Canon PowerShot A3100 IS Evaluation


The Canon PowerShot A3100 IS replaces the A2100 as the brand new top-of-the-range mannequin within the inexpensive PowerShot vary of digital cameras. That includes a 12.1 megapixel picture sensor, 4x optical zoom lens full with picture stabilizer and a pair of.7 inch LCD display, the A3100 IS sports activities a slim and light-weight physique in three totally different colors. Different highlights embrace 18 taking pictures modes together with Good Auto and Simple modes with Scene Detection Expertise for point-and-shoot operation, Face Detection, Face Choose & Monitor, FaceSelf-Timer, i-Distinction and Auto Purple-Eye Correction applied sciences, the DIGIC III picture processing engine and VGA film recording. Out there in pink, silver and blue for $179.99 / £189 we discover out if the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS deserves its place on the prime of the Canon A-series vary.

Ease of Use

The Canon PowerShot A3100 IS is outwardly similar to the costlier and better-specced A2100 IS digicam, which has now been dropped from the vary, and the cheaper and less-capable A1100 IS, which remains to be listed as an obtainable mannequin. Regardless of its funds price-tag, the A3100 a well-made and compact digital digicam with a severe matt-blue plastic physique and wonderful total end. It is simply sufficiently small to match into the palm of your hand, primarily due to the brand new 4x optical zoom lens that is equal to a 35-140mm focal size and a very good most aperture of f/2.7. Though the zoom vary on provide is smaller than the 6x of the A2100, it does make the A3100 a slimmer and lighter digicam, measuring 2.8cms thick when turned off and weighing 30gms much less at 155gms with out the battery or reminiscence card fitted.

Each side of the Canon A3100 IS has a top quality really feel with nothing feeling flimsy or ill-thought out. The principle criticism that we leveled at earlier PowerShots, specifically that the tripod mount was plastic as an alternative of metallic and positioned within the excessive left nook of the underside of the digicam, has been rectified by the A3100’s central, metallic mount, so kudos to Canon for listening to person suggestions. One of the vital vital modifications to the A3100 is the usage of a Lithium Ion battery quite than AA batteries, which just about all earlier A-series Canon cameras have used. This helps make the digicam lighter and considerably improves the battery life to round 225 pictures from a full cost, nevertheless it does take away the pliability of utilizing extensively obtainable AA batteries and makes it costlier to purchase spares.

The A3100 continues to lack any sort of hand-grip. Older PowerShot fashions had been snug to carry due to a chunky, rubberised hand-grip, however this has been fully eliminated on the A3100 (and the earlier A2100), changed as an alternative by a clean, flat end, embossed with the Canon emblem. This makes it harder to carry the digicam than it actually must be, particularly as there’s solely a tiny horizontal row of three raised dots on the rear of the digicam to help you. On a extra constructive observe, the vast majority of the exterior controls are well-made and straightforward to function, with the motion of the taking pictures mode dial stiff sufficient to withstand being inadvertently turned to the flawed mode when saved in a pocket or bag. There are not any actual progressive options right here, however every thing that the Canon Powershot A3100 IS does, it does effectively.

Canon PowerShot A3100 IS Canon PowerShot A3100 IS
Entrance Rear

The Canon Powershot A3100 IS has comparatively few exterior controls, simply 11 in whole, which displays the truth that that is fairly a easy digicam in performance phrases with solely restricted photographic management on provide. In comparison with older A-series fashions like the favored A720 IS, which supplied a full vary of artistic taking pictures modes, this continues the extra simplistic strategy that Canon have taken at this price-point. It is not an enormous deal for the less-experienced snapper, who will get extra use out of the point-and-shoot Simple and Good Auto modes, however for a lot of eager photographers on the lookout for a second, pocket digicam, there is no such thing as a longer an affordable however succesful compact within the Canon vary. Should you actually desire a fully-capable PowerShot, then the S90 or the G11 are a lot better but additionally way more costly options.

