Tuesday

Canon PowerShot A3400


5x optical zoom lens

Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Review

This year Canon has bombarded the entry-level camera segment with their PowerShot A series. We have already reviewed the PowerShot A2400 and the A4000, both of which had done decently well. Another model that had been launched from this series is the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS, which features a compact point and shoot option, 5x zoom, 16MP sensor and the most interesting of all, a touchsensitive screen. Read on to know how this budget compact camera fared.

Stylish point and shoot camera
Stylish point and shoot camera


Design and Build Quality
Canon have certainly stepped up their game when it comes to designing their cameras. PowerShot models until last year would be chunky looking cameras that were not really pleasing to the eye. Their stylish range of point and shoot cameras were primarily their IXUS range, but with this year’s additions, the gap between the two ranges, when it comes to style, seems to have reduced considerably. The Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is a sleek looking, compact camera that is available in a range of colours, such as black, silver, red and a shade of bronze. The review unit that was sent to us has a matte silver finish in the front, while at the back is a dark grey body. When it comes to the design, this model fares really well as Canon have gone with a minimalistic approach in the front and all that is featured here is the 5x optical lens that flushes against the rest of the face when not in use, the AF assist and the LED flash.

The rear of the camera features a large 3-inch resistive touchscreen that sports a resolution of approximately 230,000 dots. Alongside the display, to keep the size of the camera compact, Canon have added the controls that are decently sized. Even though the space is less, the brand have managed to add a range of controls including a video recording button and a control for help. The buttons feel sturdy and they look strong enough to handle daily usage. The top of the camera comprises buttons, such as a shutter release button, a zoom rocker and a power button. Like the buttons at the back, these controls feel sturdy as well. Connectivity options for the camera are located at the side in a bay. The output featured here is a mini USB AV out port, allowing one to connect it to a PC as well. The flap for the battery bay is not the sturdiest though and this bothers us a bit, since it feels quite flimsy and looks like it can break if handled a bit roughly. The memory card for the camera can be placed in a slot located in this area. The overall design of the camera is great and the overall build quality is good, too, except for the flap of the battery bay, which could have been built better.
The top of the camera
The top of the camera


Features
Prior to this model, touchscreen cameras were priced a lot higher and the addition of a touchscreen interface on a point and shoot camera priced below Rs. 10,000 is good. This undoubtedly is the highlighted feature of this point and shoot option. With the touchscreen found here, one can also have the option of using the screen to focus on an area that needs to be shot and also touch to capture. This feature can be used if one does not want to use the shutter release button found at the top. The brand has used a resistive screen for the A3400 IS and one can either use a stylus to capture images or maneuver through the interface or use the tip of their fingernail. The brand does not provide a stylus so one needs to stay content with their finger only for accessing various options.

The brand uses a 16MP sensor on the camera and have added a 5x optical zoom for capturing shots that are at a distance. They have also added an inbuilt image stabilizer that helps in reducing the amount of blur in photography when the zoom is used. With the 16MP sensor, one can print on large format papers and the camera can support a maximum still image resolution of 4608 x 3456. The interface of this camera is extremely easy to use and the touchscreen helps in a large way. By merely tapping on the desired option on the display, one can select different modes or presets.
The touchscreen at the back
The touchscreen at the back


Video recording is possible on this compact camera too and one can record movies in HD 720. In the program mode of the camera, the maximum amount of tweaking is possible with it allowing one to adjust settings, like ISO sensitivity, exposure and white balance. Apart from these setting adjustments, one can make do with the preset shooting features, such as low-light, portrait, fireworks, long shutter, discreet and a host of other options. Images shot with this camera can be stored on SD, SDHC and SDXC card types. This camera is designed for those who do not need options, like manual settings and can easily shoot using just the auto mode.

Performance
We tested the performance of the camera in a number of ways and starting off with this bit - the handling of the camera was really good as it was light in weight at just 141g, which includes a battery and memory card. Shooting was easy because of this, but for that added assurance, one should attach the lanyard as well, so it does not slip from the hand by accident. While using the camera outdoors, we noticed the shortcomings of the screen with anomalies appearing all over when images were shot in sunlight. This however, does not transfer onto the images shot with them being clear. In outdoor shots, the amount of colour fringing is negligible, which shows that it handles sunlight well. While shooting images indoors, we observed that images appeared a bit grainy, especially when zoomed in 100 percent on a PC. This makes it difficult to get crisp shots in low-light conditions during night outs or while clubbing. While clicking shots in macro mode, the camera had some difficulty, while focusing, but when it did, the overall image quality was good.
Macro image
Macro image


ISO Sensitivity Test
The ISO of this camera ranges from 100 to 1600 and at ISO sensitivity of 100, the image is flawless with no noise visible at all. However, the noise levels rise quite steadily from ISO 800, which show that in low-light environments, the images captured will be filled with noise.
ISO sensitivity test
Zoom Test
Many brands tend to add a 5x optical zoom with most of their compact point and shoot cameras and this model from Canon is no different. We noticed that images shot with the lens extended to 5x and there was a slight amount of blur visible.
Zoom test
Zoom test


Performance Continued
While capturing video in HD 720, we observed that all colours appeared accurately and there were no transition issues while moving from a dark area to a bright one. Colours in the the video that was recorded, appeared accurate onscreen as well as on the PC. The flash for the camera is good and in a dark room can easily illuminate an area of 10 feet. Canon packs a 680mAh battery with the camera and they rate it at 180 shots. Overall, the performance of the camera is great when it comes to outdoor photography, but indoors, it doesn't quite match up.
5x optical zoom lens
5x optical zoom lens