Flash

Red Eye Reduction: Yes
Type:Built-in flash

Digital Camera

Supported Flash Memory:MultiMediaCard / SD Memory Card

Dimensions & Weight


Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:1.8in
Diagonal Size (metric):4.6cm
Display Form Factor:Built-in
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display

Exposure Parameters

Shooting Programs:Beach/snow / Fireworks / Foliage / Hi-speed shutter / Indoor / Kids & pets / Landscape / Night scene / Night snapshot / Portrait mode / Slow shutter / Stitch assist / Underwater

Flash Memory

Form Factor:MultiMediaCard
Storage Capacity:16MB


Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Canon PowerShot

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/2.6-5.5
Max Focal Length:23.2mm
Min Focal Length:5.8mm
Optical Zoom:4
Type:Zoom lens

Optical Sensor

Optical Sensor Size:1/2.5"
Optical Sensor Size (metric):10.2 mm ( 1/2.5 ) / 10.2 mm ( 1/2.5" )
Optical Sensor Type:CCD
Sensor Resolution:4Megapixel

Optical Viewfinder

Type:Real-image zoom

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

Digital Video Format:AVI
Digital Zoom:3.6
ISO (Max):400
Light Sensitivity:ISO 100 / ISO 200 / ISO 400 / ISO 50 / ISO auto
Shooting Modes:Frame movie mode
Special Effects:Black & White / Low Sharpening / Neutral / Sepia / Vivid
Still Image Format:JPEG
Type:Digital camera


Viewfinder Type:Optical