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DCRP Review: Canon PowerShot A710 IS  

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: September 18, 2006
Last Updated: May 21, 2007

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The PowerShot A710 IS ($399) has landed at the top of Canon's A-series lineup. The A710 is based on the A700 (surprise surprise), with its two big new features being optical image stabilization and a higher resolution sensor. Other features on the camera include a 2.5" LCD display, full manual controls, support for conversion lenses, and a VGA movie mode.

If you're confused about all the A-series models out there, you're not alone. Since it's my job to help people buy the right camera, I put together the chart below, which compares the various cameras:

Feature PowerShot A530 PowerShot A540 PowerShot A630 PowerShot A640 PowerShot A710 IS
Street price
(at time of posting)
$185 $247 $284 $385 $393
Resolution 5.0 MP 6.0 MP 8.0 MP 10.0 MP 7.1 MP
Optical zoom 4X 4X 4X 4X 6X
Lens max. aperture F2.6 - F5.5 F2.6 - F5.5 F2.8 - F4.1 F2.8 - F4.1 F2.8 - F4.8
Focal length (35 mm equiv.) 35 - 140 mm 35 - 140 mm 35 - 140 mm 35 - 140 mm 35 - 210 mm
Image stabilization No No No No Yes
LCD size 1.8" 2.5" 2.5" 2.5" 2.5"
Rotating LCD? No No Yes Yes No
Manual focus point selection No No Yes Yes Yes
Supports conversion lenses? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Supports underwater case? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Supports Remote Capture No No No Yes No
Battery used AA (2) AA (2) AA (4) AA (4) AA (2)
Battery life with 2500 mAh batteries (CIPA standard) 360 shots 360 shots 500 shots 500 shots 360 shots

Hope that helps!

Is the A710 a good choice for those who want something in-between a compact and ultra zoom camera? Find out right now!

What's in the Box?

The PowerShot A710 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:

  • The 7.1 effective Megapixel PowerShot A710 IS camera
  • 16MB Secure Digital card
  • Two AA alkaline batteries
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Canon Digital Camera Solution, Apple QuickTime, and drivers
  • 32 page basic manual + 137 page advanced manual (both printed)

Canon includes a 16MB memory card along with the A710, which is quite small for a 7MP camera (it holds just four photos at the highest quality setting). That means that you'll need to buy a memory card, which drives up the initial purchase price of the camera a bit. The A710 uses Secure Digital cards, including the new high capacity SDHC cards that are just now becoming available. I'd recommend picking up a 512MB card along with the camera. Buying a high speed card (50X or higher) is a good idea, as it does impact camera performance.

Like its predecessor (along with most of the other A-series cameras) the A710 uses two AA batteries. The alkalines that come in the box will quickly find their way into the trash, so you'll want to pick up a four pack of NiMH rechargeables plus a fast charger right away. Once you've got those installed, here's what kind of battery life you'll get out of the camera:

Camera Battery life, LCD on
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot A630/A640 500 shots 2500 mAh NiMH
Canon PowerShot A700 400 shots 2500 mAh NiMH
Canon PowerShot A710 IS * 360 shots 2500 mAh NiMH
Fuji FinePix F650 150 shots NP-40
Kodak EasyShare C875 250 shots Unknown NiMH
Nikon Coolpix L5 * 250 shots 2000 mAh NiMH
Olympus Stylus 750 * 190 shots LI-42B
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 * 390 shots Unknown NiMH
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 * 250 shots CGA-S007
Samsung Digimax L85 300 shots ** SLB-1237

* Has image stabilization
** Number not obtained using the CIPA standard

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer

As you can see, adding image stabilization reduced the battery life by about 10% on the A710 when compared to its predecessor. Even at this new, lower number, it's still above average compared to other cameras in this class.

As you may know, I'm a big fan of cameras that use AA batteries. They're cheaper than their proprietary counterparts, and you can buy off-the-shelf batteries when your rechargeables die.

As you can see, there's a built-in lens cover on the A710 IS, so there's no clumsy lens cap to worry about.

