PowerShot A2000 ($229) is an entry-level camera
with a pretty nice point-and-shoot feature set. The
A2000 features a 6X optical zoom, image stabilization,
a 3-inch LCD display, face detection, and plenty
of scene modes. It also comes in a slimmer, more
attractive body than its predecessor, the PowerShot
Here's a comparison between the two:
|PowerShot A2000 IS
|Lens max. aperture
||F2.8 - F4.8
||F3.2 - F5.9
|Focal length (35 mm equiv.)
||35 - 210 mm
||36 - 216 mm
||Slow shutter speeds, white
|Auto redeye removal
|Conversion lens support
(CIPA standard, using two 2500 mAh NiMH cells)
|Dimensions (W x H x D)
||3.8 x 2.4 x 1.7 in.
||4.0 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
You take a few steps forward on the
A2000 (larger/sharper screen, better battery life,
redeye removal), but take even more back compared to
the A720. The A2000's lens is slower, there are fewer
manual controls, the optical viewfinder is gone, and
conversion lenses are not supported.
Is the PowerShot A2000 IS a good choice
for an entry-level, midzoom camera? Find out now in
What's in the Box?
The PowerShot A2000 IS has an average
bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
- The 14.7 effective Megapixel PowerShot
A2000 digital camera
- 32MB Secure Digital memory card
- Two AA alkaline batteries
- Wrist strap
- USB cable
- A/V cable
- CD-ROM featuring Canon Digital
- 147 page camera manual (printed)
Canon includes a 32MB Secure Digital
card with the PowerShot A2000. That holds just six
photos at the highest quality setting, so you'll want
to buy a larger memory card right away. The A2000 supports
a myriad of memory card formats, including SD, SDHC,
MMC, MMCplus, and HC MMCplus. I'd suggest sticking
with SD and SDHC, and I recommend getting a 2GB card
to start with. While buying a high speed memory card
doesn't hurt, you certainly don't need to go overboard.
Like all the cameras in the PowerShot
A-series, the A2000 uses AA batteries for power. You'll
find two alkaline batteries in the box, which will
quickly find their way into your recycling bin. I suggest
buying a set or two of NiMH rechargeable batteries
(2500 mAh is good) plus a fast charger. You'll save
money, and the environment. Here's how the A2000 compares
to other cameras in its class in terms of battery life:
life, LCD on
|Canon PowerShot A2000
||2 x 2500
|Fuji FinePix J150w
|Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS
|Nikon Coolpix S560 *
|Olympus FE-370 *
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10
||2 x 2600
|Pentax Optio V20
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W170
* Has image stabilization
** Also supports lithium AA and CR-V3 batteries
Battery life numbers are provided by the
As you can see, the PowerShot A2000
wins the battery life competition fairly easily. It,
along with the Panasonic LZ10, are the only two cameras
that use AA batteries. The Kodak Z1085 can use lithium
AA and CR-V3 batteries, neither of which are rechargeable.
As you know, I'm a fan of cameras that use AAs, as
they're cheaper than their proprietary counterparts,
and you can buy regular alkaline batteries in emergencies.
The PowerShot A2000 IS has a built-in
lens cover, so there's no clunky lens cap to deal with.
The A2000 is a bit of a departure
from previous A-series models, in that it doesn't support
many accessories. And that's a disappointment to this
long-time A-series fan. Here's what is available:
||Why you want it
|External slave flash
|Attaches via the tripod
mount and fires when the onboard flash
||Contains four NiMH
batteries and a charger
||Power the camera without
wasting your batteries
|Soft camera case
||Protect your camera
from the elements
were accurate when review was published
If you go back and look at my PowerShot
A720 review, you'll see just how much things
have changed in the accessories department -- and
not for the better.
CameraWindow in Mac OS X
Canon includes version 35 of their
Digital Camera Solution Disk with the PowerShot A2000
IS. The first part of the Browser software that you'll
probably encounter is Camera Window (pictured above),
which is used to download photos from your camera.
