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Canon PowerShot A20 Review

April 2001 | By Phil Askey


Review based on a production PowerShot A20

At PMA 2001 this year Canon announced two new PowerShot cameras aimed at the entry level market, the A10 and A20, based on the same body, system, 3x zoom lens and body design, they differ only in their resolution (and price), the A10 has a 1.3 megapixel sensor and a retail price of US$400, the A20 has a 2.1 megapixel sensor and a retail price of US$500.

Canon PowerShot A20 vs. Canon Digital IXUS 300

Obvious comparisons will be made drawn between the Powershot A20 and it's more expensive brother the IXUS 300 which also features a 2.1 megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom lens. Here's a specifications comparison table for the two.

Canon PowerShot A20 Canon Digital IXUS 300
Retail price US$500 US$600
Body Plastic Brushed stainless steel
Design Compact Ultra-Compact
Sensor 1/2.7" 2.1 megapixel CCD, 1.92 megapixel effective
Resolutions 1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480
Lens 3 x optical zoom, 35 - 105 mm equiv.
Lens aperture F2.7 - F4.8 F2.7 - F4.7
Lens thread 52 mm with LA-DC52 adapter None
Digital Zoom Smooth up to 2.5x
Focus range Normal: 76 cm - Infinity, Macro: 16 cm - 76 cm
AF Assist Lamp Relatively weak orange lamp Powerful white beam
Exp. compen. +/-2.0EV in 0.3 EV steps
White balance Auto plus 5 manual presets
Shutter speeds 1 sec - 1/1500 sec
Flash Internal
Flash range Wide: 0.76 m - 4.2 m (2.5 - 13.8 ft)
Tele: 0.76 m - 2.5 m (2.5 - 8.2 ft)
Wide: 0.26 m - 3.5 m (10 in - 11.5 ft)
Tele: 0.26 m - 2.0 m (10 in - 6.6 ft)
JPEG modes Super-Fine, Fine, Standard
Movie None 160 x 120, 320 x 240, 640 x 480
(with audio)
Viewfinder Optical
LCD 1.5" with plastic window 1.5" with anti-reflective coating
Direct Print Yes
Storage CompactFlash Type I
Connectivity USB
Power 4 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended) Canon Lithium-Ion rechargable supplied
Dimensions 110 x 71 x 38 mm (4.3 x 2.8 x 1.5 in) 95 x 63 x 30 mm (3.7 x 2.5 x 1.2 in)
Volume 297 cm3 179 cm3
Weight (inc. batt) 375 g (13.2 oz) 275 g (9.7 oz)
Lens aperture Review Review

As you can see the two are virtually identical, the IXUS 300 has a few advantages over the A20 which may justify its higher price, we can also expect the price difference (street price) between the two to be greater than US$100 by the time they hit the market.

NOTE: As the A20's onboard software is identical to the IXUS 300 we have re-used the LCD captures from that review (except the movie mode which doesn't exist on the A20).


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Photographs of the camera were taken with a Canon EOS-D30, images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 960 x 720 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This review is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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