The Canon PowerShot A700 has a reasonably recognisable design. Or at least, one that is easily recognised as a typical PowerShot A design. The camera is of compact size, light weight, and equipped with a small, somewhat rigid handgrip. The material used for the housing consists of plastic and feels both durable and solid. The design greatly resembles that of the other PowerShot A cameras, and upon taking it into your hands for the first time, you will notice it is surprisingly compact; especially considering the fact that the Canon A700 has a 6x optical zoom on board. If the Canon A700 is fully equipped, that is, with 2x AA format batteries and a memory card, the camera weighs approximately 200 grams. In comparison to, for instance, the Canon PowerShot A620, this is a striking 85 grams lighter! The measurements of 94.5 x 66.5 x 43.4 mm are compact enough to enable you to carry the camera in your inner pocket at all times.
Canon A700 - Optical zoom lens
When looking at the Canon PowerShot A700 from the front, the first thing that catches our attention is the camera's optical zoom, which eyes rather large. It is, however, the ring surrounding the zoom lens that makes it come across somewhat bulky. The optical lens itself is normal in size and extends approximately 2 cm upon activating the camera. Fully zoomed out the lens measures 3.5 cm in length. The ring surrounding the lens can be removed by pushing the button located on the right side under the lens and turning the ring a tad. After the ring has been removed, an (optional) adapter can be attached, which fits a variety of converters. This enables you to alter the focal point of the lens. An optical viewfinder is placed above the lens. A remarkable feature in fact, since the camera is equipped with a 6x optical zoom, which is something that generally does not go well with an optical viewfinder. The internal flash is located on the right upper side. The user has the option to extend its power by using an optional external Canon HF-DC1 flash, which can be attached to the bottom panel. Left of the viewfinder, you find an indicator for the self timer, red-eye reduction or AF assistance illuminator, with under it a very small microphone, formed by 3 miniscule holes.
Canon PowerShot A700 - Hand grip
The side of the camera also happens to be its thickest side. The handgrip feels somewhat rigid, but does result in a decent, stable grip. The space between the handgrip and the optical lens easily fits several large fingers without causing an uncomfortable feel. In the handgrip you will find the compartment in which the 2x AA batteries and the memory card are placed. The lid is closed by a plastic lever. A certain amount of caution is required when opening the compartment; as the 2x AA format batteries fall out almost immediately. The memory card is kept in place by a security lock. A universal (plastic) tripod connection is located on the far left of the compartment. If the camera is mounted to a tripod, you are able to change the memory or the batteries without having to remove the camera from the tripod. The opposite side of the Canon PowerShot A700 comes with a matte grey plastic lid, behind which the AV/out, USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface and the connection for the A/C power adapter are hidden.
Canon PowerShot A700 - Main programmes
The top side of the Canon PowerShot A700 digital camera features the mode dial, which holds the main programmes. This dial can be turned 360 degrees to both sides. Each program is selected with an audible click. The on/off switch is placed in the centre of the camera, and lies sunk into the housing. Upon activating the camera, the on/off LED emits a bright green light. The large shutter release button is placed at the far front of the handgrip, and is surrounded by a ring that serves to operate the optical and digital zoom. A small speaker is integrated under this button.
Canon A700 - 2,5 inch LCD monitor
The back side of the Canon A700 features a large format 2.5 inch LCD monitor. Unfortunately, Canon have not carried through the flip-out and tilting version of the A610 and A620 cameras. The monitor of the Canon A700 has a resolution of 115.000 pixels, which may not be at the forefront resolution-wise, but does offer a bright reproduction and a fast image refresh rate. Above the monitor we find an optical viewfinder, which doesn't really add much to the user convenience of the 2.5 inch monitor. Granted, it is quite impressive that Canon have managed to combine a viewfinder with 6x optical zoom, but this does, for instance, affect the field of view. With a mere 80% coverage and a considerably small size, it is far from inviting to actually use the viewfinder in practice. Unless perhaps with the thought of energy saving in mind, as activating the monitor does speed up the energy consumption significantly. Fully charged NiMH batteries enable you to capture approximately 1000 photos with the LCD switched off, as opposed to approximately 400 when the monitor is switched on. Beside the display we find the multi-controller, surrounded by four buttons that serve to, for example, activate the camera's menu. On the far upper right you find the main switch for the play or record mode.