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Canon PowerShot A720 IS

8-megapixel digital camera with optical image stabilization

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  • Canon PowerShot A720 IS

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  • Canon PowerShot A720 IS

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Item #: 280A720IS
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Canon PowerShot A720 IS

by Tara W.
Canon

Today's point-and-shoot cameras make great pictures easier than ever

From baby's first steps, to that dream vacation in the islands, these cameras make it easy to capture life's greatest hits. Today's cameras have helpful automatic features, like face detection and scene recognition that make shooting more foolproof than ever. And they all have plenty of megapixels for detailed photos that stay sharp, even when you enlarge and print them.

Canon's PowerShot A720 IS offers versatile, user-friendly picture-taking. It produces superb images with plenty of photographic detail, thanks to a high-quality 6X optical zoom lens and 8-megapixel recording. Optical image stabilization keeps your photos smooth and clear, even if your hands aren't steady. And when you're feeling inspired, you can experiment with the A720's array of manual exposure settings.

Canon's latest image processor provides faster camera response, cleaner pictures with more accurate color, and longer battery life. A sophisticated Face Detection system finds all the faces in the frame for more accurately focused "people" shots. A 16:9 photo mode lets you capture still images that look fantastic when displayed on your widescreen TV or computer monitor. And you can capture video clips with sound and store them on the included 16MB SD™ memory card. For more picture and movie storage, just add optional SD memory cards.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • 8.0-megapixel effective recording
  • 2-1/2" LCD screen
  • real-image optical zoom viewfinder
  • 6X optical zoom (4X digital/24X total zoom)
  • 35mm equivalent lens focal length: 35-210mm
  • optical image stabilizer
  • top JPEG resolution: 3264 X 2448
  • 16:9 widescreen photo mode
  • DIGIC III processor for fast camera response and superior image quality
  • Face Detection Technology for accurate in-focus portraits
  • Fast Frame Rate Movie mode for 60-frame-per-second video with sound
  • 9-point AiAF autofocus (with selectable 1-point autofocus mode)
  • exposure compensation settings
  • sensitivity (film speed equivalent) settings
  • extended ISO sensitivity range for better low-light shooting
  • custom white balance settings
  • shutter speed: 15 - 1/2,000 seconds
  • 10 scene modes, including Night Scene, Foliage, Snow, Beach, and Fireworks
  • manual, aperture-priority, and shutter-priority exposure modes
  • built-in flash
  • PictBridge-compatible
  • high-speed USB interface
  • audio/video output for connection to a TV
  • accepts standard SD memory cards and SD High Capacity (SDHC™) cards 4GB and greater
  • 3-7/8"W x 2-11/16"H x 1-11/16"D
  • weight: 7.05 oz. (without battery and media)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Supplied Accessories:
  • 16MB SD card (holds about three images at the highest picture quality setting)
  • 2 "AA" alkaline batteries
  • audio/video and USB cables
  • wrist strap
  • software CD-ROM (PC and Mac®)

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
LCD Screen Size
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2.5"
Adjustable-angle LCD
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Wi-Fi
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No
Touchscreen
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Waterproof
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GPS-enabled
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Lens 35mm Equivalent
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35-210mm
Optical Zoom
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6x
Digital Zoom
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4x
Filter Diameter
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58
Manual Focusing
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Yes
Manual Exposure
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Yes
Built-in Flash
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Yes
HDMI Output
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Memory
Internal Memory
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None
Memory Media
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SD Card
Image
Effective Megapixel Count
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8e+006
Total Megapixels
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8.3e+006
Image Stabilization
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Optical
Highest Resolution
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3264 x 2448
HD Video Recording
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Dimensions
Width (inches)
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3-7/8
Height (inches)
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2-11/16
Depth (inches)
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1-11/16
Weight With Battery (ounces)
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8.11
Warranty
Parts Warranty
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1 Year
Labor Warranty
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1 Year
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Digital camera
  • SDC-16M 16MB SD card
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 47" IFC-400PCU USB cable with in-line noise filter (USB type A connector on one end and mini-USB-Ver 2.0 on the other)
  • 49" AVC-DC300 A/V cable with in-line noise filter (right-angle mini-jack connector on one end and mono RCA audio connector and RCA composite video connectors on the other)
  • WS-200 Nylon wrist strap
  • Canon Digital Camera Solution Disk CD-ROM Ver. 31.0
  • Camera User Guide (English)
  • Camera user guide (Spanish)
  • Software Starter Guide (English/Spanish)
  • Direct Print User Guide (English/Spanish)
  • Warranty card
  • Canon Customer Support sheet
  • Online product registration information
  • Note to install driver software before connecting camera to computer
  • Canon photo printer brochure
  • User Guide correction sheet (Spanish/Japanese)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Input and Output Notes
Supplied Software
Specifications