ImageBrowser in Mac OS X
Once that's done you'll find yourself
in either ImageBrowser or ZoomBrowser, which are for
Mac and Windows, respectively. The Browser software
lets you view, organize, e-mail, and print your photos.
If you categorized any photos on the camera (more on
this later), then this information is transferred into
the Browser software.
ImageBrowser edit window in Mac OS X
Double-click on a thumbnail and you'll
bring up the edit window. Editing functions include
trimming, redeye removal, and the ability to adjust
levels, color, brightness, sharpness, and the tone
curve. There's also an auto adjustment option for those
who want a quick fix.
PhotoStitch in Mac OS X
A separate program called PhotoStitch
can combine photos you've taken side-by-side into a
single panorama. While the A2000 lacks Canon's Stitch
Assist function, if you line up your photos carefully,
you should still be able to get some nice panoramas.
Canon includes a good-sized, printed
manual with the PowerShot A2000 IS. It seems a bit
more user friendly than previous manuals, with a handy
"What Do You Want to Do?" section at the
beginning, to quickly guide you to the camera's most
important functions. There's still some fine print
here and there, but it does seem better than it used
to be. Manuals covering software installation and direct
printing (via PictBridge) are also included.
Look and Feel
The PowerShot A2000 IS has a much
sleeker look than its predecessor, the A720. It no
longer has the protruding grip of that camera, though
it results in a camera that's more difficult to hold.
Despite being made entirely of plastic, the A2000 is
well put together, with sturdy doors and a metal tripod
mount. Ergonomics are pretty good overall, though I
found that my thumb often ended up resting on the LCD
display, thus leaving fingerprints. The button layout
is a bit cluttered, as well.
Unlike its little brother -- the PowerShot
A1000 -- the A2000 IS comes in just one color scheme.
I rather like the two-toned gray look, don't you?
Okay, here's how the A2000 compares
to similar cameras in terms of size and weight:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
|Canon PowerShot A2000 IS
||4.0 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
||13 cu in.
||185 g |
|Fujifilm FinePix J150w
||3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
||7.5 cu in.
||146 g |
||3.6 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.
||7.1 cu in.
||145 g |
|Kodak EasyShare Z1085 IS
||3.5 x 2.5 x 1.5 in.
||13.1 cu in.
||164 g |
|Nikon Coolpix S560
||3.7 x 2.1 x 0.9 in.
||7 cu in.
||130 g |
||3.7 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.
||7.3 cu in.
||128 g |
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10
||3.8 x 2.4 x 1.3 in.
||11.9 cu in.
||141 g |
|Pentax Optio V20
||3.8 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.
||7.5 cu in.
||130 g |
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W170
||3.7 x 2.3 x 0.9 in.
||7.7 cu in.
||142 g |
I already showed you in the introduction
that the A2000 is both smaller and lighter than its
predecessor. In this group of entry-level midrange
zoom cameras, however, the A2000 is one of the larger
cameras out there.
Ready to tour the PowerShot A2000
now? Let's begin:
The PowerShot A2000 IS uses a different
lens than the A720 that came before it. While both
are 6X lenses, the one on the A2000 is slower and offers
slightly more telephoto power. The biggest change is
the maximum aperture: the A720's lens had a range of
F2.8 - F4.8, while the A2000's is F3.2 - F5.9. What
that means in real life is that the A2000's lens brings
in a lot less light, which means slower shutter speeds,
and and you'll have to raise the ISO or use the flash
to compensate for that. The focal range of the lens
is 6.4 - 38.4 mm, which is equivalent to 36 - 216 mm,
up slightly from 35 - 210 mm on the A720. Another change
from the A720 is that the A2000 does not support conversion
One thing that hasn't changed is the
A2000's lens-based optical image stabilization system.
Sensors inside the camera detect the tiny movements
of your hands which can blur your photos, especially
at the telephoto end of the lens, or in low light situations.
