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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


Image Quality

The Canon PowerShot A70 is a digital camera targeted to beginner amateur photographers and its image quality is comparable to other 3 megapixels resolution digital cameras.

For this review, I used the following settings as my preferred settings:

  • Shooting Mode: Program AE
  • Metering Mode: Evaluative
  • ISO: Auto
  • Image Size: 2048x1536 (Large)
  • Image Quality: Superfine
  • White Balance: Auto

All the pictures on this and the other pages (including the navigation pictures at the top of each page) have been taken by the PowerShot A70 for this review. The pictures on this page provide a good sample of what the PowerShot A70 is capable of and I have provided the 800x600 version. Remember that this version is of slightly lesser quality than the original 2048x1536 version. Please open and download only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!

Clicking on a picture version will display the 800x600 version in a separate window. Leave that separate window up for all the other images will also display in that same separate window.

Arch Arbour: 1/800 sec., F2.8 and ISO Auto (File size: 2.4 MB)James Garden, located on Edenbridge Drive east off Royal York Road, in Etobicoke, is a small but beautifully landscaped garden popular for wedding pictures. It is not as big as Edwards Garden, but well worth a family afternoon's visit. At about 3 p.m. the Sun is blazing and most of my pictures are too contrasty. This scene of borders and a path that leads under a wooden arch arbour is almost perfect, with the right interplay of shade and sun. The path invitingly leads you into the picture. Focal Length 5.4mm, Program AE, shutter speed 1/800 sec., aperture F2.8 and ISO Auto. [File size: 2.4 MB]

James Garden Vista: 1/1,000 sec., F2.8 and ISO Auto (File size: 2.5 MB)
As you turn and walk under the arch arbour, a magnificent vista opens up to you. This element of surprise adds to the beauty of the scene. You can sit on the large boulders at the edge for another stunning view of the garden below. It's a busy place on a Saturday and wedding parties wait their turn to pose beside the scenic spots. It's probably less crowded during the week days, and it would then be a wonderful place for quiet contemplation. Focal length 5.4mm, Program AE, shutter speed 1/1,000 sec., aperture F2.8, ISO Auto. [File size: 2.5 MB]

Bridge: 1/640 sec., F2.8 and ISO Auto (File size: 2.7 MB)This picture is taken in Program AE mode and I find that Program AE mode on the PowerShot A70 tends to prefer a large aperture of F2.8. A landscape scene is best taken with a small aperture for maximum depth of field (DOF). Best mode to use here, therefore, is Landscape scene mode which would force the use of a small aperture. You could also use Aperture Priority mode (which defaults to F8) and you can dial in a small aperture of your choice. Greater DOF means more objects will be in focus. Try the A70's scene modes and watch your pictures get better. Focal length 5.4mm, Program AE, shutter speed 1/640 sec., aperture F2.8, ISO Auto. [File size: 2.7 MB]

Playground Gears: 1/250 sec., F3.5, +1/3 EV and ISO 50 (File size: 1.0 MB)Colorful gears are framed by a slide entrance. This is a good test of color and texture, and the PowerShot A70 pulls off an excellent job. I also dial in +1/3 exposure compensation to ensure the inside of the slide gets enough exposure. The PowerShot A70 optics pick out the sand particles on the metallic floor, and even give some details through the dirty plastic glass. The slide is in the way, so I use the zoom to achieve the tight composition I want. Focal length 9.4 mm, Program AE, shutter speed 1/250 sec., aperture F3.5, +1/3 EV, Daylight White Balance, ISO 50. [File size: 1.0 MB]

Fading Beauty: 1/500 sec., F4.5 and ISO Auto with fill-in flash (File size: 1.5 MB)The state of this sunflower attests to the fact that Summer is almost over. Even with one leaf partly eaten through by insects, it still proudly lifts its beautiful yellow petals to the Sun, offering passer-bys a last glimpse of fading beauty. The background is not as blurred as I would have liked. To achieve that, I should probably have switched to Av (Aperture Priority mode), used the largest f/stop (F2.8) and zoomed in max. With fill-in flash, the shutter speed would have been fast enough to prevent camera shake. Focal length 5.4mm, Program AE, Macro, shutter speed 1/500 sec., aperture F4.5, ISO Auto, with fill-in flash. [File size: 1.5 MB]

Bluffer's Park: 1/1,000 sec., F4 and ISO 50 (File size: 1.4 MB)Canada Geese enjoy the last rays of Summer at Bluffer's Park. There's a marina, swimming in the Summer, and picnic tables for family and friends get-togethers. With high contrast subject matter, expect either the shadows will be too dark or the highlights blown, depending on whether you meter the bright or dark areas, respectively. Here, I meter for the bright sky to bring out the clouds, and the shadows go dark. There's a seated couple enjoying the view on the far right that I'd like brightened up a bit. This scene is a good candidate for bracketing your exposure. Focal length 5.4 mm, Program AE, shutter speed 1/1,000 sec., aperture F4 and ISO 50. [File size: 1.4 MB]

