"Nice introductory camera"3.5 starson by Philcokid
Pros: beautiful pictures, simple to use, lots of features
Cons: Slow flash recycling, no info in the viewfinder and no image stabilization
Summary: I had a Kodak DX4900 with 4mp and a 3x lens. It was my first digital camera but it was four years old I wanted a longer lens and more pixels. I did some research (C-Net was a big, big help) and settled on the Canon PowerShot A700. I've had mine for three weeks and the first week it got a real workout at a social function.
The A700 has a nice, solid feel abut it but doesn't feel heavy. It's compact but not slim and while it may not fit in your shirt pocket, you can, if need be, put it in your pants or jacket pocket. One hand operation was relatively easy. The zoom was not as smooth as some other camersa I tested but that was not a deterrent.
I was aware of the slow flash recycling time from the reviews I had read but in the real world, it really became a drag not being able to capture certain moments in rapid succession as I would have liked. However, the pictures I was able to capture were sharp, well saturated and chrystal clear.
The 6x lens was a real step up from the 3x and the pictures weren't plagued with a lot of 'noise'. Overall, picture quality was excellent but there are three down sides of the camera: slow flash recycle, no viewfinder information and no image stabilization.
A camera with a zoom lens beyond 3x needs image stabilization. Trying to take pictures at the long end of the lens constantly set off the camera shake alarm/ icon. Interestingly enough, some of the shots taken at the 6x max with strong light were remarkably sharp but far too many were just on the edge of being sharp and many were just downright unusable. I wrote to Canon about this oversight and their response was to direct me to their higher end cameras. I think any camera in the $300 dollar range with a zoom lens over 3x should have IS.
I was also disappointed that there was no camera information in the viewfinder; the viewfinder is pretty small but clear although limited in its scope. Everything is displayed on the 2" LCD which is bright and clear but tends to wash out in bright light.
In spite of these draw backs, I really like the camera, especially its handling and the beautiful pictures it takes. It shoots in aperture and shutter priority, manual and host of other shooting modes.
If you're planning to move over to digital photography but not quite ready for a D-SLR, this camera, in my opinion, is a good introduction and if you can live with the 'flaws' I've outlined, give the A700 some serious consideration.