Jul 19, 2011 (Updated Jul 19, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This is a great entry level digital camera.

Cons:No major ones.

The Bottom Line: This is a great entry level digital camera and it takes surprisingly good photographs.


            I was recently given a Canon PowerShot A3000 IS digital camera, and it came just in the nick of time to take with me on a trip to visit one of my children in West Virginia who is working with the poor, and trying to make their life a bit better.  I am very proud of him.  I was able to run the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS through its paces, and took pictures that ranged from being inside the dark recesses of a mined out coal mine, to the top of a tree capped Appalachian mountain on a bright sunny day, to everything in between.  My wife is an excellent photographer and she has a few very nice cameras, and one of my other children is a semiprofessional wildlife and nature photographer, who has a few really top notch cameras.  My wife has a relatively expensive top of the line Canon PowerShot camera which she loves, and in the past I have always used one of her cameras to take photos.  These family members have also used my Canon PowerShot A3000 IS and they have given me their impressions.  They are far more knowledgeable about cameras than I am, and they have given me their feedback, for which I am grateful.  I will be keeping this little Canon PowerShot A3000 IS Digital Camera in my briefcase or pocket, depending on the situation, to have handy for those unexpected occasions that come up where one wishes they had a camera with them.  I have had more fun with this little camera than I would have expected, and I am afraid I might have caught the photography bug.  Time will tell.  In this review I shall tell you about the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, as well as outlining some of the pros and cons of this camera.

            Since price is always an important point to consider in making any purchasing decision, I shall start there.  The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS has a list price of $249.99, but it can be had selling for a discount for as little as $109.95 from some of the better Internet electronics dealers.  That is not very much money for a camera that has all of the features that the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS offers, such as auto focus, a built-in optical image stabilizer, face detection, 4x optical zoom, and 10 megapixels, but in this world one usually gets what they pay for, and this camera is no exception.

            The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS comes with a battery pack, a battery charger, and interface cable, an AV cable, a wrist strap, a digital camera solution disk, and a 36 page getting started guide.  The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS does not come with a memory card or a card reader.  Thus, before you can actually start taking pictures, you will also have to purchase a memory card.  I already had a 16GB memory card, and according to the manual that came with the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, when used with this camera, a 16GB memory card will hold approximately 6026 pictures.  Of course this number will vary depending on the camera settings, and the specific brand of memory card that is being used.  One can check on how many photos are available to be taken when the camera is in the shooting mode, and the number is displayed in the upper left hand corner of the viewing screen. The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS will support the following memory cards: MultiMediaCard, MultiMediaCardplus, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, and SDXC Memory Card.

            The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS a very simple to operate point and shoot camera, and it takes very little time to learn to use.  There are a number of different "modes" that the camera can operate in, such as the "Easy Mode," "Auto Mode,"  "Movie Mode," "Low Light Mode," "Poster Effect," and "Super Vivid," to name some of the most useful.  On can easily change modes by turning a small dial that is located on the top right hand side of the camera.  I like to set this type of camera to the auto mode and use the "smart auto" feature.  The camera can automatically choose the best settings in order to take the clearest picture.  In order to take a picture, one lightly presses the shutter button about half way, and the camera will focus in on the faces of the subjects, and little frames appear around them.  The camera beeps twice to let you know it is in focus, and then you can depress the shutter button all the way to shoot the picture.  I tried this without following these directions to the letter, just to see what would happen, and the resulting image was a bit blurry.  Clearly it is important to read the manual first.  There is also a 4x optical zoom feature which lets you zoom in on the subject you are taking a picture of.  Depending on the lighting conditions, the built in flash may or may not automatically fire every time, and it will automatically do so when the situation dictates.  The optimal range of the flash is about 13 feet.  This is important to keep in mind, as one will not get a bright image if the subject is in a dimly lit room and is some 30 paces away from the flash for example. It is also very easy to erase any photo that you are not pleased with.  The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS also has a "movie mode" which allows you to take movies, and an "Easy Mode."  The "Easy Mode" is designed so that even a beginner can operate the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS.  In the easy mode some simple operational instructions are displayed on the screen, and only a couple of the buttons can operate, which permits even a beginner to take an adequately good photo without having to understand very much.  Thus, the camera can not be used incorrectly in the easy mode, even by a beginner. There is also an Optical Image Stabilizer that automatically corrects for any camera shake, which is one of the main causes for blurry photos, especially when zooming in for close ups.

