The feature that jumps out at you the most when you look at the camera's front is the large black plastic section on the left, as if the camera was partially dipped in a paint bucket. Apart from that, we have the usual suspects on the camera's front: the 6x zoom lens, with auto focus assist lamp to its upper left, and flash to upper right. The three small dots by the lens are for the microphone.
The left side is covered by slightly rougher-textured plastic
The cluster of buttons on the right side of the camera include the vast majority of the controls. You have four buttons which serve double duty as a directional pad for navigating menus, and the FUNC/SET BUTTON in the middle. There are two buttons below this cluster, and two above. The left above button turns on facial detection mode, and the right button can be set to a number of functions (exposure compensation, white balance, manual white balance, red eye reduction, digital tele-converter, guide lines or display off). The buttons are all quite small, and placed closely together, leaving this reviewer feeling slightly ham-fisted while trying to change settings. At the top right is the playback control, situated right next to a small ridge that works as a thumb support. Oddly, the speaker is placed in a location where your thumb is bound to cover it, so you may have sound trouble playing back videos one-handed.
The controls are on the small side
Left Side* (7.00) *The skinny side of the A2000 doesn't have much exciting going for it.
Nothing here to look at
The big end of the A2000's wedge shape houses a loop for attaching the wrist strap about halfway up, which tunnels into the body of the camera slightly. It's an arrangement that stops any unnecessary protrusions, but also makes threading the strap rather difficult. The other feature of this side is the DC in and USB port tucked under a flimsy cover near the top.
*The cover near the top guards the USB and DC in ports
The top view gives you a really good idea of how dramatic the triangular shape of the A2000 is. It provides a bigger grip on the right side, but does cause the camera to look like a doorstop. The button right in the center of the top is for powerin the camera on or off, then the mode dial, and finally the zoom ring and shutter button.
The A2000's wedge shape is certainly distinctive
On the bottom you can see the slightly left-of-center tripod mount, and the latched door to get at the batteries and SD/SDHC card on the far left.
The batteries are housed in the enlarged grip
In our extensive lab tests, the A2000 presented a decidedly mixed bag of results. It did very well for color accuracy, low light and video, but really struggled with noise levels, white balance and resolution.
To test for a camera's color accuracy, we shoot the industry standard GretagMacbeth chart under strictly controlled lighting conditions. This chart is designed to have precisely reproduced color values for each swatch, which allows us to measure any deviation from these known values using Imatest image analysis software. You can see the result in the image below, where the outer ring of each color represents the captured color, the inner rectangle is the chart color corrected for luminance, and the inset is the original chart color.
*The GretagMacbeth chart analysis produced by Imatest
The test results can also be expressed in the graph below, where the ideal color is shown in the square, the captured valu in the circle ,and the length and direction of the line between the two indicating the difference. As you can see the A2000 did very well in skin tones and light greens and blues, but had a bit more trouble with cyan (point 18), yellow (point 16) and magenta (point 17).
*The A2000 did very well in capturing color
Canon cameras are known for having excellent color accuracy, and the A2000 is no exception. It showed itself able to capture color values very close to reality under good lighting conditions. In the following chart you can see the A2000 compared to a number of other point-and-shoots, and it scores well above the non-Canon models. The cameras we've chosen for comparison are all entry level, inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras, with the exception of the PowerShot SX110 IS which has a larger zoom and more manual controls for a slightly higher price.
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS Color Scores
Rather than just counting the megapixels, we look at the actual resolution delivered in captured test images. We photograph an industry standard resolution chart under bright 1700 lux studio lighting, then run the resulting images through Imatest, which gives us the number of line widths per pixel height (lw/ph), a measure of image sharpness.
A close-up of the **industry-standard resolution chart we use for testing as captured by the A2000
At its best performance, the A2000 grabbed 1771 lw/ph horizontally with a tiny amount of over-sharpening, and 1751 lw/ph vertically, with noticeable under-sharpening. As you can see in the comparison chart, this is an unimpressive result, below what we see in most other point-and-shoot cameras.