Features

LCD Monitor: The Canon PowerShot A720 IS uses a 2.5 inch LCD monitor with wide viewing angle for easy on-camera viewing. The high resolution screen offers a crisp and clear picture to make shooting, playback and menu functions especially convenient. The LCD monitor also features a Night Display function for easy viewing in low light.

Optical Viewfinder: In addition to the LCD monitor, the camera has a "real image" optical zoom viewfinder. The viewfinder can be used to conserve the power by turning the LCD monitor off while shooting.

Note: The viewfinder has a field of vision that is typically smaller than the actual shooting image. You should use the LCD monitor for extreme close-ups.

Recording Media: The PowerShot A720 IS records images on SD (Secure Digital), SDHC (High Capacity), MMC (MultiMedia Card), MMCplus, and HD MMCplus memory cards. A 16MB SD card is included.

Image Recording Format: The camera records both still images and moving images. The still images are recorded in JPEG format and movies are recorded in AVI format (Motion JPEG/WAV).

Image Stabilizer: Canon's advanced Optical Image Stabilizer Technology corrects camera shake (common at long focal lengths and in low light) to keep your shots blur-free in any situation. The Optical Image Stabilizer uses gyroscopic sensors to detect motion and generate a corrective signal, effectively reducing camera shake.

DIGIC III Image Processor: The PowerShot A720 IS features the new DIGIC III Image Processor. The DIGIC III chip gives you superior image quality, faster image writing to the SD card, more efficiency to extend battery life, and higher definition for the LCD monitor.

Face Detection Technology: The DIGIC III chip includes the new Face Detection Auto Focus/Auto Exposure technology. Face Detection finds all the faces in the frame and sets the most suitable focus point. Exposure and flash are controlled to ensure proper illumination of both the faces and the overall scene, eliminating the common problem of overexposed faces.

iSAPS: iSAPS Technology is an original scene-recognition technology developed for digital cameras by Canon. Using an internal database of thousands of different photos, iSAPS works with the fast DIGIC III Image Processor to improve focus speed and accuracy, as well as exposure and white balance.

Image Sensor: For optimal image quality, the camera uses a 1/2.5" CCD image sensor with approximately 8.3-million total pixels and 8-million effective pixels.

Image Resolution/Compression: You can change the resolution and compression settings to suit the purpose of the image you're about to shoot. Choose from the following resolutions: Large (3264 x 2448 pixels), Medium 1 (2592 x 1944 pixels), Medium 2 (2048 x 1536 pixels), Medium 3 (1600 x 1200 pixels), Small (640 x 480 pixels), Postcard (1600 x 1200 pixels), and Widescreen (3264 x 1832 pixels). For each resolution (except Postcard which is fixed at Fine), you can set the compression to Superfine, Fine, or Normal. Movies can be shot with the following resolutions: 640 x 480/30 frames/sec (standard or LP mode), 320 x 240 pixels/30 frames/sec, or 160 x 120 pixels/15 frames/sec.

