Sporting a 5 megapixel sensor and a relatively low price tag, Canon's PowerShot A450 is a compact camera aimed at the entry level section of the market. While it does offer great colour reproduction, it sadly suffered in numerous other areas, with high levels of chromatic aberration and some visible image noise.
- Excellent colour reproduction
- Extremely high levels of chromatic aberration, some noise issues
A rare misstep for Canon, the PowerShot A450 captures exceptionally accurate colours, but falls down in several other areas, resulting in less than crisp pictures.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
The chromatic aberration issues were by far the worst part of this camera, and had a serious impact on the shots. From the moment we opened our test pictures, it was clear there were some extreme haloing problems that really detracted from the quality of shots. Thick blue fringing was very visible in areas of high contrast, and Imatest's score of .354% is one of the worst results we've seen in this test. Even in 4 x 6in prints, this will have an impact, and really hurts the camera's overall performance.
The A450's sharpness score of 1255 was a better result, but still not impressive. It is about what we'd expect from an entry level 5 megapixel model, and indicates that its shots will be adequate for small print outs. Those looking to try their hand at more serious photography though should look elsewhere. Our shots were reasonably clear, but there were noticeable patches of fringing once we zoomed in.
Fortunately, the PowerShot A450's colour performance was stunning. With a score of 5.87 in Imatest, it is one of the best cameras we've reviewed in this regard. Our shots showed no noticeable signs of oversaturation, with well balanced secondary colours and bright, vibrant primary colours. Imatest revealed minor inaccuracies in most colours, but none were large enough to cause any concern. Overall, the colour reproduction on this unit was excellent.
Sadly, the same can not be said for its noise performance. While not nearly as bad as its result in our chromatic aberration test, the A450's score of 1.04% in Imatest's noise test was a little higher than normal. Many units score between .55% and .8%, so this result is a little disappointing. The noise was evident in our shots, but it was extremely fine, white noise, rather than the blotchy, chroma noise you see when cranking up the ISO settings on most cameras. It isn't really obtrusive enough to cause problems in smaller shots.
One area the camera did manage to impress was speed. While its .1 second shutter lag isn't anything special, the 1.6 second power up time and 1.7 second shot to shot time were much speedier. It isn't the fastest unit we've reviewed, but for an entry level model it is more than adequate.
The A450 includes most basic features such as pre-set and custom white balance modes, ISO settings up to 400 and a rather paltry eight scene modes. The continuous shot mode is decent, operating at 2.5fps, and combined with the 3.2x optical zoom, should be more than adequate for basic sports photography.
Everything is controlled with Canon's standard interface, which offers a regular menu, and a separate section for commonly used image controls. It is intuitive and great for beginners. Similarly, the controls follow a standard Canon layout, with a five-way navigation pad and buttons surrounding it. Our only complaint is the function wheel, which is mounted vertically instead of horizontally. It is a little fiddly to use, and not in the normal position, so those with short fingers may struggle.
The A450 has a boxy design, with a multi-shaded silver colour scheme. It looks solid, but isn't anything outstanding. It isn't the most pocketable unit in the world, so those looking for something to carry around regularly would be advised to look elsewhere.
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