Canon PowerShot A490 digital camera
Canon PowerShot A490 review: It won't win any design awards, but it takes great photos considering its price
- Good clarity and colours for such an inexpensive camera, good battery life using AAs, improved button layout over the PowerShot A480
- Shutter button doesn't have a distinct two-step feel, highlights were overexposed
The Canon PowerShot A490 is a cheap digital camera that can take high quality images. It's a simple point-and-shoot without extensive manual features and it runs on AA batteries. We don't like its shutter button, and it didn't handle highlights too well during our tests, but it can nevertheless take relatively clear and vibrant images considering its price tag.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
While it may be a very basic point-and-shoot compact digital camera, Canon's PowerShot A490 can take clear and vibrant photos that are very impressive considering its low price. It's the perfect camera to consider if you're on a budget but want to capture great quality images. However, it can be a hard camera to use, particularly because of its poor shutter button.
Overall, images taken with the PowerShot A490 are clear and vibrant.
On the inside, the A490 has a DiGIC III image processor and a 10-megapixel sensor sitting behind a 3.3x zoom lens. It has a wide angle of 37mm and a tele-photo angle of 122mm. These specifications are the same as the Canon PowerShot A480, which also produced very good image quality for its class. The body shape and power source (AA batteries) of the A490 are also the same as the A480, but it now has a more elegant colour scheme and its buttons have been reworked.
Some of the issues that we noticed in the A480 have been addressed: the shutter lag is not as noticeable, the control buttons on the back are easier to press, and the playback button has been moved slightly to the right, which provides more room for you to rest your thumb while you shoot. However, the shutter button is terrible as it doesn't have a distinct two-step feel. If you're a new digital camera user, you'll just end up pressing the shutter all the way without focusing first.
Because the PowerShot A490 is a point-and-shoot camera, there aren't many settings to change. There is no manual mode, but from Program mode you can change the ISO, white balance and metering settings. One of the buttons on the rear of the camera is also dedicated to changing the exposure compensation two levels up or down.
You'll want to use Program mode to control the ISO speed; as the camera doesn't have image stabilisation, it bumps up the ISO speed in order to use a higher shutter speed to avoid blur. That said, the camera's performance up to ISO 800 is more than acceptable, with only slight discolouration visible in dark colours. Furthermore, if you hold the camera steady enough you can use a low ISO and still take clear images with a 1/10th of a second shutter speed.
In this photo the white poles are overexposed and look soft.
Images taken in broad daylight came out clear and with accurate colours, but highlights were overexposed. Chromatic aberration was also visible in high contrast areas, which made branches and leaves look blue against a light-coloured sky.
The chromatic aberration is visible in the top-right corner of this image.
Macro mode is very useful on the PowerShot A490, as it allows you to shoot your subject from around 1cm and capture a very narrow focus — it's a lot of fun to use.
This is what the focus pattern looks like when using macro mode to capture a subject with the lens right up against it.
We found the overall image quality of the PowerShot A490 to be excellent considering its asking price, and the camera performed very well indoors, outdoors, and up close to our subjects. The point is, if you're looking for an inexpensive point-and-shoot without any frills, but with the ability to capture clear and accurately coloured (for the most part) photos, which you can then upload to a social media site or even print up to A4 size, it's hard to pass it up.
Canon environmental policy
You can read all about Canon's environmental and sustainability policies here: http://canon.com.au/en-AU/About-Canon/Sustainability-Environment. Canon's corporate strategy is based on the kyosei philosophy, which it broadly defines as "All people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future".
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSolutions Architect - Digital Technologies Financial ServicesQLD
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistQLD
- FTDatabase DeveloperNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTProject Manager - Finance BackgroundQLD
- TPUI/UX ConsultantWA
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- TPNode JS DeveloperNSW
- TPSystems Analyst - WHS ImplementationNSW
- FTDevOps - Web AdministratorQLD
- CCBusiness Implementation Manager - Change - Financial ServicesNSW
- FTJunior Applications SupportNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- TPSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- TPEnterprise Network Services ManagerACT
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperVIC
- CCFull Stack DeveloperQLD
- CCLead SAP SRM DeveloperACT
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- FTSystem Support ConsultantNSW
- FTDigital Support ConsultantSA