Canon PowerShot A2300 Ken McMahon, May 2012

Canon PowerShot A2300 vs PowerShot A3400 IS image quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot A2300 and the PowerShot A3400 IS within a few moments of each other using their best quality 16 Megapixel resolution.

The lenses on both cameras were set to an equivalent field of view and both were set to Program auto exposure mode.

The ISO sensitivity was manually set to 100 ISO on each camera.


  PowerShot A2300 results
1 PowerShot A2300 Quality
3 PowerShot A2300 Noise
5 PowerShot A2300 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot A2300. The lens was set to its maximum wide angle position at 5mm to provide an equivalent field of view to the 5-25mm lens on the PowerShot A3400 IS. In Program auto mode the camera metered an exposure of 1/250 at f7.9. The original JPEG image size was 4.09MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%.

The A2300 doesn't have image stabilisation, but the A3400 IS does and for this tripod-based test it was disabled, while i-Contrast was left in the default off position on both cameras. Before I analyse the 100 percent crops I just want to briefly talk about the aperture selected by both cameras and its effect on image quality. Both the A2300 and the A3400 IS selected an aperture of f7.9 in Program auto mode (implying the choice of just two aperture settings). An initial test shot I made with the A2300 selected an aperture of f2.8, but subsequently the A2300 steadfastly refused to budge from f7.9. The A3400 IS selected f7.9 for every shot, so lacking a pair of f2.8 shots for comparison and with no aperture priority mode to force a wider aperture, for a fair comparison I've compared crops from the f7.9 exposures. But it's also only fair to point out that the quality of the single f2.8 exposure from the A2300 is visibly better than these f7.9 crops which suffer noticeably from diffraction.

Aside from the diffraction issue the most noticeable thing about these crops is the low level of detail and the clumpiness of the pixels. All of these crops look quite heavily processed and there's quite a noticeable degree of texture in areas of flat colour. In the first crop a lot of the fine detail in the chapel walls and the foregound has been obscured by this clumpiness.

In the second crop the processing doesn't to a lot for the detail in the lighthouse and what should be a distinct thin white rectangular column is a bit of an indistinct blob. The detail in the foreground of this crop is a little better though and you can make out the edges of the window frames. Once again though the finer detail in the roofs is obscured by the clumpy fug. The third crop from the edge of the frame fares no better, but no worse either. Here I'd be looking for evidence of lens defects but the lack of detail recorded by the sensor makes it difficult to determine if the lens quality deteriorates towards the edge of the frame. From what can be seen though, the detail here looks consistent with crops from nearer the centre of the frame.

The last crop from close to centre of the frame is the best in terms of definition with reasonably well defined edge detail, I'd hesitate to call it sharp, though, as once again the clumpiness makes everthing appear as it was viewed through a dirty window. It's worth pointing out that at typical screen sizes you're unlikely to notice this pixel clumping and loss of detail, but if you plan on making large prints, or radically cropping your shots it could become an issue.

These results from the Canon PowerShot A2300's 16 Megapixel CCD sensor are a little disappointing, particularly as this sensor is used in the entire 2012 PowerShot A line up. Having said that the crops from the PowerShot A3400 IS, which shares the same 16 Megapixel sensor look significantly better than those from the A2300. They still look very processed and there's the same pixel clumping, but not to the same degree and the A3400 IS crops show better detail as a result with sharper, more clearly defined edges.

To see how these models compare at higher sensitivities check out my PowerShot A2300 Noise results.


CanonPowerShot A2300
Canon PowerShot A3400 IS
f7.9, 100 ISO
f7.9, 100 ISO
f7.9, 100 ISO
f7.9, 100 ISO
f7.9, 100 ISO
f7.9, 100 ISO
f7.9, 100 ISO
f7.9, 100 ISO

Canon PowerShot A2300 results : Quality / Noise

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