The Canon PowerShot A710 IS

An upgrade to the short-lived Canon PowerShot A700, the A710 IS received a design facelift and a few feature tweaks, the biggest and most welcome of which is that the new model adds optical image stabilization. In addition, upgrading from 6 mega pixel to 7 mega pixel provides for improved image quality. Is the A710 IS a worthy successor to the popular A700?

Here are the main features:

* 7.1 Megapixels
* 6x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer (35-210mm equiv.)
* DIGIC II, iSAPS, 9-Point AiAF, FlexiZone AF/AE
* Digital Tele-Converter and Safety Zoom
* 2.5” LCD with wide viewing angle and real-image optical viewfinder
* 20 shooting modes

What else has changed?

Although a better looking camera, the A710 IS is more than mere style, with the addition of the optical image stabilization system, the only downside of which is the slight decrease in battery life. Still, one can get an impressive 360 shots from a good pair of rechargeable AA NiMH batteries.

Additional changes include….

* 60fps (QVGA) movie mode
* MyColors effects in playback mode
* Playback overexposure warning
* 3:2 overlay on live view
* SDHC card support
* Underwater scene mode (for use with new optional 40m underwater case)
* Slightly reduced continuous shooting speed (1.7fps vs 2.0fps)
* 10g (0.36oz) heavier

Here are the full list of features and specifications:

* Sensor: 1/2.5” Type CCD, 7.1 million pixels
* Image Processor: DIGIC II with iSAPS technology
* Image Sizes: 3072 x 2304, 3072 x 1728, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480
* Movie Clips: 640 x 480 – 15/30 fps, up to 1 GB or 1 hour. 320 x 240 – 15/30/60 fsp, up to 1 GB or 1 hour (15/30 fps) or 1 minute (60 fps). 160 x 120 – 15 pfs, up to 3 minutes. AVI motion JPEG.
* Lens: 6x optical zoom, 35-210 mm equivalent, F2.8 – F4.8
* Optical Stabilization: Yes (shift type)
* Focus: TTL auto focus, AF illuminator, 9-point AiAF or 1 point AF (any position or fixed center), 1 cm macro mode
* Metering: Evaluate, Center-weighted average, Spot (center or linked to focusing frame)
* Shooting Mode: 13 different modes, including Night Scene, Shutter Priority AE and Aperture Priority AE
* Shutter Speeds: 15 – 1/2000 second
* Apertures: F2.8 – 8 (Wide) F4.8 – 8 (Tele)
* Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
* Sensitivity: Auto, High ISO Auto, ISO 80 – 800
* White Balance: 8 settings, including underwater
* Image parameters: 12 different settings, including photo-stitch
* Continuous: Continuous (1.7 fps) until memory is full
* Flash: 5 modes, including red-eye reduction. Range: 55cm – 3.5m (wide) / 2.5 m (tele)
* Storage: SD, SDHC, MMC compatible. 16 MB card included
* Viewfinder: Real-image zoom, optical viewfinder
* LCD Monitor: 2.5” P-Si TFT, 115,000 pixels
* Connectivity: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, AV out
* Power: 2x AA batteries (alkaline included, but NiMH recommended), optional AC adapter
* Optional Accessories: 3 lenses, high-power flash, waterproof case
* Dimensions: 97.5mm x 66.5mm x 41.2mm

Generally, users of this camera give good reviews, citing the advantages of using 2 batteries over 4, the convenience of using SD disks, date/time feature, overall quality and ease of use. Some users find that using the zoom feature indoors lowers image quality and the limits of the 1 GB file (about 8 minutes of video) and the limited storage capacity of the provided 16MB card.

The camera retails for around $300 US.