Conclusion - Pros

  • Good resolution, about as much as we could expect from a three megapixel
  • Good consistent metering
  • Low image noise at ISO 50 and 100 (ISO sensitivity higher than indicated)
  • Good color response, better overall balance than most, especially blues and greens
  • AF Assist lamp
  • Usable macro performance at telephoto
  • Easy to understand controls, simple layout
  • Good build quality, solid feel
  • Detailed LCD monitor, although no anti-reflective coating
  • Good startup time, good shot-to-shot times (good buffering)
  • Fast magnification in play mode (up to 10x)
  • Easy access to most often change settings via FUNC menu
  • Wide range of manual controls belies its 'entry level' label (almost an affordable G1)
  • Impressive night exposure ability (up to 15 sec exposures)
  • Long movie clip mode (up to 3 minutes including audio)
  • Amazing battery life
  • Superb value for money

Conclusion - Cons

  • No histogram in record review or play mode
  • Auto white balance should be better
  • Underexposed flash shots
  • Annoying mirror surrounding LCD monitor
  • Slight chromatic aberrations visible
  • No image parameter adjustment
  • No orientation sensor (seen on other recent PowerShot's)

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Canon PowerShot A70: (3 megapixel compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 9
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 9
Ease of use 8
Value for money 9

Anyone who has followed Canon's line of PowerShot digital cameras can't help but see the similarities between the A70 and the PowerShot G1 (the original 'G'). The A70 is such an easy to use camera you can drop it into the hand of a pure beginner and they will be off taking excellent images. Later they will want to begin to experiment, the A70 provides control of ISO sensitivity, exposure (aperture priority, shutter priority or manual) as well as manual focus. These are all things we don't normally expect to see on an entry level digital camera.

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To be fair to the competition the PowerShot A70 isn't the smallest or lightest in this category, its four AA batteries ensure it's weighty, size wise it's the same height as a Coolpix 3100 but longer. Overall design however is pleasing, controls are where you would expect them and build quality is higher than the ticket price would suggest. Battery life was also a big surprise with this camera, we've simply never had a camera last so long on AA batteries.

Best of all is image quality which really is much better than I had expected and really is about as good as it gets for a three megapixel compact digital camera. But better than all this must be the price. At the moment you can get the PowerShot A70 for under US$350 (under £300 in the UK), at that price you would be very foolish to not consider the A70, I could happily recommend it over any budget priced digital camera and certainly persuade those who want a '$200 digital camera' to spend that little bit more for the huge difference it would make.

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, the answer is that everyone has different requirements. 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 other questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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