Canon PowerShot A495 review
Review Date : Mon, 15 Feb 2010
Author : Mike Lowe
The Canon A495 is a new budget compact, following in the footsteps of the mighty A480. But does it live up to the prestige of its previous model? The What Digital Camera Canon A495 review…
|Pros:||Fast AF, affordable, image quality considering price|
|Cons:||Lens not wide enough, slow buffer, screen quality|
The Canon PowerShot A495 is a step up from the previous A480 - a model which wowed the WDC team for both its excellence and affordability when reviewed. The Canon A495 is a mightily similar camera to the A480, providing all the point-and-shoot capabilities you could want for an easy-to-use automated digital compact.
Canon A495 review - Features
With a 10 megapixel sensor, the A495 has a 37-122mm (3.3x optical zoom) lens to capture stills and VGA movies (not HD). The LCD to the rear is an ample 2.5inches made up of 115K-dots - not especially high resolution by today's standards, but as expected for the price-point.
To make shooting that bit easier a multitude of modes feature, including Face Detection to auto-detect faces in the scene, FaceSelf-Timer waits for an additional face (i.e. yourself) to enter the frame before firing and Auto Red-Eye Correction does what it says on the tin. Smart Auto mode also features to auto-select the optimum scene mode depending on the subject; a foliage-rich green scene will be recognised as a landscape, low-light as a night scene, faces as portraits and so forth - and the A495 is rather accurate at succeeding in selecting the correct mode. Plus, for those looking to take a little more control, the P (Program Auto) mode allows users to control ISO sensitivity from 80-1600, white balance through a variety of presets, exposure metering and a series of My Colour settings including a black and white and sepia.
Canon PowerShot A495 review - Design & Performance
Controlling all modes and options is easily accessible from the menu button on the rear and the directional pad, function set, movie and playback buttons are useful for quick application of further adjustments. The overall design is simple and straightforward, with everything feeling intuitively placed as to be where expected. However, as the lens is aligned to the left (from a shooting point of view), the accompanying flash is easily partly-obstructed by a finger and would have benefited from being placed slightly further along the body during the design process. The Canon A495 is available in a choice of silver, red or blue.
In use the autofocus (AF) is snappy, with none of the sluggishness associated with many other entry-level compacts, really setting the Canon A495 apart from much of the competition. A prominent green square appears on the screen to assure focus has been found and demonstrate where. Face Detection mode works effortlessly too. However, the speed of recording images is a bit of a let down, the ‘Busy' sign is often visible with images taking a short time to write, and movies considerably more so. Speaking of which, the VGA-resolution movies aren't of particularly high quality and no optical zoom is available when recording (only 4x digital).
Although the images on the A495's screen many not always look crisp and vibrant from all angles, this is more the quality of the LCD than the images themselves - load the images up onto your computer and the difference is notable.
Also, the Canon A495 is designed to take 2xAA batteries (first set included in the box). While some may prefer this, others will feel let down by the lack of a rechargeable li-ion battery - though this is usually only reserved for more premium compacts in the above ranges. Either way it's highly likely that the cost of a set of rechargeable AAs ought to be added to the overall cost of purchase, unless you already have some lying around the house.
Canon A495 review - Image quality
The relatively large lens that protrudes from the front of the Canon A495 provides fairly good quality when shooting at the lower ISO settings.
Although there is some softness to the corners, images for everyday use are perfectly decent. Thanks to the DIGIC III processor ISO 80-200 offers good quality, though the small sensor means this quickly falls away at the upper sensitivity levels, with the ISO 1600 setting showing considerable image noise.
The A495 is a decent, affordable camera. However it doesn’t offer anything vastly beyond to the A480 before it and, as this is new to the market, the price has crept up too. Saying that it offers good quality when considered pound for pound, the camera is highly responsive and accurate, which makes it a breeze to use – exactly the sort of thing you’d be looking for when purchasing a point-and-shoot compact. The biggest drawback though is the 37mm lens not being particularly wideangle, something that would significantly help for a wider set of photographic opportunities. Otherwise an all-round quality purchase that’s affordable too.