The camera then shifts one of the lens elements to
compensate for this motion, allowing for a sharp photo
(or at least, a higher likelihood of one). It won't
let you take handheld 1 second exposures, nor will
it freeze a moving subject, but it's a lot better than
having nothing at all. Here's an example of the image
stabilization system in action:
Image stabilization off
Image stabilization on
I took both of the photos you see
above at a shutter speed of 1/6 second. As you can
see, the image stabilization system was able to produce
a sharper photo. You can also use IS in movie mode,
as illustrated by this brief video
To the upper-right of the lens is
the A2000's built-in flash. The working range of the
flash is 0.3 - 3.5 m at wide-angle and 0.5 - 2.0 m
at telephoto (at Auto ISO), which is average. If you
want more flash power and a smaller chance of redeye,
you might want to consider the slave flash that I mentioned
in the accessories section.
Moving to the opposite side of the
lens now, we find the camera's microphone and AF-assist
lamp. The AF-assist lamp is used as a focus aid in
low light situations. The lamp is also used for redeye
reduction, and it serves as a visual countdown for
Canon has upsized the LCD on the PowerShot
A2000 IS, giving it a 3-inch screen (up from 2.5" on
the A720). Not only is the screen larger than on the
A720 -- it's sharper, too. The screen has 230,000 pixels,
so everything's pretty sharp. Outdoor visibility was
decent, and low light viewing was very good, with the
screen brightening in those situations (though things
may be a bit grainy). One thing that I didn't care
for about this LCD was the limited viewing angle --
you really need to be looking at it straight on.
When Canon put the larger screen on
the A2000, they took away the optical viewfinder that's
been a standard feature on all previous A-series models.
If you want this feature (and I know some of you do),
then you may want to see out an A590 or A720, both
of which are still available at the time this review
Now let's talk about all those buttons
that are located to the right of the LCD. Starting
at the top, we find the button for entering playback
mode, with the camera's speaker to its left.
You'll see this menu when you're connected to a Mac
Under that we have the Face Select
and Print/Share buttons. The former lets you select
a face in the frame, and have the camera track that
person as they move around the frame (more on face
detection in a bit). The Print/Share button is customizable
when you're taking pictures, and it has dedicated functions
when you're connected to a computer or printer. For
computers, it lets you select which photos are transferred
over (and you can even choose a picture to be your
desktop background). If you're hooked up to a printer,
this button let's you print the selected photo.
To the left of the viewfinder is the
Print/Share button, which is customizable (I'll tell
you what functions can be assigned to it later in the
review). Also, when you're plugged into a computer
or printer, the button allows you to transfer photos
to your PC or select photos for printing.
Under those is the camera's four-way
controller, which is used for navigating menus, replaying
photos, and also:
- Up - ISO (Auto, Hi Auto, 80, 100,
200, 400, 800, 1600)
- Down - Drive (Single-shot, continuous,
2 or 10 sec self-timer, custom self-timer) - see
- Left - Focus (Normal, macro, infinity)
- Right - Flash (Off, auto, on)
- Center - Function menu + Set
As you can see, there are two Auto
ISO options on the PowerShot A2000. The difference
is simple: the "Hi Auto" option will use
higher sensitivities than the regular Auto mode.
Now it's time to talk about the continuous
shooting and self-timer options on the PowerShot A2000.
In continuous shooting mode, the A2000 can keep shooting
away at 1.3 frames/second, until your memory card is
full (high speed card recommended). The LCD blacks
out briefly between each shot. The camera has two "standard" self-timer
modes, plus a custom option which lets you manually
select the delay and the number of shots taken.
Pressing the center button on the
four-way controller options up the Function menu, which
has these options:
- Exposure compensation (-2EV to
+2EV, in 1/3EV increments) + long shutter speed (1
- 15 sec)
- White balance (Auto, daylight,
cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, custom)
- see below
- My Colors (Off, vivid, neutral,
sepia, black & white, custom color) - see below
- Metering (Evaluative, center-weighted,
- Compression (see chart later in
- Resolution (see chart later in
You'll find both of the A2000's manual
controls in the Function menu. First is the long shutter
speed option, which lets you select a shutter speed
between 1 and 15 seconds -- perfect for night shots.