Like all cameras in the PowerShot A-series, the A710 has plenty of optional accessories. They include:

Accessory Model # Price Why you want it
Wide-angle lens WC-DC58N From $119 Brings the wide end of the lens down by 0.7X to 24.5 mm; requires conversion lens adapter
Telephoto lens TC-DC58N From $93 Boosts focal range by 1.75X to a whopping 368 mm; requires conversion lens adapter
Close-up lens 250D (58 mm) From $72 Lets you shoot close-ups between 18 and 25 cm away, even at the telephoto end of the lens; requires conversion lens adapter
Conversion lens adapter LA-DC58G $22 Required for conversion lenses; threaded for 58 mm accessories as well
External slave flash HF-DC1 From $85 Boosts flash range and reduces redeye; since it's a slave flash, the DC1 fires when the onboard flash does
Waterproof case WP-DC6 From $168 Take your camera up to 40 meters underwater
AC adapter ACK800 From $31 Power the camera without wasting your batteries
Rechargeable battery kit CBK4-300 From $37 Includes four 2500 mAh batteries and a charger

That's quite a selection for a fairly low-priced camera!

ImageBrowser (Mac OS X)

Canon includes version 29 of their Digital Camera Solution software package with the PowerShot A710. The main applications are the ImageBrowser/ZoomBrowser "twins" that come with all PowerShot models. ImageBrowser is for the Mac, while ZoomBrowser is for Windows PCs. The Mac version is not Universal (Intel native). The A710 does not support Remote Capture, either.

After you download photos via the CameraWindow application, you'll end up with the screen above, which has a standard-issue thumbnail view. Photos can be organized, printed, and e-mailed from this screen.

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.

ImageBrowser - MovieEdit Task (Mac OS X)

The MovieEdit task lets you take your movie clips, add effects and transitions, and then save the results as a single movie.

PhotoStitch (Mac OS X)

A separate program known as PhotoStitch is used to put the photos you took in the Stitch Assist mode into one giant panorama. The interface is simple, the process takes minutes, and the results are impressive, as you can see.

The A710's documentation comes in several parts. You get a basic manual to get you up and running, and an advanced manual for more complex camera features. There's also a separate manual for the bundled software. While the manuals aren't what I'd call pleasure reading, they will answer any question that may come up about the camera.

Look and Feel

The PowerShot A710 is basically a sleeker version of the A700 that came before it. The body is made of a mix of metal and plastic, and it feels pretty solid. There's a decent-sized grip for your right hand, and the important controls are within easy reach of your fingers.

Now, here's a look at how the A710 compares with some of the competition in terms of size and weight:

Camera Dimensions (W x H x D, excluding protrusions) Volume (bulk) Mass (empty)
Canon PowerShot A630 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.9 in. 21.2 cu in. 245 g
Canon PowerShot A700 3.7 x 2.6 x 1.7 in. 16.4 cu in. 200 g
Canon PowerShot A710 IS 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.6 in. 15.8 cu in. 210 g
Fujifilm FinePix F650 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.2 in. 11.8 cu in. 170 g
Kodak EasyShare C875 3.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in. 12.6 cu in. 177 g
Nikon Coolpix L5 3.6 x 2.4 x 1.8 in. 15.6 cu in. 170 g
Olympus FE-200 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in. 10.3 cu in. 155 g
Olympus Stylus 750 3.8 x 2.1 x 1.0 in. 8 cu in. 120 g
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.8 in. 16.8 cu in. 186 g
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 4.4 x 2.3 x 1.6 in. 16.2 cu in. 234 g
Samsung Digimax L85 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.1 in. 11.8 cu in. 190 g

The A710 is a bit smaller (but heavier) than its predecessor. In the midsize/5X-6X zoom group as a whole, it's about average.

Let's begin our tour of the camera beginning, as always, with the front.

