Next to the premium styling of the Ixus 750, the boxy PowerShot A620 seems like the ugly sister. However, there are those who prefer a bit more flesh for their pound, and for £100 less you get the same 7-megapixel resolution for prints up to A3, a better optical zoom range at 4x and close-ups down to a class-leading 1cm. The 750 may provide the glamour, but the A620 brings the graft.
There are inevitably some compromises. Instead of a neatly compact lithium-ion rechargeable battery, power comes courtesy of four bog-standard AAs, which accounts for the A620’s extra bulk. That said, the batteries are incorporated into a nicely ergonomic handgrip that makes for steadier shooting. Borrowing from Canon’s higher end G-series, the budget A620 also features a flip-out-and-twist LCD screen for those tricky angle shots, though ironically the screen is smaller than on the more diminutive 750. Construction is inevitably more plastic, though there are metal details and the camera feels reassuringly sturdy overall.
With the same DIGIC II image processor at its heart as models further up the range, the A620 powers up in an instant, photos neatly appearing the correct way up on the LCD no matter which way you twist it. Again you get a teeny optical alternative. Unless you’re shooting in low light and the flash needs a second to power up, there’s practically no shutter delay and, even in single shot mode, images can be captured in quick succession. Continuous shooting is a respectable 1.9 frames per second.
Crammed alongside fully auto on the mode wheel – rather than buried within a screen menu – are a range of 20 shooting modes, including scene and manual modes that will hold enthusiast appeal. Chief among them are a Custom mode for saving your favoured settings, and creatively selectable shutter speeds from 1/2500th of a second to 15 seconds. As with the 750 you also get the gimmicky ‘My Colours’ option, TV-quality video clips up to 30fps in speed, and the Fast Frame Rate option for nifty slow motion replays. The camera additionally offers direct printing with Canon’s range of portable dye sub printers. All bases are covered then.
Resultant images have pleasingly natural colours and plenty of detail, with the A620’s lens range extending beyond that offered by the IXUS 750. Camera shake also seems less of a problem. Although, again, it’s not the cheapest ‘budget’ model and is slightly bulkier than a shirt pocket could cope with, the A620’s comprehensive feature set, swift operation and overall impressive results make it a sound, reliable choice for those looking for a compact they won’t soon outgrow.