Canon PowerShot A470 Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera
At a Glance
My three-year-old son thinks he's Ansel Adams, so we need a camera that works for him as well as for me. The Canon PowerShot A470 fits the bill.
The 7.1-megapixel A470 is very inexpensive ($130), so I don't have to worry about the damage a toddler might do to it. And I don't have to trade image quality for price; in our lab tests, it performed as well as several far more expensive cameras.
Still, there are some trade-offs to this bargain model. Its battery life was only fair in our lab tests, and it lacks image stabilization, which means you'll need a steady hand or a tripod to prevent photos from looking blurry.
The A470's optical zoom tops out at 3.4X, but even working with that limited range I managed to capture some great playground shots during my testing. The camera also lacks any manual focus settings, though you do get 14 shooting modes--plenty to keep a casual photographer entertained.
The 2.5-inch LCD screen on the PowerShot A470 satisfied me and my son; both of us could clearly see the images we captured. Unfortunately, there's no viewfinder, so you have to rely on the LCD screen, which tends to get washed out in outdoor light. And unlike other cameras in the same price range, this Canon is too big to fit into an adult's jeans pocket (to say nothing of a preschooler's).
On a more positive note, the A470's shutter speed is excellent--we never missed a shot while waiting for the camera to respond after clicking the button.
All in all, the A470 is a good no-frills camera at a rock-bottom price, with an easy learning curve. If a three-year-old can take good pictures with the Canon PowerShot A470, you can, too.