Canon PowerShot A720 IS review: Canon PowerShot A720 IS

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MSRP: $199.99
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Great image quality at lower ISOs; manual exposure controls; quick nonflash performance.

The Bad Long flash recycle time; highest ISO settings very noisy.

The Bottom Line Unless you plan to shoot primarily in low light, the Canon PowerShot A720 IS makes a solid, affordable camera that produces great-looking pictures.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Image quality 8.0

Canon knows not to fix what isn't broken. Last year's PowerShot A710 IS impressed us with its broad suite of features, solid design, and good value. The 8-megapixel PowerShot A720 IS does little to change that formula, sticking very close to the path traveled by the A710 IS.

Save for a few internal upgrades, the A720 IS stands nearly identical to its predecessor. Both cameras share the same 35-210mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.8 lens, the same optical image stabilization, and the same 2.5-inch LCD screen. The A720 IS even shares its predecessor's physical design, right down to the placement of the buttons. The A710 IS' grip featured a rubberized texture that this new version lacks, but otherwise you would be hard-pressed to distinguish between these two cameras at a glance.

Fundamentally, the only changes the A720 IS offers over the A710 IS are its new sensor and image processor. The camera's 8-megapixel CCD can reach ISO 1600, beating its older brother's limit of ISO 800. The camera uses Canon's Digic III image processor, an upgrade over the older Digic II processor that offers face-detecting autofocus and autoexposure, an increasingly common feature that helps when framing portraits and family photos. Besides those upgrades, it might as well be the same camera as the A710 IS.

Fortunately the A710 IS worked so well that the A720 IS really doesn't need to change that much. Like its predecessor, this chunky new camera puts function over form, with large, accessible buttons and a solid, grippable body design. The A720 IS weighs a hefty 8.6 ounces with batteries and SD card--just 0.4 ounce less than the A710 IS. Like its older brother, the A720 IS features a full selection of manual exposure controls, including program/aperture/shutter/manual modes readily accessible through the camera's mode dial.

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