Wanting from the rear from left to proper, situated on prime of the A3100 IS are the microphone holes, On/Off button, small Shutter button and the Taking pictures Mode Dial. The latter is now quite inconveniently positioned to the far-right of the top-plate, which is the place the shutter button would extra naturally be positioned. Extra annoyingly, the push/pull zoom lever of the earlier A2100 / A1100 fashions has been changed by thumb-operated zoom out / zoom in buttons, that are much less exact and slower to function. On the underside of the A3100 are the tripod mount and the battery compartment, which additionally homes the SD reminiscence card slot.

On the rear of the A3100 is a now normal 2.7 inch LCD display which gives 100% scene protection, a median decision of 230k dots, a large viewing angle from left to proper, and is seen in all however the brightest of sunlit circumstances. There isn’t any optical viewfinder on this mannequin. There are quite a lot of controls positioned to the appropriate. You’ll be able to straight entry the assorted focus and flash choices by clicking left and proper on the navigation pad, while up and down are respectively used to set the publicity compensation and timer choices. There isn’t any devoted button for ISO pace, which is a generally used characteristic – as an alternative you have got dip into and out of both the Perform or Major menus. The Perform/Set button in the course of the navigation pad opens a vertical sub-menu of icons, which, relying on the chosen taking pictures mode, permits you to set the ISO pace, white stability, colors, metering, steady taking pictures and picture measurement/high quality settings. This technique is an efficient compromise given the measurement of the digicam’s LCD display and due to this fact the restricted house for exterior controls.

Canon PowerShot A3100 IS Canon PowerShot A3100 IS
Entrance Entrance

You probably have by no means used a digital digicam earlier than, otherwise you’re upgrading from a extra fundamental mannequin, studying the excellent and pretty easy-to-follow handbook earlier than you begin is an efficient concept. Sadly Canon have chosen to chop prices and solely provide the total handbook as a PDF on a CD, quite than in printed format (there’s only a quick printed information to the digicam’s fundamental options). Not a lot use in the event you’re taking photos and want to search out out what a selected possibility does. There is not any reminiscence card provided as normal and no inner reminiscence both, so just remember to purchase an SD / SDHC card similtaneously the digicam. The A3100 additionally usefully helps the model new SDXC format which makes it extra future-proof.

The menu system on the Canon Powershot A3100 IS is extraordinarily straight-forward to make use of and is accessed by a devoted button beneath the navigation pad. Numerous the digicam’s most important settings, reminiscent of white stability, publicity compensation and ISO pace, are accessed elsewhere, so the principle menu system is not really that difficult. A row of two icons alongside the prime of the LCD display represents the Digital camera and Setup sub-menus, with many of the choices being the sort that you just set as soon as after which neglect about. Because of the giant and vibrant LCD display, the assorted choices are simple to entry and use, particularly as solely 5 are proven onscreen at one time. The A3100 IS gives an intuitive menu system for newbies due to the ‘hints and ideas’ textual content bubbles that pop up when the person alights on a selected setting. Extra skilled customers also can deactivate this characteristic by way of the menus ought to it begin to show tiresome.

The Canon Powershot A3100 IS gives the standard Program mode and a complete vary of various scene modes aimed on the person who simply desires to level and shoot, making this digicam notably well-suited to the newbie. The A3100 IS’ Good Auto Mode is just like Panasonic’s Clever Auto, mechanically figuring out the topic’s brightness, distinction, distance and total hue, then choosing the right scene setting from 18 attainable modes, which is greater than most rivals. The A3100 uncannily chosen the correct of scene mode for nearly each setting that I attempted it in. There’s additionally the Simple Mode, the place the digicam mechanically units each taking pictures setting, stopping the inexperienced person from altering something in any respect, other than turning the flash on and off. As well as Simple Mode works in the identical manner as Good Auto Mode – it actually does flip the A3100 into a real level and shoot digicam, excellent to be used by youngsters for instance.

