This is a 7 megapixal camera that uses SD cards for memory.
A 1-gigabit card holds 307 shots with the camera on the highest resolution.
The 4x optical zoom is a bit more than most point and shoot camera's.
The 'IS' stands for image stabilization. This is Canon's lowest end camera that is equipped with their excellent motion stabilizing software.
This is a point and shoot that allows for total 'auto' settings, and has some manual over-rides for special effects and control over ISO speed. I use it as a quality backup camera to my other Canon.
I like this camera because it runs on AA batteries, alkaline or metal hydride rechargables, Canon states that the older style cadmium rechargeables are not recommended.
I have medium small hands, and the camera is almost too small to operate quickly without being careful not to fumble and press a control inadvertently. But it also fits into a pocket and has no protruding edges. The controls are well placed though, and the large 2.5" LCD screen is bright. The small see-thru view finder is handy and useful for those wanting a traditional style of composing shots.
The silver plastic case is attractive, but seems somewhat lightweight.
I get well over 200 shots on a set of fully charged batteries. There is another internal battery that operates the date/time settings. This is a watch battery that has lasted over 3 years in my other Canon's and is easily user replaceable when the need arises.
The time between shots for the camera to cycle is as little as 1 second. You have to remember to set the review time off in order to take quick shots, otherwise you'll see the last picture you took on the LCD screen. You can set this display for up to 4 seconds. I like that.
Although the auto focus works well, you do get that annoying red light upon activating the shutter that can warn your subject if you are trying to capture an unstaged pose. It is very quiet and the zoom acts rapidly. I really like the way it stops at the farthest optical zoom setting and must be restarted to initiate the digital zoom. Canon also allows you to turn off any fake shutter sound, handy if you're around kids or animals.
The internal flash operates well and recharges quickly, 5 seconds with fresh batteries, but beyond 8' or so the pictures darken quickly. Canon did allow for this and sells a powerful strobe that syncs and attaches to the camera.
I also like the way the camera sits flat and the lens is level, this makes using the self timer very easy.
The Canon software that comes with the camera is excellent. Downloading is quick through the mini USB cable provided. The file and folder system and editing is easy to follow and all downloaded pictures are automatically placed in a folder dated as to when the picture was taken, very convenient.
Overall, if you are looking for a small quick digital that can produce up to 11x16 pictures, or take up to a 1000 on a 1 gig card for viewing on a computer I would highly recommend taking a look at this Canon A570 IS.