Canon PowerShot A2000 IS

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      An affordable compact digicam with above-average performance and an Easy shooting mode for novice users.The A2000IS slots into the middle of Canon’s PowerShot range where it replaces the PowerShot A720 IS, which has been on the market for about a year. The new model has the same lens but provides higher resolution (10 megapixels, compared to 8) and a larger LCD monitor with higher resolution. It also sports a slimmer, more streamlined body that is 15 grams lighter but retains the DIGIC III image processor of the previous model. . . [more]

      Full review


      The A2000 IS slots into the middle of Canon’s PowerShot range where it replaces the PowerShot A720 IS, which has been on the market for about a year. The new model’s lens covers the same focal length range but is slower than the A720’s but the A2000 IS provides higher resolution (10 megapixels, compared to 8) and a larger LCD monitor with higher resolution. It also sports a slimmer, more streamlined body that is 15 grams lighter but retains the DIGIC III image processor of the previous model.
      The finger rest on the right hand side of the front panel has been pared off, the optical viewfinder is gone and the flash is significantly slimmer in the new model. These changes account for most of the size reductions seen in the A2000 IS. Some re-purposing has been applied to the button controls on the rear panel, with the camera/review slider replaced by a dedicated play button.


      Front view of the PowerShot A200IS showing the slimmer, sleeker body design.


      Rear view showing the larger 3.0-inch LCD and re-styled button controls.

      The arrow pad now provides the same direct access to ISO, flash, drive/self-timer and focus settings as you get on the Ixus models. A new Face select button replaces the exposure compensation button and the single-image erase control is shifted to the lower edge of the arrow pad, which lacks the rotating bezel found on the SX, G-series and Ixus models.
      A check of the mode dial on the top panel reveals some significant omissions, notably the absence of Av, Tv and M shooting modes. Settings are provided for Program AE and full auto operation and there’s a new Easy mode, marked with a red heart inside a camera outline, which is even more pared-down than the auto mode. The only control you can access in Easy mode is flash settings; unlike the auto mode, you can’t even change image size and quality settings.
      The optical viewfinder has been dropped to make way for the larger LCD screen, which covers three quarters of the rear panel. Its 230,000-dot resolution is visibly better than the 115,000 pixels on the A720 IS. However, power management appears to be improved as the A2000 IS claims to provide approximately 240 shots for the supplied AA alkaline batteries, while the A720 IS claims only 140 shots.
      A welcome change is the tripod mount, which is now lined with metal and located close to the centre of the camera body. The plastic body of the A2000IS looks smarter and feels better than its predecessor. But it’s still a digicam that is built to a price.
      The A2000IS focuses slightly closer than its predecessor (50 cm vs 55 cm) in normal AF mode but retains the 1 cm close-up limit. The fastest shutter is also slower in the new model, which tops out at 1/1600 second, where its predecessor went to 1/2000 second. However, both cameras allow exposures up to 15 seconds long to be made when the long exposure mode is set.
      This requires the camera to be in P mode and the user must press the Func/Set button and select the exposure compensation mode. Pressing the Display button switches the Long Exposure mode on. Shutter speeds are set by toggling with the horizontal arrows on the arrow pad.
      Two new modes have been added to the Special Scene menu: Sunset and ISO 3200. The Sunset mode increases the saturation of red and orange hues to emphasise the colours of this time of day. The ISO 3200 setting de-activates the flash and sets the image size to M3 (1600 x 1200 pixels). In most of the other Scene modes you can adjust image size and quality and most let you change ISO, flash, focus, drive mode and exposure compensation settings. But you can’t adjust white balance, change the metering pattern or use the My Colours settings in the Scene modes.

