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Canon PowerShot A70 Digital Camera@DASHING THING REVIEW

05 Jul
Camera QuickLook
Review Date
04/10/03
User Level
Novice to Experienced
Product Uses
Family / Travel / Special Events
Digicam Design
Point-and-Shoot or Manual control
Picture Quality
Good, 3.3-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
4×6, 5×7, 8×10 inches
Availability
Now
Suggested Retail Price
$349

Introduction

f new digital cameras, all designed and engineered to live up to Canon’s competitive standards. The 3.3-megapixel PowerShot A70 updates this extensive line by improving on an already well-received model, the PowerShot A40.

Last year, Canon’s PowerShot A40 topped the charts on the IR website for popularity, outstripping all other camera models. This was particularly impressive given that my readers generally gravitate toward higher-end models. This year, the A70 updates the A40, with a larger CCD, more manual controls and a slightly different control layout. Featuring a full 12 shooting modes, the A70 offers not only manual and full-auto exposure control, but five preset Scene modes as well. The A70 extends the maximum shutter speed to 1/2,000 second, and adds a new Custom white balance setting. Best of all, the camera accommodates a wide range of users with its variable level of exposure control. Experienced shooters will appreciate the Manual, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority modes, while novices will find the Auto, Program AE, and Scene modes useful. Plus, the A70 has a full range of creative effects, and the benefit of Canon optics with its 3x zoom lens. Will the A70 enjoy the same exceptional popularity as did the A40? Only time will tell, but it does seem as though Canon has once again brought together all the right elements.

Camera Overview
With a compact body similar in design to previous Canon PowerShot “A” models, the PowerShot A70 updates the A-series with a wide range of shooting options — from fully manual operation to programmed, automatic, and several preset exposure modes. A 3.3-megapixel CCD delivers high-resolution images suitable for printing as large as 8×10 inches with good detail. (Lower resolutions are also available, including an email-friendly size.) The A70’s all-plastic, two-toned silver body is lightweight and compact, although just a little too large for the average shirt pocket. Still, the A70 should easily fit into larger coat pockets and purses, and comes with a wrist strap for more security. Like many Canon digicams, the A70 features a shutter-like lens cover and a retracting lens that keeps the camera front fairly smooth when the camera is powered off. Without a lens cap to keep track of, the A70 is quick on the draw (you just have to wait a couple of seconds for the lens to extend forward before you can shoot).

Equipped with a 5.4-16.2mm lens, the A70 offers a 3x optical zoom range equivalent to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm camera. Aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/8.0 depending on the zoom setting, and can be manually or automatically adjusted. The A70 uses Canon’s AiAF (Artificial Intelligence Auto Focus) system, which judges focus based on a five-point area in the center of the frame. Whatever portion of the subject is closest to one of the AF points is what determines the overall focus. You can alternately choose to base focus on the center of the frame only. The A70 also offers a manual focus mode, displaying a numeric distance scale on the LCD display. An AF Assist light on the front panel helps the camera focus in dark shooting conditions, and can be deactivated if necessary. In addition to the optical zoom, the A70 also offers as much as 3.2x digital zoom. However, I always remind readers that digital zoom often decreases the overall image quality because it simply enlarges the center pixels of the CCD image. The A70 has both a real-image optical viewfinder and 1.5-inch LCD monitor for composing images. The LCD monitor’s information display includes detailed exposure information, including shutter speed and aperture settings in the manual shooting modes.

The A70 provides a full range of exposure control, from Manual to Auto exposure modes, and a handful of preset scene modes as well. All exposure modes are accessed by turning the Mode dial on top of the camera. Canon divided the dial into three exposure types: Auto, Creative Zone, and Image Zone. Shooting in Auto mode puts the camera in charge of everything except the Flash and Macro modes. Exposure modes in the Creative Zone include Program AE (P), Shutter Speed-Priority AE (Tv), Aperture-Priority AE (Av), and Manual Exposure (M). Program AE lets the camera choose the aperture and shutter speed settings, but gives you control over all other exposure options. Aperture and Shutter Speed Priority modes allow you to set one exposure variable (aperture or shutter speed) while the camera chooses the best corresponding variable. Manual mode gives you full control over all exposure options.

Exposure modes in the Image Zone include Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Fast Shutter, Slow Shutter, Stitch Assist, and Movie. Portrait, Night Scene, and Landscape all make automatic camera adjustments to optimize settings for specific shooting conditions. The Portrait mode uses a large aperture setting to focus on the subject, while maintaining an out-of-focus background. Landscape mode slows the shutter speed and maximizes depth of field with a small aperture setting. Night Scene mode illuminates your subject with flash and uses a slow shutter speed to evenly expose the background. Fast Shutter mode uses a fast shutter speed to freeze action, while Slow Shutter mode uses a slower shutter speed to blur moving objects (such as waterfalls or fountains). The Stitch-Assist mode is Canon’s answer to panorama shooting, in which multiple, overlapping images can be captured horizontally, vertically, or in a clockwise grouping. Images are then “stitched” together on a computer using Canon’s bundled PhotoStitch software or other image editing software. Movie mode allows you to capture up to three minutes of moving images and sound at approximately 15 frames per second, with available resolutions of 640 x 480, 320 x 240, or 160 x 120 pixels.

The White Balance setting adjusts color balance, with settings for Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, and Fluorescent H (for daylight fluorescent lighting). There’s also a Custom setting to manually set color balance based on a white or gray card. Exposure Compensation increases or decreases the overall exposure, from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments. An ISO adjustment offers 50, 100, 200, and 400 ISO equivalents, as well as an Auto setting. By default, the A70 uses an Evaluative metering mode, which links the metering area to the focus area (when AiAF is activated). Also available is a Spot Metering option, which bases the exposure on the center of the subject, and Center-Weighted, for a larger area in the center of the frame. The A70’s flash operates in either Auto, Forced, Suppressed, or Slow Synchro (in Night Portrait mode only) modes, with an available Red-Eye Reduction setting through the Record menu.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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