A 4x zoom compact with one eye on your budget
The Argos-exclusive Canon Powershot A3000 IS is one in a long line of image stabilized compacts, in spite of having a relatively sedate magnification of 4x. The 12.1MP CMOS sensor promises plenty, and Easy, Smart Flash and Smart Auto modes means the user has to have little to no experience of photography to get cracking.
Canon Powershot A3000 IS Review- Features
Being such a basic compact in terms of specs it comes as a pleasant surprise to see Canon’s EOS-style mode dial adorning the top panel of the A3000. Because of this all the features are far more visible and available to select quickly. Granted, there isn’t the wealth of manual controls that the likes of a DSLR would provide, but having a few helpful Scene modes and other Auto shooting modes at a finger stretch is incredibly useful. The program mode has a couple of selectable extras, such as white balance and ISO, but in general this is a straightforward, simple shooter. The video mode is limited to 640 x 480, so a fair way off HD, and only the digital zoom is active when recording. The 4x optical zoom, although a little limited, is extremely useful and doesn’t massively affect the focus times and the optical image stabilization does tend to be a touch aggressive but is nonetheless useful.
Canon Powershot A3000 IS Review- Design
The design of the A3000 IS is, much like the rest of the camera, slightly better than it should be for the price range. The metallic frame with black plastic frame looks classy and is impressively slim, making the compact a fair distance away from being a burden. There’s not a great deal of weight to the body either, making it all the more convenient for slipping it into a pocket for a day out. Where the body is impressively compact, the buttons seem to have been forced to make way. Each are well recessed into the camera, making the likes of the D-pad difficult to press at times. Zoom control is relegated to two buttons at the top right of the rear, rather than a rocker switch, making tempering the magnification a far more basic process. The LCD is relatively bright and sharp though, making it difficult to turn out unintentionally poor results.
Canon Powershot A3000 IS Review- Results
For all the good work elsewhere in the camera image quality is a real letdown. Most shots were soft overall, in spite of an impressive amount of focal zones being available, and the limited dynamic range meant blown highlights were depressingly common. Colour erred onto the saturation side in most images, and even the likes of the blues appeared devoid of tone and texture. The image stabilization at least made the focus quick, and made framing at the top end of the magnification simple.
In the below £200 sector there's plenty of competition for the A3000IS, even if it's exclusive to Argos, and the results are likely to determine the preferred model. For that kind of money there are far more impressive models in terms of image quality, although the build and feature set just about saves the A3000IS from being a complete loss.