To get to this option, select exposure compensation
and then press the Display button.
The PowerShot A2000's custom white
balance option lets you use a white or gray card, for
accurate color in any lighting. This will come in handy
when you're shooting in unusual lighting conditions,
like I do in many of the test shots later in the review.
Sharpness is one of the settings you can adjust with
the Custom Color option
The My Colors feature should be self-explanatory,
save for the custom option. This one lets you manually
adjust contrast, sharpness, and color saturation. For
those keeping track at home, that's fewer options than
on Canon's more expensive cameras, not that the A2000's
target audience will mind.
The last two items on the back of
the PowerShot A2000 IS are the DIsplay and Menu buttons.
The former toggles what's shown on the LCD, while the
latter does exactly as it sounds.
Right in the middle of the photo you
see above is the PowerShot A2000's power button. Right
next to it is the mode dial, which has these options:
||More on this later
|Special Scene mode
||Pick the situation and
the camera uses the appropriate settings. Choose
from night scene, sunset, foliage, snow, beach,
fireworks, aquarium, ISO 3200
|Kids & Pets
||VERY basic, with the only
option being flash on or off!
||Fully automatic, most camera
settings locked up
||Still automatic, but with
full menu access
Not to sound like a broken record,
but I must point out that the A2000 has been stripped
down to a mostly point-and-shoot camera. Gone are the
manual exposure modes from the A720 and the cameras
that came before it. If you like scene modes, there
are plenty to choose from (though where's the sports
mode?). One scene mode I'd skip is the ISO 3200 mode,
which boosts the sensitivity to 3200 while cutting
the resolution to 1600 x 1200 -- the quality is going
to be pretty lousy.
To the right mode the mode dial is
the shutter release button, which has the zoom controller
wrapped around it. The controller moves the lens from
wide-angle to telephoto in about 1.4 seconds. I counted
fourteen steps in the camera's 6X zoom range.
The only thing to see on this side
of the A2000 is its speaker. The lens is at the full
wide-angle position here.
On the other side of the A2000 are
its I/O ports, which are under a plastic cover of average
quality. The ports here include USB + A/V out (one
port for both) and DC-in (for the optional AC adapter).
As with all Canon cameras, the A2000 supports the USB
2.0 High Speed standard.
The lens is at the full telephoto
Our tour ends with a look at the bottom
of the camera. Here you'll find a metal tripod mount
(yay) and the battery/memory card compartment. The
door over this compartment is fairly sturdy, and includes
a locking mechanism. It doesn't take a Ph.D. to figure
out that you won't be able to get at the memory card
slot while the camera is on a tripod.
Using the Canon PowerShot
It takes the camera about 1.2 seconds
to extend its lens and prepare for shooting. That's
not too shabby for an entry-level camera with a fairly
large lens to extend.
No live histograms here
Focusing performance was good in most
respects. At the wide end of the lens, you can expect
to wait for between 0.2 and 0.4 seconds for the camera
to lock focus. At the telephoto end, focus times are
more like 0.6 to 1.0 seconds. Low light focusing was
pretty good most of the time, with focus times typically
hovering around a full second in those situations.
Shutter lag wasn't a problem at fast
shutter speeds, though at slower shutter speeds (where
you should really be using the flash anyway), I noticed
a very brief delay before the photo was taken.
If you're not using the flash, you'll
wait about 1.5 seconds before you can take another
photo. If you are using it, be prepared for a 4 or
even 5 second wait before you can take the next shot
-- that's quite slow.
You can delete the photo you just
took by pressing "down" on the four-way controller.
If you've got the "focus check" option selected
in the record menu, the camera will enlarge the focus
point or faces it detected when it replays the photo.
