Canon PowerShot A710 IS | Digital Camera Review | Adjustments
The Canon PowerShot A710 IS looks like a simple, basic digital camera, but is actually very versatile. The Canon PowerShot A-series is known for giving good value for money. It's not only suitable for snap shot fans but for more advanced amateur photographers. You can manually adjust nearly everything on the Canon A710 IS, which makes it an extremely versatile camera considering that it is in the lower class of cameras. With this Canon camera, the photographer is in control. At the same time, however, everything can be set automatically. The Canon PowerShot A710 IS can keep up with you as you become more experienced.
Canon PowerShot A710 IS - Select dial
You can change the different exposure settings and programs with the select dial on top of the camera. You can't miss the symbols for P, S, A and M, the advanced setting. The fully automatic setting is shown in green. In this setting the number of menu options is limited. You will also see settings for portraits, landscapes, stitch (panorama), help and night shots. More pre-programmed settings can be found at scenes, which gives you a mind-boggling set of choices. There are settings for flora, animals, children and colour changes. The colour change setting is really special and creative photographers will get addicted to it. In a second, you can give someone a green jumper when they were wearing a red one, without that person having to do anything! The Canon PowerShot A710 IS digital compact camera has twenty record settings in total. It will take a while to figure them all out.
Canon A710 IS - Optical image stabilisation
One important new setting is the image stabilisation. You can turn it on or off via the menu as well as adjusting the settings. In continuous, the image stabilisation is always active. You can see the picture on the display so that you can assess the effect properly. In Record, the image stabilisation is only activated when you press the release shutter. Obviously, this setting doesn't work if you are making films. Finally, there is also Pan, to allow the camera to move along together with its subject. Because you are then moving the camera from left to right (or vice versa) on purpose, only up/down movements are corrected. The difference with Continuous is small, but perceptible. In general, image stabilisation works very well. I had it on nearly all the time during the test and it is a very valuable part of the Canon A710 IS.
Canon PowerShot A710 IS - Digital tele converter
The Canon PowerShot A710 IS has a generous 6x optical zoom with a large aperture of f/2.8 - f/4.8. It has the same lens as its predecessor and generates a range of 35-210 mm (equivalent to 35 mm). Although there is no screw thread on the lens, you can remove the ring around the lens to use the optional wide-angle and tele converters. If that's still not enough, you can zoom in digitally. I'm not so keen on doing this, because it is often at the expense of image quality. In principle, a crop is made that is then interpolated. This is something that you would be better off doing yourself in Photoshop. Canon has added another new function to the digital zoom: the Digital tele converter. It does exactly what its name suggests. The zoom is digitally enlarged 1.5 of 1.9x, depending on the quality. This setting only works in the furthest tele setting. The advantage of this function is that it increases the speed. The camera needs to calculate less. Furthermore, in contrast to an optical converter, there are no changes to the lens's largest aperture. I still don't see the direct point of it as I zoom in Photoshop if I need to.
Canon A710IS - Little chromatic aberration
The lens gives good sharp results, even at the edges. There is some distortion in the wide-angle setting, but it is no more than average and disappears if you zoom in slightly. There was a lot of detail in the macro pictures and the only limitations arose if you used the flash. You have to make sure that there is enough light so that you can take a picture without the flash. There is remarkably little chromatic aberration. This is a great result, and we have definitely seen a lot worse in our time.
Canon PowerShot A710 IS - Light metering
The Canon PowerShot A710's versatility is demonstrated in its light metering. Although the standard evaluative metering manages to expose most of the pictures properly, every now and again, specific exposure is necessary if a picture is to succeed. Spot metering in particular is very useful in difficult lighting situations wherein contrast plays a large role. The light metering then works extremely accurately, focussing on a specific part of the composition. Creative photographers in particular will appreciate this possibility.
Canon PowerShot A710 IS - ISO values
Just like the PowerShot A700, the Canon PowerShot A710 IS has a maximum sensitivity of ISO 800. Nowadays, a lot of models have ISO 1600, but in most cases this is more of a marketing tool than an actual solution. The small image sensors in which more and more pixels are propped into ever smaller formats usually run into trouble at higher ISO. With the Canon PowerShot A710 IS everything is well under control until 200 ISO. The first traces of noise appear at 400 ISO, something that I thought was rather disappointing. At 800 ISO, the noise ratio is visibly present and will have a detrimental effect on the quality of pictures that could have been taken by using a high ISO. I also have to say that these findings were seen from the monitor of a PC; often the prints were much better than expected. The rule is that correct exposure is essential at high ISO!
Canon PowerShot A710IS - Image quality
The image quality produced by the Canon PowerShot A710 IS is fine, although the colours are sometime a bit too saturated for my liking. This can be correctly easily by the FUNC button and you can adjust the automatic white balance immediately if you want to take a photo where there is too much artificial light. The Canon A710 IS is inclined to give too much warmth in pictures taken in candescent lighting (light bulbs). You can temper this over enthusiasm with the manual white balance setting. The result will be a better picture with a more attractive light balance.