Canon Powershot A2000 IS Review
Introducing the new top of the line "A" series model from Canon, the Powershot A2000IS. Sporting the biggest zoom to be found on an A series camera (A650 IS, A590 IS), a 6x optical zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.), this is one of the most versatile in the series. It also features a 10-Megapixel imaging sensor, DIGIC III image processor, advanced face detection with face selector, VGA movie mode and a 3" LCD screen.
The A2000IS's ergonomics provide a very comfortable to hold and handle camera. It is a little bulkier than a lot of the new cameras that have been coming out lately, even slightly larger than the A1000IS, but the size and weight give it a very solid and sturdy feel. There is also a built in handgrip on the right for added comfort and control. On top of the camera you will find the power and shutter release buttons, with the zoom control coupled around the shutter release button. Between them you have the mode dial, allowing you to easily change your shooting mode. On top of the back of the camera is the PLAY/REC button and built in speaker. Under that are the Face Select button, allowing you to select one face for the camera to focus on over everything else, and the programmable quick print button. Next you will find the 4-way controls providing you with shortcuts to the ISO, Flash, Focus mode and burst/timer settings. Inside the 4-way control is the FUNC/Set button that gives you access to the Function menu while shooting and selects your options from the menus. At the bottom are the DISP. and Menu buttons.
Framing and viewing your images is done with the camera's 3", 230,000 pixel LCD screen. The screen is bright and easy to see in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. It also gains up nicely in low-light conditions. This is one of the very few "A" series models not to feature an optical view finder to go along with the LCD screen. This is something to consider if you are comfortable with and like using one or if you own or have owned an "A" series model in the past.
The A2000IS's performance is good for an entry-level point and shoot. it takes the camera 1.9 seconds to capture its first image, from the time you hit the power button to turn it on. When the camera is pre-focused the shutter lag is almost instantaneous and just 4/10 of a second when allowing the auto focus to work. In single shot mode, the camera is able to capture 5 images in 8.9 seconds without the flash and 5 images in 20.6 seconds with it. The camera also features a burst mode that works with or without the flash. With the flash it can capture 10 images in 15.5 seconds and 10 images in 6.3 seconds without the flash. All of our tests were completed using an ATP Pro Max 4GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.
Our outdoor image samples are very good. The camera produced excellent exposures and rich but realistic looking colors. Assisting you in your shooting is a 6x optical zoom lens that makes the camera incredibly versatile. With a 35mm equivalent of 36-216mm, this lens is good for shooting landscapes and even better for getting close to distant objects. On the wide end of the zoom you will see some slight barrel distortion and very slight chromatic aberrations (purple fringing). Image sharpness is very good throughout the zoom range.
Our indoor images quality is also very good. The camera's auto white balance does an excellent job of keeping consistency between shots with and without the flash. The built in flash has a range of 1'-11' at the wide end and 1.6'-6.7' at the telephoto end at ISO auto. It provides enough power to light a small room and did a descent job from 6' away at ISO 80 in our flash sample. It did an excellent job of controlling the flash while shooting in macro mode. There is one problem, however, the lens gets in the way of the flash and the bottom right corner of the image is blocked (macro flash). Without the flash from ISO 400 and down the noise level is very good. At ISO 200 you can start to see a little noise when viewing your image at 100%, but even at ISO 400 you can still easily read the magazine titles.
Portrait shots taken with the A2000IS are good. As Canon claims, the camera does an excellent job of adjusting the image to the recognized face in the image, producing good colors and exposures. The ISO levels are slightly high, adding a little extra noise to image, but nothing that will show on a print up to 8x10. The flash did leave the subject with a little red eye as our sample was taken without the red eye reduction flash. This is, however, easily removed from within the camera. The face detection software does an excellent job of quickly finding faces and following them as they move. When the camera detects a face, it automatically adjusts the exposure, focus point and white balance to the single face or it adjusts to the best possible exposure when it detects more than one. You can also use the face selection button to select one face out of a group and the camera will always follow and focus for this face over all others. This is a great feature when you have more than one person in a group and they are doing a lot of moving around.
Video quality is good and runs smoothly, while the subject is kept in focus very well. While panning and using the full telephoto end of the zoom it is hard to keep the camera steady enough to avoid jerking when handheld, even with the O.I.S. turned on. The onboard mic is very sensitive and picks up a lot of background noise, meaning that the closer the audio source is to the camera, the better the sound quality will be in your movie. Allowing you to capture video with audio movie mode offers you resolutions of 640x480, 320x240 and the compact 160x120. While recording you have access to the full optical zoom range if you pre-set it before you start recording. Only the digital zoom is available while recording, which will increase the size of the pixels in the image as you zoom.
Powering the A2000IS are two standard AA sized cells. We recommend using NiMH cells which will allow you to take roughly 2x as many pictures (approx. 500) as standard alkaline batteries (approx. 240) and provide roughly two hours more continuous playback time. Using NiMH batteries, I was able to capture around 100 images, several videos and complete all of my tests without having to recharge. We still recommend keeping an extra set of batteries on hand at all times, though in a bind you can always pick up a set of alkaline batteries.
Bottom Line - The new top of the Line "A" series from Canon, the Powershot A2000IS, is a fully loaded 10-Megapixel point and shoot. With Easy, Auto, Program and plenty of pre-set scene modes at your disposal, this camera is easy enough for anyone to pick it up and start shooting. It has good performance and quality while also being more versatile than many other entry level cameras via the 6x optical zoom lens with O.I.S. One thing to keep in mind is the absence of the optical view finder, something we have become accustomed to on the "A" series models. With a MSRP of US$249.99, this an excellent option if you are looking for a fully loaded point and shoot. If you like this camera but could go for something with a smaller zoom, check out the A1000IS for $50 less.
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