Mighty Canon

Technology design usually dictates that smaller is better. Travelling with a heavy SLR manual camera and ending up with few photos and a bad back underlines that point. With digital cameras, small often means compromising on features and annoyingly small buttons.

Being used to a small Pentax Optio, the Canon A95 was more like a brick.

However, the larger size gave me a better screen and a steadier grip. It is also light.

Canon is aiming the PowerShot A95 at schools. It replaces the A80 at the top of its entry-level range. The main changes are the higher resolution (5 megapixels) and a larger LCD screen (1.8 inch). It takes normal AA batteries so you don't need to recharge.

There are also more preset shooting modes (14) including enhanced movie, fireworks, underwater, snow, kids and pets and more to help people who aren't confident. There is even a custom mode for storing preferred camera settings. The automatic setting is efficient to give you clear, precise photos.

The zoom is sufficient (3x) and there is also the questionable added advantage of digital zoom. The excellent zoom available when you view images lets you see enough detail to really check out quality.

Movie clips can be recorded with audio for up to three minutes (320 x 240 pixels) or 30 seconds (640 x 480 pixels), and you can even play back and edit the clips on camera with full sound.

The A95 provides superb image quality - 5 megapixels is sufficient for prints up to 13 x 19 inches and so allows larger images for displays around school.

While the A95 isn't the smallest in this class of camera, its compromise on size and functions is a good one. Size isn't everything.

Canon Powershot A95

Digital camera (5 megapixel) with folding 1.8-inch LCD screen and 7.8-23.4mm, f2.8-4.9 zoom lens. Records images, video and sound to CompactFlash memory card. Price: around pound;230

Fitness for purpose *****

Ease of use ****

Features *****

Quality *****

Value for money *****

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