Audio and Video

Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera Teardown

03 February 2008
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Main Features / Overview

Part of Canon's "A Series line of digital 'point and shoot' cameras, the PowerShot A720 IS is, at the time of writing, Canon's second highest-ranked camera (by features and megapixel rating) in the A-series line (the A650 IS - being a 12.1 Megapixel model). Canon's A-series does not have the same sleek profile as the ELPH series, a result of the use of standard AA cells, which creates a bulkier profile for A series cameras.

The Canon PowerShot A720 IS is an 8 megapixel point-and-shoot consumer camera with image stabilization (""IS"), 6x zoom lens, 2.5 inch rear display, and DIG!C III image processor. The camera takes SD/SDHC and MMC memory cards, and can take standard AA batteries (Alkaline or better), and has a video out for PAL/NSTC systems.

The camera also has an audio out (monaural) but the camera does not really have additional 'media' features like soundtrack / music playback options for the slide show (Sony features this).

There are many software features (not the focus of this teardown) that include 'face detection'. For a complete list of features, seee the features section in the online teardown analysis.

Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera Main ImageCanon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera Main Image

Target Market

High-end consumer.


August, 2007 per Canon USA press release.

Pricing and Availability

Retail price from Canon $249.99 USD for the US market - however it is also possible, at the time of writing (Dec 2007) to find several e-tailers offering this model for under $200.

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown, we estimate unit shipments for the Canon PowerShot A720IS over the course of a 2 year production lifetime would be on an order of magnitude of 2M units.

As a reminder, volume production assumptions are not meant to be necessarily 'market accurate', but are meant primarily to be used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially).

Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera - Main PCB TopCanon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera - Main PCB Top

Function / Performance

Detailed testing was not performed on the A720 IS, however the device was used by staff in advance of the teardown to get a better idea of the capabilities of the device from a user perspective.

Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera Cost AnalysisCanon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera Cost Analysis

Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera Cost Analysis
Cost Notes

iSuppli's standard costing methodologies were applied to all of the camera components. The optics assemblies (with zoom mechanisms and motors) and viewfinder (where applicable), were treated as single 'sub-assemblies' from a cost point of view in the main bill of materials.

We have, however, also provided a breakout of the lens assembly cost assumptions in the ""Optics Summaries" tab in the BOM spreadsheet. Please refer to this tab for details on the lens and viewfinder costs.

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / EMS provider

This product was labeled Made in China. Given the competitive nature of the consumer camera market, and the low-end nature of this DSC, it is not surprising. It is assumed that the manufacturer makes full use of local Chinese manufacturing and sourcing in this device. Therefore, we have assumed that the manufacturer is leveraging lower cost in China for PCB population, and custom mechanicals (plastics and metals) etc. Optics assemblies were assumed to be made in Japan.

Furthermore, it is interesting to note, that only the highest end Canon IXY910IS/SD870IS analyzed here was labeled as Made in Japan.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as Bluetooth modules or camera modules), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera - Enclosure DisassemblyCanon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera - Enclosure Disassembly

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

Cameras are always complex, from our perspective, not so much from the point of view of electronics, but rather more in the physical / mechanical implementation, and therefore feature a lot of small, precision mechanical assemblies which are more involved at the hand assembly level, rather than surface mount production level. In order to create a simple metrics against which we can compare similar devices, we typically turn to component counts to gage this relative complexity.

The Canon A720IS features a total of 705 components (not including optical assemblies or box contents), of which 119 are mechanical in nature.

The number of mechanical components usually is a direct driver of hand-assembly costs, whereas the electronic component count (and I/O count, density, etc.) are relative metrics for the more automated portion (namely SMT assembly) of manufacturing costs.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

The Canon PowerShot A720IS hardware design is a direct reflection of the feature-set of the camera, but the real surprise is how much Sony actually controls in some of the key slots in the design.

The A720IS features a Sony (per die markings) CK4-1127- DIG!C III image processor. At the time of writing this is the latest generation of Canon (made by Sony) DIG!C processors and adds facial recognition as well as more advanced focus and exposure determinations through this chip. The actual image sensor also comes from Sony (ICX636EQP) and was also discovered in the Canon IXY910IS / SD870IS, and Sony DSC-T200 DSC models analyzed. Sony also provides the analog front-end / signal processing chip (CXD4807GA) which interfaces with the image sensor.

Further image processing (image stabilization) is provided by Renesas (R2J30504), Fujitsu power management, and Renesas motor drive ICs. It is worth noting too, as a result of the A720IS feature of orientational sensing, the A720 features two single-axis ENC-03R Murata angular velocity sensors which provide this sensing feature. These were previously seen in Sony PS3 Six-Axis controllers.

Major Components

Main PCB

Image Processing

  • Sony - CK4-1127 - Image Processor - Canon DIG!C III
  • Renesas - R2J30504 - Optical Image Stabilization Device

Image Sensor / Analog Front End

  • Sony - CXD4807GA - Signal Processor & Analog Front End


  • NOR Flash - ST Microelectronics - M29DW323DT-70ZE6-F - 32Mb, Dual Bank, 3V, 70ns
  • Mobile SDRAM - Elpida - EDS2532EEBH-75-E - 256Mb (8M x 32), 133MHz, 1.8V

I/O & Interface

  • Sanyo - LA74310LP - Audio Interface For DSC & Video Driver
  • Orientational Sensors - Murata - ENC-03R - Gyroscopes - Angular Velocity Sensor, Single Axis

Power Management

  • Fujitsu - MB39C304 - DC-DC Converter, 7-Channel, w/ Built-in 3-Channel FET

Motor Drive

  • Renesas - R2A30409P - Motor Driver IC

Display Module

  • 2.5' Diagonal, 115K Pixel Color Amorphous silicon TFT w/Delta Pixel Structure

Image Sensor

  • Sony - ICX636EQP - 8.15MP, CCD, 1/2.5' Format - Diagonal 7.183mm, 1.75um x 1.75um Pixel Size, 5.83mm x 4.35mm Active Image Area


  • See optics summaries tab in Excel spreadsheet analysis for detailed breakouts


Canon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera - Box ContentsCanon PowerShot A720 IS Digital Still Camera - Box Contents

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