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS Resolution Scores
**Dynamic Range** (5.33)
Dynamic range is a measure of a camera's ability to capture a wide gamut from very bright to very dark in a single image. For instance, if you were photographing someone in a tuxedo, you'd want the blacks of the coat to remain dark, while the white shirt looks sparkling white. A camera with a poor dynamic range will make one or both of those areas look gray, which isn't what you want at all. To test a camera's dynamic range, we shoot the backlit Stouffer chart, which has a series of tabs running from black to white. We photograph it at every full-resolution ISO, and feed the resulting images through Imatest.
In the chart above, you can see the characteristic drop-off in dynamic range as ISO increases. While it starts out quite high, it rapidly bottoms out, which gives the A2000 an average score for this test.
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS Dynamic Range Scores
A camera needs to be able to adapt to the different colors of light cast by different sources. Our brains naturally compensate for the yellower light provided by a tungsten bulb over a fluorescent, but a camera needs to be programmed to do so. This can be accomplished through an automatic system, or the photographer can choose from a number of provided presets that mach various light sources. We test both these methods by shooting under different lighting sources, then using Imatest to see how well the camera compensates. You can see the results below, but keep in mind that these images are highly exaggerated, and you won't see this level of difference in reality.
The A2000 did very well under flash illumination, and slightly better than average under fluorescent. However, the automatic white balance system did remarkably poorly working with daylight illumination and tungsten bulbs. Note that the charts shown below show exaggerated results to illustrate the color shifts produced: you wouldn't see this level of difference in your actual photos.
*Using the white balance presets, the A2000 fared better under daylight and tungsten, but worse under fluorescent. Even with the sources that did improve using manual presets, it's still a poor performance.
Overall, this is a sub-par result for the PowerShot. Normally, we'd expect to see the camera perform better under presets than it does on auto, but with the A2000 this was true only under two light sources, and then just barely.
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS White Balance Scores
**Image noise is the occurrence of visual static across areas of your image, which becomes much more noticeable at high ISOs and in areas of solid color. Cameras that have significant levels of noise can make it difficult to shoot an acceptable imgae in poor lighting conditions.
Noise – Manual ISO*(4.50)*
The first part of our noise test involves shooting the GretagMacbeth color chart at every full resolution ISO under bright studio lighting, then running the resulting images through Imatest to look at noise levels across these settings.
As you can see, the noise levels bumped significantly after ISO 400, skyrocketing to 4% at ISO 1600, indicating significant image degradation. This peformance compares poorly with other cameras we've tested.
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS Manual Noise Scores
The second noise test uses the camera's automatic ISO function, so we can see how well the system can judge a well-lit scenario and choose an appropriate ISO setting. Under the sunny glare of 1700 lux, the Canon A2000 shot ISO 200, which is respectable, however the overall high noise levels gave it a thoroughly mediocre score in this section as well.
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS Auto Noise Scores
**Low Light ***(6.93)
*We tread a two-fold path to test a camera's low light abilities, first with varying light levels, and secondly with long exposures. The former involves shooting the ever-popular GretagMacbeth chart at 60 lux, 30 lux, 15 lux and 5 lux, which roughly equates to the light level of standard indoor nighttime illumination down to the light of a single candle.
The A2000 handled 60 and 30 lux without breaking its stride, maintaining good color accuracy, and expected noise levels. However, at 15 and 5 lux it really struggled, massively under-saturating the image, and at the lower level producing an excessive 6.5% image noise.
The second facet of this test involves taking photographs of up to 30-second duration under low illumination. There is some manner of shutter speed control on the camera, but it's hidden inside the exposure compensation controls. Using this you can manually set up shutter speeds from 1-second to 15-seconds. Unfortunately, when you do so, you lose any sort of exposure compensation controls, and the camera doesn't give you any indication that you'll under- or over-expose the image. Regardless, we tested for color accuracy and noise levels at 1-second, 5-seconds, 10-seconds and 15-seconds, and when we managed to expose properly, we were pleasantly surprised by good color accuracy and noise levels between 1.5% and 2%.
Overall, the A2000 did well in low light. Its high noise levels and tendency to under-saturate conjoined were offset by a good result in the long exposure section to bump the score noticeably.
