Canon’s "A" series digital cameras have provided first-rate performance, superb ergonomics, best-in-class functionality and usability, tough as nails durability, and reliably excellent image quality since the introduction of the groundbreaking little A20 in 2001. The new Canon PowerShot A710IS is one of the most impressive general use digital cameras introduced this season and easily the most remarkable "A" series digicam introduced to date.
The A710 IS is the first "A" model to feature optical image stabilization (OIS); it also features 7 megapixel resolution, a very good 6x optical zoom, 20 shooting modes (everything from full Auto mode to full manual mode), a large 2.5 inch LCD screen (and an optical viewfinder), a very useful (ISO 80 – ISO 800) sensitivity range, and very good battery life. The A710 IS is stylish, fairly compact (diminutive enough to drop in a large pocket or small purse), and robust enough to go just about anywhere. Image quality is dependably excellent – resolution is tack sharp, contrast is balanced with highlights and shadow detail preserved nicely. Colors are hue accurate, bold, and slightly over saturated, but never garish. Noise management is better than expected, across the sensitivity spectrum.
Faults are remarkably few; the price is a bit high (especially for an "A" series digicam), red-eye will be an ongoing problem for informal/environmental/street portrait shooters, the on-board flash is a little slow to re-cycle, the 6X zoom exhibits some noticeable corner softness, and there is some very minor chromatic aberration visible in high contrast color transition areas. Long story short – optical image stabilization is a worthy addition to the "A" series arsenal. The new Canon Powershot A710 IS is a winner. Check back in a week or so for our full review.