A typical P&S villain, the Canon A720 IS

Here is the subject of my recent rants about typical P&S cameras. This one is a Canon A720 IS, which is a few years old, so therefore obsolete in Canon’s range, although it is actually quite well specified, given its odious shortcomings.

On the plus side, it has 8 megapixel resolution, a 6 times optical zoom range starting at a 35mm equivalent focal length, a quite handy f2.8 aperture at the wide end, in-lens image stabilisation, the ability to use huge SD cards, a built-in flash, a big LCD, and, best of all, an optical viewfinder that zooms along with the lens. And it uses 2 AA batteries for power so you never run out. Best of all it fits into my trouser pocket no matter what.

On the minus side, the images are noisy and a bit soft, the lens has barrel distortion issues and at the tele end is a slow f4.8, it won’t naively shoot raw (yes, I know about CHDK), I tend to lose the tiny SD cards if I am busy, the flash takes an age to charge between shots, and the viewfinder only shows 4/5 of the image. And I never have AA batteries available when I need them. Pulling it out of a pocket usually means the idiot control dial on the top has been turned and I haven’t noticed it, messing things up when the heat is on.

Oh well, at less than $20 bucks, I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.

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