In contrast to most mid-range compacts from the final 6 months, the A3100 IS does not provide HD motion pictures. As a substitute it data video at 640×480 VGA at 30fps with mono sound. The Lengthy Play mode permits you to retailer roughly twice as a lot footage on the identical sized reminiscence card by making use of extra aggressive compression (with a subsequent drop in high quality).

Canon PowerShot A3100 IS Canon PowerShot A3100 IS
Reminiscence Card Slot Battery Compartment

The Canon Powershot A3100 IS has an anti-shake system referred to as IS Mode – flip it on within the menu system and the A3100 IS mechanically compensates for digicam shake, which is a slight blurring of the picture that usually happens at sluggish shutter speeds. There are three totally different modes. Steady is on on a regular basis together with picture composition, Taking pictures is barely on whenever you press the shutter button, and Panning because the title suggests is finest when utilizing the digicam to trace a shifting topic. In follow I discovered that it does make a noticeable distinction, as proven within the examples on the Picture High quality web page. You do not discover that the digicam is definitely doing something totally different when anti-shake is turned on, simply that you should use slower shutter speeds than regular and nonetheless take sharp pictures.

The beginning-up time from turning the Canon Powershot A3100 IS on to being able to take a photograph is kind of fast at round 1.5 seconds, and it takes about 3 seconds to zoom from the widest focal size to the longest. Focusing is fast in good mild and the digicam fortunately achieves focus indoors or in low-light conditions, helped by the focus-assist lamp. It takes about 0.5 second to retailer a picture, permitting you to maintain taking pictures as they’re being recorded onto the reminiscence card – there’s a very fast LCD blackout between every picture. In Steady mode the digicam takes a disappointing 0.8 frames per second on the highest picture high quality, which is sluggish for this class of digicam, though the taking pictures charge is not less than maintained till your reminiscence card is full.

After you have captured a photograph, the Canon Powershot A3100 IS has a reasonably good vary of choices on the subject of taking part in, reviewing and managing your pictures. You’ll be able to scroll by means of the photographs that you’ve taken, view as much as 36 thumbnails, zoom in and out as much as 10x magnification, view slideshows, delete, shield, trim, resize and rotate a picture. You may as well set the print order and the switch order. The Purple-eye Correction choices fixes pink eye after you have got taken a photograph (helpful in the event you forgot to activate it earlier than). The Show button toggles detailed settings details about every image on and off, such because the ISO ranking and white stability, and there is a small histogram obtainable throughout playback which is useful in evaluating the publicity. A 3rd press of the Show button exhibits the picture alongside a small, magnified part, helpful for shortly checking the sharpness.

In abstract, the Canon Powershot A3100 IS is a compact and succesful digital digicam that’s notably well-suited to its newbie target market.

Picture High quality

The entire pattern pictures on this Evaluation had been taken utilizing the 12 megapixel Positive JPEG setting, which provides a median picture measurement of round 3Mb.

The Canon PowerShot A3100 IS produced pictures of excellent high quality in the course of the evaluation interval. The 12 megapixel sensor produces noise-free pictures at ISO 80 – 200. ISO 400 reveals some seen noise and lack of fantastic element, and ISO 800 and 1600 are even noisier, softer and endure from color desaturation.

The A3100 IS dealt extraordinarily effectively with chromatic aberrations, with restricted purple fringing results showing solely in excessive distinction conditions. The built-in flash labored effectively indoors, with no red-eye and ample publicity. The evening {photograph} was good, with the utmost shutter pace of 15 seconds permitting you to seize sufficient mild in most conditions.

Anti-shake works very effectively when hand-holding the digicam in low-light circumstances or when utilizing the telephoto finish of the zoom vary. Macro efficiency is nice, permitting you to focus as shut as 3cms away from the topic. The pictures had been somewhat mushy straight out of the digicam on the default sharpening setting and ideally require additional sharpening in an software like Adobe Photoshop, or you may change the in-camera setting in the event you do not just like the default outcomes.


