Canon PowerShot A720 IS Concise Review
The A720 IS has six white balance presets (daylight, cloudy, tungsten, aquarium and two fluorescent settings) in addition to the default auto white balance. There is also a 'manual' white balance setting that allows you to point the camera at a neutral target to set the white balance. This manual setting is remembered even if you turn the camera off. In normal outdoor shooting the auto white balance works perfectly (as confirmed by our studio tests). Indoors it's a bit more hit and miss, as we've seen with most Canon PowerShots incandescent (tungsten) lighting causes a fairly strong orange color cast (and the appropriate preset only gives reasonable results). If you don't like the warm tone, you need to switch to manual WB.
|Auto White Balance||Fluo Preset||Auto White Balance||Incandescent preset|
|Fluorescent light - Auto white balance average,
Preset white balance average
|Incandescent light - Auto white balance poor,
Preset white balance average
The A720 IS's built-in flash has a quoted working range of 0.3m - 3.5m (1.0 - 11ft) at the wide end of the zoom and 0.5m - 2.5m (1.0 - 8.2 ft) at the tele end, which is a bit on the underpowered side. And these figures are for Auto ISO mode, so the range will be reduced still further if you limit ISO down to its better settings.
The flash does also have a slow-sync function that uses a longer shutter speed to let in more background light. This can be set to fire the flash at the beginning or end of the exposure - an impressive level of control for such a camera. Our only complaint - common to all cameras powered by two AA batteries - is that recycle time (when shooting at anything other than the wide end of the lens / short distances) can get very long - up to 8 seconds if the batteries aren't in tip-top condition.
|Skin tone -
Good color and exposure
Slight warm tone, slight underexposure.
The A720 IS's macro mode is most effective at the wide end of the zoom, where you can get as close as 1cm, capturing an area 20mm across - which is really pretty impressive though the lens may block the light out if you try to actually use it quite so close up. At the long end of the zoom the performance isn't bad either - with a 55cm subject distance capturing an area 10cm wide. There is noticeable distortion, chromatic aberration and softness at the corners when working at the closest distance but this is neither unusual nor unbearable.
As well as the 640x480, 30fps mode that has become standard on Canon's compacts, the A720 IS also features a 'long-play' mode that maintains the frame size and rate but reduces quality (increases compression) to keep the file size down. 'Compact' mode limits resolution to 160x120pixels and 15fps to keep files to an email friendly size.
Overall quality is very good, with movies very smooth and showing few compression artifacts. The AVI files are large - at the best quality setting (640x480 / 30fps) you're burning around 1.5MB every second.
The optical zoom locks in position once you're pressed the record button, but you can continue to use digital zoom throughout.
Sample movie: 640 x 480 pixels @ 30 fps
Click on the thumbnail to view the movie (caution: large file!)
Thanks to the extra million pixels the A 720 IS is pulling a touch more resolution out of our chart, and overall the results are a noticeable improvement. There's a little moiré at the highest frequencies, but overall these are better than we'd expect from a camera in this class, showing that the constant sensor upgrades we complain about all the time do bring some benefits. If you look at the test chart full size you'll also be able to see a little corner softness and mild CA, but outside the test studio at standard viewing sizes these simply aren't visible.
|Click here for the full resolution test chart||
resolution 1750 LPH
resolution 1700 LPH
Distortion and other image quality issues
Despite the wideangle lens the A720 IS exhibits average distortion at the wide end of the zoom -0.9% barrel distortion (click here for test chart) - not at all bad for a 6X zoom, but you won't want to be using it to copy artwork. Better still, there still less (0.3%) distortion at all at telephoto end (click here for test chart).
On the whole, the A720 IS produces decent results in a wide range of situations, and - perhaps more important - it does so reliably, shot after shot. If you really provoke it, with extremes of light and shade, it will mess it up but that's because of the limited dynamic range that small sensors have (you can get even the most expensive digital cameras to do it if you really try). And there's a proper manual mode if you're determined to get at least one element of the picture exposed in truly impossible conditions.
Highlight clipping / contrast issues
And here are the results of trying to expose a shot with extremes of light and shade - The camera can either expose the sky correctly and leave the rest of the photo nearly black, or it can try to expose most of the photo correctly and let the sky clip to white. It's not particularly pretty and has also caused pretty extensive fringing at the edge of the bright areas. But we'd struggle to think of a camera that could do much better in the situation. There's also some pretty strong purple fringing here, but this is restricted to this kind of shot.
|100% crop||35mm equiv., F2.8|
A popular Instagram user based in Singapore has been caught passing stock images off as his own work. Daryl Aiden Yow, who has worked with many recognizable brands, has apologized for his actions, and has deleted some images from his Instagram account while adding credits to others.