Digital Zoom/Digital Tele-Converter: The PowerShot A720 IS features a 6x optical zoom and a 4x digital zoom when shooting still images or video-clips. The digital camera allows you to adjust the digital zoom between 4 settings:

  • Digital Zoom:
    • Standard: enables shooting at combined optical and digital zoom factors of up to 24x, offering a focal length of 35mm to 840mm
    • Off: turns the digital zoom off, leaving the optical focal length of 35mm to 210mm
  • Digital Tele-Converter:
    • 1.6x: digital zoom is fixed at 1.6x for a focal length of 56mm to 336mm enabling faster shutter speed and less chance of camera shake
    • 2.0x: digital zoom is fixed at the select zoom factor of 2x for a focal length of 70mm to 420mm enabling faster shutter speed and less chance of camera shake

Note: The digital zoom cannot be used when the LCD monitor is turned off.

Lens Cap: The lens cap is built-in, it opens when you turn the camera on and closes when the camera is turned off.

Auto Focus Frame Modes: The PowerShot A720 IS offers four auto focus frame modes:

  • AiAF: utilizes nine frames to optimize focus according to shooting conditions
  • Face Detect: camera automatically detects a face (or faces) and sets focus and exposure to that location; if no face is recognized, AiAF is used
  • Center: the auto focus frame is fixed in the center
  • FlexiZone: you specify the location of the auto focus frame

Focus Lock: If it becomes difficult to focus on the subject due to low contrast to the surroundings, close up and far away subjects in the same shot, or quickly moving subjects, you can choose to lock the focus on an object at a similar distance, then shoot the picture after recomposing the shot.

AF-assist Beam: The AF-assist beam will sometimes emit when the shutter button is pressed halfway to assist focusing in certain conditions, i.e. dark conditions. The AF-assist beam can be turned off. If animals are your subject, turn off the beam when shooting in the dark to avoid startling them.

Focusing Range: The camera features the following focus ranges:

  • Normal AF: 1.8' to infinity
  • Macro AF: 0.4" to 1.8' (wide)
  • Manual Focus: 0.4" to infinity (wide), 1.8' to infinity (telephoto)
  • Kids & Pets: 3.3' to infinity (wide & telephoto)

Auto Rotate Function: The PowerShot A720 IS's Auto Rotate function uses an Intelligent Orientation Sensor to sense whether your images were shot horizontally or vertically. It then adjusts AF, AE, and white balance accordingly and your images will be automatically rotated to the right position for viewing during playback.

Power Saving Function: In Shooting Mode the power will automatically turn off approximately 3 minutes after the last function is accessed (1 minute for the LCD). In Playback Mode the power will automatically turn off approximately 5 minutes after the last function is accessed. While connected to a printer, the power will automatically turn off approximately 5 minutes after the last camera function is accessed.

Note: The Power Saving Function will not activate during Auto Play or while the camera is connected to a computer.

Shooting Modes: The PowerShot A720 IS offers an Automatic mode, plus several shooting modes arranged in two zones--Image Zone and Creative Zone:

  • Image Zone:

    • Portrait: Subject appears sharp and the background blurs

    • Landscape: Shoot spacious landscape scenes

    • Night Snapshot: Capture subject against the backdrop of an evening sky or night scene

    • Kids & Pets: Capture subjects that move around

    • Indoor: Prevents camera shake and maintains the subject's true color when shooting under fluorescent or tungsten lighting

    • Special Scene: Choose one of the following scene settings:

      • Night Scene: Shooting subjects against the backdrop of an evening sky or night scene without using a tripod to reduce camera shake

      • Foliage: Shooting beautiful images with flowers, leaves, or trees

      • Snow: Shooting scenes such as snowy mountains, while preventing dark subjects and bluish backgrounds

      • Beach: For scenes by the sea, prevents dark subjects and enhances the blue of the sea

      • Fireworks: Shooting fireworks

      • Aquarium: Optimizes ISO speed, white balance, and color balance to capture sea life in an indoor aquarium

