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Canon PowerShot A10

Canon introduces a "value priced, full featured" 1.3 megapixel with 3x zoom lens and great image quality!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 5/16/2001

Design
The Canon PowerShot A10 is a very portable point-and-shoot style digicam, measuring 4.3 x 2.8 x 1.5 inches (110.3 x 71 x 37.6 mm) and weighing approximately 9 ounces (250 grams) without batteries. Nearly identical in design to the PowerShot A20, the only aesthetic difference between the two models is the color accent on the molded polycarbonate bodies. The A10's front panel is a metallic silver, with a light blue finger grip, while the A20 is a warm-toned champagne color, with a golden brown finger grip. Compact and durable enough to travel just about anywhere, the A10 has a retractable lens cover and a telescoping lens design that eliminates the need for a separate lens cap and protects the 3x zoom while not in use. The A10's user interface is sensibly laid out, with well-marked external controls that are within reach of the user's thumbs (most suitable for two-handed control). The only difference between the two cameras' external controls is that the A10 has no Video Out terminal for displaying images on TV.


The front panel of the PowerShot A10 houses the telescoping lens, built-in flash, and optical viewfinder window. When the camera is powered on in one of the three Shooting (Record) modes, the lens is uncovered and projects about an inch from the body. A large, sculpted hand grip runs along the right side of the camera, giving your fingers a significant hold on the body. The flash also serves as an AF Assist light, emitting a soft orange light that helps the camera judge focus in low-light situations, and as the Self-Timer countdown, blinking slowly for the first 8 seconds and more quickly for the last two. Canon offers a set of auxiliary lenses that attach to the A10's telescoping zoom. A notched ring at the base of the lens barrel is loosened by the dust cap on the Canon LA-DC52 lens adapter, enabling you to attach the adapter in its place. The full adapter covers the lens mechanism when extended, and provides a set of 52mm filter threads to accommodate Canon's Close-up Lens 250D and Wide-angle Conversion Lens (24.5mm equivalent).


The right side of the camera houses the CompactFlash slot, CR2016 battery compartment, and a wrist strap attachment eyelet. The memory card slot is covered by a hinged plastic door that slides forward before opening outward. We found the door a little difficult to maneuver, as the grip pad on the front of the door was difficult to push with just one finger. We had to hold the camera with both hands, even on a tripod, and use a thumb to slide the door open. (A vertical, raised bar grip may be more effective on this door design. It's a minor gripe, but one we felt worth mentioning.) The CR2016 battery slot can only be opened when the CompactFlash slot door is open, and is most easily removed by sliding a coin or knife under the cover and flipping it upward. The battery casing slides right out with the battery inside. (The CR2016 battery powers the camera's internal clock and calendar, so that information is not lost when the AA batteries die.)


The left side of the camera houses the jack connector compartment. Protected by a soft rubber door, which is held in place by two rubber hinges, the door flips open to reveal the Digital (USB) and DC In connector jacks.


A large, silver Shutter button is the only control on the camera's top panel, located right next to the wrist strap attachment eyelet.


The remaining camera controls are on the back panel, along with the LCD monitor and optical viewfinder eyepiece. Controls along the bottom and right sides of the LCD monitor include (counterclockwise, bottom to top): the Flash / Set, Drive / Self-Timer, Macro / Infinity Focus, Menu, and On / Off buttons, and Exposure Compensation / White Balance, and Display buttons. A large Mode dial in the lower right corner controls the camera's operating mode, and a Zoom lever in the upper right corner sets the optical and digital zoom. On the left side of the optical viewfinder eyepiece are two LED lamps that report camera status. The top LED lamp glows green when the focus and exposure are set, or when the camera is ready to communicate with your computer, and it flashes green when the camera is processing an image. If the top LED lamp glows orange, the flash is charged. A flashing orange LED lamp indicates a low-light shooting situation and the potential for a blurred photograph from camera movement (this also brings up the shaking hand icon on the LCD monitor). The bottom LED lamp lights yellow when the Macro mode is enabled and the Shutter button is halfway pressed (also noted by a small macro symbol next to the LED lamp).


The A10 has a reasonably flat bottom panel, with a few minor ridges and indentations. The plastic, threaded tripod mount is too close to the battery compartment to allow for quick battery changes while mounted on a tripod, though the DC-In side access ensures that you can connect the accessory AC adapter in the studio. The battery compartment door slides forward before opening outward, with a sliding lever in the center of the door that unlocks the door before it can be opened.


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