Canon PowerShot A650 IS

Canon PowerShot A650 IS
  • Canon PowerShot A650 IS
  • Canon PowerShot A650 IS
  • Canon PowerShot A650 IS
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5


  • Brilliantly sharp pictures, ISO sensitivities usable up to ISO 800, 6x optical zoom, full manual features


  • Heavy and chunky, some chromatic aberration issues

Bottom Line

It may be big, but if you're looking for a high-end advanced camera with all the bells and whistles that captures brilliant pictures the Canon PowerShot A650 IS is a great choice.

Would you buy this?

A common complaint of people living a fast-paced life is 'I just can't find the time to exercise'. Well it appears Canon has been taking this issue to heart when designing the latest advanced camera, the PowerShot A650. Weighing a massive 300g, carrying this model around is akin to a light workout. Fortunately, many users will find this unit worth its weight in gold thanks to a combination of brilliant image quality and manual features.

With a relatively hefty price tag the A650 sits at the top of the PowerShot line. As such, it carries an ultra high resolution 12.1-megapixel sensor which captures some of the sharpest images we've seen from a non-SLR camera.

Our test shots came out extremely crisp with great detail and no blurring or corner softening to speak of. Everything from our indoors chart and motherboard shots to the complex foliage outside was rendered beautifully. On the flip side there was quite a bit of chromatic aberration evident in our chart shots, with some nasty haloing on high contrast edges. There was also some noticeable purple fringing on tree lines and in outdoor snaps.

Colour response was typical of the PowerShot series, meaning it was impressive with accurately rendered hues and a pleasing overall look. Saturation was strong, particularly in the primary colours, but there is nothing unusual about that.

Image noise was kept very well under control with no noticeable speckling at low sensitivities. Even ISO 400 and ISO 800 were both perfectly fine for most print sizes although they were covered in a very fine haze. It wasn't until ISO 1600 that we started to see some real detail loss, which is impressive as most competing models struggle at anything above ISO 200. For fast paced or low light shooting the A650 excels.

Its results in our speed tests were fairly good. The A650 exhibited a slightly sluggish 0.1-second shutter lag, but power up time was quick at 1.7 seconds and shot-to-shot time was a fairly nice 2.1 seconds. The burst mode operates at just over two frames a second, which isn't great but understandable considering the impressive size of the shots.

The feature set is fairly standard fare for a Canon advanced model, but it complements the 12.1-megapixel sensor nicely offering all the usual manual shooting modes so you can get the most out of your shots. A 6x zoom lens is included and backed up by optical image stabilisation and the usual array of face detect and other focus and metering modes are also on offer. There are 13 scene modes for novice users as well as a custom dial option to store your own configuration of settings.

As mentioned in the introduction, the A650 is one of the heftiest non-SLR cameras we've used. Measuring 112.1x56.2x67.8mm it certainly won't fit into your pocket, but that is the price you pay for a high resolution, feature packed unit. One nifty design choice is the rotatable screen, which can be flipped around and angled for difficult shots.

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