Earlier this month Canon announced new cameras in A series PowerShot A630, PowerShot A640 and PowerShot A710IS. Exclusive before it’s official premier on Fotokina photo-show in Cologne, we got PowerShot A630 on our test table and here is the test.
Canon PowerShot A630 is a successor of quite popular A620. There are numerous new features, first excellent new large 2.5′’ diagonal vari-angle LCD, which now have view angle over 160 degrees, differs from A620 which display was readable only by looking strait at it, which bugs me the most. Also A630 is equipped with new optical sensor with 8Mpix and high sensitivity up to ISO800 and great 4x zoom lens.
- 8Mpix Optical sensor, sensitivity up to ISO800
- New 4x zoom lens, 35-140mm 35mm equiv. F2.8 -4.1
- Large vari-angle LCD 2.5” diagonal, with 160 degrees viewing angle
- Digic II image processor, just when I was writing this review, Canon released new DIGIC III
- 9-point AiAF and FlexiZone AF/AE – enhanced selectable 9 point focus
- 21 scene mods, My colors additional color adjustment
- Great Macro mod, can focus on subjects only 1cm – 0.4” from lens
- High-Speed ISO – HI ISO option allowing to take a picture of fast subjects in low light conditions
Video recording in full VGA resolution in 30fps with sound of course, and duration limited only by free space
Implemented huge LCD display is simply great, readable from any angle, vari-angle so it can be in any angle. Anti reflex layer on it and automatic back-light control allows it to be readable in any light conditions, total dark or on sunny day, picture will be just perfect. Built in 4x zoom lens, from not so wide 35mm up to telephoto 140mm ( 35mm equiv. ), with maximal F2.8 on wide up to maximal F4.1 in telephoto scale. Also camera have two kinds of digital zoom Safety Zoom and Digital TeleConverter. Safety zoom allows additional zoom with no quality reduction – it crops photograph, because camera has 8Mpix on 4Mpix you can additional zoom 4x example. Which is not so useless, cause on such photo you got only important details already cropped so it demands less space on memory card. But these options are buried in the menus, they are not so easy to use, differs from some Sony’s cameras.
Orientation sensor is built in in camera, so there are no more editing pictures just to set is it landscape or portrait, camera done it by it self. Also sensor is active in preview mode, so while you review taken photos on camera it will rotate picture on display to fit camera position – quite interesting feature.
9-point AiAF and FlexiZone AF/AE supported with strong AF lamp on camera front always brings your subject in focus, when it’s not in the center of the frame too, even in low light conditions. Additional FlextiZone AF/AE allowing to select point of focus manually, not often seen on this class cameras.
Camera can record movie clips in full VGA resolution with sound and 30fps. There are no limitation in duration of the clip captured, except free space limitation. As A630 have built in support for SDHC SD cards ( High Capacity cards from 4,8GB ) with some SDHC card inserted, Canon A630 will become real compact video camera.
A630 is still using as predecessor four AA batteries so time between flash charging is fast, much faster then on A5xx series cameras, also flash is a bit stronger then on previous series.
100% crop of same scene taken on different ISO settings, as you can notice on dark parts of the image there is great amount of color noise. Noise is significant on ISO400, and on ISO800 picture is almost totally useless. But if we can chose from get such high noise picture, or no picture, you get the point. It’s almost certain that DIGIC II image processor is simple to old and can not deal with new small but packed with Mpix sensors. As I was writing this Canon released new camera G7 with new DIGIC III. One of the new features built in in A630 is new HI ISO settings, if its set camera will increase ISO to shorten exposure time, allowing to shoot without blur fast moving subjects in low light conditions. A630 as it’s predecessor have fantastic macro mode, it can focus to subjects which are just 1cm from camera lens – just watch out not to hit camera lens into subject
Camera have fast USB 2.0 interface for transferring photos, which is hidden under cap on the side of the camera, so transferring great amounts of data is performed quite fast. Each 8Mpix photos is up to 3-5 MB, with camera Canon ships only 16MB MMC card, which will be enough for few test pictures, buying additional memory card is compulsory. Also next to USB connector there is an interface for external power and connector for TV. All necessary cables are supplied with camera, but you will need to buy external power adapter.
Camera have 21 built in scene mods, for portraits, landscapes, tacking pictures on snow, on beach, indoor photos, fireworks and much others. So basic usage is simple just select your scene type and press shutter to take pictures. Canon as up to now guaranties great results. If you want more control of your photos, there are complete manual mod, and several semiautomatics, when you just set one parameter and camera will set all other parameters for great results.
As some kind of conclusion, we can say that we got refreshed model, with few noticed bugs fixed from predecessor, which now have great large LCD, support for High Capacity SD cards, respectable canon lens and 8Mpix image sensor.
Ability to record video in full VGA resolution with 30fps with no time limitation definitely raise practical usage value of this camera to whole new level. As one of the lacks we can mention, camera case, in my opinion, it is not so solid as previous models, but it’s sacrifice for price reduction.
Parallel with this camera Canon present A640 basically the same camera using only different image sensor with 10Mpix. Price difference for now is about $100. You have to decide is that 2Mpix more worth $100 more.