Canon PowerShot A2000 IS Low Light Scores
To give you an idea of how noise levels increase with rising ISO levels, here is a series of images taken at all full resolution ISOs under fluorescent lights, using the camera's auto exposure settings. You can click on any of them to see the full-size versions, but keep in mind that these are large images so they may take some time to load.
**Video Performance ***(7.06)*
A digital still camera is no replacement for a camcorder (at least not yet), but being able to capture rudimentary video with your point-and-shoot is still useful. As part of our regular testing regimen, we test video frame grabs for the same color accuracy, image noise and resolution qualities we look for in still photography.
*Bright Indoor Light - *3000 Lux
Under the sunny glow of 3000 lux illumination the A2000 performed admirably, capturing colors very well, with near perfect saturation. Once again, Canon shows its ability to make cameras that handle color well.**
***Low Light - *30 Lux
While inevitably worse than the 3000 lux setup, the A2000 still did pretty well under 30 lux illumination, especially with yellow-greens and light reds.*** *****Resolution ***(1.99)* As with still resolution, video resolution is measured as alternating line widths per pixel height (lw/ph). The PowerShot did quite poorly in this test, shooting only 602 lw/ph horizontally and 331 lw/ph vertically. **Motion ***(1.50)* We took the A2000 out onto the mean streets of Boston to film speeding cars to test how well it it recorded motion. The camera accounted for itself pretty well, keeping up with moving objects without fuss or visile scan lines. Overall, the Canon scored well for video, based mostly on its excellent color performance. Canon PowerShot A2000 IS Video Scores
**Unless you're photographing the movement of tectonic plates, you probably want your camera to exhibit some speedy characteristics. We test our cameras through a variety of velocity-based obstacles, using a high-speed memory card to minimize the chance of data storage bottlenecks.
Startup to First Shot ***(7.30)*
The first of our tests measure how long it takes the camera to start up and take its first shot, a crucial statistic when you're trying to catch an unexpected photographic opportunity. The A2000 takes about 2.7 seconds from startup to first shot, which isn't too bad for a point and shoot.**
Canon states that this camera gets 1.3 shots per second, and in our testing we recorded 1.2, a result well within the limits of testing accuracy. This is on the slow side, so you're not going to be able to capture action photos with blinding speed.**
This third test looks at how long the camera takes between the moment you press the shutter and the moment a photo is captured. The A2000 clocked in at about 0.6 seconds, which is about average.**
Processing***(7.15)*Our final timing test measures how long it takes after you shoot a photograph for the image to be displayed on the LCD screen, an indication of how quickly the camera can process data. The A2000, on average, takes 1.2 seconds to ruminate over the picture, which is reasonably fast.
As with so many point-and-shoots, the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS has no optical viewfinder.
The LCD is a stock-standard 3', 230,000 pixel job which can be set to five levels of brightness. There are some slight solarization problems when the camera is tilted extremely up or down, but these aren't present on the left/right axis. Under bright light, the live view manages to keep up with motion admirably, but once you move into the dark, you'll have a lot more trouble.
The 3' LCD
Hitting the Disp. button while shooting or during image playback varies the amount of information shown on screen. In shooting mode it flips between no information overlay at all to basic settings display, while in playback mode you toggle between no information; shooting date and image number; full EXIF information and brightness histogram; and finally focus check. This last setting shows an enlarged section at the very center of the image, so you can see if the picture is perfectly in focus.
Pressing the Disp button toggles the amount of information displayed (in Playback mode on the left, and Record mode on the right)
The A2000's flash is positioned in a location where it will very easily get covered by your fingers if you're using two hands to shoot, which is hardly ideal. It's also placed very close to the lens, which leads to a greater occurrence of red-eye. For its size, the flash seems quite bright, though a bit slow to re-cycle. While shooting, you can use the right button on the camera's back to turn the flash off, on or to auto. If you go through the menu system, however, automatically process your image for red-eye correction, decide whether or not to use the autofocus assist lamp to reduce red-eye, or use the flash on slow-syncro. This last setting uses a slightly longer exposure to increase brightness in both the foreground and background when photographing at night.
The flash can easily get blocked by fingers.
