Design and Handling
The A720 IS will look familiar to anyone that's seen a Canon 'A-Series' camera before. It's a silver box with rounded corners and a bulge at one end. Whether you choose to want to look at it as an archetypal piece of design or an example of aesthetic laziness is up to you. Certainly it's a perfectly sensible shape for a camera to be but don't expect your friends to even notice that you've bought a new camera. Then again, the A-Series range is about value and flexibility, rather than posing credibility.
One of the ways the costs have been kept down is the quality of materials used to build it. The A720 IS is constructed from inexpensive plastics and it feels like it the moment you pick it up. It's easily scratched and will look pretty battered, pretty quickly. But this is a digital camera, not some over-styled bling thing.
Key body elements
Controls & Menus
The A720 IS features essentially the same user interface that has underpinned every Canon compact for the last couple of years. Canon has tended to gently tweak its existing interface, rather than radically overhauling, meaning that it's familiar to existing owners and benefits from an evolutionary approach.
|The views during record mode are quite standard: Just the image, Image plus shooting information or either of the above with grid lines to aid composition and borders to show a 3:2 aspect ratio. The grid is turned on from the menu, not the display button.||The Func/Set button gives you access to the image control settings you're likely to want to change. Such as White Balance. (Note the always-useful Aquarium setting)|
|The A720 IS also offers flash compensation mode, to help avoid 'pasty white faces in the dark' shots.||There are also options to tweak the colors that the camera will record. You can make them more vivid, choose your own settings or discard them completely in 'Black and White' mode.|
|The camera settings menu is the longest on the camera and deals with the fine detail of how the auto focus and flash behave. You won't need to come here too often but it lets you do things like force the print button to do something useful.||The really low-level settings appear in the setup menu. Other than formatting cards, you'll rarely have to venture into here.|
|Playback mode is also pretty standard. You can view just the image, the image with limited details or this screen with full shooting information and a histogram. Which is pretty useful, especially if you use the Manual mode.||Minor tweaks, such as red-eye correction can be applied from the playback menu. It's all pretty straightforward. And you can probably guess what the print menu does.|