The PowerShot A710 has the same F2.8-4.8, 6X optical zoom lens as its predecessor. The focal length of the lens is 5.8 - 34.8 mm, which is equivalent to 35 - 210 mm. While the lens itself is not threaded, you can remove the ring around it by pressing that button to its lower-right. Once that's done you can attach the optional conversion lens adapter, and then one of the conversion lenses I listed in the previous section.

Deep inside the lens is Canon's optical image stabilization system. Sensors inside the camera detect the tiny movements of your hands ("camera shake"), and a lens element is shifted to compensate for this motion (which often blurs your photos). This allows you to use slower shutter speeds than you could on an unstabilized camera, resulting in sharper photos. Do keep this in mind, though: the OIS system won't freeze a moving subject, nor will it allow you to take night photos like the one later in this review without a tripod.

Want to see how well the OIS system works? Check these out:

Image stabilization off Image stabilization on

I took both of the above photos near the telephoto end of the lens, with an exposure time of 1/5 second. As you can see, the shot on the right (taken with image stabilization) is noticeably sharper. If you want another example of what the OIS system can do, then check out this short sample movie.

To the upper-right of the lens is the A710's built-in flash. The working range hasn't changed since the A700; it's still 0.55 - 3.5 m at wide-angle and 0.55 - 2.5 m at telephoto, which is about average. If you want more flash power you can use the slave flash I mentioned in the previous section.

To the left of the flash is the optical viewfinder, with the AF-assist/self-timer lamp to the left of that. The AF-assist lamp is used as a focusing aid in low light situations.

The A710's LCD is the same as the one on the A700. It's 2.5 inches in size, with 115,000 pixels. While you may not notice the low resolution at first glance, when you compare it to some other cameras with "nicer" screens you will see a noticeable difference. Outdoor visibility was average, while in low light situations the screen was easy to see, since it "gains up" automatically in those situations.

Just above the LCD is an average-sized optical viewfinder, a feature that seems to be less and less common these days. Unfortunately, the viewfinder lacks a diopter correction knob, which is used to focus what you're looking at.

Jumping to the upper-right of the photo we find the record/playback mode switch, with the exposure compensation/delete photo and Print/Share buttons below that. The exposure compensation feature has the usual -2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV increments range.

When connected to a compatible photo printer, just press the Print/Share button and the selected image will be printed. When you connect to a Mac or PC, you can transfer photos (in numerous ways), and even set your computer's desktop background -- right from the camera.

Below those buttons is the four-way controller, used for menu navigation, selecting manual exposure settings, and also:

  • Up - Flash setting (Auto, flash on, flash off) + Jump (quickly move ahead in playback mode)
  • Down - Focus (Auto, macro, manual)
  • Center - Function / Set

Manual focus (center frame enlargement not shown)

In manual focus mode you'll use the left and right directions on the four-way controller to adjust the focus distance. A guide showing the distance is shown on the top of the LCD, and the center of the frame is enlarged so you can make sure that your subject is in focus.

Function menu

By pressing the center button on the four-way controller, you'll open up the Function menu. This menu has the following options:

  • ISO speed (Auto, High ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800) - see below
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, underwater, custom) - see below
  • Drive (Single-shot, continuous, self-timer [2 or 10 sec, custom] - see below
  • My Colors (Off, vivid, neutral, sepia, black & white, positive film, lighter skin tone, darker skin tone, vivid blue, vivid green, vivid red, custom color) - see below
  • Flash exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV increments) - in manual mode you can adjust the flash strength in three steps (1/3, 2/3, full)
  • Metering (Evaluative, center-weighted, spot)
  • Compression (see chart later in review)
  • Resolution (see chart later in review)

As with most of Canon's 2006 cameras, there are two Auto ISO modes to choose from on the PowerShot A710. The difference is that the High ISO Auto mode will boost the sensitivity higher than the regular Auto mode. This lets you use a faster shutter speed, which will result in sharper photos. The catch is that your photo will be on the noisy side. I'll have more on the camera's ISO performance later in the review.

