Canon is better known for its Ixus range of compact cameras, such as the Canon Ixis 970 IS, but there's lots to admire in its PowerShot models, too.
The 10 megapixel Canon PowerShot A2000 IS is sold in the UK exclusively through Jessops. Aside from its shiny lens ring, it's finished in an understated two-tone silver metal.
The Canon PowerShot A2000 IS's recessed on/off button on the top of the camera requires a fingernail to press, but the other two top-mounted controls - the shutter/zoom and the mode dial - are large and easy to use. In fact, the Canon's jog dial is one of the largest such examples we've seen of late.
These modes include a standard Auto option, which primarily decides whether or not to trigger the flash; Program, that lets you decide for yourself and set the ISO anywhere between 80 and 1600; and an Easy mode that automates everything.
Further round the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS are specific scene modes: Video, Portrait, Night, Kids & Pets, Landscape, and Indoor - plus a further SCN (scene) button that lets you customise another eight scene types. Here, you can also access a low-light option to take the ISO setting to its maximum of 1600.
We liked that you can override macro mode and the flash on the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS, via dedicated buttons either side of the function button. Used in conjunction with the telephoto and zoom rocker, it's easy to glide between close-up and more expansive shots. There's a 6x optical zoom, which can be supplemented by engaging the digital zoom.
To test the effectiveness of the scene modes of the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS, we used the camera to snap a bundle of office accoutrements. With no obvious subject to focus on, the autofocus sensor alighted on items in roughly the centre of the image. The Canon PowerShot A2000 IS made a noticeably better job of reproducing dark colours and solid objects than it did lighter-coloured items, tending to overexposure the white of the desk.
In outdoor situations, the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS focused quickly and effectively on items such as flowers (both in macro and standard mode), but indoors it was less adept - in fact, its best shot was acheived when set to Easy mode.
There's a generous flash unit that produces a very bright light across a broad area. A special sunset mode is also provided. Since the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS can recognise as many as nine people in a shot, you may even end up with a good snap of most people.
The jury is out on whether AA battery-powered cameras have a future, but when we decried such an arrangement in last month's group test, several readers told us they liked the convenience of disposables.
As a camera, the Canon PowerShot A2000 IS is distinctly average. We got better results from the similarly priced Ricoh R10 and preferred its design too. That said, this is much better than your average point-and-shoot model and takes reasonably good shots in all but interior settings.