Canon PowerShot A640 Conclusion
I think that Canon's success with its digital camera range is set to continue thanks to the excellent quality of the Canon PowerShot A640. I really liked this camera when I tried it out. The handy format with good grip, and more importantly, the settings options gave me lots of freedom to take a successful picture. This camera certainly contributes to Canon's continuing success as a camera manufacturer. The Canon A640 is a typical camera from the PowerShot A series and is currently the top model in this camera segment. The ten Megapixel resolution is not really an improvement on its predecessor. It just gives you slightly bigger enlargements, but this is hardly worth the trouble. The 10 Megapixels are more like a logical next step in the Megapixel race. It's up to you whether you want to join it or not. The result is in any case, enough to be able to wallpaper a room with posters or post process a picture yourself to create your own digital masterpiece. What I want to say is that it all doesn't matter so much. The quality of the pixel and way in which the internal image processing achieves its final result is much more important. The Canon A640 manages to do this just fine. The quality of the optical zoom lens is excellent and can match the high resolution.
Canon PowerShot A640 - Points to approve
There are still some things that could be improved upon. Take the noise ratio at 400 ISO and higher ISO settings. They are good for a ten Megapixel camera, but not totally clean. The competition (aka Fujifilm) has shown that they can achieve great results in regard to reducing noise at high ISO settings with the Super CCD sensor. Not only Canon could learn a thing or two from them but most manufacturers should chuck a considerable portion of their research budget in this direction. I also thought that the way in which Canon adjusts the white balance in pictures taken in artificial light went too far. Admitted, you keep more or less the same atmosphere during the picture, but they should have filtered out more. Some other features also lost out to the concept, such as the long time it took the internal flash to recharge (approximately 5 seconds) before the next picture could be taken, but some were just to cut back on costs. Take the rather low resolution of the otherwise very handy fold out screen. With just a bit more resolution, it would have been easier to see in direct sunlight. A small disadvantage was the accuracy of the optical zoom. Enlarging from 35 - 140mm took 7 steps, which sometimes made it difficult to make an accurate composition.
Canon PowerShot A640 Review
The extensive manual and automatic setting options offered by a camera from the PowerShot A-series are a surprise every time. What stood out was the generous zoom range of 4x, the possibility to extend the focal range via an optional converter, the energy efficient character and the speed with which large files can be processed. The Canon PowerShot A640 also has excellent colour reproduction that is more than sharp enough. One thing is clear; when you focus on the good points, you will soon forget all about the down sides. Its predecessor already had a great reputation and the Canon PowerShot A640 is continuing the success story. You could still argue over the lack of certain speed keys for, e.g. ISO, but in this regard, the concept comes very close to its big brother, the Canon PowerShot G7. A visible difference must remain and as far as I'm concerned, Canon has drawn up the right boundaries. The Canon PowerShot A640 is an excellent digital compact camera that can be used by beginners, but which will also give them the opportunity to learn and maybe take the next step to a digital reflex camera. A great camera, really excellent!
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Canon PowerShot A640 - 4GB SDHC card
During the testing period, I used a 4GB SDHC card and an Ultra II Plus SD card, both from SanDisk, to save pictures. Whether you choose the SDHC or the standard Secure Digital format has no effect on the Canon PowerShot A640 camera's performance. Both cards are quick enough to be able to handle ten Megapixels. The advantage of using an Ultra II Plus card is that you can stick the card directly in a free USB interface. When you remove the card from the camera, you can snap it in two and work directly via a notebook or pc. It's handy and removes the need for all sorts of annoying cables or using energy from the camera.
Memory Chart - Considering 2GB storage capacity:
Resolution 3648 x 2736 - Super fine - JPEG - 464 pictures - 4100KB
Resolution 3648 x 2736 - Normal - JPEG - 776 pictures - 2460KB
Resolution 3648 x 2736 - Standard - JPEG - 1608 pictures - 1170KB
Resolution 3648 x 2048 - Super fine - JPEG - 628 pictures - 3040KB
Resolution 3648 x 2048 - Normal - JPEG - 1028 pictures - 1847KB
Resolution 3648 x 2048 - Standard - JPEG - 2156 pictures - 874KB
Resolution 2816 x 2112 - Super fine - JPEG - 704 pictures - 2720KB
Resolution 2816 x 2112 - Normal - JPEG - 1168 pictures - 1620KB
Resolution 2816 x 2112 - Standard - JPEG - 2412 pictures - 780KB
Resolution 2272 x 1704 - Super fine - JPEG - 948 pictures - 2002KB
Resolution 2272 x 1704 - Normal - JPEG - 1700 pictures - 1116KB
Resolution 2272 x 1704 - Standard - JPEG - 3356 pictures - 556KB
Resolution 1600 x 1200 - Super fine - JPEG - 1881 pictures - 1002KB
Resolution 1600 x 1200 - Normal - JPEG - 3356 pictures - 558KB
Resolution 1600 x 1200 - Standard - JPEG - 6360 pictures - 278KB
Resolution 640 x 480 - Super fine - JPEG - 7108 pictures - 249KB
Resolution 640 x 480 - Normal - JPEG - 10988 pictures - 150KB
Resolution 640 x 480 - Standard - JPEG - 17268 pictures - 84KB
Canon PowerShot A640 Video Mode
Video resolution 1024 x 768 - 15 fps - 15 min 48 sec
Video resolution 640 x 480 - 30 fps - 15 min 48 sec
Video resolution 640 x 480 - 15 fps - 30 min
Video resolution 320 x 240 - 30 fps - 41 min 46 sec
Video resolution 320 x 240 - 15 fps - 72 min 52 sec
Video resolution 160 x 120 - 15 fps - 201 min 21 sec