There are 6 ISO settings obtainable on the Canon Powershot A3100 IS. Listed here are some 100% crops which present the noise ranges for every ISO setting:


Listed here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Internet – High quality 50 in Photoshop. The precise-hand picture has had some sharpening utilized in Photoshop. The out-of-the digicam pictures are just a bit mushy on the default setting ideally and profit from some additional sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You may as well change the in-camera sharpening degree to fit your tastes by way of the My Colours menu possibility.

Focal Vary

The Canon PowerShot A3100 IS’s 4x zoom lens supplies a focal size of 35-140mm in 35mm phrases, as demonstrated beneath.

File High quality

The Canon PowerShot A3100 IS has 2 totally different picture high quality settings obtainable, with Positive being the best high quality possibility. Listed here are some 100% crops which present the standard of the assorted choices, with the file measurement proven in brackets.

12M Positive (2.8Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Regular (1.2Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Powershot A3100 IS dealt with chromatic aberrations excellently in the course of the evaluation, with very restricted purple fringing current across the edges of objects in sure high-contrast conditions, as proven within the instance beneath.


The Canon Powershot A3100 IS gives a Macro setting that permits you to deal with a topic that is 3cms away from the digicam when the lens is about to wide-angle. The primary picture exhibits how shut you will get to the topic (on this case a compact flash card). The second picture is a 100% crop.


The flash settings on the Canon Powershot A3100 IS are Auto, Flash On, Gradual Synchro, and Flash Off, with Purple-eye Correction and Purple-Eye Lamp settings obtainable by way of the Flash Settings most important menu possibility. These pictures of a white colored wall had been taken at a distance of 1.5m.

And listed here are some portrait pictures. As you may see, neither the Flash On setting or the Purple-Eye Correction possibility triggered any red-eye.

Flash On (100% Crop)

Evening Shot

The Canon Powershot A3100 IS’s most shutter pace is 15 seconds within the Lengthy Shutter mode, which is nice information in the event you’re critically fascinated about evening images. The shot beneath was taken utilizing a shutter pace of 10 seconds at ISO 80. I’ve included a 100% crop of the picture to point out what the standard is like. The digicam takes the identical period of time once more to use noise discount, so for instance on the 10 second setting the precise publicity takes 20 seconds.

Anti Shake

The Canon Powershot A3100 IS has an anti-shake mechanism, which lets you take sharp pictures at slower shutter speeds than different digital cameras. To check this, I took 2 handheld pictures of the identical topic with the identical settings. The primary shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Listed here are some 100% crops of the photographs to point out the outcomes. As you may see, with anti shake turned on, the photographs are a lot sharper than with anti shake turned off. This characteristic actually does appear to make a distinction and might imply capturing a profitable, sharp shot or lacking the chance altogether.

1/fifteenth / 35mm
1/eighth / 140mm

My Colours

The Canon PowerShot A3100 IS gives 5 My Colour preset results that you should use to alter the look of your pictures, and you can too create your personal Customized Colour.

Pattern Pictures

It is a choice of pattern pictures from the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS digicam, which had been all taken utilizing the 12 megapixel Positive JPEG setting. The thumbnails beneath hyperlink to the full-sized variations, which haven’t been altered in any manner.

Pattern Film & Video

It is a pattern film on the high quality setting of 640×480 at 30 frames per second. Please observe that this 15 second film is 27.8Mb in measurement.

