Canon PowerShot A620: like a Swiss army knife
The Canon PowerShot A line of inexpensive compact cameras has been completely updated. PowerShot cameras have traditionally been popular among hobbyists who want quality and adjustability at a reasonable price. How attractive is the new PowerShot?
The Canon PowerShot A line consists of relatively large compact models with a somewhat bulky appearance. They really can be called "large" because the cameras use LR6/AA batteries as says in Canon manual
, and also because Canon has tried to keep the body large to make the cameras easier to handle. After all, if electronic components have been shrinking lately, the hands of users are not.
The camera lens is more or less standard (average coverage in wide-angle mode and not very strong tele mode). But the A620 can still be called the top model of the PowerShot A line, as it features an excellent LCD display that can be rotated in any direction. The camera has a fully automatic mode, but all shooting parameters can be adjusted. Of course, if you leave the fully automatic mode.
The A620 is quite comfortable to hold with your hand, although, like most modern compact models, the camera is too small for a natural grip with your fingers. Most men will have to press their fingers together to hold the camera. Otherwise, it is unlikely that your fingers will ever interfere with the flash: and this is very important. The main control keys are well located. The camera provides direct access to the most important functions, as well as a dual menu system for less important functions.
The Canon PowerShot A620 is equipped with an optical viewfinder, which in some cases is more convenient than the display. But it's not very accurate. The viewfinder is equipped with two LEDs that allow you to determine the correct shooting conditions. Of course, you'll probably take most of your photos using the LCD, which gives you a better idea of the edges of the frame, and numerous indicators help you set the optimal settings. The 2" display bends and rotates in many directions, allowing you to, for example, shoot in a crowd while holding the camera above your head. When carried, the screen fits completely into a special compartment that protects it.
The camera's focusing is quite normal. Automatic works at nine points (AiAF), focusing in the central area is available, as well as manual. Add to this the well-implemented manual focus with the zoom function automatically engaged for the central area. So manual focusing works not only in theory, but also in practice.
The lens covers the traditional focal length range: in 35mm equivalent, from 35 to 140mm. The lens is quite good and fast at the minimum focal length, but at the maximum it loses a little aperture. I must say, the lens seemed better to us than many competitors. Of course, with a minimum focal length it cannot be called truly wide-angle, but it is difficult to expect better results from a camera of this category. You can get wide-angle or telephoto with the optional attachments, but it's unlikely to be a smart idea.
The camera's macro photography is very good, and in wide-angle mode it can focus at a distance of 1 cm from the lens. At the maximum focal length, the minimum focusing distance increases to 25 cm. Not bad since the field of view is about 7x5 cm.
If you move away from full auto (green), you'll get a good selection. Let's start with the four standard exposure metering modes: "automatic" (P), "shutter priority" (S), "aperture priority" (A) and "manual" (M). The camera also offers several preset shooting modes, including the usual “portrait” and “landscape”, as well as special ones available through the menu. There you will find almost the same modes as competitors, plus a mode for underwater photography. But don't forget to get a special waterproof case. In general, the camera has almost everything you need.
In aperture priority mode, you can set it all the way down to f/8: a reasonable value considering the size of the sensor. A smaller aperture would result in blur due to diffraction. The shutter speed can be changed from 15 seconds to 1/2500 s, which also covers all standard needs.
For exposure metering, there are three familiar options: in the center, in an area with various options, and matrix mode. Choosing the wrong mode can lead to serious metering errors (especially area mode), so if you consider yourself a beginner, stick to matrix or center mode.
The sensitivity of the sensor can be set from ISO 50 to 400 as says in Olympus manual
. It is quite natural that the higher the sensitivity is set, the greater the “noise” level will be. All necessary white balance settings are available, and manual setting is also possible for special situations.
Add to this the manual color rendering mode "My Colors", which allows you to make both light and serious edits to the image. Since it is difficult to accurately predict the result, you can record the uncorrected photo along with the processed version. A great feature for users who want to do this kind of experimentation.
Like all compact models, the Canon PowerShot A620 uses a built-in flash. Its range is approximately 3 to 4 meters. You can enable standard modes such as "no flash" and "forced flash", as well as slow sync and shutter closing. The latter feature allows the flash to fire at the end of a long exposure rather than at the beginning. The camera is equipped with its own exposure compensation, which provides some flexibility for those users who need it. On the other hand, synchronization with an external flash is not provided. As an accessory, Canon offers a flash that is triggered by the built-in flash.
Filming and recording
The Canon PowerShot A620 offers the traditional choice between single shot and burst shooting. In the latter case, the speed is almost 2 frames per second. Not a bad value for a compact model. Most portable cameras are characterized by high shooting latency, but here, as you can see, it is very low. You can shoot quickly and without any problems. Of course, if you first spend time studying the camera's capabilities. The built-in timer supports delays of 2 and 10 seconds, but their duration can be increased to 30 seconds. In addition, you can set to shoot several frames in a row.
Video is recorded in AVI (Motion JPEG) format with mono sound, and you can freely choose the resolution (640x480, 320x240 or 160x120) and frame rate (30 or 15 fps). In 320x240 mode, the frame rate can be increased to 60 fps. The video size is up to 1 GB, but for this you need to get a high-speed memory card so that recording does not stop after the camera buffer is full.
Files are saved to the SD card only in JPEG format, which may not appeal to truly demanding hobbyists. Fortunately, you can set three compression levels. With minimal compression, the file size is between 3 and 4 MB, with very little JPEG artifacts. We don't think the single JPEG format is a major limitation for a model in this price range.
The camera offers all standard viewing functions. This includes the ability to rotate photos, as well as record small audio notes for each frame. On the other hand, the slideshow feature only supports a fixed time span of 3 seconds per frame, which reduces its usefulness. Like most digital cameras, the Canon PowerShot A620 supports DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) printing.
Power and Connectivity
Canon decided to go with four standard AA batteries/rechargeable batteries, and they are not included in the basic package. Of course, Canon PowerShot A620 owners can be recommended to buy one or two sets of NiMH batteries and a good charger. This is the only way you can reduce battery costs, of course, if you don’t plan to shoot only from time to time. The stated battery life is 500 frames from NiMH batteries, taking into account the use of the display as a viewfinder. However, everything here will depend on the capacity of the batteries and your preferences when shooting. People who shoot several frames in a row will run out of batteries faster than those users who take a long time to try on and rarely shoot. In addition, the frequency of use of the flash also affects. Overall, battery life is very good.
A USB 2.0 port is used to connect to a PC as says in Nikon manual
, and a special socket is installed on the camera for power. In addition, a proprietary 3.5 mm jack is used for audio/video output. Not a bad set for the price category of the Canon PowerShot A620.
Experienced photographers are often unhappy with compact cameras. So, they quickly discover that they cannot set all the necessary settings that would give the perfect photo in many situations. From this point of view, the Canon PowerShot A620 simply works wonders, since the camera has all (well, almost all) settings available if you know how to use them. Despite this, the camera will be very convenient for beginners, since it offers any level of automation, including the “green” mode, when you just “aim” and press the shutter release.
It is quite clear that if you want to get a fully automatic point-and-shoot camera, you can choose a simpler, smaller and lighter model. The Canon PowerShot A620 is still aimed more at photographers who know how to get the best shots. Or for those users who want to learn this.