            O.K., so how is the picture quality, and what are some of the other pros and cons regarding the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS?  Well, the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS is a very simple to operate camera, that even a child should be able to take pictures with.  It is very slim, and weighs only 5.7 ounces.  It is 3.8 inches wide, 2.3 inches high, and 1.1 inches deep, and it can very easily fit into ones pocket or purse.  The screen size is 2.7 inches, it has a built in flash, a built in microphone, and it can take videos.  The 10 megapixel digital images can be turned into photos and can be enlarged to about 13 x 19 inches, and still look acceptably good, however, I feel there was a minor, but increasingly noticeable loss of picture quality on images that were printed which were bigger than 5 x 7.  Clearly there is more to taking a great picture besides the number of megapixels, such as the optical quality of the lens, correct shutter speed, proper focus, good lighting of the subject, etc.  Nevertheless, that being said, I was still very impressed with the picture quality that the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS rendered.  This camera also uses a rechargeable lithium battery, while many cameras in this price range use conventional AA or AAA batteries, which would of course add a bit of extra weight to a camera. The operational buttons on the camera are relatively large and well marked.  All of the above, including the relatively low price of this camera, are really good selling points.  However, one is not going to get a great camera for about $109.95.  One must be realistic, and keep these things in mind.  That being said, I was very impressed with the overall picture quality of the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS. 

           Some of the weaknesses that I found with the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS are the following.  The Canon PowerShot A3000 IS is a very simple camera that is designed for beginners who prefer to use this camera in the auto mode, and let the camera do all the work.  While this can be a nice thing, it really takes the art out of picture taking, and more serious users are apt to find this to be a real weakness.  Of course one does not have to use the camera in the auto mode, but even then the amount of control is limited.  Another very practical issue is that the lid that closes over the compartment that houses the battery and the memory card seems very flimsy, and I could easily see how a person could accidentally break this off unless they are careful.  Much of the body of the camera was made of plastic, and I could easily forsee that this camera could become damaged if it were dropped from a height of 5 feet or so, but then again I would probably be damaged if I were dropped from that height as well.  Shooting time from shot to shot was also a bit slow, and it was about 3 seconds from shot to shot without the flash, and was about 5 seconds when the flash was being used.  I could easily foresee certain situations where this would not be an acceptable time lag.  Another drawback is that the videos that this camera takes are in standard definition resolution, and not high definition (HD), and one can not use the optical zoom feature while recording. One must preset the optical zoom before recording.  One can use the digital zoom feature, but the quality of the image will potentially not be as good.   The built in microphone worked surprisingly well when using the video mode.  The location of the flash at the top left hand side was also a bit of a problem, as one can easily obstruct its use with a finger while holding it, which I did a few times until I got used to the location of the flash.  It would have been better, at least in my opinion, to place the flash closer to the center of the camera where one would be less likely to obstruct the flash during use. 

          As regards the picture quality, I must admit being very impressed with being able to get a picture of this quality from a camera that sells for a discounted price of about $110 Dollars.  The colors were bright and vivid, and the picture quality was very crisp.  I took several shots of a piece of an old log that was in various stages of decay, and I was very impressed with the ability of the camera to very accurately differentiate the various different shades of coloration that the varying levels of decay on the log manifested. The texture of the various parts of the wood were clearly defined and impressive.  I was also impressed with the clarity of the shots that I took in the old coal mine that I visited.  I know that most people are not going to be taking pictures of decaying logs or the interior of a played out coal mine.  It is more important to the average person to get really good photos of friends and family.  Once again, I was very impressed with the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS in this regard as well, as the photos that I took of my family in West Virginia came out quite nicely as well, and I will treasure these photos over the years.  

            The bottom line is that I was very impressed with just how good this entry level Canon PowerShot A3000 IS was.  After using this camera, it was clear to me the world of digital photography has made some incredible advances in the last few years.  I would confidently recommend this camera to anyone who is looking for an entry level pocket sized digital camera for a young person or for anyone who is looking to get into digital photography for fun.

            Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to practicing my guitar.  Good luck, and good picture taking.

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