Product Pictures

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Entrance of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Entrance of the Digital camera / Lens Prolonged

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Rear of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Rear of the Digital camera / Picture Displayed

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Rear of the Digital camera / Turned On

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Rear of the Digital camera / Perform Menu

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Rear of the Digital camera / Major Menu


Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Prime of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Backside of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Facet of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Facet of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Entrance of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Entrance of the Digital camera

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Reminiscence Card Slot

Canon Powershot A3100 IS

Battery Compartment


The Canon Powershot A3100 IS is a good choice as a primary digital digicam. There’s nothing right here to get too enthusiastic about, however the mixture of ease-of-use, superior options for newbies and stable picture high quality is a compelling one.

The same old vary of scene modes are accompanied by the final word point-and-shoot Good Auto and Simple modes, which actually take the guesswork out of utilizing the A3100 and make it appropriate for all of the household. Different beginner-friendly options embrace Face Choose & Monitor, a good way of specializing in who actually issues in your pictures, and FaceSelf-Timer which simply permits you to participate in these all-important household group pictures. Extra superior customers will bemoan the dearth of any artistic controls as discovered on earlier A-series PowerShot fashions, however the 3100 is an actual newbie-friendly digicam.

Though the A3100 suffers from lower than stellar pictures in low-light because of apparent noise showing at ISO 400 and sooner, picture high quality is on the entire good, with little signal of undesirable chromatic aberrations, correct colors, skill to make lengthy exposures and an efficient anti-shake system. The not-so-wide-angle 35mm lens appears somewhat misplaced on a 2010 digicam, although, as does the VGA film mode – eager cinematographers ought to look elsewhere – and the sluggish burst taking pictures mode is disappointing too.

The A3100 is definitely fairly priced at round £175 / $175, one thing that mid-range Canon compacts have not been capable of boast about an excessive amount of earlier than. So whereas this digicam will not set the world on fireplace, it’s a nice introduction to the world of digital images, making the Canon Powershot A3100 IS a simple Really helpful selection.

Scores (out of 5)
Design 4
Options 3.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Picture high quality 4
Worth for cash 4

Evaluation Roundup

Opinions of the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS from across the net.

The Canon PowerShot A3100 IS is an inexpensive 12.1 Megapixel compact with a stabilized 4x zoom lens and a pair of.7in LCD display. Launched in January 2010 it replaces the best-selling PowerShot A1100 IS with a radical redesign of the physique and controls. Most notably, it is the primary PowerShot A Sequence to make use of a Lithium-Ion energy pack.

Learn the total evaluation »

It simply so occurs that the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS arrived in our labs at simply the identical time because the Nikon Coolpix L22. Each have an analogous decision and an analogous zoom vary. Each additionally produce first rate however not sensible photos (the L22’s are literally somewhat higher). And but the A3100 prices twice as a lot. It is simply not value it

Learn the total evaluation »

Canon’s A3100 IS is an inexpensive, compact entry-level mannequin that gives you with wonderful picture high quality and first rate efficiency. That includes a 12.1-Megapixel imaging sensor, 4x optical zoom with optical picture stabilization, sensible auto and face detection, you may be very proud of the massive set of options which can be included. With a MSRP of US $179.99, this can be a nice compact mannequin for the house, workplace or as somebody’s first digicam.

Learn the total evaluation »


