Canon PowerShot A710 IS
by Mike Pasini
Review Date: 11/02/06
The Canon PowerShot A710 IS couples a 7 megapixel CCD imager sensor with an image stabilized 6x optical zoom lens that offers a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 35 to 210mm — a moderate wide angle to a useful telephoto. With a total range of 6x optical zoom, this is quite a bit more than most compact cameras offer, and the inclusion of a stabilizer should help ensure photos aren’t blurred from camera shake at the telephoto end of the zoom. Maximum apertures vary from f/2.8 to f/4.8 across the zoom range. The A710’s sensor yields an ISO range equivalent to 80 to 800, while shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 15 seconds are possible.
Designed with ease of use in mind, the Canon A710 IS offers a range of features that make it approachable to beginners, plus the ability to exert more control over the photographic process. For the former category of users, there’s a fully automatic mode, and a generous selection of thirteen scene modes. For the latter, you’ll find manual and aperture/shutter priority exposures possible, plus preset or manual white balance, and three metering modes. A VGA-or-below movie mode captures videos at a maximum of 30 frames per second, for up to one hour (or one gigabyte) per clip.
A USB connection allows easy offload of images from the SD or MMC card to a Mac or PC. And unlike some manufacturers who are still clinging to the older USB 1.1/2.0 Full Speed standard, Canon has adopted a much swifter USB 2.0 High Speed interface in the Canon A710. For users without a computer (or those who like to make quick prints without the hassle of touching their PC), you can bypass the extra step completely and print directly from the PowerShot A710 IS to a Canon or other PictBridge-enabled printer via the same USB connection.
Though it has a relatively large 2.5 inch LCD, Canon retained a real image optical viewfinder in the A710’s design. Not only can optical viewfinders help to save battery life by turning off the LCD display, but they’re also useful when ambient light makes it tough to see many LCDs properly. Power comes from two AA batteries, and Canon includes single-use alkaline disposables in the product bundle. Also included with the Canon A710 is a not-so-generous 16MB Secure Digital card. If you don’t already have some, you’ll want to purchase some rechargeable batteries and a larger flash card along with the camera.