The A710 has a custom white balance mode, which lets you use a white or gray card for perfect color in any lighting. This will come in handy when you're shooting in unusual lighting condition, like I do in many of the test shots later in the review. There's also a new underwater option, which is what you'll want to use when shooting with the underwater case.

While not quite as fast as on its predecessor, the A710's continuous shooting mode is still very good. With a high speed memory card you can take photos at 1.7 frames/second until you run out of memory. The "old" A700 could shoot at 2 frames/second. The LCD keeps up with the action, so you should be able to track a moving subject using it.

The My Colors options haven't changed too much since the A700. Everything up there should be self-explanatory, except for the custom color option. This lets you adjust the contrast, sharpness, and saturation from 1-5, as well as red/green/blue/skin tone levels. I'll talk about the two other My Colors features -- Color Swap and Color Accent -- a bit later.

The last thing to see on the back of the A710 are two more buttons. The Display button turns the LCD on and off, and also toggles what is shown on it. And, as you might expect, the Menu button opens the menu system.

Let's move on to the top of the camera now. First up is the power button, which has the mode dial next to it. The options on the mode dial include:

Option Function
Auto mode Fully automatic, most camera settings locked up
Program mode Automatic shooting, but with access to all menu options
Shutter priority (Tv) mode You choose shutter speed, camera picks aperture. Shutter speed range is 15 - 1/2000 sec; do note that the fastest shutter speeds are only available at small apertures
Aperture priority (Av) mode You choose aperture, camera picks appropriate shutter speed. Range is F2.8 - F8.0
Full manual (M) mode Choose both the shutter speed and aperture yourself; same ranges as above
Movie mode More on this later
Stitch Assist Helps you line up photos for later stitching into panoramas
Special Scene mode Pick the situation and the camera uses the appropriate settings. Choose from night snapshot, kids & pets, indoor, foliage, snow, beach, fireworks, underwater, color accent, and color swap. See below for more.
Night Scene More commonly used scene modes

Like nearly all of the cameras in the Canon A-series, the A710 has full manual controls. This is something that separates these cameras from most of the competition.

Color Accent Color Swap (Windex-colored flowers)

The other two My Colors features on the A710 are Color Accent and Color Swap. The Color Accent feature lets you select a color to highlight, and then all the other colors are turned to black and white. Color Swap does just as it sounds -- it swaps one color for another (though not very well).

The zoom controller, which wraps around the shutter release, moves the lens from wide-angle to telephoto in about 1.9 seconds. I counted fifteen steps throughout the 6X zoom range. Both numbers are unchanged since the A700.

On this side of the camera you'll find its I/O ports, which are protected by a rubber cover. The ports include A/V out, USB, and DC-in (for the optional AC adapter). The A710 IS supports the USB 2.0 High Speed standard for fast data transfer to your Mac or PC.

The lens is at the wide-angle position in this shot.

There's nothing to see on the other side of the camera. The lens is at full telephoto here.

On the bottom of the camera you'll find the battery and memory card compartment plus a plastic tripod mount (boo!). The door covering the battery/memory compartment is of average quality. You should be able to swap memory cards while the camera is on a tripod.

Using the Canon PowerShot A710 IS

Record Mode

It takes about 1.2 seconds for the A710 to extend its lens and "warm up" before you can start taking pictures. That's pretty snappy.

No live histogram to be found

Focus speeds on the A710 were above average. Typically it took between 0.2 and 0.4 seconds to lock focus, with slightly longer delays at the telephoto end of the lens. Low light focusing was excellent thanks to the camera's AF-assist lamp.

I did not find shutter lag to be a problem, even at the slower shutter speeds at which it can occur.

Shot-to-shot speeds are also very good. You'll want about one second before you can take another photo.

You can delete a picture as it's been saved to the memory card by pressing the delete photo button on the back of the camera.