Now, here's a look at the image size
and quality choices available on the camera:
||Approx. file size
||# images on 32MB card
||# images on 2GB card (optional)
3648 x 2736
3648 x 2048
2816 x 2112
2272 x 1704
1600 x 1200
640 x 480
The chart above illustrates why I
recommended buying a larger memory card back at the
beginning of the review! There's one more image size
that I didn't list in that table, and it's called date
stamp. As its name implies, this mode lets you print
the date on your photo. In fact, this is the only setting
at which you can do so. Date stamp is equivalent to
Medium 3 / Normal quality. Why Canon won't let you
put the date on photos of any resolution is beyond
Not surprisingly, the RAW and TIFF
image formats are not supported on the PowerShot A2000
Images are named IMG_xxxx.JPG, where
x = 0001 - 9999. The file numbering is maintained even
if you replace and/or format memory cards.
Now, onto the menus!
The PowerShot A2000 IS has the standard
Canon menu system. In record mode you'll find two tabs:
one for recording options, the other for setup. If
you're in Auto mode you may not see all of these options,
and if you're in Easy mode, you can't even get into
the menu. With that said, here's the full list of items
in the record menu:
- AF frame (Face Detect, AiAF, Center)
- see below
- AF frame size (Normal, small) -
- AF-point zoom (on/off) - enlarges
the focus point or the selected faces
- Digital zoom (Off, 1.4X, 2.3X,
Standard) - see below
- Flash settings
- Slow synchro (on/off)
- Redeye correction (on/off) - digital redeye
removal, as the photo is taken
- Redeye reduction lamp (on/off) - uses the AF-assist
lamp to reduce redeye
- Custom self-timer
- Delay (0-10, 15, 20, 30 secs)
- Shots (1-10)
- AF-assist beam (on/off)
- Review (Off, 2-10 seconds, hold)
- post-shot review
- Review info (Off, detailed, focus
check) - detailed shows you shooting data and a histogram;
focus check enlarges the focus point or faces
- Auto category (on/off) - photos
are automatically categorized based on the scene
mode they were taken in; more on this later
- Display overlay (Off, grid lines,
3:2 guide, both)
- IS mode (Continuous, shoot only,
panning, off) - see below
- Set Print/Share button (Off, exposure
compensation, white balance, custom white balance,
redeye correction, digital teleconverter, grid lines,
display off) - define what this button does
|The camera locked onto five of
the six faces
||The two focus point sizes available
Let's start our discussion of some
of the menu items with the A2000's three focus mode
options. The first is Face Detection, a feature every
camera must have these days. The A2000 can find up
to six faces in the frame, and it will make sure that
they are properly focused and exposed. You can use
the Face Select & Track feature to follow a specific
face as they move around the frame. Canon's face detection
system has always performed well, and the A2000 had
very little trouble locking onto five of the six faces
in our test scene. The next focus mode is AiAF, which
is a 9-point autofocus system. If the camera can't
find any faces with face detection, it uses AiAF. The
final focus mode is center focus, and you can select
from a normal or small focus point.
A quick note about the A2000's digital
zoom features now. Canon calls the 1.4X and 2.3X options
a "digital teleconverter"
-- it's basically just fixed digital zoom. The Standard
option is what you'll find on every camera - you can
select whatever amount of digital zoom that you want.
The Safety Zoom feature warns you when you pass the
point where image quality is degraded. When you're
shooting at the highest resolution that starts as soon
as digital zoom kicks in, but if you're using a lower
resolution you can more of it. At the M3 (1600 x 1200)
picture size you can get a total of 14X zoom without
any loss in image quality.
The Auto Category feature assigns
one of the standard photo categories (people, scenery,
events) to a photo based on what scene mode you used
to take the picture. You can edit these -- or manually
assign a category -- in playback mode.
What are those three IS modes all
about? Continuous mode activates the OIS system as
soon as you halfway press the shutter release, which
helps you compose the photo without camera shake. The "shoot
only" option doesn't turn it on until the photo
is actually taken, which improves the performance of
the OIS system. The panning mode only stabilizes up
and down motion, and you'll want to use this while
tracking a moving subject horizontally. You can also
turn the whole thing off, which is advisable if you're
using a tripod.
