Conclusion - Pros

  • Good resolution, fairly sharp images with better-than-most colour
  • Virtually no chromatic aberrations
  • White balance works well, individual presets are good
  • Good build quality, despite its plastic case
  • Good ergonmics, excellent for novice user
  • Very quick operation, good buffering excellent start-up and shot-to-shot times
  • Lens thread option
  • Good range of accessories
  • Automatic lens cover
  • Sharp, bright, LCD
  • Stitch assist mode
  • Takes standard AA batteries (can be seen as pro or con)
  • USB connectivity
  • Fairly good value for money

Conclusion - Cons

  • "Flat" images do require digital darkroom work (a contrast setting would have been useful)
  • Average macro ability
  • Not supplied with rechargeable batteries (again, pro or con)
  • No movie mode
  • No support for CF Type II (Microdrive)
  • No manual features (though we'd not really expect any on an entry level digital camera)
  • LCD would have gained from an anti-reflective coating (as per IXUS 300)
  • AF assist lamp isn't as effective as it should be (low light focusing is poor)
  • Flash doesn't have the power or the cover
  • Plastic tripod mount
  • Auto White balance doesn't work well in artificial light

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Canon PowerShot A20: (2 megapixel compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 6
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 8.5
Ease of use 8
Value for money 7

The announcement of the A10 and A20 at PMA probably surprised quite a few people, but it's interesting to note that these entry level digital cameras are so important to a manufacturer and the the market overall, they are likely to sell more quantity of the lower end models and those sales help to bring more people into digital photography. Better of course if the price doesn't compromise image quality, and I'm glad to report with the A20 no such compromises were made. The A20 delivers excellent image quality, colour balance and performance (good speed) at an affordable price, indeed I'm sure we'll see street prices quite a bit lower than the $500 we've used as our "consideration amount" for this review.

Things are hotting up in the entry level market, Kodak have just announced their DX3500 and DX3600, Sony recently announced the DSC-P30 and DSC-P50 (and have just dropped their price by $100), Canon have placed two very worthy contenders into the bottom end of the market which perform much in the same way as the more expensive models. Lets hope that market pressures bring the street prices of the A20 down a little which would make it very competitive.

If you're looking for an entry level 2 megapixel digital camera with a 3x zoom and don't mind about the ultra-compact size of the IXUS 300 or movie clips then the A20 should be somewhere near (if not at the) top of your list.


So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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