Now, here's a look at the image size and quality choices available on the camera:

Resolution Quality Approx. file size # Images on 16MB card
# images on 512MB card (optional)
3072 x 2304
Superfine 3.0 MB 4 156
Fine 1.9 MB 7 251
Normal 902 KB 16 520
Wide (16:9)
3072 x 1728
Superfine 2.3 MB 6 207
Fine 1.4 MB 10 335
Normal 678 KB 21 686
Middle 1
2592 x 1944
Superfine 2.4 MB 5 190
Fine 1.5 MB 10 339
Normal 695 KB 21 671
Middle 2
2048 x 1536
Superfine 1.6 MB 9 295
Fine 893 KB 16 529
Normal 445 KB 33 1041
Middle 3
1600 x 1200
Superfine 1002 KB 26 471
Fine 558 KB 50 839
Normal 278 KB 56 1590
640 x 480
Superfine 249 KB 56 1777
Fine 150 KB 88 2747
Normal 84 KB 138 4317

See why you need a larger memory card?

There's one more image size on the A710 that I didn't list in that chart, and it's called postcard. If you want to print the date on your photo then you must use postcard mode!

Since even Canon's flagship PowerShot G7 doesn't support the RAW image format, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that the A710 doesn't either.

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 A710 uses the standard Canon menu system. It's attractive and easy-to-use. Here's the complete list of items in the record menu:

  • AF Frame (AiAF, center, FlexiZone) - see below
  • Digital Zoom (Off, 1.5X, 1.9X, Standard) - see below
  • Flash sync (1st-curtain, 2nd-curtain)
  • Slow synchro (on/off)
  • Redeye reduction (on/off)
  • Spot AE point (Center, AF point) - what area of the frame is metered when in spot metering mode
  • MF-Point Zoom (on/off) - enlarges the center of the frame in manual focus mode
  • AF-assist beam (on/off)
  • Review (Off, 2-10 seconds, hold) - post-shot review
  • Save Original (on/off) - for the My Colors feature
  • Display overlay (Off, gridlines, 3:2 guide, both) - this is new to the A710
  • IS mode (Continuous, shoot only, panning, off) - see below
  • Converter (None, wide, telephoto, close-up) - for when you're using a conversion lens
  • Date stamp (Off, date, date & time) - print the data on your photo -- in postcard mode only!

The FlexiZone AF mode lets you use the four-way controller to select a focus point. You can choose anywhere in the frame, save for a margin around the edges.

The A710 is the first camera I've tested with Canon's "new" digital zoom feature. Canon calls the 1.5X and 1.9X options a "digital tele-converter" -- it's basically just fixed digital zoom. The Standard option is what you'll find on every camera. The A710's 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 use it for a little while before that happens (e.g. you can go up to 9X total zoom at the M2 resolution).

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.

The setup tab in the menu has the following items:

  • Mute (on/off) - turns off all the beeps
  • Volume
    • 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)
  • Power saving
    • Auto power down (on/off)
    • Display off (10, 20, 30 sec, 1-3 min)
  • Date/time (set)
  • Card format
  • File number reset (on/off) - maintain file numbering
  • Create folder
    • Create new folder - on the memory card
    • Auto create (Off, daily, weekly, monthly) - this new features will automatically create new folders on the memory card at set intervals
  • 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 playback mode
  • Language (way too many to list)
  • Video system (NTSC, PAL)
  • Print Method (Auto, PictBridge)
  • Reset all - back to defaults

An additional "My Camera'" menu allows you to customize the startup screen, beeps, and phony shutter sounds that your camera makes. The software included with the camera lets you use your own photos and sounds as well. So, if you've ever wanted a chimp theme for your camera, here's your chance. Seriously, it comes on the bundled CD-ROM!

Well enough about menus, let's do photo tests now.

The A710 did a fine job with our standard macro test. The colors are spot-on, and our 3" tall subject has a "smooth" look to it, with no visible noise. I used the custom white balance feature here, which handled my studio lights without any trouble.

In macro mode you can be just 1 centimeter away from your subject! The only catch here is that you can only do close-up shooting between 1X and 2X zoom.

The camera did just as well with the night scene. The camera took in plenty of light, thanks to its manual control over shutter speed. The buildings are nice and sharp, and noise levels are low given the resolution of the camera. Purple fringing was not an issue.