Compared to the otherwise humdrum hardware of the A2000, the lens really stands out, due to its impressive 6x optical zoom. Considering that this camera retails for $230, you'll be hard-pressed to find another camera at the price with such a substantial zoom ratio in a relatively petite size. The lens is 6.8-38.4mm (equivalent to 36-216mm in 35mm photography) and has an aperture range of f/3.2 to f/9 at its widest setting and f/5.9 to f/17 at maximum telephoto. This is a bit on the slow side, especially when zoomed all the way in, making it difficult to handhold telephoto shots in low light.
The lens has an impressive 6x zoom.
Model Design / Appearance*(7.00)*
The Canon PowerShot A2000 IS is a bit of an odd beast to look at. It has a distinctive wedge shape, and looks like one end has been dipped in a bucket of paint. It's slightly ungainly, but not entirely unattractive. We like the fact that it's constructed almost entirely of matte plastic, so it won't get smeared with fingerprints easily, a common complaint with most cameras.
Size / Portability*(7.00)*
The A2000 is 4.01 inches wide x 2.50 inches high x 1.26 inches deep (101.9 x 63.5 x 31.9mm), taken from the thick side of the wedge, and weighs 6.5 oz (185g). It's a little big to fit in your pants if you're a fan of ultra-tight jeans, but it'll easily slip into a coat pocket or handbag.
The unique wedge shape of the camera, despite making it look vaguely like a door stop, means that the one side is enlarged, which makes it easier to grip. This is also the area where the batteries are stored, and most of the weight of the camera is on this side, which means that if you're holding it one-handed, it's extremely easy to move around. In general, the body's big enough that even the most large-handed of users should be able to hold it without problem.
The A2000 is easy to hold, regardless of your hand size.
**Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size **(5.50)
Unfortunately, the generous proportions of the body don't quite transfer to the buttons. In fact we found said buttons to be jam-packed in too close together, and we frequently hit more than one at a time, especially while navigating menus. While the buttons are quite pretty (especially with the circular section motif going on), we found their proximity and size aggravating for all but the most dexterous photographer.
The buttons are small and cramped.
The menus on most Canon cameras are well organized and easy on the eyes thanks to bright colors and large fonts. That said, we found the menu system of the A2000 to run long, requiring you to scroll through pages of options to find the one you need. We would have liked to have seen multiple tabs for each menu section, as Canon does with its SLRs.
The menu system you'll use most often will probably be the Function menu, which lets you tweak exposure compensation, white balance, colors, metering and image size. This menu is accessed by pressing the Func. Set button on the camera.
Unsurprisingly, the Record menu is only available while shooting, and governs the controls associated with that mode. Here you'll find settings for zoom controls, flash, image stabilization and auto focus.
The Set Up menu can be accessed either in shooting or playback modes, and governs such crucial controls as the colume, LCD brightness, and date and time settings. These tend to be the controls you set up once, and leave them as they are.
While in Playback mode, you get access to two menus, the first of which is Play. From this tab you can start a slideshow, categorize your photos, resize, rotate or protect them.
The second menu only available while in Playback is Print, wherein you are able to select the number of prints you want for each image if you're using DPOF (direct print order forms), or print directly if you're plugged into a printer.
Ease of Use (6.00)
The A2000 is extermely easy to use (barring problems with the Lilliputian controls). All the settings are clearly marked, there's Easy auto mode, standard auto and program mode for more hands-on control. If you're dealing with someone who has no idea how to use a camera, throwing it into Easy mode will let them use it without any trouble at all.
The Canon PowerShot A2000 IS has two auto modes, first Easy Mode (marked by a small red heart on the mode dial) and then straight-out Auto. The former only lets you set the flash to off or auto, while the latter offers additional control over image size, auto ISO (normal or Hi) and the timer. There's also a modified Playback mode while in Easy, where all you can do is start a slide-show or delete your pictures.
**Movie Mode ***(7.25)*
The movie mode on the A2000 can shoot 624x480, 320x240 or the minuscule 160x120. You can control color mode and white balance while filming, set a timer, adjust the focus mode, and alter the brightness. The zoom is turned off while recording, probably due to the microphone's placement right next to the lens, where the whirring gears would come through on the recording prominently.
