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Conclusion - Pros

  • Good resolution, very clean results
  • Very natural color
  • Good edge-to-edge sharpness
  • Useful 35-140mm equiv. 4x zoom lens with decent F2.8-4.1 max aperture range
  • Reliable - and much faster - focus
  • Sophisticated and comprehensive range of features and controls
  • Excellent build quality for a budget camera
  • Very little purple fringing
  • Excellent flash exposures and color
  • Bright, clear vari-angle screen
  • Excellent battery life from 4x NiMH batteries
  • Very smooth ISO 50 & 100 results
  • Good balance of noise reduction and detail retention at ISO 400
  • Excellent macro mode
  • Optional add-on lenses, filters and slave flash
  • Excellent value for money

Conclusion - Cons

  • Clipped highlights and occasional exposure problems in bright, contrasty conditions
  • Focusing at tele end in low light can hunt
  • Zoom is not very smooth - only 7 steps from wide to tele
  • No ISO button
  • Images slightly soft, but they sharpen up well in post-processing

Overall conclusion

The PowerShot A95 was one of the most successful 5MP compacts due to its compelling combination of features, image quality and value for money. But it was not a camera without problems - mainly performance and speed issues, most of which we - and all the people who bought it - put down to the inevitable compromise involved in getting so many features at such a keen price. The PowerShot A620, though externally pretty similar, is a very different kettle of fish. Not only does it boast a much better sensor, but the use of the latest DIGIC II processor means it's a lot, lot faster in operation too. There is very little here to suggest a 'budget' model at all; image quality is excellent, it's very well built, it handles well and it has a real wealth of photographic features that make it suitable for everyone from the absolute beginner to the more experienced photographer wanting lots of control over the picture taking process. And like the A95 it's a great first camera for anyone wanting to learn the craft of photography, being both affordable and well-specified enough to grow with you as your knowledge and experience increases.

Of course it's not perfect; there are some exposure issues (though these are fairly rare), it's fairly chunky and hardly lightweight, and there's still no way to change ISO or white balance without using the FUNC menu (even the most basic Ixus model now has an ISO button). But what it lacks in sex-appeal it more than makes up for in sheer value for money. Like the A95 before it, the A620 is one of those rare cameras that takes virtually every shooting situation you throw at it in its stride, with only the highlight clipping issue preventing an almost perfect hit rate.

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