There are two ISO tests in this review. The first one uses the night scene above, so you can see how noise levels look at high ISOs in low light. Here we go:

ISO 80

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

There isn't much of a difference between the first two crops. At ISO 200 noise starts becoming more visible, and details start to slide away. Still, you can get a small to midsize print out of it. Things only get worse at IS0 400, and you probably won't be able to do anything with the static-like ISO 800 photo.

There's mild-to-moderate barrel distortion at the wide end of the A710's 6X zoom lens. I didn't find vignetting -- dark corners -- to be a problem. Corner blurriness was minimal.

Ahhh, redeye. It's something that Canon A-series cameras seem to have a problem with. Of course, your results may vary, but I'm warning you that it may be an issue.

And now it's time for ISO test number two, which is shot in my "studio". You can compare this test with those in other reviews on this site. While the crops below give you a quick view of the differences at the various ISO sensitivities, it's a good idea to view the full-size images as well. And with that...

ISO 80

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

Things look quite clean through ISO 200. Grain starts to become more apparent at ISO 400, but I was still able to make a very nice-looking 8 x 10 inch print of that photo. The ISO 400 shot seems a little cleaner than what the A700 produced, despite having a higher resolution CCD. At ISO 800 things are quite grainy and some details are lost, so it's only for small prints. There appears to be a slight drop in color saturation at that setting, too.

Overall, the PowerShot A710's photo quality is very good. Colors were nice and saturated, and exposure was accurate in my real world photos. Images have a smooth look to them, without being too soft. Noise levels are low through ISO 200 and reasonable at ISO 400. Purple fringing was not a major problem.

Don't just take my word for it, though. Have a look at our photo gallery, and maybe print a few of them if you can. Then you'll be able to decide if the A710's photo quality meets your expectations.

Movie Mode

The A710's movie mode is unchanged since the A700. You can record VGA video (with sound) at 30 frames/second until either the memory card fills up, or the movie file size reaches 1GB (which takes just eight minutes). It's worth pointing out that Canon's new PowerShot G7 and SD800/SD900 models have a 4GB file size limit, so they can record for much longer. A high speed memory card is required for the high quality movie mode.

For longer movies you can either lower the resolution or the frame rate. Two other resolution choices are available: 320 x 240 and 160 x 120. For the 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 sizes you can choose from 30 or 15 frames/second, while the 160 x 120 size is fixed at 15 fps (with a 3 minute recording limit as well).

There's also a "Fast Frame Rate" mode available, which lets you record up to 1 minute of 320 x 240 video at a whopping 60 frames/second. This is great for videos of fast moving subjects.

As you'd expect, the image stabilizer is active while you're recording. While you can't use the optical zoom during filming, you can use the digital zoom. All of the My Colors features (including Color Swap and Color Accent) can be used in movie mode.

Movies are saved in AVI format, using the M-JPEG codec. An edit feature in playback mode lets you trim off unwanted parts of your movies.

Here's a cute sample movie for you. Be warned, it's a big download!

Click to play movie (18.2 MB, 640 x 480, 30 fps, AVI format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime

Playback Mode

The A710's playback mode is just like the A700's -- and it's very nice. It has slideshows, image protection, voice captions, thumbnail view, and zoom and scroll. This last feature lets you enlarge the picture up to 10X, and then scroll around in the zoomed-in area. When you're zoomed in you can press the Func/Set button and then move from photo to photo at the same magnification setting. The A710 also has a separate print menu lets you tag photos for printing to a PictBridge-enabled photo printer.

You can apply the My Colors features (except for Color Accent, Color Swap, and Custom Color) to photos you've already taken. While you can rotate an image, there's no way to downsize or crop it.

By default you won't get much information about your photo while in playback mode. But press the Display button and you'll get the screen on the right, which includes a histogram.

The A710 moves between images almost instantly. Like most of Canon's 2006 cameras, when you rotate the camera 90 degrees, the photo on the LCD rotates too.

How Does it Compare?