Here's what you'll find in the setup
tab of the menu:
- Mute (on/off) - quickly turn off
the camera's beeps and blips
- Startup volume (Off, 1-5)
- Operation volume (Off, 1-5)
- Self-timer volume (Off, 1-5)
- Shutter volume (Off, 1-5)
- Playback volume (Off, 1-5)
- Startup image (on/off)
- LCD brightness (1-5)
- Power saving
- Auto power down (on/off)
- Display off (10, 20, 30 sec,
- Card format
- File numbering (Continuous, auto
- Create folder
- Create new folder - on the
- Auto create (Off, daily, weekly,
monthly) - this new features will automatically
create new folders on the memory card at set
- Auto rotate (on/off) - camera will
automatically rotate portrait photos on the LCD
- Lens retract (1 min, 0 secs) -
how quickly the lens retracts when you switch to
- Video system (NTSC, PAL)
- Print Method (Auto, PictBridge)
- Reset all - back to defaults
That just about does it for menus
-- let's talk about photo quality now!
Our macro test shot turned out very
well. The colors are spot on, and are nicely saturated,
too. The subject has Canon's trademark "smooth" appearance,
but I wouldn't go as far as to call it soft. I don't
see anything resembling noise or noise reduction artifacting
in this photo, nor would I expect to.
While the PowerShot A2000 lets you
be just 1 cm away from your subject in macro mode,
you can only do so at the wide end of the lens. In
order to use macro mode, the lens must be positioned
between the 1X and (roughly) 2.5X position.
The night shot looks pretty good,
though I now see that it could've used an extra second
or two of exposure. The best way to take photos like
this is to use the long shutter speed option, which
is accessible via the Function menu. That feature lets
you select a shutter speed between one and fifteen
seconds. Aside from being a little dark, you can see
some detail loss due to noise reduction, though this
shouldn't keep you from making a large print at this
sensitivity (ISO 80). The A2000 does a good job at
keeping purple fringing under control.
Now, let's use that same scene and
see how the A2000 does at higher ISOs in low light.
Do note that I can only take the ISO up to 400, due
to the lack of full shutter speed control. Here we
There's a slight increase in detail
loss when you go from ISO 80 to 100, but it's still
a fairly clean image for a 10 Megapixel camera. Things
start to go south at ISO 200, with noise and noise
reduction artifacting becoming quite evident. Ideally,
this is as high as you want to take the PowerShot A2000
in very low light conditions. The ISO 400 shot has
lost a lot of detail, so I'd save this one for desperation
only (and don't bother with anything above that).
We'll see if the A2000 does any better
in normal lighting in a moment.
There's mild-to-moderate barrel distortion
at the wide end of the PowerShot A2000's 6X zoom lens.
To see this in real life, look no further than this
photo (check out the building on the right). There's
no sign of corner blurriness, and I spotted a tiny
amount of vignetting (darkened corners) here and there.
Canon has taken a two-pronged approach
to redeye removal on the A2000. You can have it use
the AF-assist lamp to shrink the size of your subject's
pupils (which isn't new), and you can also have the
camera digitally remove any redeye that it finds (this
is new). I had both systems turned on and, as you can
see, no redeye!
Now it's time for our second ISO test,
which is taken in the studio. Thus, it's comparable
between cameras I've reviewed over the years. While
the crops below give you a quick idea as to the noise
performance at each sensitivity, I highly recommend
viewing the full size images as well. Ready?
There's really very little difference
between the ISO 80, 100, and 200 photos -- and that's
good news. We start to see the effects of noise and
noise reduction at ISO 400, with details starting to
get eaten away. This will reduce your maximum print
size to small or midsize. ISO 800 is fairly noisy,
so this one's for emergencies only. There's far too
much detail loss at ISO 1600 for me to recommend using
Overall, the PowerShot A2000 IS produced
very good photos for an entry-level camera. Photos
were well-exposed, with minimal clipping of highlights
(well, except for here).
Colors were both accurate and saturated, and sharpness
was just how I like it -- not too sharp, not too soft.
