New A720 IS ends coolness in Canon PowerShot “A” series

Canon PowerShot A720 ISCanon PowerShot A710 IS digicam being arguably the most (outwardly) cool compact yet usable digital camera in Canon’s A series is now “updated” in the product line-up by 0.9 megapixel + Face Detection upgrade A720 IS.

Canon PowerShot A710 ISBut with the very minor upgrade we are faced with definite downgrades from A710’s advantages.

Going from A710 to A720 we get:

A720’s Pros:

  • video length constraints lifted: from 8 minutes to 32 minutes
  • 8.0 megapixels instead of 7.1 (only 12% increase, and the CCD image sensor remains overly small at 1/2.5″)
  • 10% increase in battery performance (from 360 shots per charge to 400, like in A570)
  • 4% weight loss (from 270 g to 260 g including batteries)
  • Face Detection with DigicIII processor (who needs that in 6x zoom anyway?)
  • MSRP ($250) is below the closing street price of A710 ($250-$270)

& A720’s Cons:

  • No more RAW format and live histogram previously available via CHDK hack in older DigicII processor
  • Un-cool cheapo look (bright body color, flushed mode dial – not visible now from the front) akin A5xx series

As you see, Pros are numerous, but smallish, Cons are few, but HUGE. And that kinda justifies the prices for last-in-stocks A710’s soared to $350 these days.

PowerShot SX100 ISOther Canon’s new for 2007 point-and-shooter’s include PowerShot A650 IS, SX100 IS ang G9 with notable innovations being:

  • Introduction of Optical Image Stabilizer (IS) in A6xx series (A650 IS) – the lack thereof preventing otherwise nice A640 to be considered “cool”
  • Return of the RAW image format in G-series, dropped temporarily in G7
  • Introduction of color alternatives for non-toy (A4xx) cameras (black & white for SX100 IS)
    Now Canon is going to have a chance to make sure people do prefer black for “serious” digicams
  • reasonable start pricing – $500 for G9 with RAW is way more preferrable than last year’s $600 for cut-down G7
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