Canon PowerShot A710 IS
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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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
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.