Summary: This is a point and shoot camera. But if the lens cover doesn't open fully you can point and shoot to your heart's content and what you end up with are crap pictures! Read some of the other A520 reviews...this is an on-going problem with this model. I sent it in to Canon for repair. To their credit it only took 1 day but the problem was not resolved when I got it back. The retractable lens cover sometimes sticks halfway open covering part of the image.
Summary: This camera and all Canon A-series cameras should be avoided. Do a search for "canon e18" on Google and you will see complaints from thousands of people talking about an error these cameras experience that renders them useless. Essentially what happens is the retractable lens gets stuck and the camera ceases to function. I have recommended a Canon A-series to two friends and both have had this problem.
Summary: We bought this camera for our 15 year old daughter after having very positive experiences with other Canon cameras. It died with the "E18" error on Christmas Day after she had taken a few dozen pictures. I then Googled Canon and E18 and discovered just how common this problem is. I guess Canon is cutting some design/manufacturing corners. Too bad since their cameras take great pictures.
Summary: If you ever need to take indoor shots in succession, DO NOT buy this camera. I loved my last Canon and went with this one which was newer, but in the same series. The recharge time for the flash is terrible between 7 & 15 seconds and really makes a difference when you're trying to capture the perfect shot. The reason seems to be that this model only uses 2 batteries. The A620 is entirely worth the extra $100 since it has 4 batteries and the fold out screen.
Excerpt: This is a great Canon camera producing quality photographs, which can be used automatically or manually as you wish, and is not nearly as complicated as it first appears - the menus are easy to negotiate. The 4 X zoom is a bonus, and you get a lot of features for your money. Highly recommended.
Pros: Great quality snaps - excellent battery life.
Cons: It is a bit slow especially the flash re-charge.