The A must stand for Affordable in Canon's new A series digital cameras. The Powershot A700, Powershot A540, Powershot A530, and Powershot A430 will range in price from $179-$349. You might think that $349 doesn't sound that affordable, but read on to see what you get for that amount.
The A series cameras from Canon are meant to be a good entry camera into digital photography. The cameras take AA batteries and have a wide variety of controls (depending on the model). If you want easy to use, there's an A-series camera. If you'd like more manual controls, the A-series has it. Last year, Canon introduced the Powershot A620 and A610 to succeed the A95 (the flip-out screen models, if you will). This time around, at PMA, they announced 4 new A cameras, including one to succeed the very popular, budget-oriented Powershot A520.
One nice feature in the A series is an enhanced My Colors mode. The My Colors mode lets you experiment with colors in your shots. One example is that you can replace one color with another. Previously, you could only do these adjustments while capturing the image. With the new enhancements, you can apply changes in-camera after the image has been taken.
Canon Powershot A700
Sitting at the top of the new A series cameras, the Powershot A700 features a new 6 megapixel sensor and a 6x optical zoom lens, of which the latter is pretty impressive for this line of cameras. A 2.5 inch, 115,000 pixel LCD and optical viewfinder let you frame and review your shots. Seeing as this is the top of the line A camera, it has several manual modes, including program AE, shutter priority AE, aperture priority AE, full manual, and, of course, full automatic. Several scene modes (like Snow, Beach, Kids, etc.) can help out if you want to leave it in automatic and get optimized settings for your conditions. If you're looking for a Canon point and shoot with full manual controls (and you don't want/need the flip out screen of the A620/A610), the Canon Powershot A700 is the best choice at the moment.
Availability: March 2006 for around $349
Canon Powershot A540
If you don't want the 6x optical zoom of the A700, you can save around $150 and get the Powershot A540 with its 4x optical zoom. Besides that, the specifications are pretty much the same.
Availability: March 2006 for around $299
Canon Powershot A530
The Powershot A530 is meant to be the direct successor to the popular Powershot A520. It now includes a 4x optical zoom with a 5 megapixel sensor. A 1.8 inch LCD keeps the A530 affordable.
Availability: March 2006 for around $229
Canon Powershot A430
As the most affordable camera (around $179), the Powershot A430 offers the nice 4x optical zoom as its more expensive brothers, but now shoots at 4 megapixels with a 1.8 inch LCD.
Availability: March 2006 for around $179
Other Canon cameras at PMA: