Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Review.


Buying a new Point and Shoot camera is always a tricky task for those on Budget, as the market is inundated with so much variety in Low Budget Cameras. I already had a camera and needed another one as that old one was not fulfilling my needs now.
After days of research and discussion about what to look for in a Budget Point and shoot Camera, I shortlisted Canon PowerShot A3400 IS as the camera which i wanted to buy, and it hasn't disappointed me. In-fact it amazes me with its quality and Features and what it can do at a Budget of around Rs.6500 ($100). And its the only camera which has powered Image Stabilization(IS) at this budget, so i thought it best to write a well detailed Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Review listing all its features, Pros and cons if any.

Canon A3400 IS hands on Review

So here i will start with Design and Build and what's in the box :-

Design and Build :

PowerShot cameras from Canon is the cheapest of its all point and shoot series of cameras. But Canon A3400 IS is something different, its one of only some cameras with Powered Image stabilization that can be counted on fingers at this Budget.

With a slim body and two-tone color scheme, it strongly exudes vibe of an IXUS Camera (the superior range from Canon), the Back-side i.e. the one with Screen and buttons is Plastic and Front i.e the one with lens is Aluminium with powder painted finish and Canon beautifully engraved on it. The Optical zoom slider on Shutter button feels natural and doesn't cause shakes which generally happen with Cameras having buttons for Zoom. The slightly heavy weight feels good while holding, but the slim profile of this Camera took me some time getting used to because earlier I used a bulkier Sony point-and-shoot, and it felt like it will slip out of hand anytime. But over-all the Body and Design with Buttons placements feels rather Premium and you won't believe that its actually a 100$ (Rs. 6100) Point and shoot camera.

Canon A3400 IS Body and Design

Canon A3400 IS Touch Screen Review
One feature that deserves a special Mention is the Touch screen LCD that is actually good unlike other Camera's functional LCDs, it has good Sunlight legibility and wide-viewing angles. Makes it easier to change setting like Exposure, Shutter speed, Flash etc. on the fly. To focus specifically on an object or point, just tap on that point on your Touch screen display and the Camera will focus on that point automatically, you can also set Toggle Touch shutter with a tap on screen i.e. Tap on screen to click a Picture without pressing the shutter button.

In the Box - Accessories

Canon A3400 IS comes with some standard camera accessories and some different too, here let's have a look at all of them.
Comes with a slim 680mAh NB-11L battery.
4 GB class 4 Micro SDHC card from Sandisk
Hand strap.
Stylus for Touch screen, but is not actually useful as Touchscreen is usable with hands too.
Proprietary Software CD with stitching software like Photomatix etc. for post-processing.
Battery charger and USB transfer cable.
User manual and 2 Year warranty.

Canon A3400 IS in the Box accesories

Ease of Use : 

Most of the settings and presets are easily available from Touchscreen menus and directional and center round key. But if you use touchscreen to open up some setting or preset option then you have to use only touch on it, button wont' work on. An if you were using Buttons for something then you can't switch over to touch-screen in between.
The Slider door at bottom gives access to Battery and Memory card slots for ease of replacement.
The Auto Mode is pretty much Camera on Auto-pilot, it senses what you are trying to shoot, be it the Macro, Portrait, landscape or even document, it changes settings on the fly while shooting.

Video shooting is easy too and starts with just the press of the button on front side of camera instantly, but mind you, shooting at 720p will fill up your included 4 GB SDHC card in about 20 minutes, with 480p giving you about 45 minutes of recording before the card fills up.
The Program mode lets you edit and set all the options manually if you would like, with options to turn off Flash, put it on Auto, shoot bursts, self timer etc.

Shoot Modes Canon A3400IS

Some of the other creative modes are :-

Miniature mode, which gives a miniature look to your Photos by blurring top and bottom and creating a shallow effect.
Toy camera - The usual Instagram like filter that darkens edges.
Faceself Timer - This mode starts countdown timer only when a new face enters the scene, talk about face recognition being put to some use.
Monochrome, and Fireworks mode for capturing vivid firecracker shots.


Features:

Powered Image Stabilization 

The Image stabilization is one big USP of this Point and shoot camera, you won't find Image stabilization in most of the cameras at this budget. But this sleek P&S comes with a Powered IS for all those High speed shots, little hand jerks, Full optical zoom shots (that usually come out washed over with blurriness on cameras with no IS).
This Camera will surpass your expectations with its IS as i will show you in the example shots below.

Macro - Macro mode can zoom at approximately 2 cm of distance from lens.
Long Exposure - This mode allows you to, set exposure times in the range of 1-15 seconds.

CDHK - This kit developed by some really talented team of programmers allows you to side-load a custom firmware on your Canon Digital cameras and gives Power to you, so that you can change options with your P&S like SLRs, it features Shutter speed overrides in Range of a few hours to 1/100k, Flash power overrides, Video quality override, ISO and Jpeg quality overrides too. And rejoice when i say that A3400 IS supports CHDK.

Canon A3400 IS CHDK settings

Resolution and Image Quality

Wide Angle

Canon A3400 IS Shots
Wide Angle shot  f/2.8  ISO 200  1/1250s
100% Crop
Macro


Canon A3400 IS Shots

Full Optical zoom



Canon A3400 IS Shots
Full Optical Zoom, IS powered, f/6.9, 1/160 Sec., ISO 200
Canon A3400 IS Shots
100% Crop
Video Quality and Options

Video Quality is acceptable at 25 FPS with two resolution alternatives i.e. 480p and 720p. I din't expect anymore than that, and it doesn't disappoint too with its razor sharp colors and cinematic frames, it is generally said that the closer you get to 30 FPS, it gets more real and at 24 FPS it goes movie like. Well i am happy and you cannot get any better quality in this price band.

Verdict

Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is something that i will always recommend to someone going to buy a new Point and shoot in Budget of Rs.6000/$100, It will fulfill all your needs and expectation from a Point and shoot camera. One thing worrying about this camera is low battery life of its bundled NB-11L battery,  i would recommend you to get a replacement battery for this if you are planning on some long trips and don't want battery to die out when you need it. Otherwise it's a Must buy from me.


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