      • Underwater: Shoot underwater using the optional WP-DC18 waterproof case (sold separately)

    • Stitch Assist: Shoot a series of overlapping frames for merging (stitching) into a large panoramic image using a computer

    • Movie: Shoot motion video

      • Standard: Max recording time 1 hour or 4 GB

      • Compact: Small file size for e-mail, max clip length 3 minutes

  • Creative Zone:

    • Program AE: The camera automatically sets the shutter speed and aperture value to match the brightness of the subject

    • Shutter Speed-Priority AE: You set the shutter speed and the camera automatically selects an aperture value to match the brightness of the subject

    • Aperture-Priority AE: You set the aperture and the camera automatically selects a shutter speed to match the brightness

    • Manual: You can manually set the shutter speed and aperture to achieve a particular effect

Flash Modes: You can choose from the following flash modes:

  • Auto: flash fires automatically as required by the light level
  • Flash On: flash fires with every shot

  • Flash Off: flash will not fire

Red-Eye Reduction: When activated in the menu, the red-eye reduction lamp on the front of the camera will automatically fire when the flash is used. This will help reduce the red-eye phenomenon common with many small cameras with built-in flash.

Flash Output Adjustment: You can adjust the flash output in three steps. If full flash washes out the subject, you can reduce the amount of flash output for better results.

Flash Compensation: The flash compensation ranges from -2 to +2 stops in 1/3 stop increments. You can link flash compensation to exposure compensation, or it can be adjusted independently.

My Colors: Using My Colors you can easily change the look of an image when it's taken. My Colors offers several options:

  • Vivid: Emphasizes contrast and color saturation to record bold colors
  • Neutral: Tones down contrast and color saturation to record neutral hues
  • Sepia: Brownish tint
  • B/W: Black and white
  • Custom Color: Adjust contrast, sharpness, and saturation before shooting

Continuous Shooting Mode: You can use this mode to shoot successive frames while the shutter button is fully depressed. The interval depends upon shooting conditions and settings. In the Large/Fine mode, the camera shoots 1.3 frames per second.

Metering Modes: You can select from the following metering modes:

  • Evaluative Metering: Used for standard conditions, The area within the frame is divided into several zones and light is measured based on subject position, brightness, direct light, and backlighting

  • Center-Weighted Averaging: Averages the exposure from the entire frame but places more weight on the subject at the center

  • Spot AF Point: Light measured in one spot, selectable between the center and the auto focus point

Exposure Compensation: If you are shooting against a bright background or strong backlight, you may need to correct the exposure so that the subject doesn't come out too dark. You can set the adjustments from -2 to +2 in 1/3-stop increments.

Histogram: You can display a histogram to show how bright your subject is, helping determine whether exposure compensation is necessary.

White Balance: You can choose from the following white balance settings:

  • Auto: Camera sets the white balance automatically according to shooting conditions

  • Daylight: Outdoors on a bright day

  • Cloudy: Overcast, shady, or twilight skies

  • Tungsten: Tungsten and bulb-type 3-wavelength fluorescent lighting

  • Fluorescent: Warm-white, cool-white or warm-white (3-wavelength) fluorescent lighting

  • Fluorescent H: Daylight fluorescent, or daylight fluorescent-type (3-wavelength) fluorescent lighting

  • Underwater: Renders natural color by reducing the bluish tone

  • Custom: Allows you to manually set the white balance and store the settings

ISO Speed: You can raise the ISO speed to reduce the effect of camera shake. The ISO setting options are Auto, Hi ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600.

Review: After an image is recorded, it will appear in the LCD monitor for a preset number of seconds for reviewing. You can select the review time from 2 to 10 seconds. It will also display as long as you hold the shutter button down.

Self-Timer: The self-timer starts when the shutter button is pressed. The delay time can be set to 10 seconds, 2 seconds, or custom. In the custom mode the timer options are 0-10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, and 30 seconds, and you can choose to take from 1 to 10 shots.

