Canon PowerShot A3500 IS Review

4.0
August 26, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


Typical file sizes from the Canon PowerShot A3500 IS are around 7Mb although depending on the settings used, we also got images around 3Mb on the same resolution.

Noise

As is to be expected, image quality from the Canon PowerShot A3500 IS at low ISO is great. The image is smooth with no hint of noise – even when viewed at full magnification – and the edges are sharp. Unfortunately, if we carry on viewing at full magnification, that's where the story ends. Slight traces of noise start to form at ISO 200. To be fair, it only occurs in the darker areas of the picture and looks mostly like salt and pepper noise. Mid-tones and highlights remain ok. It's obvious noise reduction software is at work, though, so the problem could be worse than we're led to believe.

The problem with noise gets slowly worse as we rise through the settings. Detail starts to dissipate at ISO 400 as the noise reduction software attempts damage control. Edges are still sharp, but at full magnification, noise is starting to be noticeable on mid-tones.

Edges start to suffer at ISO 800 with noise beginning to break them down. Detail in darker areas such as shadows has all but disappeared. Noise also starts to become noticeable at normal viewing distance.

The final setting has blobs of noise all over the darker areas, so kudos to the noise reduction software for keeping it at bay up until this point. It looks pretty bad, but let's look at it from a comparison of other cameras: Yes, noise shows through early and that's not a good thing. However, the noise reduction system does seem to keep it relatively under control. ISO 1600 is a much better result than we've seen from other cameras that have been better at low ISO.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot A3500 IS has a 5x optical zoom, which is a focal range of 5–25mm. However, we generally use the 35mm equivalent distances and in this case that would be 28–140mm.

28mm

140mm

Sharpening

Adding some sharpening to a low ISO image certainly benefits the picture, but if you go over ISO 100, the noise simply gets worse.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

We found traces of chromatic aberration on high contrasting sharp edges. It was noticeable with black on white and white on black.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

 
 

Macro

The Canon PowerShot A3500 IS can focus in as close as 3cm. That's good enough for most situations. The image quality does drop out quite early, which isn't a good sign. We expect it to do just that, but maybe not at such an early stage in the frame.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

Vignetting occurs at wide-angle whether the flash is used or not. This disappears on zooming out fully. Using flash simply stabilises any dappled light. The flash is an intelligent version in which it compliments the ambient light and simply helps it along.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We did see a flash of red in the eyes even when the red-eye reduction was switched on. Upon closer inspection, it's not red-eye, but looks more like a type of chroma around the catch-light from the flash.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

Night

The Canon PowerShot A3500 IS has a Night scene mode as well as the Program mode being able to get long enough exposures as long as the camera is steady. In our test, taken at around 5am, the Program mode used a 1 second exposure with the sensitivity forced to ISO 100. In Night mode, the camera ramped it up to ISO 2500 to use a faster 1/20th sec exposure. The resolution also drops from 16 megapixel to a more sedate 4 megapixel. Arguably because of the amount of noise that a full size image would generate. After all, the ISO 2500 setting used is around 2/3 stop higher than the highest setting in the ISO section of the menu.

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, review, 720p, 16 megapixel, beginner, video, 5x zoom, wi-fi, wireless, canon, wifi, movies, powershot, a3500, a3500 is, Canon PowerShot A3500 IS review

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