It's looking dangerously possible that we may finally catch up with Canon. With this review of the PowerShot A470, there are now only three remaining currently available models in the PowerShot, IXUS or EOS ranges of digital cameras that we haven't reviewed (excluding the EOS-1 professional cameras, which I never intended to review anyway, being far outside the consumer-oriented remit of this column).
Perhaps I should have left the A470 until last, since it is replacing the A460 at the bottom of the of the PowerShot range, a lowly 7.1-megapixel, 3.4x zoom cameras with a plastic body and a couple of AA batteries for power. Priced at just £75 it is competing in the bottom sector of the market, along with models such as the 8MP 4x zoom Fuji A82 (£72), the 8-megapixel 5x zoom Olympus FE-310 (£85), the 7.1MP 3x zoom Nikon L12 (£90) and 8MP 3x zoom Pentax Optio E50 (£92). It's a telling sign of how far digital cameras have progressed that you can buy such powerful cameras so cheaply. Not so long ago a 7.1-megapixel camera would have cost as much as a four-bedroom house in the Home Counties, but now it's barely the price of a litre of petrol.
Considering its low price it's perhaps not surprising that the A470 lacks some of the impressive build quality that typifies Canon's compact cameras. The plastic body has more than a few creaks and groans when squeezed, and in places feels quite flimsy, especially the hatch over the card and battery compartment.
The A470 is quite a chunky camera, measuring 104.8 x 55.1 x 40.7mm, nearly twice the thickness of some of the IXUS range. It's also surprisingly heavy, weighing 165g minus batteries, or around 210g including a couple of AA alkalines. However its corpulent dimensions do make it easy to hold securely, with the raised detail on the front providing a comfortable finger grip.