In good lighting and at lower ISOs, you shouldn't have
much of a problem with noise. If you "pixel peep" you
can spot a little noise reduction on solid areas of
color (like the sky), but that will blend away when
you downsize or print the photos. In low light, you
will face noise reduction artifacting once you get
to ISO 200, so don't expect miracles in those situations.
The A2000 controls purple fringing exceptionally well
-- it's not a problem.
Don't just take my word for all this,
though. Have a look at our photo
gallery, maybe printing a few of the photos if
you can. Then you should be able to decide if the PowerShot
A2000's photo quality meets your expectations.
The PowerShot A2000 IS has the standard
Canon movie mode (and not the more modern one used
on late 2008 cameras). This allows you to record VGA
quality video (640 x 480, 30 fps) until the file size
reaches 4GB. That takes about 32 minutes at the highest
quality setting. There's also a "long play" option
(which just compressed the video a bit more), which
lets you record up to an hour of continuous video.
For smaller file sizes and longer
movies, you can reduce the image size to 320 x 240
(still at 30 fps). You can record up to an hour of
continuous video at that setting. An even smaller movie
size is also available -- 160 x 120 at 15 fps -- though
you can record just 3 minutes at that setting.
You cannot use the zoom lens during
filming (it will be locked when you start filming).
You can, however, use the digital zoom. As you'd expect,
the image stabilizer is active during movie recording.
Movies are saved in AVI format, using
the M-JPEG codec.
Here's a sample movie for you:
play movie (25 MB, 640 x 480, 30 fps, QuickTime format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
The PowerShot A2000 has a pretty nice
playback mode. Basic features include slideshows, image
protection, DPOF print marking, voice captions, thumbnail
view, and zoom & scroll. This last feature will
enlarge the image by as much as ten times, and let
you move around. You can press the Func/Set button
on the back of the camera to lock the current zoom & scroll
setting, and then use the left/right buttons to move
from image to image. You can also use the Focus Check
feature here, which enlarges the focus point or the
faces that were detected in the photo.
Photos can be rotated, resized, and
cropped right on the camera. If there's any redeye
in your photos, you'll find a tool to remove it here.
Unfortunately, there are no movie editing features
available on the A2000.
Selecting a category
Photos that were taken in certain
scene modes are automatically categorized, but if you
want to do it manually, just use the My Category option.
Your selection is transferred to your computer along
with the photo.
The camera's "jump" feature
lets you quickly move through photos in increments
of 10 or 100, by what category they're in, or by date.
You can also use the jump feature to quickly find movies
By default you won't get much information
about your photo while in playback mode. But press
the Display button and you'll get more info, including
The A2000 moves through images at
a decent clip, with a delay of under a second between
each one. Like most of Canon's cameras, when you rotate
the camera 90 degrees, the photo on the LCD rotates
How Does it Compare?
There are two ways in which you can
look at the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS. As an inexpensive
camera with a decent amount of features, it's pretty
good. However, compared to its predecessors (A710,
A720), it's a disappointment. Canon has stripped out
nearly all of the features that made that camera so
great -- manual controls, expandability, and an optical
viewfinder. Despite that, the A2000 is a very good
choice for those who want an inexpensive (~$200) camera
with a midrange zoom lens and optical image stabilization.
Let's just hope that Canon offers a true replacement
for the A720 in the near future.
The PowerShot A2000 IS has a much
slimmer, sleeker look than its predecessor. While it
undoubtedly looks better than the PowerShot A720, the
A2000 isn't as easy to hold. And, unless you have "micro
thumbs", odds are that you'll be smudging the
LCD when you hold the camera. Despite being made entirely
of plastic, the A2000 is well put together, with sturdy
doors and a metal tripod mount. While the A2000's lens
remains at 6X -- as it was on the A720 -- it's a much "slower" lens,
with a maximum aperture range of F3.2-5.9. In layman's
terms, that means that the lens lets in a lot less
light than the F2.8-4.8 lens on the PowerShot A720.
