|Canon PowerShot A700 - White balance
Digital cameras are generally always equipped with an automatic white balance. The average user is likely to rely on this full-heartedly and accept all deviating colours in the image without question, or perhaps look at it as a small slip-up (colour cast). However, it is, possible to set the white balance in way that limits the colour cast in the end result. Such is also the case with the Canon A700. Besides the automatic white balance, the camera features six additional settings: Daylight, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H and Custom. Overall, the automatic white balance performs well, with the exception of images taken under incandescent light; where colour cast proves to be strongly present. By changing the automatic white balance to a white balance for incandescent, however, the results immediately visibly improve. The same goes for fluorescent light, though to a lesser extent. The manual white balance produces the best results in most situations. It should be said that users of the Canon PowerShot A700, just as users of any other digital camera, should perhaps pay a little more attention to the white balance. You will see that a variety of standard images will benefit greatly from this, and thus improve significantly.
Canon A700 camera - 6x zoom range
The PowerShot A700 is equipped with a fantastic zoom range of 6x. The range of 35 - 210 mm in such a compact housing is ideal for all-round photography. The optical quality is excellent, with an average distortion in wide-angle images, that is however noticeably less with tele. Such a large optical range does require a little extra precision when handling the steps from wide-angle range to tele. The Canon A700 zooms in with merely 14 steps, which, in my opinion, could have been somewhat more accurate. Consequently, zooming in is slightly bumpy, which results in a less accurately zoomed in composition. Placing a 0.7 Wide converter via the optional adapter enables you to enlarge the wide-angle from 35 to 24.55 mm, whilst a 1.75x Tele converter enlarges the tele from 210 to 367.5mm, which is an impressive range.
Canon PowerShot A700 - ISO settings
The optical range, and the possible enlargement of it, brings our attention to an asset that should, at a certain point, be present on every camera of this class: the image stabiliser. Despite the high sensitivity setting of 800 ISO, an image stabiliser is preferable. In most cases it remains tricky to capture hand-held images when working with such a large optical range, without having to fall back on high ISO and slow shutter speeds. Canon would undoubtedly benefit from equipping a possible next generation of PowerShot digital compact cameras that offer a similar optical range with an image stabiliser. Canon seem to have taken the first step with the introduction of the Digital IXUS 800 IS.
|Canon A700 - Focussing
Focussing with the A700 is virtually effortless. The Canon PowerShot A700 is able to focus in normal mode from 55 cm, and from 1 cm in macro mode (wide-angle). Even upon zooming in fully, a macro focus distance of 55cm remains, which is impressive. The quality is good and there is only a slight distortion towards the corners of the image where sharpness is concerned. The use of the internal flash is practically ruled out. The effective range is from 35 cm, yet cannot always be used for macro images.
Canon PowerShot A700 - Flash
The images from the Canon A700 camera look excellent: sharp, rich in detail and well exposed. The colour rendition is reasonably neutral and unexaggerated. The camera performs well in a variety of circumstances, and can be used both inside and outside. When taking indoor images, you do need to keep in mind the limited range of the internal flash, in particular with tele images. The effective range of 2.5 meter and the use of the 6x optical zoom greatly increase the risk of an underexposed image. Within the range, however, the quality is excellent and produces a superb flash image. If needed, you can opt to change the flash by using the flash exposure compensation. As mentioned earlier, the flash does take a remarkably long time to charge. The charging time of 4 - 7 seconds could be an unpleasant experience when you find yourself, for instance, at a party where you are unable to capture that one special moment because the flash is still re-charging.
Canon PowerShot camera - 800 ISO
The high sensitivity setting of 800 ISO can offer a solution when working in tricky light situations. Personally however, I prefer an image stabiliser in combination with a low, noise-free ISO value. The 800 ISO images are indeed acceptable, although Fujifilm prove with their Super CCD HR image sensor that it can be even better. Canon have the other ISO values well under control. The images are excellent to use for a print and there are no substantial comments or remarks to be made.
Canon PowerShot A700 - Video clips
In addition to taking 6 Megapixel photos, the Canon PowerShot A700 is able to capture moving images. The video clips are recorded in a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and with an image speed of 30 fps. The quality generously suffices to play back full-screen on a standard television. The quality of the video clips is in fact surprisingly high. An option to use the optical zoom during recording would be great, but for now this is limited to the digital zoom. Besides the 30 fps, you can also opt for 60 fps images with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels.