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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 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 5/16/2001

Executive Overview
The Canon PowerShot A10 features the same compact size and distinctively smooth styling as its higher-end sibling, the PowerShot A20. Though the A10 has a smaller CCD than the A20 (1.32 megapixels vs. 2.11 megapixels), it still offers the same easy-to-use menu interface and well-designed exterior features that we enjoyed on the A20. Measuring just 4.3 x 2.8 x 1.5 inches (110.3 x 71.0 x 37.6 mm), the A10 is only slightly larger than Canon's popular Digital ELPH models -- making it very portable and small enough to fit into a large shirt or coat pocket, or average-size purse. The built-in retractable lens cover slides quickly out of the way when the camera is powered on in Shooting (Record) mode, with the telescoping lens extending approximately one inch. The lens remains inside the body when the camera is powered off or when reviewing images in Playback mode.

A real-image optical viewfinder and 1.5-inch color TFT LCD monitor are provided for composing images. The LCD monitor features a detailed information display that operates independently of the image display (meaning that it is engaged whenever a control button is pushed, even if the LCD monitor's image display is not in use). The A10 is equipped with a 3x, 5.4-16.2mm lens (equivalent to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm camera) with maximum aperture settings of f/2.8-f/4.8, depending on the zoom position. Focus is automatically controlled, with Normal, Macro, or Infinity focus modes available. (Infinity is available only in Manual mode.) There's also an Autofocus Assist light (an orange light emitted by the flash) to aid focusing in dark situations. The 2x Digital Zoom is enabled by zooming past the 3x optical zoom range whenever the LCD monitor is activated, though it visibly reduces image quality as it enlarges only the central portion of the image.

Exposure is automatically controlled at all times, with three separate Shooting modes available on the Mode dial: Automatic, Manual, and Stitch-Assist. In Automatic mode, the user has control over Resolution, Compression, Flash, Self-Timer, and Normal or Macro focus modes. Manual mode expands the user controls to include Exposure Compensation, White Balance, Infinity focus, and Continuous Shooting. Stitch-Assist is Canon's panoramic mode, allowing you to take a series of up to 26 images to be "stitched" together on a computer.

The A10 uses an evaluative metering system to determine exposure, which is linked to the focus area (a large portion of the center of the image). Shutter speeds range from 1/1,500 to one second, with an effective automatic noise reduction system for exposures slower than 1/6 second. The camera's light sensitivity is rated at ISO 100, though it increases to ISO 150 at low light levels. Exposure is adjustable from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments, allowing you to lighten or darken the exposure as needed. White Balance options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, and Fluorescent settings, accommodating most light sources. The Drive button accesses the Continuous Shooting and Self-Timer modes. Continuous Shooting, which is only available in Manual mode, captures a rapid series of images as fast as 2.5 frames per second. The Self-Timer features a 10-second countdown, triggered by a full press of the Shutter button. The A10's built-in flash operates in Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, On, Off, and Slow Synchro modes, controlled by an external Flash button.

Images are stored as compressed JPEGs on CompactFlash Type I memory cards (an 8MB card is supplied with the camera). Resolution options include 1,280 x 960, 1,024 x 768, and 640 x 480 pixels, with selectable compression levels of Superfine, Fine, and Normal. You can download images to a computer via the included USB cable and Canon's Digital Camera Solution Disk software (Version 4.0), which is supplied on the accompanying software CD. The Solution Disk provides image organization and correction tools; the PhotoStitch software is for piecing together panoramic images; and a Remote Capture utility enables you to remotely operate the camera from a computer.

Four AA batteries power the camera (alkaline or NiMH), and an external AC adapter is available as an accessory. An NTSC video cable also accompanies the camera (PAL for European models), enabling you to review or compose images on a television.

Its compact size and straightforward user interface make the Canon A10 an excellent choice for consumers who want a reliable point-and-shoot digicam. The freedom of automatically controlled exposure, plus a basic range of exposure adjustments, offer consumers flexible shooting options and the ability to experiment with the camera's operation. Overall, the A10 captured nice images, with good color and quality, handling most average shooting situations well. Plus, its portable size makes it convenient for busy consumers.

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