As I recall, the photographs that I took years ago with my old 2.2 mega pixel Kodak EasyShare DX3600 were of comparable quality to the ones that I took recently with my new Canon PowerShot A470 7.1 mega pixel (3.4 zoom) digital camera. This leads me to wonder whether too much emphasis is placed on the number of pixels. Generally speaking, more pixels translate to higher camera prices, but since I bought my Canon PowerShot A470 for about $120, and received a Canon iP4600 printer for free with my camera purchase, I have no complaints.
Recommend this product?
Turning the camera on produces a single tone, which can be muted by accessing the setup menu. According to the instruction manual, you can also mute the sound by depressing the power and MENU buttons simultaneously, but I tried this several times, and was unable to do so. The former method presented no problem, however. But I find it useful to be reminded when the camera turns on, so I don’t bother with the mute.
The PowerShot is not especially intuitive, so new users should read the instructions first. Don’t assume that you can just figure out by looking at the little icons. I couldn’t understand why the images were often out of focus until I read that the shutter button has two phases. Depressing the shutter button lightly focuses the camera, while pressing it all the way down actually snaps the picture. You will know when a photograph has been taken because the camera will click audibly, the flash will go off, and the image that you have captured will display on the screen for a couple of seconds. Another minor focusing issue I had was resolved when I held my arms close to my sides when taking photographs, as recommended on page 10 of the instruction manual (Avoiding Camera Shake). A simple solution, but remarkably effective. The PowerShot can also be mounted on a tripod for further stability.
The PowerShot comes with a 32-megabyte memory card, which fits just above the two AA batteries in a side compartment. To open this compartment you have to set the camera on its side, with the viewer screen facing you, and push the battery cover lock towards the arrow to the right, while sliding the panel marked CARD/BATT. OPEN towards yourself with the index finger of your other hand. Since neither your finger (in all likelihood) nor the CARD/BATT. OPEN panel has bumps or ridges for traction, this may be a slippery operation. Once the CARD/BATT. OPEN panel is slightly ajar, you may have to use your fingernail to slide it open all the way. Try and do this delicately.
The 32-megabyte memory card will only hold about 12 to 15 images, varying due to conditions such as the complexity of the subject, lighting conditions, etcetera. If you are planning on taking a lot of photographs, invest in a memory card with greater storage capacity. I purchased a two-gigabyte card for about $20. During the course of one evening, I snapped 120 photographs using the two-gigabyte card, at which point the camera prompted me to change the batteries! I was using two nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries. A flashing red LED warns you when the batteries need replacing or recharging.
Like most digital cameras nowadays, this particular model has limited video capabilities. (The 32-megabyte memory chip that comes with the PowerShot probably won’t record more than five minutes of moving images). The video picture and sound quality are pretty good, and while reviewing the video that you just shot, you can adjust the volume, or pause and re-start the movie. While shooting video with the PowerShot, you must hold down the shutter button, whereas a regular camcorder can be set to automatically record.
Conveniently, you can print images directly to your computer by connecting the camera to a compatible printer via the interface cable (IFC-400CU), a thin, white, four-foot long cord with trapezoidal ends, one of which is about twice as large as the other. To download the pictures to your computer first, plug the larger end of the interface cable into your computer’s USB Port, located on the back of the CPU, and the smaller end into the camera’s digital port. The latter is located under the camera’s terminal cover, and marked is all capitals (DIGITAL). The PowerShot can also be attached directly to a television, using the AV cable (AVC-DC300).
The solution disk CD-ROM that comes with the PowerShot contains the necessary software for downloading images to your computer, as well as the camera user guide (previously referred to here as the instruction manual), and the direct print user guide. Among other features, the 83-page direct print user guide explains the many different options for customizing the pictures prior to printing them.
For a modern camera, the PowerShot is kind of bulky; the average cell phone also has photographic capabilities and is about one-third the size and weight of the PowerShot. To avoid dropping your camera, always keep your hand through the carrying strap when holding the camera or taking photographs. That being established, keep in mind that the part of the carrying strap that threads through an opening in the upper right corner of the camera is very thin, and could be prone to fraying or breaking. If you put the camera in your pocket, take out any keys or loose change which might scratch or otherwise damage the unit.
In short, the Canon PowerShot A470 digital camera is probably not the best one on the market, but it’s good enough. And if Radio Shack offers you a free printer with your camera purchase, go for it!
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Amount Paid (US$): 120
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use