Canon’s PowerShot A-series compact cameras are their budget line-up of fast moving devices. These are made easy to use so that they appeal to people who need a simple good quality camera that is not very expensive.
True to this, the A-series cameras we tested so far, have delivered excellent image quality without any complicated settings. The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS joins this bandwagon with 16 megapixels and 5x zoom.
Design and Build Quality
The Canon A3300 is beautifully crafted with a matte finished exterior. The external body is made from a combination of plastic and metal. The camera appears tough for the job that it is intended to perform. The lens barrel has a three-segment construction and retracts fully into the body when the device is switched off. It has a plastic tripod mount, which is not a concern for a lightweight camera. The battery chamber/card slot door seems too flimsy as in the case of some earlier models too.
Canon does not mention the size of the image sensor used in their compact cameras, though we presume the 16 megapixel PowerShot A3300 uses a 1/2.3-inch Type (6.16 x 4.62mm) CCD. It is powered by a DIGIC 4 processor. The camera features an optically stabilised 28–112mm lens having f-numbers of f/2.8–8 at the wide-angle end and f/5.9–18 at the telephoto end. The lens focusses from 3.0cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and from 90cm to infinity at the telephoto end. The focussing modes provided are Single, Continuous, and Servo AF. AF frame options are Face AiAF, Tracking AF, and Centre. Metering methods used are Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, and Spot. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments. ISO sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 1600. The camera’s shutter speeds range from 15 to 1/1600sec. The A3300 IS features the usual White Balance modes—Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, and Custom. The built-in flash has a range of 30cm to 4.0m at the wide-angle end and 50cm to 2.0m at the telephoto end, but Canon does not specify at what ISO and flash mode. The flash modes available are Auto, On, Slow Synchro, and Off. The shooting modes are Program, Live View control, Auto, Easy, SCN, Creative Filters, Discreet, and Movie. The scene modes are Portrait, Landscape, Kids and Pets, Smart Shutter, Low Light, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, and Long Shutter. Creative filter modes included in the camera are Fish-eye, Miniature, Toy Camera, Monochrome, Super vivid, and Poster effect. It has a maximum continuous shooting speed of approximately 2.5 frames per second. Still images are recorded in JPG format while movies are recorded in MOV format. Maximum recorded pixels for still images is 4608 x 3456 pixels and the best movie format available is 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 fps.
The Canon A3300 IS uses a 3.0 inch, approximately 230,000-dot TFT colour LCD with wide viewing angle. The camera uses an SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/MMCplus/HC MMCplus card for external storage. Powered by an NB-8L Li-ion battery pack (supplied), the camera weighs approximately 149g including battery and memory card and has dimensions of 95.1 x 56.7 x 23.9mm (W x H x D).
The Canon A3300 IS is quite user-friendly. The interface has an uncomplicated look—very familiar to regular users of Canon compacts. The LCD is bright and clear though it is not of very high resolution. The buttons, dials, and levers provide a positive feel. The mode dial offers the right amount of resistance and is a pleasure to use. Though the camera does not have a well-defined grip, we cannot complain, considering that it is a small and lightweight camera.
The Canon PowerShot A3300 lived up to our expectations on the test bench. AF was reasonably fast and precise. The camera focussed well even under low light and produced sharp images. The lens did a wonderful job is controlling distortion. Images were almost free of distortion at all focal lengths. White Balance performed very well under all light sources, which is rare, especially for point-and-shoot cameras. Native print size of images were 11.52 x 15.36 inches at 300 ppi. At 17.3 percent of screen size, ISO 1600 was noisy, but not to be of much concern. At 25 percent, we did not observe any change in noise characteristics. At 33 percent screen size, slight noise was observed even at ISO 800. Again at 50 percent screen size, we did not observe any change in noise. Images were usable up to ISO 1600, which we would consider excellent noise control for a compact camera with a tiny sensor.
Prominent darkening of corners was observed at the wide-angle end at the widest aperture of f/2.8 (this was automatically set by the camera). During the test for flare and chromatic aberration, the A3300 set an aperture of f/8. At the wide-angle end, we observed heavy flare with mild purple fringing. Overall, the A3300 IS proved that it can produce good quality images even without much manual override options.
Value for Money
The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS retails at a recommended retail price of Rs.8,195. At this price, the camera is excellent value for money.
+ Excellent control of distortion
+ Accurate White Balance
+ Superior noise control
+ Optical Image Stabilisation
– Flimsy battery compartment door
Design and Build Quality 17/20
Key Features 16/20
Noise Control 4/5
Value for Money 9/10
Grand Total 83.5/100
The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS follows its predecessors in terms of the excellent image quality it can deliver. Being targeted at budget-conscious and non-technical users, the camera ensures hassle-free operation and image quality at par with its expensive counterparts. Best Buy indeed!