The PowerShot A710 IS takes an already excellent camera -- the A700 -- and adds some one really useful feature (image stabilization) and one not-so-useful feature (more pixels). Despite going up from 6 to 7 Megapixels, the A710's photo quality remained very good, with noise levels that are perhaps lowered than on its predecessor. When you look at the whole package -- from the photo quality to the image stabilizer to the manual controls -- you'll see that the A710 offers a lot of camera for your $400.

At first glance the PowerShot A710 IS looks like a sleeker version of the A700 before it. That's true, but its biggest new features can be found inside its metal and plastic body. As I mentioned before, the resolution has gone up from 6 to 7.1 Megapixels, and thankfully that happened without a reduction in image quality. The much more exciting feature is optical image stabilization, though. This feature moves a lens element to counteract the effects of "camera shake", which can blur your photos. I found that the IS system worked effectively, allowing you to take sharp photos at shutter speeds that are unheard of on unstabilized cameras. Other features on the A710 include a nice 6X zoom lens (on a fairly compact camera), a large (but not terribly sharp) 2.5" LCD display, and optical viewfinder (yay), and the use of AA batteries. Build quality was very good.

Like most of Canon's A-series cameras, the A710 offers something for everyone. If you want point-and-shoot, you've got it: there's an auto mode, plus numerous scene modes. When you're ready to learn about what manual controls can do for you, you'll find a full suite of them, from exposure to white balance to focus. Everyone will like the A710's movie mode, though the 1GB file size limit approaches quickly at the highest quality setting.

Camera performance is very good for the most part. The A710 is ready to shoot in a little over a second after you press the power button. Focus times are above average, and I didn't find shutter lag to be a problem. Low light focusing was excellent. The A710's burst rate isn't quite as good as on the A700 (probably due to the higher resolution), although you can still fire off an unlimited number of photos at 1.7 frames/second. Battery life was above average.

Image quality was very good. The A710 took well-exposed photos, with pleasing colors and a nice "smooth" appearance. Noise levels are quite low through ISO 200, and you'll still be able to make decent-sized prints at ISO 400. Purple fringing was not a problem. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for redeye -- there's quite a bit of that here.

There are just a few other negatives about the A710 worth mentioning. I'm not a fan of the plastic tripod mount, and the included 16MB memory card is just too small considering the resolution of the camera.

In a way, the A710 is sort of like a poor man's PowerShot G7. Both cameras offer a 6X zoom lens with image stabilization, a 2.5" LCD, full manual controls, and conversion lens support. Of course, the G7 has a 10 Megapixel sensor, more bells and whistles, and the ability to record longer movies. Then again, it costs $200 more, so it has to. Priced just below $400, the PowerShot A710 IS has a lot to offer, and it's a camera I can recommend without hesitation.

What I liked:

  • Very good photo quality, low noise through ISO 200
  • Optical image stabilization
  • More zoom than on most cameras in this class
  • Large 2.5" LCD, visible in low light (though see issue below)
  • Very good performance
  • Full manual controls
  • AF-assist lamp, good low light focusing
  • Good movie and continuous shooting modes (though see issue below)
  • Support for conversion lenses, underwater case
  • Uses AA batteries; above average battery life
  • USB 2.0 High Speed support

What I didn't care for:

  • Redeye
  • LCD resolution isn't great
  • Can only record about 8 minutes of VGA video due to 1GB file size limit
  • Plastic tripod mount
  • Included 16MB memory card is too small; bundling some rechargeable batteries would've been a nice touch

Some other cameras worth considering include the Canon PowerShot A630, Fuji FinePix F650, Kodak EasyShare C875, Nikon Coolpix L5, Olympus FE-200 and Stylus 750, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5 and DMC-TZ1, and the Samsung Digimax L85.

As always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out the PowerShot A710 IS and its competitors before you buy!

Photo Gallery

See how the photos turned out in our gallery!

Feedback & Discussion

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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 or technical support.

Want another opinion?

You can read more reviews at CNET, Steve's Digicams, and Imaging Resource.