Drive / Burst Mode*(7.00)*
One of the facets of Canon's point-and-shoot range that we really like is the customizable timer system. In addition to the standard 10- and 2- second timer, you can craft your own, setting delay between 1 and 30 seconds, and taking up to 10 shots in a row when the self-timer expires, a huge advantage if you're trying to take group portraits and don't want to keep getting up to press the shutter again.
There's only one level of continuous shooting, which we found to shoot at 1.2 images per second, quite close to the manufacturer's stated 1.3 shots per second.
**Playback Mode ***(8.00)*
Pressing DISP while in Playback mode changes the screen's information display. You can view just the picture; date and time the shot was taken; all shooting details, brightness histogram and overexposed areas highlighted; and finally focus check, which enlarges the center of the image so you can see if your photo is sharp enough. Zooming in provides up to 10x magnification, at which point you can press the set button, then use the arrows to switch between images at the same level of enlargement. Zooming out takes you to a thumbnail view of nine images at a time, which can then be navigated one image at a time. If you zoom out again, you can flick between pages with nine images on each.
Zooming in while in Playback
**Custom Image Presets***(6.30)*
Five of the image presets are located on the mode dial itself, while a sixth scene mode setting on the dial lets you choose from additional options. The list of choices isn't shockingly huge, but it should cover most eventualities. On the dial are portrait, landscape, night snapshot, kids and pets (apparently the two functio indistinguishably) and indoor mode. In scene mode you can shoot night scene, sunset, foliage, snow, beach, fireworks, aquarium or ISO 3200, the last of which is at reduced 1600x1200 resolution.
Manual Control Options
The Canon PowerShot A2000 has almost minimal manual controls. There's a manual white balance setting, and the tiny bit of customization allowed by setting your own self-timer interval and choosing the function of one of the buttons. However, the lack of manual aperture control is frustrating, and shutter speed can be altered only for periods longer than one second, and even then it's poorly implemented and well hidden.
Under good light, the auto focus on the A2000 performed well. However, the face detection feature was poorly implemented, and couldn't recognize people most of the time.
The A2000 has no manual focus controls.
The ISO range on this camera is adequate, running from ISO 80 to 1600, with an additional ISO 3200 at reduced resolution (1600 x 1200 pixels), available via the scene mode system. If leaving decisions to the camera is more your style, it can also be set to Auto or Hi (which limits the automatic ISO to the upper end of the spectrum).
For differing light sources, you can set the white balance to Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H (daylight fluorescent) or Custom. Custom lets you take a reading off a white or grey material in order to correctly compensate for the current lightig source. This is a good range for an inexpensive point-and-shoot, even if our lab tests revealed mixed performance in this area.**
You can control exposure by ±2 EV in 1/3 steps, which is a standard range, but you can only access this adjustment in Program mode.
Another function only controllable in Program mode, metering mode can be set to Spot, Center Weighted Average or Evaluative (which uses information from the entire image to produce the best overall metering.)
Normally, the shutter speed runs from 1/60 to 1/1600 of a second, which isn't a great range, and distinctly lacking at the quick end of the spectrum. However, while in Program mode, if you go into exposure compensation, and press the Disp button, you can manually set the shutter to 1 second to 15 seconds in length. Apart from this long exposure setup, there is no way to control shutter speed directly.
Aperture values range from f/3.2 to f/9 at the widest lens setting and f/5.9 to f/17 at 6x zoom. This is quite slow, particularly for telephoto shots, making handheld photography difficult. Unfortunately, there is no direct control over aperture with this camera.
Picture Quality / Size Options*(5.83)
*The A2000 has a decent array of choices for image size, and all can be shot at three levels of compression: superfine, fine or normal.
Picture Effects Mode*(3.00)*
The 'My Colors' function offers settings for vivid, neutral, sepia, black and white, and custom (which lets you tweak contrast, sharpness and saturation). This function, by default, is set to 'off.'
There are no fancy editing effects available in Playback, but you can tag your photos with category labels for people, scenery, events, category 1-3 or to do list. This final setting, we assume, is for reminding yourself to do things by taking photos of them.