Instagram is the fourth Facebook-owned social media app to reach the coveted 1 billion users mark.
Chinese smartphone brand Oppo has employed a clever solution to the dreaded display 'notch' – a sliding mechanism that houses the device's front and rear-facing cameras.
The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is an all-manual prime lens for APS-C (and Micro Four Thirds) mirrorless cameras. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, it'll go on sale to the public for just $200 – see what it can do on Sony and Fujifilm bodies.
Instagram TV — IGTV for short — is a new app and service from Instagram that puts the focus on video content. You can now follow content creators and watch up to hour-long vertical videos inside the new dedicated IGTV app, as well as directly within Instagram.
Researchers at NVIDIA have used artificial intelligence to train a system that's capable of turning standard 30fps video into 240fps slow-mo video with minimal loss in quality.
Loupedeck has updated its popular Lightroom editing console with a new '+' version featuring improved build quality, more customization and support for some non-Adobe software.
Apple released a new batch of mobile photography tutorial videos this week, each briefly demonstrating how to perform various camera actions using the flagship iPhone X.
Adobe has announced development of Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application that consolidates the entire video creation workflow, from shooting to social media sharing, in a single application.
Adobe's quarterly financial report was just published, and the news is good. Q2 2018 saw a new quarterly revenue record of $2.20 billion, and 22% growth to $1.55 billion in its Digital Media segment.
Just months after launching its QuartzLine filters for DSLR and mirrorless lenses, PolarPro has launched a buyback program that will give you credit towards a PolarPro filter for trading in an old one - even if it isn't theirs.
Sigma has announced that five of its Sony E-Mount Art-series primes, announced earlier this year, are now shipping.
Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.
The FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent fast prime for Fujifilm's GFX 50S. We've been shooting with one for a few days, and we're impressed. Check out our sample gallery to judge for yourself.
Video editing software package Video Pro X has received what is described as its biggest update yet to mark ten years since Magix Video Pro was launched.
Back in 2010, Canon announced that it was developing the world's largest CMOS sensor, measuring about 40 times larger than full frame. The company has just updated its website with more details.
Samyang has launched its latest lens, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF. This telephoto prime is a direct competitor to Canon's $1,600 alternative—and considering it's expected to retail for half the price, it looks like quite the bargain.
Scanning film takes forever and photographing negatives is a pain. The Pixl-latr aims to provide a simple solution.
Google has published an 18-page study fully detailing its synthetic depth-of-field technology that makes its single-camera Portrait Mode possible. The in-depth paper shows a degree of openness and academic mindset unusual for the industry.
Rugged, waterproof compact cameras are tough enough to survive even the most action-packed vacation, but they're not the only choice for capturing those great memories. Photographer Josh Root takes us through the options.
Kodak has restarted production of one of its most famous film emulsions - Ektachrome. Popular Science editor Stan Horaczek recently go to take a look inside.
The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD is an affordable F2.8 standard zoom for full frame Sony E-mount cameras. What's it like, what are the trade-offs, and what are the alternatives? Chris and Jordan take a closer look...
We've updated our Best Drones buying guide and there's a new winner. Find out which drone was our favorite and learn more about all current models in our updated guide.
A teardown of a Nikon D850 has provided proof that the camera's sensor is made by Sony Semiconductor. The chip's design and performance already strongly supported this, but the confirmation also gives a hint about how the industry works.
Leica Camera has announced a new compact camera that features a 24-360mm F3.3-6.4 zoom lens and a 20MP 1” MOS sensor. Essentially a re-badged Panasonic Lumix ZS/TZ200, the Leica C-Lux will save Raw and JPEG files, will offer 4K video and has a viewfinder with a 2.33 million-dot resolution.
Leica has launched a limited edition M10 with a contoured handgrip designed by luxury car manufacturer Zagato. And, to celebrate the opening of a new part of the company's Wetzlar factory, a pair of Leica-made watches are due this autumn.
The new Mijia gimbal provides 3-axis stabilization and can charge the battery of the attached device.
YouTuber George Tomlin explains the concept of sub-framing and details how you can use it to take not only make the composition more interesting, but also provide context for the scene you're shooting.
British photographer Drew Gardner tells us how his gigapixel image of the queen's birthday parade came together.