The Canon Powershot A3400 IS – Review

Being married to a photographer, you’d think I wouldn’t get to take many pictures, wouldn’t you?

not so. The husband doesn’t ‘do’ point-and-shoot compact camera’s, and it’s simply not practical to take a gurt big camera and lenses when you’re just walking the dog or off to the woods or to play cricket. Consequently, much of our day to day family images in my mahoosive iPhoto archive are taken by me.

For me, a compact camera is a must. I have an SLR, and I know how to use (most of) it. But for me, you can’t beat a camera that will slip into your pocket and come with you everywhere.

So when Canon offered me the chance to try out the new Powershot A3400 I was only too happy to do so. Particularly as we were off to Disney, and the use of a camera that hadn’t been dropped in a rockpool recently would probably be more reliable.


So – what’s to love?

The body is solid and chunky – despite is diminutive stature, this camera feels like it won’t roll over and cry at a little bouncing. It’s easy to get started – everything is intuitive (one of the biggest reasons why I love Canon so), and straight out of the box you can be snapping perfectly good pictures.
If you do want to move away from the Auto settings, it’s easy enough to change the shooting mode. When placed in Program mode you can touch the rear LCD to fire the shutter (this MAY have happened a time or two accidentally. Maybe.).
It’s also possible to disable the Touch Shutter and instead use the display to enable Touch Autofocus – watch the screen, tap what you want to be in focus, and then the clever camera magickery inside will track that object. This was genius for photographing the children (not sure if you’ve noticed, but they don’t sit still very often).

The range of the lens is good – though when zoomed in it can get less sharp (husband says it’s about half an f-stop slower on the telephoto end, and you’ll sometimes want a longer shutter speed or higher ISO setting. I say it can just get a leetle bit fuzzy when you’re zoomed in…).

The screen is mahoosive, vivid and sharp – for a teeny tiny camera it really is extraordinarily good. Though because of the big mahoosive screen on a teeny tiny camera, it does mean the buttons are a bit small for large man-hands. Not that it bothered ME any, y’understand.

Anyhoo. The pictures. That’s what it’s all about. Here’s some of what I took – straight out of the camera with no photoshoppery involved except resizing…

happy excited children at disneyland paris

First shot – on the move. Taint not no way my boy was stopping for happy photo moments.

buzz lightyear at disneyland paris 20th 2012

I have a bit of a ‘thing’ against flash. Actually? I hate it. I really do. Turn it OFF people. Except in full sunshine.
The Powershot A3400 did really well in the dimness inside the Buzz Lightyear ride. Which we visited a time or two. Or Six.

disneyland paris 20th 2012 in the rain

Yes, it rained. But isn’t it still PRETTY? And actually, the camera did well here – the castle is in bright almost-sunshine, and the foreground is quite dark and gloomy, but the loss of detail in the shade isn’t too bad at all.

disneyland paris at night, main street lit for the 20th anniversary

Oh. This was achingly pretty – and hasn’t the camera done well? Steady hands notwithstanding (there was a wobbly one or two (…6…); with all the crowd it was tricky to hold still) but this was definitely the shot I wanted. Good job I had a photographer on hand to take it for me, after my 5 failed attempts huh?

tired child at disneyland paris

Okay, sometimes you need the flash. The room was DARK. It was midnight. I couldn’t really see myself in the gloom – just pointed the camera and pressed go. Hey presto – not too blinding, and definitely one for the Cute album (Pluto was ever-so-slightly loved)

close up rottweiler nose

and the close ups? Well they’re pretty good too. Especially on noses.

bored family rottweiler

Though I can’t guarantee enthusiasm on behalf of your subject matter.

children using canon powershot

As for ease of use… if you leave the camera unattended, you will no doubt find little ‘gifts’ on it when you you download it…

And lastly. The video ability? I LOVE having video on compact cameras – I have so many snippets of video of unexpectedly special moments. I don’t expect full HD quality, but I do expect it to be watchable and shareable. So here – see what you think (NB – prepare to be humming for the next 30 minutes…)

For me personally, I found it a little limiting – I’d like more flexibility, more control and more power. But having said that the Powershot A3400 is a good basic camera – perfect for an undemanding user, great at quick snapping when out and about with the family, and a fabulous teens camera too.

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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