175 of 177 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2006
I own a Canon 20d DSLR that is used mainly indoors w/ a fast 28/1.8 prime lens.
I use the A640 as my "carry averywhere" camera. It lives in a small backpack w/ all my other daily items like wallet, keys, etc.
IQ is nothing short of stunning. Out of camera images are better than the 20d. Really! With fairly good light this camera will not disappoint. I use the manual focus feature often, too. ISO 80 - 400 give perfectly acceptable prints. ISO 800 gets a tad noisy, but if it's exposed properly it's usable, especially when converted to B&W.
10mp allows for plenty of cropping!!
I've made some really super large prints with A640 files and my Epson 2400 printer.
A640 is an incredible value. If your an artistic-type, street shooter or world traveler you will love the myriad features: macro, manual focus, flip screen, etc.
Build is really just great considering price point. A640 black trmped A630 silver for me.
Finally, I just tested new Canon G7 today. Don't waste your money on that when you can get the A640 (same camera in many ways, better in some ways).
222 of 235 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2006
First, something that shouldn't matter: it's a darn attractive camera. Yes, it's plastic, but it really does set itself apart from the 8mp A630 in beauty. Like that camera, it is too big to be a shirt-pocket camera, and while better than most compact cameras, the 4x zoom can be beat in length.
Using the camera, it has a good weight and feel for average sized hands. The use of AA batteries helps keep the cost down, and has it's own advantages, although some may prefer the longer life charges of Lithium-Ion batteries (I do). General, controls are well thought out and easy to use. The zoom is nice and smooth.
For those that prefer an optical viewfinder, Canon is probably the strongest supporter, and this is a better than average viewfinder, although it does not have a diopter adjustment. But you'll probably never use it with the tremendous 2.5" rotary screen. Yes, there are 3" screens on the market, but this dwarfs anything on a hinge! It is a great aid in composing photos at low, high, or other odd angles (photos you simply didn't take before).
Another feature that gets high praise is the flex-focus system. Today's AF cameras do a decent job, but occassionally, they just don't hit on the right focus point. With the flex system, you can determine which point to use. This is simply great for crowded rooms or nature photos where the subject may not be the closest item within the focusing areas.
Control for this price point is very good indeed. Multiple "scene" modes make it easy for the novice (ok, or sometimes lazy pro), while the semi-auto and manual modes give even experienced users all they need.
Like the A630, this camera could have easily been priced $50 to $100 more. The only real competition is the A630, $100 less, 8 meg, and a bit less attractive, more plastic looking silver.
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2006
I have been a Canon camera fan for years, my first SLR was a Canon, and so I was excited about 10 MP in a consumer-grade camera from Canon. After one week of average usage, here are the highs and lows. BTW, my frame of reference is my Canon G5.
*- Incredible battery life. The camera comes with four alkaline (no name) batteries. I have taken more than 220 pictures and 30 minutes of video using the original batteries.
*- 10 MP captures everything! At first, the pictures looked "off" somehow. Then I realized the level of detail in the pictures is just amazing.
*- The screen is excellent. It is bright, and big, tilts to every angle, and frames the entire picture, and, and, and.... Very impressive.
*- Video capture 640 x 480 @ 30 fps is phenomenal. The video clips are as good as any basic camcorder.
*- The camera is light yet feels well built. The lens moves smoothly, the dial clicks into each position, etc. The compartment doors do concern me (see below).
*- USB 2.x picture transfer is very fast @ about 2.5 min for 1 Gig of data.
*- The camera supports 4GB SD cards, maybe larger.
*- A610 and A 620 accessories work with the A640. I purchased a lens adapter and a few 52mm filters to refine my pictures. The lens adapter is not the plastic one from Canon it is a metal generic from Sakar. Everything works well and fits correctly.
** This unit only, I hope, records a high pitch squeal in video mode. My replacement camera is on the way. The sound does not affect the quality of the images in the video clips.
[Updated for replacement camera- There is a less noticeable noise in the background audio of movie clips taken with the new camera. The sound does not drown out the movie clip audio like it did with the first camera, but it is still there. I now suspect this has something to do with the camera's "mono" microphone.]
** The camera stops recording video at 1 Gig. In 640 x 480 @ 30 fps mode, this is just over 9 minutes. So, there is a video limit though I could not find this data before I purchased the camera. I did read about a "One hour" limit somewhere but that would have to be in 320 x 240 @ 15 fps or "Compact" video mode to stay below the 1 gig limit. Also worth noting, 640 x 480 @ 15 fps video mode looks great and can record almost 20 minutes before reaching the 1 Gig limit.
** When the camera stops video recording at 1 gig, you cannot transfer the file from the camera via the USB connection. Removing the SD card and putting it in a SD reader is the only way to get the video onto your PC. For the technically frumpy, my PC is running Win XP 2 (SP 2) so this is not a file size issue for the PC.
** The battery and USB compartment doors feel like they might break at some point. Opening the battery door requires a dual action slide lock then slide door that is not intuitive.
** The picture control functions and the camera operating menus require reading, or lots of experimentation. I had a good frame of reference since my last camera was a Canon, but I remember the learning curve and it applies to the A640 too.
I am quite happy with this camera. For around 300 dollars, it would be hard to find a more versatile unit. Moreover, it has a Canon lens. Not to be obvious, but good pictures require good lenses, no matter the megapixels or other marketing goop. There are other good lenses, but when you buy a Canon, you do not have to ask who made the lens.