Postcard: You can take pictures optimal for printing postcards, a 3:2 aspect ratio is used in the Postcard mode to ensure the entire frame is printed. The default resolution is 1600 x 1200 and the compression setting is Fine. You can also imbed the date in the image if you like.

Sound Memos: In playback mode you can attach a sound memo to an image, up to 60 seconds. The sound data is saved in WAV format.

Auto Play: You can view all images on the memory card one-by-one with the Auto Play function. Each image is displayed in the LCD monitor for approximately 3 seconds.

Index Playback: This feature allows you to view nine images at once on the LCD monitor so that you can search for an image quickly.

Jump Search: This is a handy function that allows you to jump over images to find the object of your search when you have a lot of recorded images on your memory card. There are five Jump search settings.

  • Jump 10 images at a time
  • Jump 100 images at a time
  • Jump to the first image of each shooting date
  • Jump to a movie
  • Jump to the first image of each folder

Image Magnification: When viewing a still picture in Single Image Playback mode, you can magnify the image up to 10x.

Rotating Images: You can rotate an image 90° or 270° clockwise in the LCD monitor.

Protecting Images: The protect feature allows you to protect important images from accidental erasure.

Power Requirements: The PowerShot A720 IS comes with 2 "AA" alkaline batteries. You can also use Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries. For long periods of continuous use, or when connected to a computer, it is recommended that the camera be connected to the optional ACK800 AC Adapter kit. While "AA"-sized Nickel-Cadmium batteries may be used, Canon doesn't recommend them.

Print & Share Button: A new dedicated Print & Share button right on the camera makes direct printing on a Canon Card Photo or Direct Photo Printer easier than ever. You can also register often used functions to the Print & Share button, such as ISO Speed, White Balance, Custom White Balance, Digital Tele-converter, Display overlay, and Display off.

PictBridge Printing Capability: Using the supplied USB cable, you can connect this camera directly to a PictBridge compliant printer. PictBridge is a new standard that allows you to connect a PictBridge compliant camera directly to a PictBridge compliant printer and make prints, regardless of brand.

Direct Print Function: Using the supplied USB cable, you can connect this camera directly to a CP-series printer that supports the Direct Print function. You can also connect the camera directly to certain Canon Bubble Jet printers. In this way, you can make prints directly from the camera without ever having to hook it up to a computer.

Exif Print (Exif 2.2): The Canon PowerShot A720 IS conforms to "Exif Print", a worldwide standard. Vital camera settings (such as: exposure mode, white balance, exposure time) and scene data are recorded to the image file when it is captured. Printers compatible with "Exif Print" are able to use this information to produce high quality photographs, exactly the way they were intended at the time of capture. This intelligent communication process also allows the printer to correct for poor lighting or mistakes, resulting in photos that can be even better than the originals.

DPOF Print Settings: On your memory card, you can select which image or images you want to print and how many copies you want. This is convenient for printing images all at once, on optional Canon direct print function compliant printers or at participating photo labs.

DPOF Transfer Order: You can use the camera to specify settings for images before transferring them to a computer. The settings used on the camera comply with the Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) standards. A maximum of 998 images can be selected per memory card, and are transferred in order from oldest to newest by shooting date.

Optional Lens Compatibility: The camera supports use of the Wide Converter WC-DC58N and the Tele-converter TC-DC58N. Both are sold separately and require the Conversion Lens Adapter LA-DC58G.

Input and Output Notes

Digital Terminal: The PowerShot A720 IS has a USB 2.0 High Speed terminal to allow you to connect the camera to a compatible computer or compatible printer via the supplied USB cable.

AV Output: The camera's mini-jack output allows you to connect the camera to a TV or video monitor with RCA audio and composite video input jacks using the supplied audio/video cable. You can set the video output to NTSC or PAL.

DC IN: This 3.15 volt input can be used with an optional AC adapter kit, ACK800.