The included Canon software isn't amazing, but at least gains points for being Mac compatible. It does an OK job with basic image tasks, both in terms of image browsing and simple editing. You can alter sharpness, brightness, correct red-eye, and perform other standard edits. However, the software handles quite slowly when performing these tasks.*
Jacks, ports, plugs*(3.00)*
The A2000 IS has two ports, both situated on the upper edge of the right hand side of the camera. There's a standard micro-USB jack, which lets you hook your camera up to your PC or TV using included cables. The second small plug is for AC in, using an optional power adapter.
*Direct Print Options**(4.00)*
The A2000 supports two computer-free printing options. The first is PictBridge, which lets you plug your camera directly into compatible printers, and choose which photos you'd like to prinht, and how many copies of each. The second is direct print order form (DPOF), where you can mark your photos for print size and quantity, then hand the memory card to an output service to have your order filled.*
The Canon Powershot A2000 IS uses AA batteries, which you can find almost anywhere. It does mean use them up quite quickly, making high-quality rechargeables a good investment.
The A2000 accepts SD, SDHC and MMC plus, which are used for most point-and-shoot cameras. These cards are small, inexpensive and easy to find,and are available with high storage capacities.
Both AA batteries and SD memory cards are easy to find/
Considering that the A2000 only costs $230, it strikes us as quite a good value, as long as you don't need mcuh manual control. It shoots 10-megapixel images and has an extended 6x zoom range. While the lens is a bit on the slow side, and we would prefer more controls, for someone who wants an inexpensive point-and-shoot with some extra oomph on the telephoto side, it seems like a good buy.
**Canon PowerShot SX110 IS– **If you want a bit more control than the A2000 provides, and have a hankering for a longer zoom too, then this Canon may be for you. The SX110 and the A2000 performed comparably in our testing, with the major difference being the 10x zoom on the SX110, as well as a full set of manual controls and better button layout. However, it's a fair bit bulkier and less attractive than the A2000, and costs slightly more ($250).
**Casio Exilim EX-Z300– **The Z300 from Casio will set you back $300, which will give you a significantly smaller package than the A2000. The Z300 scored better than the A2000 is most tests, except color and video. However, it has a menu system that we found extremely annoying, and only a 4x zoom. While it's lens is noticeably faster (f/2.6) we were generally displeased with this camera due to the poor user interface, and don't think it's worth the extra money.
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd**–** While this $300 camera has a 12-megapixel sensor, and can shoot in aperture- and shutter-priority, it generally scored poorly in our testing regime, especially with regards to image noise. The Fuji camera is quite a bit smaller than the Canon, and does have a better face detection system, but did poorly in terms of speed. If you're craving more control in a smaller form, the F60fd is quite reasonably priced, though image quality is mediocre.
Samsung NV40** –**This pocket-sized camera from Samsung can be had for less than $200, making it a bit of a steal. It scored well on all of our tests, only losing to the A2000 in terms of color accuracy. There was, however, one major problem with the NV40, and that is its unintuitive and inaccurate control scheme, that we found utterly frustrating. If you can overcome this obstacle, though, it offers excellent photographs at a low price.
Who It’s For ***
Point-and-Shooters* -Users who don't want to fiddle with settings will appreciate the Auto and Easy modes, the latter of which hides nearly all setting options from the user.
Budget Consumers – $230 is a very low price for a newly released camera, and in tight financial times this makes the A2000 something of a draw. That said, it's only $20 to get the significantly more full-featured SX110 instead.
Gadget Freaks – It's not tiny, it's not beautiful, and it doesn't have any insane new features – not much to draw the gadget crowd.
Manual Control Freaks – Manual control nuts will balk at the auto-only inclinations of the A2000.*
Pros / Serious Hobbyists – Anyone with a serious eye on photography will undoubtedly be turned off by the poor test results and lack of manual controls here.
The Canon PowerShot A2000 IS has a couple of significant factors in its favor. It's inexpensive ($230), has a good zoom ratio for a small point-and-shoot, and did well in our color scoring. On the other hand, there's no manual control to speak of, it struggled in most of our other tests, and the lens is slow, particularly for handheld telephoto shooting in less-than-ideal light. If a long zoom at a low price strikes you as a winning combination, the A2000 is worth considering, but you should keep the downsides in mind.
Click on any of the images below to view the full-sized original image. Please note that full-size image files are large and could take a long time to download. **
Meet the testers
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email