- Build quality, pleasing design, useful focal range with wideangle lens
- Screen does not always reproduce the scene faithfully, slight noise on all sensitivities, highlight details easily lost
- Review Price: £120
The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS is something of a curiosity, priced and specified to the lower end of the PowerShot spectrum, but with a design clearly taking influence from the company’s trendier IXUS line. Canon’s long-standing PowerShot line has evolved over the years to offer
perhaps the most diverse collection of models we’ve ever seen within a
single range. Whether it’s a straightforward AA-powered model for the
first timer; a superzoom compact you can slip into your pocket; or a
camera to rival DSLRs for quality and control, the current range seems
to offer a model for all eventualities.
At the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS’s heart lies a 16MP CCD sensor, in front of which sits a 28-140mm optic with image stabilisation, which claims to provide a three-stop advantage in terms of usable shutter speeds. There’s a separate Dynamic IS image stabilisation system which comes into play during movie recording, where the camera can record up to the 720p HD standard with mono audio alongside.
In other areas the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS provides a capable set of specifications, including a 3in LCD screen (albeit with a fairly expected 230k-dot resolution) and the familiar inclusion of Smart Auto technology, which claims to recognise the scene and match it to one of 32 presets. There’s also a helpful Discreet mode accessible via the mode dial, which disables all operational beeps together with the sound of the shutter, and also a Live mode which allows exposure, saturation and colour temperature to be easily adjusted with sliders.
The somewhat streamlined design of the A3300’s body means that the mode dial is conveniently embedded within the camera’s top plate, although this idea is less successful on the rear where the various buttons and the menu pad are a little inaccessible and generally too stiff for comfortable operation. Everything is clearly marked, however, and the camera’s all-metal body makes a refreshing change from the plastic buttons and rear panels usually found on cameras within this price bracket.
For a budget compact the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS puts in a commendable performance. The zoom moves quite steadily through its 5x focal range, which can feel a little slow, but this does make it easier to pick appropriate focal lengths between its two extremes. The camera picks up its pace a little when powering up and down, and this good pace continues when focusing on a variety of subjects.
Although the screen is no more detailed or larger than expected for such a model, it can nevertheless be difficult to see in brighter conditions, and it has a tendency to reproduce a scenes with a slight coldness and too much contrast – this is irksome as it suggests the camera’s Auto White Balance and exposure are out of line when in fact they are not.
The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS produces well-exposed images, with faithful colour and accurate white balance, and while chromatic aberrations are visible they are noticeably better controlled than on similar models. Images are reasonably detailed, too, but when viewed at their full size many are accompanied by a slight granularity, and those with a range of tones often show highlight details to be lost. Both of these points can be attributed to the use of a sensor so densely populated with pixels.
Something else which makes itself known is softness around corners and edges at the camera’s widest aperture of f/2.8, which the camera often selects at the widest focal length.
The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS is a well-built camera with a decent standard of image quality, but with such a populated sensor it’s not a great surprise that dynamic range and image noise control both suffer.
Score in detail
Image Quality 8
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.