Supplied Software

Minimum System Requirements:

  Windows Macintosh
Operating System
(OS)
Windows Vista
Windows XP (Service Pack 2)
Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4)
Mac OS X (v10.3-v10.4)
Computer OS should be pre-installed with built-in USB port
CPU Vista: Pentium 1.3 GHz or higher
XP/2000: Pentium 500 MHz or higher
Power PC G3/G4/G5 or Intel Processor
RAM Vista: 512 MB or more
Windows XP/2000:
256 MB or more
256 MB or more
Interface USB USB
Free Hard Disk Space
  • Canon Utilities:
    • ZoomBrowser EX: 200 MB
    • PhotoStitch: 40 MB
  • Canon Camera TWAIN Driver: 25 MB
  • Canon Utilities:
    • ImageBrowser: 300 MB
    • PhotoStitch: 50 MB
Display 1,024 x 768 pixels/High Color (16 bit) or better 1,024 x 768 pixels/32,000 Colors or better

Specifications

Estimated Image Capacity of memory cards:

Resolution Compression Memory Card Size
16MB
(supplied)
128MB
(optional)
512MB
(optional)
Large
3264 x 2448
Super Fine 3 35 139
Fine 6 59 231
Normal 13 123 479
Medium 1
2592 x 1944
Super Fine 5 49 190
Fine 9 87 339
Normal 19 173 671
Medium 2
2048 x 1536
Super Fine 8 76 295
Fine 15 136 529
Normal 30 269 1041
Medium 3
1600 x 1200
Super Fine 13 121 471
Fine 24 217 839
Normal 47 411 1590
Small
640 x 480
Super Fine 52 460 1777
Fine 81 711 2747
Normal 128 1118 4317
Postcard
1600 x 1200
Fine 24 217 839
Widescreen
4000 x 2248
Super Fine 7 47 183
Fine 8 79 307
Normal 18 166 642
Movies 640 x 480
30 frames/sec
6 sec 1 min 4 sec 4 min 9 sec
640 x 480
30 frames/sec (LP)
14 sec 2 min 7 sec 8 min 14 sec
320 x 240
30 frames/sec
20 sec 3 min 1 sec 11 min 42 sec
160 x 120
15 frames/sec
1 min 40 sec 14 min 29 sec 55 min 57 sec

Approximate Battery Performance:

 

Number of Images

Playback Time

LCD Monitor On LCD Monitor Off

2 AA Alkaline Batteries (supplied)

140 images 500 images 9 hours

2 AA NiMH Batteries (optional)

400 images 900 images 11 hours
 
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Canon PowerShot A720 IS Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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4 out of 5

Canon PowerShot A720 IS

Written By Richard, Mechanicsville, Maryland on Monday, August 04, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Easy to use.Lots of features.Play back feature is really nice.Very nice little camera for the price.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great little camera!

Written By Chris, New York on Wednesday, May 14, 2008
 
I bought this camera because I was getting tired of not having a camera. This is a terrific little camera. Especially with 6x optical zoom, it takes excellent pictures, and I just really love having twice the zoom as most other cameras in its size/price range. It has a lot of nice features, and is extremely user friendly, you can't go wrong.
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Nice Camera!

Written By Robert, NJ on Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Bought this camera as a P&S to carry around when not wanting to bring the dSLR. Nice image quality and great value. For the money there are quite a number of useful features and a decent of amount of manual control. The only real cons are the flash recharge time which is somewhat slow and the potential battery life.
13 out of 13 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Canon PowerShot A720 IS

Written By Dan, Tuckerton, NJ on Friday, October 05, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The camera was easy to use and produced excellent pictures. The many shooting modes were extremely helpful towards getting the best shot from the camera. I'm still experimenting with the shutter and aperture settings but the camera doesn't let you make a mistake while experimenting. I'm very pleased with the performance and ease of use and would buy it again.
60 out of 66 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Canon PowerShot A720 IS

Written By Derek, Hulbert, OK on Monday, October 01, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great picture quality, nice features. Overall great camera.
131 out of 174 people found this helpful
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