6x zoom and image stabilisation...
Canon’s higher-end Powershot models are a great platform for compact users looking to get more from their camera and more-experienced snappers looking to augment their DSLR. The A710 IS is no exception, with its wide-ranging, optically stabilised 35-210mm equivalent zoom and 7.1mp CCD covering most purposes.
As well as automatic/scene modes for the novice there are also PASM modes to cater for more-experienced users and all the manual settings tweaks you could want.
With its right-hand finger-grip the A710 IS is a joy to hold and the rearward controls are exactly where they should be, with the ‘Func’ button taking you straight to the key camera settings, and a chunky mode dial up top. A sprightly two-second start-up sets the tone for the camera’s performance, with the fast 9-point AF system getting a lock in all but the dimmest conditions. For composing shots you get a choice of a bright 2.5in LCD or (small) optical viewfinder, but it’s a shame the screen doesn’t flip out like some other PowerShots.
A negligible delay between shots and fast playback round off a very pleasing experience, with the only fly in the ointment the two AA batteries – the A710 IS seems quite ‘hungry’, so do carry a few spares.
Canon has got the exposure metering and white balance in their digi-compacts cracked and as a result the A710 IS rarely needs you to intervene in either area. Noise is also well controlled: up to ISO 400, A4 prints are texture-free with crisp edges (thanks in part to the excellent IS system), though images do start to become ‘bitty’ at the maximum ISO 800 as chroma and luminosity noise comes into play.
A great all-round performance; one for more-ambitious users as well as the snap-shooter.