76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2006
I purchased this camera the week it came out. 10Megapixels is overkill today but as with all technology overkill today is outdated tomorrow. I took this camera to a hot-air balloon festival on a sunny day. All but one photograph came out extremely sharp and clear. The only photo that came out with an issue had the sun directly in it and was overexposed (my fault). To me in that one day the camera paid for itself.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Coming from the Canon A80 from a few years ago... The A80 was a similar shape, size, and feature set but with only 4.0 megapixals, 3x lens, and a much smaller swivel viewing screen. Good Canon software has gotten better.
What's better with the A640:
It has similar features and body but a bigger screen and it is lighter.
The screen is much bigger.
The screen brightens nicely in dim and dark conditions.
The flash works better and the flash assist lamp works MUCH better. (A relief from the worthless A80 lamp).
It is a bit faster with less shutter lag.
It has more manual settings, many of which can be very useful.
It has a 4x lens (A80 had 3x)
The screen is very grainy compared to the A80's sharp screen. So grainy that you have to trust the pictures are sharp and rich (which they usually are) because they look very grainy and muted on the screen.
Would like even less shutter lag.
Some of the huge number of settings are not intuitive or easy to find and use (though many are).
They wasted a button (valuable real estate) as a dedicated "print to printer" button.
Love the camera, am getting used to the grainy but bright screen, will use if for a few years and look forward to what Canon has done by then.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2007
This camera have all you need if you are, or wish to be, a creative photographer but do not want to carry with your DSLR or don't have the money to first experiment into the photography world.
I assure you that into its category this camera have no contender. By now I have almost a month with it at it works flawessly, great picture quality and ease to use.
Here are my pros & contras:
- A lot of manual controls. You can even control the flash for less or more power and when to fire it, 1st or 2nd curtain.
- AA battery powered. I'll never buy a camera that doesn't use this kind of batteries (unless it is a DSLR). I can get AA anywhere if my rechargeables go dead or if I forget them in the charger, as it happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Be powered by 4 AA lets you shoot a lot more than other cameras even with regular alkalines.
- Excellent macro, 1cm (I think even less) excellent focus, clear images, great details.
- The vari-angle screen its a great thing. You can get easy ground level shoots or over the head, or shoot yourself for the perfect self-portrait. And i love to close the screen when not in use.
- Fast and accurate auto-focus.
- Excellent white balance features.
- The red eyes reduction works really great.
- Remote control with your computer. You can control all the features with your computer with your camera in a tripod. Cool for a photo session.
- Great body, it feels great in your hand. Heavy enough to keep it in control. Doesn't feel cheap at all.
- The plastic tripod socket, i hate it. Are you kidding me Canon? Respect yourself! I feel this thing its going to brake or wear. Bad thing.
- Memory and battery in the same compartment. Not practical at all. And you have to unmount from the tripod if you want to put a new memory card.
- No cable or wireless control for remote shooting. I know that the cameras in this range doesn't have that option but I wish someday they have it 'cause it's an important accessory. You can deal with your self-timer if you need something similar.
I DON'T CARE FOR:
- IS (Image Stabilization). This camera doesn't have IS, maybe in the future it will but I really don't care about it.
- No Wi-Fi connection. But I think a Bluetooth option could be an excellent thing for this camera.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2006
This is my first ever digital camera, but I did my research and I think I knew pretty much what I was getting into. The only reason I didn't give this camera 5 stars is it's less-than-stellar performance in low-light situations, and when the ISO was set 800. I knew about these problems before hand though so I can't complain too much. I love the pivoting lcd screen, it lets me shoot from all different angles, and also do self-portraits. If I could've found this exact camera with image-stablization, I would've paid extra, but in the end I had to make a trade-off, megapixels, and pivoting screen were more important to me.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2006
I bought a Cannon PowerShot A640 last week and already have taken over 100 pictures with it. It is easy to use, the Auto mode does everything. The picture quality is outstanding and the detail in Zoom mode is impresive. This camera has far exceeded my expectations as to the quality and ease of use. I like the fact that it uses AA batteries which are readily available. My first digital camera was Sony and after 2 years I discovered that the battery was propriatary and no longer available. It also has a natural feel in your hand, Not too big and not too small.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
Amazing little camera. For the price, it's packed full of stuff! Unbelievable. 10mp is huge. The images come out sharp and clear. Love looking at hair shafts, pimples, pores, eye lashes. Make sure your subjects clean their nose and teeth because this camera will reveal EVERYTHING. Lots of room to crop. Very fast focusing.
It takes tons of pictures on a set of nickel metal hydride batteries. 300-400 shots. That's amazing. That's more than any other camera on the market. The camera has a real solid grip system. Dropping your camera is a horrible thing to do. With this camera's grip, you would be able to access every feature with just one hand. And that swivel screen... amazing! You can stand in a crowd, raise the camera above everybody, focus, using the swivel screen, and take your shot. You wouldn't be able to do that without the swivel screen. You can take perfectly framed pictures of yourself. You can jump in and actually tell if you are in the picture frame when you set the camera up for auto shutter release.
As with all point and shoot cameras, I would recommend getting a external flash for anything beyond 12' in low light. The Phoenix D91-BZS 4-Stop Digital Slave is very good, powerful and inexpensive, but big. Canon makes the Canon HF-DC1 High Power Flash for about $100. It's tiny and can easily fit in your pocket.
Wish they had a provision for installing a lens filter. Almost no manufacturer makes this feature. All cameras should have a lens filter to protect the camera's lens. Avoid cleaning the camera's lens to prevent lens scratches. Guess they rather have you replace the camera rather than a cheap filter.
Point and shoot digital cameras have come a long way and this camera leads the way! Canon Rocks!!!
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2006
I had the canon A620 and I loved it, I wanted more...I got it!!! I bought the A640, its the best camera I've ever tried for a very low price.
The only thing you can expect.....Great Quality Pictures!!!