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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot A620

Canon Digital Cameras

   


Canon PowerShot A620 Review

Review Date: Jan 5, 2006

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Canon PowerShot A620

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006 Canon PowerShot A620 wins DIWA Gold Award

HANDLING & FEEL

Picture on Box: 0.4 sec., F2.8 and ISO 50
Picture on Box
Macro ON
7.3mm, Program AE, Evaluative, 0.4sec., F2.8 and ISO 50

The Canon PowerShot A620 is medium compact, well-built and handles well with a large enough and comfortable handgrip. It is best carried in a coat pocket, handbag or in a soft case hung around the belt. Startup is about 1-2 sec., shot to shot time is fast at around 1 sec., and there is no practical shutter lag. Autofocus is fast and precise.

STYLE
- Colours: overall grey with silver accents
- Looks: traditional, a bit "chunky"
   
FEEL
- Comfortable to hold and operate
- Controls & FUNC. menu are intuitive to use
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Medium Compact: fits in a coat pocket, soft bag hung from the belt or handbag
- Dimensions: 104.8 x 66.0 x 49.1 mm /
4.13 x 2.60 x 1.93 in.
- Weight: 235 g / 8.29 oz.
- Takes 4 AA type alkaline batteries (included) or 4 AA rechargeable NiMH batteries (optional)
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup with lens extending about 2.3 cm (1 in.) and LCD turning on in about 2 sec.
- Shot to shot time in about 1 sec.
- No practical shutter lag
   

Included in the box are 4 AA type alkaline batteries that last a very long time (about 350 shots on a fresh charge, 500 shots using NiMH rechargeable batteries). We recommend that you purchase a set of 4 AA rechargeable NiMH batteries and battery charger.

Controls

Almost all the functions are accessible through the Canon standard FUNC. button. The Mode Dial has the standard AUTO, PASM (Programmed Auto, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority, and Manual), plus Custom, Movie, Stitch Assist (Panorama), My Colors, Scene (8 scene modes), and 3 more Scene Modes: Night Scene, Landscape, Portrait.

The Mode Dial can be rotated with the thumb and has a positive locking click to it.

You can record movies with sound (until the memory card is full) at either 640 x 480 pixels 30fps (you'll be able to record about 14 min 54 sec on a 1GB card) or 320x240 30fps (record about 29 min 20 sec on a 1GB card).

Canon A620 Top View
Canon A620 Back View

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise starting from the Mode Dial)
- Zoom lever (around shutter release button)
- Mode Dial: AUTO, PASM, Custom, Movie (Standard, Fast Frame Rate, Compact, My Colors), Stitch Assist, My Colors, Scene (Fireworks, Underwater, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach), Night Scene, Landscape, Portrait
- Mode Switch (Playback, Shooting)
- Exposure Compensation / Erase
- Print/Share (with direct print to any PictBridge-enabled printer)
- 4 Way Arrows (Flash, Macro/Manual Focus)
- FUNC./SET
- MENU
- DISPLAY (LCD Off, No info, Info)
   
PROGRAM SHIFT
- While the shutter release button is half-pressed, press Exposure Compensation. A "*" and arrows will display besides the shutter speed / aperture on screen. Use the LEFT and RIGHT arrows on the 4-way controller to shift the shutter speed/aperture combination without altering exposure.
   
CONTINUOUS SHOOTING
- The camera records successive images as long as the shutter release button is depressed. Recording ceases when the shutter button is released or the memory card is full.
- Besides the 2 sec. and 10 sec. selftimer, there is also a very interesting Custom Delay selftimer where you can set both the delay and the number of images (1 - 10) to take after that delay.
- The drive mode resets to Single when the camera is turned off and on again.
   
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION / HISTOGRAM
- Once set, the Exposure Compensation Indicator conveniently stays displayed on screen until it is reset to "0"
- Range: -2 EV to +2 EV (13 steps in 1/3 EV increments)
- The screen brightness will increase or decrease to reflect the value you use
- Note: the exposure compensation value selected is retained even when mode is changed or camera is turned off (so remember to reset to "0" after using it or the next time you turn the camera on, your shots may be over- or under-exposed.)
- The Histogram displays only in Playback mode.
   

LCD & Menus

Canon A620 Vari-Angle LCD

There is an optical viewfinder as well as a large 2 in. LCD monitor with a standard 115,000 pixels resolution. The LCD has a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display in good light, but is choppy in low light. The LCD monitor's brightness cannot be adjusted, but the display is bright and clear, and the flip-and-rotate LCD means that you can always have a clear view even in bright sunlight. The LCD also gains up very well in low-light, though the image on the LCD can look grainy (as expected).

The LCD monitor flips out and rotates from 90° to face down to 180° to face forward, or any point in between. Self-portrait shots are therefore easy, as are shots close to the ground and above heads.

There is a very effective AF-assist and I've found auto focusing to be quite fast and precise in low-light situations.