Efficient Pixels Approx 12.1M
Color Filter Sort Major Color
Sort DIGIC III with iSAPS know-how
Focal Size 6.2 – 24.8 mm (35mm equal: 35 – 140mm)
Zoom Optical 4x. Digital approx. 4x ¹ (with Digital Tele-Converter approx. 1.5x or 2.0x and Security Zoom ²)¹. Mixed approx. 16x
Most f/quantity f/2.7 – f/5.6
Building 7 components in 5 teams
2 single sided aspherical lenses
Picture Stabilisation Sure (lens shift-type), Approx. 3-stop
AF System/ Factors AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fastened to centre or Face Choose and Monitor)
AF Modes Single, Steady ¹
AF Level Choice Measurement (Regular, Small)
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
Closest Focusing Distance 3cm (W) from entrance of lens in macro
Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF body), Centre-weighted common, Spot (centre)
AE Lock On/Off Selectable
Publicity Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 cease increments.
i-Distinction for computerized dynamic vary correction
ISO sensitivity* AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Velocity 1 – 1/1600 sec (manufacturing unit default)
15 – 1/1600 sec (whole vary – varies by taking pictures mode)
Settings Auto (together with Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Customized
Monitor 6.7cm (2.7″) TFT, approx. 230,000 dots
Brightness Adjustable to considered one of 5 ranges. Fast-bright LCD
Modes Auto, Handbook Flash On / Off, Gradual Synchro
Gradual Sync Velocity Sure. Quickest pace 1/1600 sec
Flash Publicity Compensation Face Detection FE, Good Flash Publicity
Constructed-in Flash Vary 30cm – 4.0m (W) / 2.0m (T)
Exterior Flash Canon Excessive Energy Flash HF-DC1
Modes Auto*, Simple*, P, Portrait, Panorama, Evening Snapshot, Youngsters & Pets, Indoor, FaceSelf-Timer, Low Mild (2.0MP) Tremendous Vivid, Poster Impact, Seaside, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Lengthy Shutter, Film
*with Scene Detection Expertise and Movement Detection Expertise
Picture Results My Colours (My Colours Off, Vivid, Impartial, Sepia, Black & White, Customized Colour (restricted))
Drive modes Single, Steady
Steady Taking pictures Approx. 0.8 pictures/sec. ¹ (till reminiscence card turns into full)²


Picture Measurement (L) 4000 x 3000, (M1) 3264 x 2448, (M2) 2592 x 1944, (M3) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 4000 x 2248. Resize in playback (M3, S, 320 x 240)
Films (L)640 x 480, 30fps/30fps(LP)
(M)320 x 240, 30fps
Film Size As much as 4GB or 1 hour (L and M) ¹
Nonetheless Picture Sort JPEG compression, (Exif 2.2 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Digital camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Model 1.1 compliant
Films AVI [Motion JPEG compression + WAVE (monaural)]
Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Picture Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Picture Print, Fastened Measurement Print and Film Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers solely)
Purple-Eye Correction Sure, throughout playback
My Digital camera / My Menu Begin-up picture and digicam sounds customisation
My Class Picture tagging characteristic
Clever Orientation Sensor Sure
Playback Zoom Approx. 2x – 10x
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Customized
Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese language, Chinese language (conventional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi
Pc Hello-Velocity USB (MTP, PTP) devoted connector (Mini-B suitable)
Different A/V output, devoted connector (PAL/NTSC)
Sort SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus


PC & Macintosh Home windows 7/ Vista SP1-2/ XP SP2-3
Mac OS X v10.4 – 10.6
Searching & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-8L (battery and charger provided)
Battery life Approx. 240 shots¹
Approx. 360 min. playback
A/C Energy Provide Elective, AC Adapter Equipment ACK-DC60
Flash Excessive Energy Flash HF-DC1
Energy Provide & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Equipment ACK-DC60


Working Atmosphere 0 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 97.2 x 58.2 x 28.1 mm
Weight Approx. 155g (together with battery/batteries and reminiscence card)


¹ Digital zoom obtainable for nonetheless picture and normal film modes solely. Optical zoom will not be obtainable throughout film recording.
² Relying on the picture measurement chosen.

AF Modes

¹ Some settings restrict availability

Steady Taking pictures

¹ Below circumstances the place the flash doesn’t fireplace.
² Relying on reminiscence card pace / capability / compression setting.

Film Size

¹ Relying on reminiscence card pace / capability / compression setting.

Battery life

¹ Utilizing the batteries and reminiscence card format provided with the digicam (the place included), besides the place indicated.


* Normal Output Sensitivity / Really helpful Publicity Index.

In accordance with ISO 12232:2006 (twentieth April 2006) which specifies the tactic for assigning and reporting ISO pace rankings for digital nonetheless cameras.

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