Users of a digital camera such as the Canon PowerShot A700 may expect a user-friendly operation. The Canon A700 is a digital camera that has been designed to appeal to a broad group of consumers, and for which user convenience is certainly a beneficial factor. The PowerShot series of digital cameras have provided Canon with years of digital experience, which results in a concept that is solid as a rock. Still, manufacturers often let themselves be lured into applying improvements that, in hindsight, no one recalls even having asked for. To cut to the chase: the Canon PowerShot A700 does not offer a whole lot of surprises where operation is concerned. The years of experience that Canon have gained from the PowerShot concept have, in turn, been carried through to the Canon PowerShot A700, and there have thus not been any radical changes.
Canon A700 - Menu & Multi-controller
A Canon PowerShot digital camera is generally surprisingly complete, to the point where the setting options, for an amateur camera, might even be considered overwhelming. Such is also the case with the Canon PowerShot A700. Most functions can be accessed via the menu, and are not available on the minimal amount of buttons. This is somewhat of a pity for the photographer with slightly higher demands, as frequent use of the menu does slow things down considerably. The camera is equipped with a series of pre-programmed scenes, but also offers aperture and shutter speed priority. The camera's menu is well-arranged and can be swiftly navigated through by using the multi-controller.
Canon PowerShot A700 - Fast start-up time
The camera features a fast start-up time of just under a second. Within this second the Canon A700 camera is activated, its 6x zoom lens positioned, and the user thus able to capture his first image. A remarkable fact is that if the first image is taken with flash, the camera needs a considerable amount of time to fully re-charge the flash. Consequently, there can be as much as 4 - 7 seconds in between flash images (distance subject and wide-angle or tele image), which does not leave a good impression. It is evident that this somewhat disappointing performance is caused by the use of the 2x AA format batteries, instead of the 4x AA format batteries that we saw, for example, on the PowerShot A610.
Canon PowerShot A700 - Mode dial
On top of the Canon PowerShot A700 we find the mode dial; which is an increasingly standard feature on digital cameras these days. The dial holds a variety of main programmes, such as P, Tv, Av, M, but also Scenes, Video and Auto mode. The programmes can be both directly and quickly activated. The amount of buttons on the Canon A700, however, is minimal. The settings that serve to alter the camera's features can be found in the menu. The functions that directly influence the image are virtually all accessible through the FUNC button in the centre of the multi-controller. Those who have already worked with a PowerShot A camera will experience no problems in finding their way on the A700. The user manual will enable new users to quickly familiarise themselves with the logic behind the camera's operation.
Canon A700 - Multifunctional LCD display
Personally, I think Canon have missed out on a golden opportunity by deciding not to equip to Canon A700 with the handy multifunctional LCD display as found on the PowerShot A620.
They will undoubtedly have their reasons, but, in my opinion, once you have experienced the ease of a flip-out and tilting LCD, you will be reluctant to do without. The 2.5 inch size, however, is great, and the reproduction pleasant. Still, I would prefer to see a monitor with a higher resolution, provided it does not affect the energy consumption.
Canon PowerShot A700 - PictBridge & Direct Print
As is common for Canon, the review functions on the buttons are displayed in blue; which makes it easier to keep the double functions apart. A handy feature is the print/share button, on the right upper side of the multifunctional controller, which can be used to transfer the images from the camera to a computer or notebook, or to print an image directly. The direct printing is done with exceptional ease when the Canon PowerShot A700 is directly connected to a printer that supports PictBridge (or Canon Direct Print). A menu is activated on the camera, from which you can select an image and print either a single or several images without the need for a computer.
Canon A700 camera - FUNC button
Besides the occasional alteration, the menu of the Canon A700 looks virtually the same as that of the other Canon PowerShot A digital cameras. The handy FUNC button in the centre of the multi-controller offers direct access to the most important functions needed in case you wish to alter one thing or another before taking your photo. The left side of the menu consists of a vertical row of functions, whilst a horizontal row of setting options that correspond to the selected functions from the vertical row can be found at the bottom. This way of arranging things prevents a chaotic, disorganised overview, and ensures the largest part of the composition remains visible to the user.
Canon PowerShot A700 - Record & Play mode
In addition to the FUNC menu, the camera is divided in two modes: record and play. In record mode, a variety of symbols and other information, such as resolution, compression, light metering, flash setting etc., is shown on the monitor. It is indeed quite handy to have this information easily accessible; it also offers you an overview of the settings that you might want to change before capturing your image. Those who do not require additional information have the option to minimise the display of information through the DISP (display) button. The play mode also offers the choice of extensive information, or simply to display the stored image. The extensive display shows, among other things, a histogram that enables you to check the exposure of the image.