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Canon PowerShot A640 | Digital Camera Review | Camera
The Canon PowerShot A640's design is not very daring, at least, not if we compare it to its predecessors. Maybe that's the strength of the Canon PowerShot A-series of digital cameras. It has its own look, is not the most compact camera around, but is very functional and easy to use. It looks attractive, black with beautiful silver details that give it the appearance of a top quality camera. Apart from the enlargement of the LCD screen on the back of the camera and a slightly longer shape (109.4 instead of 105mm) and heavier weight (245 instead of 235 gram) there are not many noticeable outer changes.
Canon PowerShot A640 | Digital Camera Canon PowerShot A640 | Digital Camera
Canon PowerShot A640 - Design
The Canon A640 lies well in your hand thanks to the clear hand grip. The design has been clearly taken in hand, to provide the utmost stability. The combination of the hand position and tilting screen on the back of the camera give the A640 an all-round status. You can easily hold it above your head and take photos from every angle without worrying about dropping the camera. Its casing consists of high quality plastic with a few metal parts. It all looks neat and exudes quality. The format is just a bit too large to put in your trouser pocket, but a small case will do the trick.

Canon PowerShot A640 - Large command dial
If you look at the top of the Canon PowerShot A640 you'll see a large command dial that covers half the top and can be operated with the thumb on the back of the camera. It has the familiar main functions like Auto, P (Program), Av (Aperture), Tv (Shutter speed) and M (Manual), but automatic programs like portrait and action and the video clips function can also be approached directly. The C function (Custom) with which the button can be programmed for settings like white balance and ISO is very handy. The wheel doesn't turn very easily, which means you are not likely to choose the wrong setting. A clear click confirms the choice. The shutter release button is on top of the hand grip and has a ring that can be pressed to the left or right. There is also an on/off switch and an inbuilt amplifier.

Canon A640 - 4x optical zoom
The Canon A640's optical zoom lens is an old friend. We have seen this lens earlier in the PowerShot A series and it still has the same features: 4x optical zoom with a range of 35 - 140mm (compared to 35mm) and a brightness of f/2.8 with wide-angle to f/4.1 with tele. The opportunity to expand the optical zoom range is an unfamiliar luxury in a PowerShot A-camera. On the bottom right of the lens, there is a small button that can be pressed in order to remove the ring around the zoom lens. It is then possible to fit optional converters for wide-angle or tele to the camera to extend the photographic possibilities considerably. Although the A-series are entry-level cameras, the Canon PowerShot A640 has a lot of functionality. The front has an internal flash, a small microphone, self-timer and red eye reduction, and something which is very comfortable and somewhat unusual, an optical viewfinder.
Canon PowerShot A640 - Optical viewfinder
Canon should be congratulated for keeping the optical viewfinder. It is as if camera manufacturers have made a silent agreement to stop fitting cameras with the useful little viewfinder. LCD screens are getting bigger all the time and this has been used as an excuse for doing away with the optical viewfinder. Of course, the LCD screen plays a much more important role in a compact camera and the quality of the screens has improved enormously. However, a lot of consumers are still not ready to be forced to say goodbye to the viewfinder. Three cheers for Canon! Once again, Canon's screen is a novelty. It can be tilted and folded out, something which increases the mobility while taking photographs enormously. The screen has been increased in size, and at 2.5 inches, it is the same as the competition. The number of buttons has been greatly restricted, in addition to the multi-control button, there are four buttons with the record/show switch completing the rear.

Canon PowerShot A640 - SDHC support
The Canon A620 has a card lock in the handgrip, but now there is just the hand grip with a small flap covering the interfaces like Video and USB. The Canon PowerShot A640's handgrip feels a bit stiff, but does what it's supposed to - it gives you a good grip. Underneath the handgrip is a compartment for the AA batteries and space for the flash memory card. Like nearly all Canon digital cameras, the Canon A640 supports Secure Digital. A new feature is the support of the SDHC platform, a Secure Digital format with a minimal storage capacity of 4GB which could in the future go up to a possible 32GB! The underside also has a universal tripod connection.
Canon PowerShot A640 Canon PowerShot A640
   
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