So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Canon PowerShot A630
- Sharp pictures, Brilliant colour capture, Lots of features
- Some minor over-sharpening issues, Chunky design
Another great advanced compact camera from Canon, the PowerShot A630 is a wonderful choice for those after a little more control and versatility. It offers great image quality and comes with plenty of useful features.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
Canon's PowerShot range is one of the most consistent performers of any product range in the IT field. Very occasionally there might be a unit that falls slightly below par, but for the most part, all the models are impressive digital-still cameras well worth your hard-earned dollars. The Powershot A630 adds to this range and is no exception to the rule. It produces fantastic picture quality and its bulky enclosure is filled with features that are sure to please amateurs budding photographers.
As usual, we ran our tests, which are comprised of a combination of subjective analysis, as well as our Imatest software. The A630 lived up to its expectations in nearly every way.
It achieved a sharpness score of 1628, which is a strong result for an 8-megapixel sensor. Our test shots corroborated this, showing the clean, smooth detail and crisp edges we've come to expect from Canon cameras. There was a minor amount of fringing in some areas of our motherboard shot, which is a little disappointing, but it wasn't enough to be noticeable at anything but the largest magnification.
Imatest did, however, also reveal a relatively large amount of over-sharpening, giving the A630 a score of 19.9% in this test. Anything over about 15% tends is worrying, but our test shots showed only minor signs of this and, to be honest, it wasn't strong enough to be a concern.
Our chromatic aberration test returned a score of .103%, which is slightly below normal. We saw some minor blurring towards the edges of our test shots, but haloing was kept to a minimum on our high-contrast charts, which was a pleasant surprise.
Meanwhile, in the colour test, Canon has once again outdone itself. Sometimes it seems almost as though this test is made for its cameras, as they almost always perform superbly. The A630 achieved the best result for an advanced compact that we've seen to date, with a score of 5.35. This is an amazing result and, as the Imatest charts indicate, there were basically no errors across the entire spectrum; even the reds were almost spot-on.
Our last test is for image noise and, while the A630's performance here wasn't as mind-blowing as in the colour test, it did fairly well. Its score of .81% at ISO 100 is around the average for this sort of unit. Our shots were clean, with minimal speckling, although there was a little blotchiness that caused some minor fringing. The noise scaled quite well with higher sensitivities too. Even at the maximum setting of ISO 800, the noise was kept quite small, so shots taken at this setting should be useable at smaller print magnifications.
In our speed tests, the A630 performed moderately well. It exhibited .08 seconds of shutter lag, a shot-to-shot time of 1.7 seconds and a start-up time of about two seconds. Meanwhile, the burst mode was a little sluggish, capturing 2.5 frames per second.
The feature-set of the PowerShot A630 is impressive. It has all the standard modes, such as aperture, shutter and program priority, along with manual and preset white balance options, and ISO sensitivities up to 800. The aperture extends from f/2.8 to f/8.0 while the shutter speed goes from 1/2500th of a second through to 15 seconds. There is also the usual smattering of center and spot focus modes, along with a 640x480, 30fps video mode, and 21 scene modes. None of these options have awe inspiring range and there are advanced models that are better than the A630 in terms of overall features, but considering its price, this model offers plenty of versatility.
The camera's design is perhaps the only real let-down, and even then it isn't all that bad. The PowerShot lineup has always been known for its bulky design and the A630 reaffirms this. Measuring 109.4mm x 49mm x 66mm and weighing 245g, it's one of the chunkier units on the market and certainly isn't a 'slip in your pocket and forget about it' type of device. It has a slightly larger than normal 4x zoom lens, but what really adds to the size is the jutting right hand grip, which houses four AA batteries.
The whole unit is constructed of sturdy plastic, which is silver in colour, and it feels extremely solid. The controls are set up in the standard Canon array, which is fairly intuitive and the display is hinged on the left-hand side. This makes it perfect for those arduous angled shots, and it also makes self portraits a breeze.
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