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Canon PowerShot A2300 Ken McMahon, May 2012
 
   
 

Canon PowerShot A2300 verdict

The Canon PowerShot A2300 is the 'house red' of Canon's 2012 PowerShot line up. A notch up from the low end AA-powered budget PowerShots the A810 and A1300, it's a basic point-and-shoot compact with some refinements designed to make it more appealing than Canon's (and the competition's) entry-level models at minimum extra cost.

The headline feature is the 5x optical zoom, increased from the 4x offering of its predecessor. The A2300 lacks optical image stabilisation, but Canon has instead introduced Digital IS - a low-light stacking scene mode which produces a high ISO composite image.There's also a new 16 Megapixel sensor up from 14.1 megapixels in the PowerShot A2200.

The A2300 is packed with user-friendly features like Smart auto mode with Scene recognition and Face detect AF, Live View Control, Face self-timer, and a dedicated help button as well as a range of fun creative effects, some of which can be used in movie mode. While you can't use the zoom during movie recording, its 720p HD mode will be more than adequate for the needs of most people looking at a point and shoot model in this price range.

   
 

 

Compared to Canon PowerShot A3400 IS

     
 
 
     
     

The PowerShot A3400 IS has two features in common with the A2300, a 5x optical zoom lens and the same 16 Megapixel CCD sensor. That might lead you supose they're quite similar cameras, but beyond the lens and sensor lie a couple of very significant differences.

Their respective lenses may share the same range, but the A3400 IS zoom is optically stabilised, making it a much more capable-low light performer. Don't be fooled into thinking the A2300's Digital IS mode is an adequate substitute, its reduced resolution high ISO shots don't come close and there's no option for stabilised video either. The other major difference is the PowerShot A3400 IS is the first PowerShot to feature a touch-sensitive screen. At 3 inches it's bigger than the 2.7 inch screen on the A2300 and makes for easier menu and feature selection as as well improving the handling with features like touch focus.

The A3400 IS has all the same ease of use features as the A2300 and shares the same best quality 720p25 HD movie mode. It's a little heavier and a little more expensive than the A2300, so if you're not too bothered about low light performance and can live without a touch screen, the A2300 might make more sense. But if you like the idea of a touch screen and do a lot of your picture taking in low light the small addition cost will be money well spent.

See my Canon PowerShot A3400 IS review for more details.

 

Canon PowerShot A2300 verdict

The PowerShot A2300 provides a good combination of features and ease of use in a slim and elegantly designed package. Most manufacturers have 5x zooms in their budget ranges so it's not a stand-out feature, and neither is a 16 Megapixel sensor, though you might question why Canon is increasing the pixel count on the sensors for its PowerShot A-series models when it's opting for reduced resolution CMOS sensors on its HS models. The test results confirm that, as far as the A2300 is concerned, more isn't necessarily better.

The newly designed control layout makes it easier than ever to switch modes and the on screen help system with its dedicated button makes this the easiest of point-and-shoot models to find your way around. Add Live view controls and creative effects and it adds up to a camera that's not only easy to use, but a lot of fun.

The downsides are less than sparkling image quality, no optical image stabilisation and a distinctly average LCD screen. All those problems are addressed by the two models up in the range, the PowerShot A2400 IS and the A3400 IS. Though a few dollars more expensive, they're well worth considering.

 



Good points
5x optical zoom.
Small and slim, light and sleek.
16 Megapixel Sensor.
Dedicated help button.

Bad points
No optical image stabilisation.
Digital IS is not full resolution.
No optical zoom while in movie mode.
Poor High ISO noise performance.







Scores

(relative to 2012 budget compacts)
 

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

17 / 20
16 / 20
17 / 20
17 / 20
15 / 20

82%


   

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