Design and Handling
Externally the A710 IS is slightly curvier, less boxy than its predecessor but it's not a whole scale reinvention. The control layout is almost identical and will be familiar to anyone who has ever used an A series PowerShot. External controls are fairly minimal considering the huge feature set, with most everyday shooting functions accessed via the excellent FUNC menu - although I was very disappointed that Canon still won't put an ISO button on the A series cameras. Despite being slightly larger than the A700 the A710 is still a very compact camera considering its extended 6x zoom range. It's also - for budget camera - surprisingly well put together and feels very solid (despite, like the A700 before it, having a lot more plastic than other A series models).
Key body elements
Nothing earth-shatteringly different here; Canon has a formula for the A series that, for the most part, works well, and users of any other camera in the range will find no surprises if they pick up the A710 IS.
Controls & Menus
Canon's menu and on-screen display system has - despite minor appearance tweaks here and there - remained admirably consistent across camera ranges and generations. There are virtually no changes over the A700, save for a new 3:2 overlay mode (for previewing how the framing you are using will work with standard print formats) and the addition of MyColors functionality to the playback mode.
|Pressing the DISP button cycles between three preview settings; off (use the optical viewfinder), preview image only (no information displayed) and - as shown above - full information. There's plenty of information ranged around the edge of the preview image. Note that the amount of information displayed will depend which mode you are shooting in. There is also an optional grid, which can help keep things straight.||Half press the shutter and the camera will set the focus and exposure, indicating the focus point chosen (in AiAF mode), plus the shutter speed and aperture chosen by the AE (auto exposure) system.|
|Users of previous PowerShots will be perfectly at home with the record mode FUNC menu, which offers fast access to a wide range of controls over shooting and image parameters including metering, white balance, ISO and file size / quality. There's also extensive tonal control available via the 'MyColors' menu.||In shutter and aperture priority modes the setting is changed using the left and right arrow keys. In manual exposure mode the +/- button toggles the setting changed by the left/right arrow keys between the shutter speed and aperture. Half press the shutter and the display shows how far you are from the metered exposure as an EV value.|
|Record mode menu allows you to customize everything from flash synch to the spot AE point and self-timer delay. It is also here where you'll find the options for image stabilization.||The setup menu - accessible in both record and playback modes - offers control over various camera-related parameters, including audio, file numbering, date and time and card formatting.|
|The play menu offers the usual range of options, including protecting, rotating and deleting images, plus a sound recorder.||One of the three alternative play mode views includes a histogram display and exposure information. The usual options for viewing thumbnails (3x3) and magnifying (up to 10x) are available. One thing you don't get on an A series is Canon's smart new slideshow and transition options.|
|You can now apply 'My Colors' effects to saved images, which is much better than committing to it at the point you take the picture.||The A710 IS has Canon's new Print menu, which simplifies the direct print process (something I must confess I've rarely used on any camera).|