Canon PowerShot A20
Review Canon's PowerShot A20 caters for novices on a tight budget. To keep costs down it's been stripped of features and, in the highly competitive low-end market, it struggles to make an impact. It's good to see high 2Mp (megapixel) quality in the sub-£300 price range, but the market has shifted so quickly that now it's not enough to sell a digital camera based on the megapixel rating alone.
At 250g the PowerShot A20 is light, but the dimensions mean it's still surprisingly bulky, and it will take up a lot of space in your pocket. When it comes to peripherals you don't get much, with only an average software bundle thrown in. There is no mains adapter and it takes AA batteries, so you'll have to keep a store handy if you don't want to run out of juice.
The Canon PowerShot is easy to use thanks to the automatic, manual and stitch shooting modes. However, in manual mode you only get complete control over white balance and exposure. Other settings are based on presets, so more experienced users may find this rather limiting. The 1.5in LCD monitor is small given the overall size of the camera and it's slow to adjust when panning from a light to dark environment. One bonus is the impressive 3x optical zoom and 2.5x digital zoom which, when combined, add up to a maximum zoom capability of 7.5x.
You can take good quality pictures with the PowerShot A20 just as long as you don't drop the resolution, but 2.11Mp translates to a maximum resolution of 1688x1248. This means you can store just seven images on the supplied 8MB CompactFlash card. You can cut the quality down in order to store 87 shots, but you'd be better off paying for a higher capacity card as image quality below the maximum resolution is poor.
The PowerShot A20 isn't a bad camera - it's relatively cheap and its image quality is good at the maximum resolution. However, shop around and you'll soon find better alternatives. ®
Contact: 0800 616 417
Max resolution: 1688x1248
Optical zoom: 3x
Digital zoom: 2.5x
Min photos on 8MB: 7
max photos on 8MB: 87
Warranty: one-year return-to-base
This review is taken from the August 2001 issue. All details correct at time of publication
Copyright © 2001, IDG. All rights reserved.