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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot A70

Canon Digital Cameras


Canon PowerShot A70 Review

Review Date: Sep 8, 2003

Category: Beginner Amateur

Handling & Feel

The Canon PowerShot A70 is a compact digital camera with dimensions of 101.0W x 64.0H x 31.5D mm (3.98W x 2.52H x 1.24D in.) and weighs 215g (7.58 oz.) without the battery and recording media card. It is constructed from a mixture of plastic and aluminum and feels very solid. The hand grip is probably the distinctive design element of the camera and, besides giving it an attractive and stylish look, also provides a good and comfortable grip.

When holding the camera, the forefinger and thumb naturally falls on the shutter release button and Shooting Mode Dial, respectively. The Shooting Mode Dial is almost flushed on top but projects out just enough at the back for the thumb to rotate it. Each selection clicks in place securely.

I personally like the Zoom lever around the shutter release button, finding it easier and more natural to control the zoom this way than using a thumb lever at the back. The Zoom lever does jiggle just a little bit freely, but I haven't had any problem with it falling off (as some owners have expressed the fear) -- and haven't read of any such incidence so far. This is in contrast to the lens. With the lens extended, I have tried to jiggle them carefully and they don't budge a millimetre.

The wrist strap attaches to the strap mount at the top edge of the grip (instead of the customary middle). It feels in the way at first, but I soon get used to it.

Battery door is at the bottom of the camera, and the CompactFlash I memory card goes through a door in the grip. Everytime I open the rubber terminal cover housing the USB, AV and DC connectors, I feel as though I am going to tear it off if I am not too careful; it could do with a hinge that swings open a bit wider.

The PowerShot A70 feels well balanced with the 4 AA batteries providing the weight. Included in the box are 4 AA Alkaline batteries, which you throw away once they run out of juice. This means that if you wish to use rechargeable NiMH batteries, you will have to purchase the optional battery recharger. I recommend you factor the extra cost of 8 rechargeable NiMH batteries (4 inside the camera, and 4 recharging), a battery recharger, an A/C adapter, and a new date battery (type CR 1220) when you purchase your A70. The A/C adapter is convenient when you're transfering your images to your PC; you don't want to run out of battery power in the middle of a transfer. The date battery is preinstalled at the factory and may have run for quite a while by the time you purchase the camera.

The 1.5 in. LCD is only 78,000 pixels resolution -- and it shows. Sometimes I see "lines" and in bright sunlight, it can at times be difficult to see. I use the viewfinder on these occasions. I'm not sure why there is a reflective strip all around the LCD for the reflections in that strip can at times distract a bit from being able to concentrate on the picture on the LCD.

Hey You, No Pictures Allowed!: 1/125 sec., F8 and ISO 50
Hey You, No Pictures Allowed!
16.2 mm, 1/125 sec., F8 and ISO 50
Level, Brightness, and USM adjusted in Photoshop

Instead of putting the Shooting and Replay functions on the Shooting Mode Dial, Canon put them on a separate Mode Switch on the back of the camera. I find this very convenient since all it takes is one flick of the thumb to switch between the two modes, leaving my selected shooting mode unchanged.

The PowerShot A70, though not ultra compact in size, still fits in a large pants pocket. I would not recommend you carry it in a tight jeans pocket, for you may end up inadvertently turning the Shooting Mode Dial to another setting and/or scratching the LCD. Carrying the PowerShot A70 in a coat pocket or in a soft case hung on the belt is probably the best way to go. A soft pouch is recommended.

Overall, the PowerShot A70 is superbly designed, looking and feeling like an expensive camera. I especially like the handgrip, with the flushed shutter release button, zoom lever, memory card compartment, battery compartment, and speaker. It is a very elegant, clean design, and I hope Canon keeps that signature handgrip for a long, long time.

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