Expert Review of Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Point & Shoot Gold
One of Canon’s hidden trump cards is Canon PowerShot A 3400 IS, which is a mid range A series PowerShot, this device however has an unsusual feature that sets it apart from the other PowerShots, a big 3 inch TouchScreen. Up until now to go for a touch screen Point & Shoot one had to just look at Canon IXUS Series, well not anymore with the launch of Canon PowerShot A3400, which brings touch screen control within the reach of those on smaller budgets. It has a 5x optical zoom with the same range as the less expensive models in the range, but, crucually, with the added benefit of optical image stabilisation which makes a big difference to its ability to get good shots in low light as well as smooth movie footage at 720p HD resolution.
Design and Build Quality
The styling of Canon’s PowerShot A series has been done keeping a vision of their sister series the Canon IXUS set of phones, and the resemblance seems to just grow day by day. Canon A3400 seems more sophisticated and elegant than the earlier models of PowerShot series, dimensionally the device is couple of millimetres taller and 1.2 millimetres wider than the slimmest PowerShot, the A2300 and weighs 16g more, but is still very much one of the most compact image capturing devices around. Canon PowerShot A3400 is available in exciting color combinations of gold, red and silver. Unlike Canon PowerShot A2300, which has a coloured front panel with a black plastic rear, Canon A3400 IS is finished in an attractive two-tone scheme with a slightly darker back panel. It is amusing to see how much of difference this makes in terms of your perception of the camera, Canon A3400 looks unquestionably like a pricier camera and the slightly increased weight that works as a catalyst to that feeling.
Focus and Face Detection
Canon IXUS 125 HS works on a focal length 5 wide – 25 tele mm which is 35 mm film equivalent to 28mm wide – 140 tele mm. Focussing range in normal mode is 3cm – infinity in wide mode and 1.2m – infinity in tele mode. The two types of Autofocus control systems provided in the device are: Continuous and Servo AF. The three AutoFocus frames in view are Face AiAF, Tracking AF, Center AF.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Canon PowerShot A3400 IS sports a decent 5x optical zoom with a focal range of 28-140mm. Leave aside the top-of-the-range PowerShot A4000 IS, all the 2012 A series PowerShots share the same lens, though not all have the prestige to be blessed with the feature of optical image stabilisation. It's an outstanding 5x range for a resourceful compact and goes just a little past the picture zoom focal length at the telephoto end. If one shoots large landscapes, interiors or groups he may find the 28mm wide angle a little constraining, though if you want something wider you'll have to look outside the PowerShot Range at something like the IXUS 125 HS which costs around twice as much, so whatever is being offered is reasonable enough. Canon PowerShot A3400 IS has optical image stabilisation which can be clearly understood by the suffix in its name. Canon's Intelligent IS analyses the scene and applies the most appropriate stabilisation, doing away with the need for panning modes that disable the stabilization in either the horizontal or vertical plane to allow you to follow subject movement. Intelligent IS on Canon PowerShot A3400 IS has 6 modes and displays an icon to tell you when it's in normal (2-axis) IS mode, panning mode, when it’s disabled because the camera is mounted on a tripod, macro mode, and the two movie stabilisation modes - Dynamic and Powered IS.
Screen and Menus
Canon PowerShot A3400’s most fancy part is its rear which sports a 3 inch LCD touchscreen which is clear and bright and also suffers none of the cons that were present in Canon A2300, which had a very narrow viewing angle both horizontally and vertically, though in the case of Canon PowerShot A 3400’s screen you can still see the image crystal clear with the camera held at 45 degrees arms length above the head. The catchiest point in this segment however remains the screen being touch sensitive.
A door on the right of the bottom panel of the body of Canon PowerShot A3400 contains what powers the camera itself. The slim NB- 11L Battery pack can provide enough power to last from 180 shots under Camera Imaging Products Association (CIPA). That's on the low side, but it's the price you pay for having a very small lightweight battery and a power-hungry touch-screen. The SD card slot sits just behind the battery, Canon PowerShot A3400 IS takes SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.
Canon PowerShot cannot shoot Full HD 1080p movies, although it can shoot HD movies at 720p resolution with the frame rate of 24 to 25 frames per second. Movies are encoded at an average bit rate of 18Mbits/s encoded in the H.264 format and saved as Quicktime.mov files. The longest single clip recording time is a second shy of 30 minutes and Canon recommends using an SD card of Class 4 or faster. None of the A series PowerShots has an optical zoom that functions during movie recording and all have built-in mono mics. They do allow use of some Creative Effects during shooting, though, the best of these being Miniature mode with speeded up playback at 5x, 10x, or 20x. For shooting at 720 p HD resolution one has to switch from 4:3 to 16:9. A feature not many will be aware of, and if you are shooting at 4:3, the Creative Effects movie modes default to VGA (640 x 480).
The 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor of Canon PowerShot A3400 enables user to make big prints, but compromises the device’s image quality, particularly at high ISO sensitivities. And, though not unusual in a compact in this price bracket, the lack of optical zoom control during movie recording is a bit disappointing. Canon PowerShot A3400 is powered by Canon forte DIGIC 4 Processor , alongside which if add excellent auto exposure and focussing and a great range of fun and creative effects a great camera is ready to be offered.
3 inch touch-screen.
5x stabilised optical zoom.
Small and slim, light and sleek.
16 Megapixel Sensor.
Dedicated help button.
Poor High ISO noise performance.
No optical zoom while in movie mode.
Poor continuous shooting performance.