The MENU button gives access to the Menu, Setup and My Theme settings, and a FUNC. button gives access to all shooting settings.

Besides Exposure Compensation, Flash and Macro modes, all other functions are accessed thru the FUNC. screen.

A great feature is the AF Frame FlexiZone focusing mode with (21 horizontal x 11 vertical =) 231 positions. You can move the AF target point to any of these 231 positions and the camera will focus where the AF target point has been moved. You can also indicate that you want the light meter to take its reading at that AF Frame point. I find this very helpful in macro photography and whenever the subject is off-center.

The 231 AF points overlap one another and therefore allow very precise positioning of the AF Frame. Unfortunately, the AF Frame skips a pretty large area around the edges of the screen.

The tripod mount is plastic. The battery door has a lock to prevent accidental opening.

The flash does not zoom with the focal length change as in the A520; however, there is flash compensation, so you can adjust the strength of the flash output if it's too strong for close ups.

The flash is powerful but physically placed too close to the top edge, so be careful your left fingers do not get in the way when using flash. You can set the flash to Off, Auto, or Fill-in.

Macro is as close as 1 cm (0.4 in.).

MENU 1 of 3

- AF Frame: FlexiZone, AiAF, Center
- Flash Sync: 1st-curtain, 2nd-curtain
- Slow Synchro: On, Off
- Red-Eye: On, Off
- Spot AE Point: AF Point, Center
- MF-Point Zoom: On, Off

MENU 2 of 3

- AF-assist Beam: On, Off
- Digital Zoom: On, Off
- Review: 2 sec. - 10 sec., Hold, Off
- Reverse Disp.: On, Off
- Grid Lines: On, Off (Once selected, Grid Lines always display when the LCD is ON)

MENU 3 of 3

- Date Stamp: Off, Date & Time, Date
[Note: the Date Stamp function is only available when Image Size is set to 'Postcard']

SETUP 1 of 2

- Mute: On, Off
- Volume: Start-up Vol., Operation Vol., Selftimer Vol., Shutter Volume, Playback Vol.
- Power Saving: Auto Power Down: On, Off; Display Off: 10 sec., 20 sec., 30 sec., 1 min., 2 min., 3 min.
- Date/Time

SETUP 2 of 2

- File No. Reset: On, Off
- Auto Rotate: On, Off
- Distance Units: m/cm, ft/in.
- Language...: 22 languages to choose from
- Video System: NTSC, PAL
- Reset ALL...

ISO

- Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400

WB

- AWB, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, Custom

DRIVE MODE

- Single, Continuous (camera will continue shooting as long as the shutter release is depressed and the memory card is not full), Selftimer 10 sec., Selftimer 2 sec., Custom delay (from 0-10 sec., 15 sec., 20 sec., 30 sec., and between 1 to 10 shots)

IMAGE EFFECTS

- Effect Off, Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Sepia, B/W
- Available frames: 228
- ISO 80
- Camera Shake warning
- Flash pop-up reminder
- AF target point (in center)
- Shutter Speed and Aperture values (---- indicates outside range) with Program Shift indicator

FLASH COMPENSATION

- +/- 2 in 1/3 increments

LIGHT METERING

- Evaluative, Center Weighted Avg., Spot

IMAGE QUALITY

- Superfine (322 *)
- Fine (515 *)
- Normal (1067 *)

*: approx. # of images at Large size on a 1GB SD memory card

IMAGE SIZE

- Large (3072x2304)
- Medium 1 (2592x1944)
- Medium 2 (2048x1536)
- Medium 3 (1600x1200)
- Small (640x480)
- Postcard (1600x1200)

PROGRAM AUTO

Clockwise:
- ISO 50, FLash Off, Program Auto mode, space for 266 images, Macro ON, Exposure Compensation scale, Image Size Large, Image Quality Superfine, Evaluative metering mode, Single shot

AF FLEXIZONE

- If AF Frame is set to FlexiZone, then you press the Exposure Compensation button until the AF Frame turns green, then use the arrow keys to move it to any of 21 x 11 = 231 points on screen.
- However, these 231 points overlap and do not cover the edges of the screen

HISTOGRAM

- Histogram is displayed only in Playback mode

Unlike many entry-level digital cameras, the Canon A620 comes with a number of optional useful accessories. There is a wide-angle converter (25mm, 35mm equivalent) and a tele converter (245mm, 35mm equivalent); a waterproof case that can work at depths of up to 40 meters (130 feet); and a High-Power Flash.

The Canon PowerShot A620 is very comfortable and intuitive to use. Even though you need to access shooting functions on the FUNC. screen, I've found this to be well implemented. I like the fact the exposure compensation is not in the FUNC. screen but has its own dedicated button. Operations are fast with a superb AF that works very well even in low-light, and there is no practical shutter lag. Information is presented well on screen. The feel and construction of the sturdy plastic body is excellent and the camera handles very well.

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