Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Canon PowerShot A1000 IS
Solid all-round compact camera for novice users.
- Sharp shots, minimal chromatic aberration, speedy performance
- Noise levels quite high, missing the manual options of past A series units
A good choice for novice photographers, the Canon PowerShot A1000 offers a mixture of high quality 10-megapixel pictures and a beginner-oriented feature set. It does, however, capture quite noisy shots, making night photography somewhat difficult
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
A cheaper alternative to the PowerShot A2000, the Canon PowerShot A1000 IS is in many ways a similar unit. While it does have a slightly smaller display and a shorter lens, it is also a bit lighter and more petite, making it more portable and more comfortable to use. Otherwise, there is little to differentiate the two, and the A1000 is a strong option for novice photographers.
Sporting a 10-megapixel sensor and a 4x optical zoom with image stabilisation, the A1000 is well placed within the current crop of compact cameras. It captured good shots in our tests, with only a few minor flaws.
Images were crisp and clean, with a good level of detail for a sensor of this resolution. Our shots of the city skyline were well rendered and will please all but the most discerning photography aficionado.
This is helped by the fact that chromatic aberration was very well controlled. There was almost no purple fringing evident in any of our outdoor shots and detail loss towards the corners of the frame was minimal. Most compacts struggle in this regard, so it’s good to see Canon has been paying some special attention to the issue.
Colours were typically well balanced. Shots had the slightly oversaturated tone common to most compacts, but the balance was pleasing and our test shots looked lively and vibrant.
Noise was the one problem area in our tests. It wasn’t horrific by any stretch of the imagination, but there was a little graininess creeping in even at ISO 200. ISO 400 still produced usable shots, but they were more speckled than we like, and beyond that you’ll need a pretty high tolerance for noise. As a result, low-light shooting with the A1000 might not be a wise choice, even with the great optical image stabilisation.
In our speed tests, the unit impressed in most regards. It started up in 1.7 seconds and there was a delay of just 1.8 seconds between shots. The shutter lag was also pretty minimal at 0.07 seconds, while the burst mode snapped 2.2 frames per second.
The disappointing thing about both this unit and its larger sibling is their departure from the previous PowerShot A series ideology. Gone are the more advanced manual shooting modes, replaced by a more basic and novice-focused interface. While this is great for beginners, it leaves more experienced photographers out in the cold.
As it stands, the unit’s feature set is still relatively robust, with the excellent optical image stabilisation at the forefront. There is also the obligatory face detection, along with autofocus, auto-exposure and motion detection, as well as in-camera red-eye correction. There are a host of scene modes as well as an ‘easy mode’, which is even simpler than auto and makes all the decisions for you, taking away the hassle for novices.
The unit’s design is one of its stronger points. Much slimmer than the PowerShot units of old, the A1000 fits very comfortably into a pocket. It weighs very little, and while the absence of a true grip makes it a little less comfortable to hold, the side curves outwards and goes some way to rectifying this. Another design feature of note is the viewfinder, which is possible thanks to the slightly smaller 2.5in LCD. Not everyone will use it, but it’s nice to have the option.
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