One thing that hasn't changed is that the A2000 has
an optical image stabilization system, which reduces
the risk of blurry photos. It can also be used to "smooth
your video recordings. On the back of the camera is
a 3-inch LCD display, which is both larger and higher
resolution than the 2.5" screen on the A720. The
screen has decent outdoor visibility (though the viewing
angle stinks) and very good low light viewing. Unfortunately,
when the larger LCD got added, the optical viewfinder
got taken away. Something else you won't find on the
A2000 is support for conversion lenses, which were
offered on the cameras that came before it.
While the PowerShot A710 and A720
had full manual controls, the new A2000 IS has been
turned into a point-and-shoot camera (with two exceptions).
The A2000 offers an automatic mode, plus several scene
modes (though how about a sports mode?). There's also
the requisite face detection feature, which works very
well. One feature I do like is automatic redeye removal,
which digital removes this annoyance as a photo is
taken. The only manual controls on the camera are for
white balance and long shutter speeds, though that's
better than none at all. The A2000 has a pretty standard
movie mode, allowing for up to one hour of continuous
video recording at 640 x 480 (30 fps).
Camera performance was very good,
except when you're using the flash. The A2000 starts
up in 1.2 seconds, which is decent for a camera in
its class. Focusing speeds were good in most situations,
with low light being the only time where the camera
slowed down a bit. Even then, focus times typically
hung around one second. Shutter lag wasn't a problem
in most situations, though I noticed a tiny bit of
it at slow shutter speeds. Shot-to-shot speeds are
fine if you're not using the flash, but if you are,
be prepared to wait 4 or 5 seconds before you can take
the next shot. The A2000's continuous shooting mode
won't break any speed records, but it does allow you
to keep firing away at 1.3 fps until you memory card
is full. When using NiMH rechargeable batteries (which
I highly recommend), the A2000's battery life is the
best in its class.
The A2000's photo quality was very
good for an entry-level camera. Photos were well-exposed,
with accurate, vibrant (but not over-the-top) color.
In terms of sharpness, things were just right: not
too sharp, not too soft. In good lighting, noise doesn't
really become an issue until you pass ISO 400. You'll
see a little noise reduction artifacting before then,
but it's details are left intact. The camera doesn't
perform quite as well in low light. The combination
of a slow lens and noise reduction lead to photos that
noticeably drop in quality by the time you reach ISO
200. The A2000 does a good job at keeping purple fringing
at bay, and the auto redeye removal means that this
annoyance shouldn't plague your photos.
In conclusion, I like the PowerShot
A2000 IS -- it's a good choice in the entry-level,
midzoom category, and I can recommend it, as long as
you're not a big low light shooter. As I've said throughout
this review, the PowerShot A2000 is definitely a step
down from the A720 that came before it. I can only
hope that Canon gets the message and releases something
in the near future with manual controls, conversion
lens support, and an optical viewfinder that made the
A720 so great.
What I liked:
- Very good photo quality (in good
- Good value for the money
- 6X optical zoom lens in a relatively
- Optical image stabilization
- 3-inch LCD with good low light
visibility (but see issues below)
- Redeye not a problem thanks to
automatic removal tool
- Well implemented face detection
- Can record up to an hour of VGA
- Uses AA batteries; excellent battery
life with optional NiMH batteries
What I didn't care for:
- A real step down from the PowerShot
A720 (for reasons described above)
- Lots of noise reduction in low
light; images get noisy in good light after ISO 400
- Flash is slow to charge
- Slow lens (in terms of max aperture)
- LCD has poor viewing angle
- No optical viewfinder
- Fewer manual controls than its
- Can't swap memory cards while using
Some other cameras worth considering
include the Fuji
FinePix J150w, GE
EasyShare Z1085 IS, Nikon
Coolpix S560, Olympus
Lumix DMC-LZ10, Pentax
Optio V20, and the Sony
As always, I recommend a trip down
to your local reseller to try out the PowerShot A2000
IS and its competitors before you buy!
See how the photos turned out in our gallery!
Feedback & Discussion
To discuss this review with other
DCRP readers, please visit our forums.
If you have a question about this
review, please send them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail
me asking for a personal recommendation.