The Canon Powershot A3300 IS is aimed at someone looking for a step up from the most basic digital cameras, but is not looking to break the bank. The Powershot A3300 IS has a fairly standard set of features for a digital camera in this price range.
Features that help to differentiate the Powershot A3300 IS from cheaper, more basic digital cameras include the ability to shoot High Definition movies, a 3 inch LCD screen and image stabilisation.
The Powershot A3300 IS may not be the most spectacular digital camera on the market, but you get good quality for your money.
As with so many digital cameras the 5x optical zoom lens offers wide angle capabilities. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 28 - 140mm in 35mm format, so you get a fair amount of zoom for your money at this price point. Canon have built image stabilisation into the lens. Although not essential with this length of lens every little helps when it comes to producing sharp photos.
Canon have added in face detection and automatic red eye correction. The red eye correction is not guaranteed to remove all traces of red eye, but can go a long way to digitally cleaning up the problem.
16 megapixels is more than enough for most printing purposes. It also gives you the flexibility to crop your photos to give a tighter look to your subject and still be able to produce a small print.
Canon have included a High Definition movie mode. Dynamic image stabilisation is available when shooting a movie. It should help to reduce any shaky look to your video clips that can occur when you walk around with your camera.
If you are feeling adventurous you can access the functions section and take control over metering (Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre)), ISO (AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600) and white balance (Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom).
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
There are a number of plus points about this shot. For a start the colours look accurate. There are no problems with focusing. For example the brickwork on the building is sharp and clear. Sun glare is handled well too. There is a small amount of noise creeping in shady areas.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Wide angle shots are always a challenge. As I often see, this is the weakest of the test shots from the Powershot A3300 IS. Even so as long as you are not over ambitious when it comes to the size of the prints you are planning to make you should be able to produce acceptable quality.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
With the zoom lens fully extended the Powershot A3300 IS may not hit the high points of the first test shot when it comes to overall sharpness. The loss in quality is fairly minimal though,so you are unlikely to notice a great deal of difference from a print.
Canon digital cameras normally produce the best shots in this test. The reasons for that are sharpness remains more or less constant across the shot and they also pack in a bit of extra power into the colours. That's exactly what happens here. The Powershot A3300 IS is very impressive when the lens is not working at the extremes of zoom.
This is another example of the sharp focus the camera is capable of when the amount of zoom being used is somewhere in the middle of its range. As with most digital cameras taking a portrait shot in the shade can give a result that looks a bit dull. Therefore I used a white balance setting of cloudy to lift the colours. It is easy to change the white balance setting if you find your portrait shots could do with a boost.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
Another strength of Canon digital cameras is their ability of the flash unit to cast enough light to brighten all areas of a photo without washing out colour. This suggests that there is a little extra power in the flash unit than some cameras have.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
This test shot shows that you should be able to take window lit portrait shots with the Powershot A3300 IS without resorting to flash. This gives you a more natural looking shot.
One of the points I like about the macro test result is that the Powershot A3300 IS manages to produce a photo that is lighter than a lot of rival digital cameras manage. You can get in close enough to your subject with sharp results. It maybe a bit much to expect to take great macro shots with small compact digital cameras, but this camera does a decent job.
Over the past three years it has become more difficult to know what brand of digital camera a picture was taken with based purely on the colours in a photo. One of the main reasons for this is that colour management has improved. This is an area where Canon have always been strong. With this camera you get a combination of vivid colours and a natural look.
Skies can take on a slightly hazy look, but again this is only likely to be an issue if you make extra large prints. The definition in shady areas of shots can be affected by small amounts of noise.
Picture Quality Summary
I have few complaints about the quality of the photos on offer. Most of the issues I encountered are of a minor level. You should be able to take a variety of good quality photos with the Powershot A3300 IS . It is able to handle most photo opportunities well.
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Review Date: April 2011
The Canon Powershot A3300 IS will not be the most stylish digital camera I review this year or have the most exciting features, but it does what it sets out to do well. In a nutshell it takes a good photo and is available at a very reasonable price. If you are looking for a no fuss digital camera and you do not want to spend a fortune this one is well worth considering.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
95.1 x 56.7 x 23.9mm
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
Ensuring the control dial is more or less flush to the top of the camera has used up some of the room that Canon might have used to create space on the back of the camera to place your thumb. Holding the camera is not exactly awkward, but your thumb does tend to come to rest over the top of two buttons. Canon have very slightly recessed the buttons to make sure you do not press them by accident, but even so it is not a classic piece of camera design.
Shutter lag times are on the slow side, especially when you use flash. I would like to have seen these faster although the time taken to turn on the camera and take the first shot is good.
Taking a look at the layout of the controls on top of the camera you have the on / off button, a shutter button sitting inside a zoom ring and a control dial. The control dial gives you access to a number of shooting modes.
If you would like total simplicity then there is an easy mode. This removes access to the menus and camera functions. Auto mode is a step up. This gives you access to a limited set of menu options and just a single function. P mode or program mode gives you full access to all 7 camera functions, 14 menu options and 16 set up options. The difference between the menu and function options is that the functions tend to be more advanced features offering you control over settings such as ISO and White Balance. In the menu section you will find items such as image stabilisation and digital zoom.
Further shooting modes include Live and Scene modes. In live mode you have access to three sliders for cool / warm, neutral / vivid and dark / light. You can see the impact of the changes you make on the LCD screen. There are 32 scene modes available. When you select the appropriate scene for the shot you are about to take it helps guide the Powershot A3300 IS to use the most suitable settings for the photo.
On the back of the camera are buttons for face detection, reviewing images, changing the information displayed on the LCD screen and accessing the menu system. There is a central area where controls for exposure compensation, flash modes, the self timer and macro mode are situated. There is a further button in this area to access functions and confirm a setting.
The quality of the LCD screen is in line with expectations. I like the fact Canon have gone with a 3 inch screen rather than anything smaller. You should find the extra screen size useful when composing your shots. The menu screens are well laid out and very easy to read.