Storm Approaching?: 1/250 sec., F8 and ISO 50 (File size: 1.7 MB)This photo is taken just outside the Toronto Blue Jays [check out their cool new logo] box office at SkyDome. After taking a couple of shots of the CN Tower (see next image), I turn around and am surprised to see the sky turning dark and foreboding. Yet, behind me it's so sunny it hurts your eyes. There's no storm in the weather forecast, so I wonder where the dark sky comes from. Straight ahead is the walk bridge that spans over the rail works. Focal length 5.4 mm, Aperture-Priority, shutter speed 1/250 sec, aperture F8 and ISO 50. [File size: 1.7 MB]

CN Tower: 1/320 sec., F8 and ISO 50 (File size: 1.9 MB)There have been so many pictures of the CN Tower that it is quite challenging to get a fresh perspective. After taking about a dozen unsatisfying shots from various angles, I walk by a tree and instinctively look up. I like the juxtaposition of nature and man-made building. The seemingly haphazard branches of the tree clash with the clean lines of the tower as they both shoot up to the sky. Focal length 5.4 mm, Aperture-Priority, shutter speed 1/320 sec, aperture F8 and ISO 50. [File size: 1.9 MB]

Flags: 1/1,000 sec., F4.5 and ISO 50 (File size: 1.5 MB)Would you believe this is a garage? The addition of the metallic structure with hanging mesh transforms what is usually an eye sore into, well, an interesting picture. You'd almost think this was some kind of stadium for an olympic event with the different flags fluttering in the wind. Speaking of olympics, the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is going to be held in Whistler, Vancouver, British Columbia. Focal length 9.4 mm, Program AE, shutter speed 1/1,000 sec, aperture F4.5 and ISO 50. [File size: 1.5 MB]

Pine Tree: 1/1,000 sec., F2.8 and ISO 50 (File size: 2.2 MB)Out for my lunch time walk, I find this old pine tree, all gnarled where the lower branches have been cut off. To ensure the camera's meter does not get blinded by the sun, I stand in the shade of the tree to take this picture. Shooting straight against the bright sky, the evaluative metering does a pretty good job of properly exposing both the tree trunk and the bright areas. Colors are accurately reproduced, as I remember them. Focal length 5.4 mm, Program AE, shutter speed 1/1,000 sec, aperture F2.8 and ISO 50. [File size: 2.2 MB]

Square One: 1/1,000 sec., F3.5 and ISO Auto (File size: 1.4 MB)The difference between using Auto mode and Program AE mode is that in the former, the camera makes all the decisions for you for every single shot, while in the latter, you get to make some of the decisions, such as White Balance (WB), and the camera will keep those selections and automate the rest. Those selections stay until you change them again. But what happen if you forget to change them? Here is a picture of the Square One Mall where I inadvertently use the setting of a previous indoor shot -- and which I forget to reset. Take a look at the image and see if you can tell what the "mistake" is. In this case the effect is not really noticeable and may even be a plus. Reviewing on the LCD, I do not notice that the "wrong" White Balance is used until I view the EXIF info much later. Focal length 5.4 mm, Program AE, Photo Effect Low Sharpening, +1/3EV, WB Fluorescent, shutter speed 1/1,000 sec, aperture F3.5 and ISO Auto. [File size: 1.4 MB]

Another shot of the Square One Mall, this time using the Stitch Assist (panorama) function of the PowerShot A70. When you take the first image, the camera locks the exposure and white balance settings for the rest of the images to ensure consistent exposure. Up to 26 images can be taken in a vertical or horizontal direction. Without a tripod, panorama shots are touch and go, and one of the seams don't quite line up in this shot as you can see below (left top of roof). PhotoStitch does a good job but does not correct for the mismatched seam. Focal length 5.4mm, shutter speed 1/1,000 sec., aperture F4 and ISO Auto.

Square One Panorama: 3 landscape shots taken at 1/1000 sec., F4 and ISO 50

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A Personal Word

The Canon PowerShot A70 is very easy to use and produces quality 3MP pictures in Program AE mode. I can't see how Canon can improve on such a package except perhaps by providing higher resolution (and in a bigger size) for both the image sensor and the LCD monitor. It's a beginner amateur photographer's dream camera; an advanced amateur looking for a compact digital camera will appreciate the exposure flexibility it provides.

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