      Sensor and Image Processing
      The image sensor in the PowerShot A2000 IS appears to be the same chip as used in several new models, including the PowerShot A1000 IS ‘sister’ model, PowerShot SX110 IS, Ixus 970 IS, Ixus 90 IS, and Ixus 85 IS and the new PowerShot E1 IS and Ixus 870 IS models. Measuring 6.16 x 4.62 mm and with 10.3 million photosites it has a pixel pitch of roughly 1.7 microns.
      Image files can only be recorded as JPEGs and the camera supports five resolution settings with a 4:3 aspect ratio plus a Widescreen setting that records images at 3648 x 2048 pixel resolution. There’s also a Date Stamp mode that captures 1600 x 1200 pixel images with Fine compression and embeds a date stamp in the image that appears on snapshot-sized prints. Three compression levels are provided: Superfine, Fine and Normal. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.








      3648 x 2736





      2816 x 2112





      2272 x 1704





      1600 x 1200





      640 x 480




      Date Stamp

      1600 x 1200





      3648 x 2048




      Three resolution settings are provided for movie clip recording: VGA, QVGA and QQVGA. VGA clips can be recorded in either SP or LP mode, the latter having lower quality but offering roughly twice the recording time. Two frame rates are supported (30 frames/second for VGA and QVGA and 15 fps for QQVGA. Typical recording times for a 1GB memory card are shown in the table below.

      Movie mode

      Recorded pixels

      Frame rate

      Recording time with 1 GB card

      Standard (SP)

      640 x 480

      30 fps

      8 minutes 23 seconds

      Standard (LP)

      640 x 480

      30 fps

      16 minutes 31 seconds


      320 x 240

      30 fps

      23 minutes 16 seconds


      160 x 120

      15 fps

      1 hr. 54 minutes 17 seconds

      Maximum length of video clips is one hour, except in the Compact mode, where a three-minute limit applies. Recording will stop when the file size reaches 4GB. Use of SDHC cards with speed class of 4 or higher is recommended.

      Pressing the Playback button on the rear panel displays the last image taken. You can zoom in up to 10 times and use the arrow pad to move the magnified area on display to check focus and exposure levels. Pressing the Display button engages a Focus Check function lets you magnify faces in group shots taken with Face Detection to ensure their eyes are open and their expressions are as desired.
      Slideshow playback is also supported and you can choose between two transition effects (fade and slide) by pressing the Menu button and selecting Slideshow. Menu access is blocked when the mode dial is set to the Easy mode.
      You can view images in sets of nine thumbnails and use the zoom lever to search though shots nine at a time. Alternatively, by pressing the upper section of the arrow pad you can move into Jump mode, which lets you choose from six Jump options by pressing the horizontal parts of the arrow pad. Options include jumping by 10 or 100 images, jumping by date, to a Category or Folder or to a Movie.
      Images can be deleted individually or all images on the card can be erased. The playback menu also contains settings for protecting, rotating and resizing selected images and you can tag shots for automatic printing or transferring with DPOF tags. There are also facilities for in-camera red-eye correction and you can attach minute-long sound memos to still shots. The camera comes with an AV cable for displaying images and video clips on a TV set. However, HDTV playback is not supported.

      Test shots taken in bright sunlight with the review camera contained a fair amount of detail, although the autofocusing system wasn’t entirely accurate on all occasions. Particularly with close-ups, shots were often captured without the subject being sharp and the image stabilisation system didn’t provide complete immunity to camera shake in indoor lighting.
      Overall, however, Photo Review’s test shots showed natural-looking colours with relatively modest saturation for a compact digicam. However, in contrasty lighting we found highlights tended to become blown-out while shadows were blocked up. Fortunately, shadow noise was relatively low.


      An example of the test camera’s limited dynamic range. Note the blown-out highlights on the side wall and the blocked shadows under the verandah.

      Imatest showed resolution was close to expectations and revealed little in the way of edge or corner softening, except at shorter focal length settings. The graph below plots the results of our tests at different focal lengths. Our Imatest findings were borne out in subjective assessments of test shots.


      A steady decline in resolution was demonstrated in our Imatest results as ISO sensitivity was increased. Edge resolution also declined more sharply than centre resolution at higher ISO settings. The graph below shows the results of our tests.


