There are some camera companies that make it easy to keep up with reviews of their new products, just launching on or two every few months, and then there’s Canon. Since I last reviewed a Canon camera, namely the excellent A540 about four months ago, the company has launched no fewer than eight new cameras, and the chances are that it’ll launch a whole load more just before Christmas. How the heck am I supposed to keep up? We could change the name of this site to TrustedCanonReviews and I’d still be working flat out to cover the whole range.
The only solution is to be selective, so I’ve picked the most interesting ones to take a look at. This week it’s the new PowerShot A710 IS, which is the flagship model for Canon’s mid-market A series. It has an impressive specification, featuring a 6x zoom lens, 2.5in LCD screen, 7.1 megapixels and optical image stabilisation. It also has an impressive price tag, with an RRP of £349.99, although it is available online for as little as £225.49 if you shop around.
It’s certainly an impressive looking thing, bristling with enough buttons, dials and switches to satisfy even the most demanding gadget freak. It’s quite a large camera as compacts go, certainly too big for most pockets, and it’s heavy too. With a couple of standard AA batteries on board it tips the scales at over 250g. It must have a core of solid neutronium or something, because the case is made of plastic, and not particularly solid plastic either. There are a couple of places where the body flexes noticeably when pressed, which is not something I’d expect from a Canon.
However the overall impression is good, and the camera is solidly comfortable to hold and handle. The controls, while complex, are not confusing, and are logically laid out leaving plenty of room on the back for your thumb.
The main control is the big mode dial on the top plate, which has 11 settings including a full range of manual exposure options, as well as full auto, program auto, three scene programs (portrait, landscape and night scene) as well as a scene mode setting with 10 options. These include the usual selection of fireworks, snow, beach, night snapshot, kids & pets, indoor and foliage, but also include an underwater mode for use with the optional waterproof case, and a couple of special colour effect settings. The A710 also has a very good movie mode offering the now standard 640 x 480 at 30fps, as well as 320 x 240 at 60fps for capturing fast action. The zoom lens can also be used while filming.