She lay nestled inside a soft-foam pouch, all alluring tones of silver and steel-grey with dark gray highlights. The A710IS is a beauty! She's got the skin… and she's definitely got the curves. The A710IS sports a 7.1-MP CCD sensor, 6x optical zoom (35 ~ 210), Optical Image Stabilisation, and a 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder.
The A710IS is compact for the features. The ergonomic contours allow you to use it one-handedly. The battery flap is built well, and houses the memory card slot (SD/MMC supported). The tripod mount is plastic and flimsy, and the viewfinder is non-lit-mostly useless after dark.
I replaced the default screen protector with a transparent one. The difference it makes to the LCD is enormous- everything looks so clear. Took a few shots of my office building and surroundings at the Auto setting. Shot quality was very good even with no tweaks-good detailing, and very good colour rendition.
Based on Canon's now proven DIGIC II processor, the A710IS has a 9-point AI Auto Focus. Aperture range is F2.8 ~ F8. ISO settings are 80, 100, 200, 400 and 800. Although ISO 800 is noticeably grainy, there's no dearth of detailing. ISO 400 is surprisingly usable, and some night-life shooting proved that this camera is very usable in low-lighting conditions. Image Stabilisation is good, even at maximum zoom. The IS makes its presence felt at higher ISO settings. Canon's claimed 1 cm macro produced good results-great detailing on both my test shots.
The large optical zoom on the A710IS (6x) is great. An S3IS it's not, though. 20 shooting modes, but I stuck to programmed mode-halfway between manual and auto modes.
There are seven white balance settings including a new "underwater" mode. Shutter speed is adjustable from 15 to 1/2000 seconds. Exposure compensation is decent enough for a point-and-shoot camera at /-2EV in 1/3 stop increments. There are a lot of image parameters to play around with, and you can also lighten or darken the skin tone besides individually tweaking reds, greens, and blues.
The AF light is a little intrusive. Upon being the test subject I must say it's very bright, and very red. The flash tones down really nicely for shots where it isn't needed much.
There's a custom white balance setting, where you can point the camera at a white object and set the white balance. This setting is remembered even if the camera is turned off. For outdoors, stick with auto white balance settings; indoors means switching to manual.
Shot a few videos. It's capable of 640x480 videos at 30 fps-very good. You can also do 320x240 clips at 60 fps. Overall, smooth videos free from most compression artefacts. You can use the optical zoom on the camera while shooting, and the IS kicks in to give you jerk-free movies.
Time for the A710IS to be returned-felt so lost without it, I just had to go out and buy my own piece! It's Rs 14,500 (street price). For those looking for a point-and-click with a good dose of manual settings and a lot of goodies like image stabilisation: get the A710IS!