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Canon PowerShot A640 Review

December 2006 | By Simon Joinson
Buy on From $98.00

Review based on a production Canon PowerShot A640

The PowerShot A640, launched in August, just before Photokina 06, replaces the popular A620 at the top of Canon's increasingly well-specified 'budget' A series range. The new model gets a bit of a facelift (and a new coat of black paint) as well as a bigger screen, major pixel boost (up from 7MP to 10MP) and a few feature tweaks. Otherwise it offers pretty much everything the A620 did; 4x zoom lens, tilt and swivel LCD, full photographic control and optional converter lenses. And like its predecessor, the A640 was launched with an almost identical twin, the A630, the only major difference being the sensor (8MP as opposed to 10MP). Therefore much of what is said in this review will also be applicable to the A630 (we will be adding A630 IQ results in the new year). The A620 was one of our favorite cameras of the last 12 months, and is a tough act to follow. So is the A640 up to the job? Let's find out, starting with the headline features...

  • 10.0 million effective pixels
  • 35-140mm (equiv.) 4x zoom lens
  • DIGIC II, iSAPS, 9-Point AiAF, FlexiZone AF/AE
  • Digital Tele-Converter and Safety Zoom
  • 2.5-inch vari-angle LCD and real-image optical viewfinder
  • 21 shooting modes
  • 1cm macro mode
  • Optional wide and tele converter lenses

Canon PowerShot A640 vs A620 (main differences)


Canon PowerShot A640

Canon PowerShot A620
Sensor • 1/1.8" Type CCD
• 10.0 million effective pixels
• 1/1.8" Type CCD
• 7.10 million effective pixels
Screen • 2.5-inch Vari-angle P-Si TFT
• 115,000 pixels
• 2.0-inch Vari-angle P-Si TFT
• 115,000 pixels
Max image size 3648 x 2736 3072 x 2304
SDHC compatible? Yes No
Movie modes • up to 640 x 480, 30fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• up to 640 x 480, 30fps
• 320 x 240, 60fps (up to 1 minute)
Dimensions 109.4 x 66 x 49.1 mm
( 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.9 in.)
105 x 66 x 49 mm
(4.1 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
Weight (exc. batts) 245g / 8.64 oz 235g / 8.29 oz
Continuous Shooting 1.5 fps, limited by card capacity 1.9 fps, limited by card capacity
Others • Playback overexposure warning feature
• 3:2 framing overlay
• Safety Zoom
• Digital Tele-converter
• My Colors in playback mode

Design changes

The size of the models at the top of the A series tree has been creeping up since the A95, and the A640 is a little wider than the camera it replaces. The biggest physical change (aside from the new paint job) is the larger screen, which has jostled all the main controls over to the right. To compare the A640 and A620 rear views just move your mouse over the image below.

Canon PowerShot A640 Key specifications

  PowerShot A640
Street Price • US: $350
• UK: £240
Body Material Metal and plastic
Sensor • 1/1.8 " Type CCD
• 10.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 3648 x 2736
• 2816 x 2112
• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 3648 x 2048
Movie clips

• 640 x 480 @ 15/30fps
• 320 x 240 @ 15/30fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• up to 1.0GB or 1 hour

File formats • JPEG (Exif v2.2)
• AVI Motion JPEG
Lens • 35-140mm (35mm equiv)
• 4x optical zoom
• F2.8-4.1
• 8 elements in 7 groups (2 aspherical elements)
Digital zoom up to 4x
Focus • TTL autofocus
• AF illuminator
• 9-point AiAF or 1 point AF (any position selectable)
• Manual focus
• 1cm macro mode (Wide), 25cm (Tele)
AF area modes • 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Closest focus distance 1cm
Metering • Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (center or linked to focusing frame)
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• High Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Shutter speed • 15-1/2500 sec
• (Available shutter speeds vary depending on the shooting mode)
Aperture F2.8-4.1
Modes • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Manual
• Custom
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Special Scene
• Single
• Continuous
Scene modes • Night Snapshot
• Kids & Pets
• Indoor
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Underwater
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Underwater
• Custom
Self timer 2 or 10sec, custom
Continuous shooting Approx 1.5fps
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B&W, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Positive Film, Custom Color)
Flash • Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, SLow Sync, Red-eye reduction
• Flash compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
• Second curtain
• Range: 45cm - 4.2m (wide) / 3m (tele)
Viewfinder Real-image zoom, optical viewfinder
LCD monitor • 2.5-inch Vari-angle P-Si TFT
• 115,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out
Storage • SD, SDHC, MMC compatible
• 32 MB card supplied
Power • 4x AA Alkaline or NiMH batteries
• Optional AC adapter
In the box* • Canon PowerShot A640
• Wrist strap
• 2x AA Alkaline batteries
• AV cable
• USB cable
• 32MB SD card
• Software CD ROM (ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser, PhotoStitch, RemoteCapture)
Other features • Spot, Center-weighted & Evaluative metering
• 2, 10 sec and custom time self-timer
• Sound memos (up to 60 seconds)
• PictBridge, Exif Print and DPOF compatible
• Playback Histogram
• Built-in speaker and microphone
• Orientation sensor
• PC-controlled shooting with supplied software
• Autofocus Illuminator
• Optional 0.7x Wide (WC-D58N) and 1.75x Tele (TC-DC58N) converters
• Optional Underwater case (WP-DC8)
• Optional High Power Flash (slave) HF-DC1
Weight (no batt) 245 g
Dimensions 109.4 x 66 x 49.1 mm

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

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

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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 (typically VGA) 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 article is Copyright 2006 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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