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Canon PowerShot A2000IS Gordon Laing, November 2008

Canon PowerShot A2000 IS verdict

Canon’s PowerShot A2000 IS is a good value compact with a longer than average optical zoom range and very effective image stabilisation. It may be lacking the 28mm wide angle coverage of Panasonic’s models or Canon’s own IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS, but it’ll outgun most at the price in the telephoto stakes, zooming into an equivalent of 216mm. This is ideal if you find yourself frustrated with the maximum reach of other compacts.

Longer focal lengths always run the risk of greater camera shake, but in our tests the A2000 IS featured excellent stabilisation, providing up to four stops of compensation over traditional wisdom – we successfully shot several perfectly sharp images at just 1/10 when fully zoomed-in.

The image quality was also very good, delivering detailed, consumer-friendly photos under a variety of conditions. Indeed many may prefer its more sharpened output to the comparatively refrained approach of the pricier IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS – check our results pages for a direct side-by-side comparison.

Many will also prefer the convenience of using AA batteries, although once Canon’s bundled Alkalines wear out (which doesn’t take long), you’ll need to supply your own. Rechargeables are recommended, not just for the environment, but because the A2000 IS will get twice the battery life from typical NiMHs.

On the downside, the new wedge body shape of the A2000 IS doesn’t give you a great deal to grip, especially compared to the more traditional shape of its predecessor. Indeed it’s worth talking more about the earlier PowerShot 720 IS, as several key aspects are now missing on the new model. Most notably, the A2000 IS sadly dispenses with its predecessor’s full manual control and aperture and shutter priority options in favour of mostly automatic operation and a dumbed-down new Easy mode.

On a positive note, the A2000 IS does feature a bigger and more detailed 3in 230k screen (albeit one with a relatively low viewing angle), and the Easy mode is ideal for kids or handing your camera to fellow tourists for a photo on holiday. But it’s hard not to think back to the manual control and superior grip of just one generation ago.

That said, the A2000 IS isn’t targeted at people who want manual exposure control. It’s designed to be a solid, fool-proof compact which delivers good results with the minimum of fuss, and in those respects it performs well for the money. There are however several other decent models around the same price point or only a little more which are well worth considering. So before wrapping up, here’s how it compares.

Compared to Canon IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS

Canon’s IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS is the step-up model from the A2000 IS, and while the sensor remains the same, there’s a number of enhancements. The lens range may be 4x to the A2000 IS’s 6x, but it starts at a much more useful 28mm wide angle, allowing you to better squeeze in expansive landscapes, large buildings, cramped interiors or big group shots. It's also a little brighter at f2.8 when zoomed-out.

The screen may be the same 3in size and 230k resolution, but it looks considerably better: brighter, more vibrant and with a much broader viewing angle. The controls may remain mostly automatic, but a tactile thumb-wheel on the back allows you to quickly scroll through various options.

The IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS also employs the newer DIGIC 4 processor, and while its output is less punchy than the A2000 IS, there’s a number of benefits including improved face detection, a neat self-timer mode which waits for a new face to enter the frame, more efficient compression for movies and generally quicker operation. The IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS is also smaller, lighter, arguably better-looking, and powered by a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery.

The IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS is a very classy compact and worth spending the extra if you value wide angle coverage and a superior screen. Depending on the shop, the prices can be surprisingly close too. See our Canon IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS review for more details.

Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35
Panasonic may have replaced the FX35 with the new FX37, but the older version remains a 2008 model with compelling features and a great price tag. The headline feature of the FX35 is its 4x optical zoom which boasts extra-wide 25mm coverage – that’s a world apart from the 36mm of the A2000 IS and comfortably wider than the 28mm of the IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS. If you find yourself regularly unable to fit in everything you want into a shot, this is the model to go for. The lens is also a little brighter at f2.8 when zoomed-out.

Additionally while the A2000 IS films in standard definition and a squarish 4:3 aspect ratio, the FX35 boasts widescreen and even High Definition video recording. Like all still cameras, they’re not a patch on a dedicated camcorder, but the FX35’s 720p mode remains a step-up from standard definition modes.

It also offers quicker continuous shooting than the Canon with up to three frames at full resolution taken at 2.5fps, or a 2 Megapixel mode which shoots at 6fps. The camera’s body itself is smaller, lighter and powered by a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, and while the 2.5in screen is smaller, it looks brighter and has a wider viewing angle. Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode with scene recognition is also more sophisticated and there’s an optional live histogram too.

All in all, the Lumix FX35 is a highly compelling compact, especially now the newer FX37 has forced prices down with some vendors selling it at a similar price to the budget Canon. If you find a good price on the FX35, it’s well worth considering. See our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35 review for more details, or if you’d prefer to spend a little extra for a version with a longer 5x zoom and AF tracking, check out the latest prices on the new Lumix FX37 (USA) / Lumix FX37 (UK).

Canon PowerShot A2000 IS final verdict

As we said at the top of this page, Canon’s PowerShot A2000 IS is a good value compact with a surprisingly long zoom and effective stabilisation for the money. It’s easy to use, captures sharp, consumer-friendly images and powered by readily-available AA batteries, so you’ll rarely get caught short.

It’s a great choice if the price is right, but heavy discounting at some stores means the next steps up may only cost a small amount more. If you can find a good deal on a Canon IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS, or a Panasonic Lumix FX35 and can afford to pay the extra, you’ll end up with a classier and more capable camera.

But it’s worth remembering while these step-up models offer wider lenses, nicer screens, better build and extra features, the image quality between them and the PowerShot A2000 IS is roughly the same. All three have 10 Megapixel sensors and the A2000 IS arguably delivers the most consumer-friendly output of the three. So if you prefer the longer 6x zoom of the A2000 IS and the convenience of AA battery power, it’s recommended for the money – just compare the prices closely and try to forget the manual control of its predecessor.

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Good points
6x optical zoom range.
Very effective stabilisation
Runs on two AA batteries.
3in screen bigger than before.

Bad points
Lacking true wide angle lens coverage.
Screen has small viewing angle.
Slow flash recycling time.
Slow 1.3fps continuous shooting.


(relative to 2008 compacts)

Build quality:
Image quality:


15 / 20
17 / 20
15 / 20
15 / 20
18 / 20


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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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