      Lateral chromatic aberration was consistently low and we found only traces of coloured fringing in shots taken in bright outdoor lighting. Digital zoom shots showed some edge artefacts along blown-out highlights but were otherwise better than average for a small-sensor digicam.
      The auto white balance setting had the standard difficulties with incandescent lighting where it failed to remove the prevailing orange cast. However it fared better with fluorescent lighting where a close-to-natural colour balance was achieved. The manual pre-sets also delivered close-to-natural colours with both lighting types, as did the custom measurement system.
      Flash coverage was average for a digicam. The test camera required an ISO setting of 200 before the flash could illuminate an average-sized room. However, exposures were evenly balanced from ISO 200 to ISO 1600 and, although image noise was evident at the highest ISO settings (colour noise in particular) we found no sign of blotchiness in test shots.
      Long exposures after dark were generally well handled, although noise was very visible at high ISO settings. However, 15-second shots at ISO 200 were noise-free and colours were accurately reproduced. No stuck pixels were found, even at ISO 1600.
      The test camera took approximately one second to power-up and shut down. We measured an average capture lag of 0.45 seconds, which reduced to just under one second with pre-focusing. It took an average of 3.4 seconds to process each shot. Shot-to-shot times with flash averaged eight seconds.
      In the continuous shooting mode, the camera recorded a burst of 10 shots in 12.9 seconds. The first three shots were captured at intervals of 0.7 seconds but after that the capture rate slowed until the interval between shots 9 and 10 was 1.7 seconds. It took 4.6 seconds to process this burst of 10 shots.
      Video quality was good for the resolution range supported – as long as the lens remained at the wide setting. However, the sensor’s restricted dynamic range was also clearly evident in video clips, where highlights were frequently blown-out. Because the optical zoom is disabled for video capture, the only zoom you can use is digital – and that produces an obvious degradation of picture quality.







      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.




      Digital zoom.


      Night shot at ISO 200; 15 seconds at f/3.5.


      Night shot at ISO 1600; 5 seconds at f/3.5.




      Image sensor: 6.16 x 4.62 mm CCD with 10.3 million photosites (10.0 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 6.4-38.4mm f/3.2-5.9 zoom (36-216mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 6x optical, up to 4x digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies ““ AVI (Motion JPEG/WAV)
      Image Sizes: Stills – 3648 x 2736, 2816 x 2112, 2272 x 1704, 1600 x 1200 (Date Stamp), 640 x 480, 3456 x 1944 (Widescreen); Movies ““ VGA (SP/LP), QVGA at 30 fps, QQVGA at 15 fps
      Shutter speed range: 15-1/1600 second
      Image Stabilisation: Lens-shift type
      Exposure Compensation: ±2 stops in 1/3-stop increments (Safety Shift is available)
      Focus system/range: TTL autofocus with Face Detect; Manual focus is available; range 50 cm to infinity; macro 1-50 cm
      Exposure metering/control: Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot metering; Shooting modes – Auto, Easy, P, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, Indoor, Scene(Night Scene, Sunset, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium and ISO 3200)and Movie
      ISO range: Auto, High ISO Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
      White balance: Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H or Custom
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, on, off; Red-Eye Correction, Red-Eye Reduction, flash output settings (3 steps), FE Lock, Slow Synchro and Safety FE are available; range 0.3-3.5 m
      Sequence shooting: Approx. 1.3 shots/sec. (max.)
      Storage Media: SD/SDHC/MMC
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch TFT colour LCD (wide viewing angle type), approx. 230,000 dots (Picture coverage 100%)
      Power supply: 2 AA-size alkaline, lithium or NiMH batteries (240 shots per set of alkaline batteries; up to 500 shots with optional NiMH batteries)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 101.9 x 63.5 x 31.9 mm
      Weight: Approx. 185 grams (without battery and card)





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      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Ease of use: 8.5
      • Image quality: 8.5
      • OVERALL: 8.5