Canon PowerShot A1300 Review

December 21, 2012 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Canon PowerShot A1300 is a slim point and shoot entry-level digital compact camera sporting a 16 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom lens, LIVE control, 720p movies, 32 scene modes, AA batteries, 2.7’’ LCD display and an optical viewfinder. Priced at £109.00 / €119.00 / $119.99 the Canon PowerShot A1300 is available in black or silver.

Ease of Use

Despite it's unassuming exterior, the Canon PowerShot A1300 is one of the most interesting happy snapper compacts we've seen of late. It has all the usual features that you'd expect on a sub-£100 camera, easy to use layout, large buttons, a Help guide and AA battery compatibility. However, you can take pictures on the A1300 using an optical viewfinder. You can physically hold the camera up to your eye like on an old fashioned camera. Like you're some kind of caveman. Maybe you think we're over-reacting. After all, cameras such as the PowerShot G15 still have an optical viewfinder. The point is that these died out on budget cameras years ago but here's one now. For photographers, this is an interesting hark back to the glory days of yore.

However, our enthusiasm was short lived. Using the viewfinder reminds us why they died out. The hole is so small due to the diminutive size of the camera that there's not a great deal you can see through it. Also, we found our hands started to cover the viewfinder while we were taking pictures. But before it's cast asunder and written off as another retro throwback, it does allow for possible sharper pictures. The reason being that when you use an optical viewfinder, the camera and arms are tucked into the body. This creates a solid trunk which means a steadier camera. Holding a camera out arm's length makes it more unsteady and prone to camera shake if you zoom out to full telephoto or if the light is low and the camera needs to use a slower shutter speed.

Canon PowerShot A1300 Canon PowerShot A1300
Front Rear

The 5x optical lens is a standard Canon zoom type. It's a black lens that remains black even if you get the Canon PowerShot A1300 in silver. On the top there are two buttons: a power button and a shutter release button. All pretty standard stuff with the exception that the buttons on the A1300 are larger than normal. Handy if you have big hands or if you're an older person and you can't mess around with fiddly buttons and switches. On the back, the theme has been retained with the navigation pad and surrounding buttons occupying at least three quarters of of the available space. At the top, the video record button sits next to the Help guide. This handy instruction area gives you a helping hand with what the modes and programs mean and where you can access them on the camera.

Pressing the function button in the centre of the pad (marked FUNC.) brings up a small, quick access menu with modes such as ISO, white-balance, continuous shooting, self-timer and resolution among others. These are the most used modes that you'll want to change temporarily or frequently. Core modes are found in the main menu which is accessed by pressing the Menu button at the bottom of the camera. In this menu, there are only two tabs. The colouring is a dark grey background with white lettering and a pale orange highlight. This makes it very easy to see as the lettering is comfortably large without being too obvious. It's a casual large. The first tab is for shooting options and as we said, they're more core subjects such as switching the digital zoom on or off, setting the AF frame, setting the red-eye on or off and switching i-Contrast on or off.

Canon PowerShot A1300 Canon PowerShot A1300
Front Top

For a cheerful little camera like the Canon PowerShot A1300, there's certainly some weight to it, especially when the batteries are in. It gives the camera a presence in your pocket, which is  good if you're in a crowded market or on a night out. The larger buttons are much easier to navigate round. Picture taking can begin without having to look at the camera because you're more likely to press the right button. The buttons are responsive but don't click down, they have a rounded softness to them. The screen is slightly smaller than is normally seen these days. At 2.7inch it's still a decent size and is certainly bright enough. It does suffer from a little purple banding on bright spots but they're not recorded on the pictures. Motion blur is at a minimum as well.

Starting up from cold, the camera will power up, focus and take a picture in just over three seconds. That's a little bit slow when compared to other digital compact cameras. The A1300 has only one continuous shooting mode. The Canon website states that the performance is 0.8 fps (frames per second) although these results can sometimes be a little off due to the clinical conditions they're tested in. Real life shooting can yield different results although in this case we're confident that Canon aren't embellishing. The first shot recorded at 1.3sec which - after taking reflexes into consideration - works out at around 0.8 or 0.9fps. After this, the camera takes just over a second for each shot. Bear in mind that 0.8fps is 0.8 of a picture every second. That means it takes just over a second to take each picture.

Canon PowerShot A1300 Canon PowerShot A1300
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The playback button at the bottom of the Canon PowerShot A1300 shows all the pictures that you've already taken. You can press this button whether the camera is switched on or not. Pressing the DISP button will scroll through the various ways of looking at the pictures. There's two full screen options; with information or without information and despite the camera's beginner audience target, it also offers a thumbnail view. This also has more in-depth shooting information such as the shooting mode, ISO setting, shutter speed and aperture, resolution, file size and a histogram. The latter is a graph that measures the exposure of the picture. The aim is to get the peak as near to the middle as possible.

In the box, the Canon PowerShot A1300 comes with a USB cable, wrist strap and 2x AA batteries. That's pretty much it for hardware accessories. The software CD provides the full manual, a basic imaging viewer called Image Browser EX and a panorama stitch program.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.


Image quality starts off very well at low ISO with sharp, smooth edges and no visible signs of colour invasion in dark areas - the place they normally formulate first. Unfortunately, while viewing the pictures at full magnification, there's evidence of colour noise coming in to the dark and shadow areas of the pictures. Edge definition still looks good and noise doesn't seem to affect any other part of the picture. The problem slowly exacerbates through the next stages with artefacts and salt & pepper noise invading the mid-tones at ISO 800. Canon decided to halt the sensitivity at ISO 1600. This setting should only be used in low light situations if you really don't want to use flash. The flash on the A1300 is pretty smart and won't bleach people out unless they're really close. The best bet at normal times will be to turn on the flash and use a 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 focal length of the Canon PowerShot A1300 is 5mm - 25mm. That's equal to a 28 - 140mm zoom lens in 35mm terms.




The pictures from the Canon PowerShot A1300 are sharp enough for everyday photography. Interestingly, we thought they looked soft enough to benefit from using the Sharpen tool in Adobe Photoshop but we found that in fact it simply accelerates any noise in the image and breaks up the image quality.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration is an issue with the lens on the Canon PowerShot A1300. We found it happened worse on very high contrast sharp lines and especially out towards the edges of the frame.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


The Canon PowerShot A1300 has a close focusing capability of 3cm which is perfectly respectable. This is at the wide-angle setting and the lens does see a lot of barrel distortion then. There's also a lot of image drop off as you move out to the edges of the frame.


Macro (100% Crop)


Without the flash in use, the Canon PowerShot A1300 does show a little vignetting around the edges at wide-angle. This leaves as the camera is zoomed in. Using flash only deepens the darkness around the edges of the frame and creates a very slight darkening of the corners at full zoom.

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

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, both the Flash On setting and the Red-Eye Correction option caused a tiny amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)


There's a couple of different modes on the Canon PowerShot A1300 that you can use to get pictures in low light situations. Aside from simply turning the flash on, you can use the Low light mode in the scenes or (preferably) use the Long shutter mode. Low light reduces the amount of noise by decreasing the resolution to 4 megapixels. The Long shutter mode allows you to take control of the shutter speed. You can select how long the camera exposes for to a maximum of 15 seconds. This is great for car light trails or very low light.

We tried to get a picture in Program mode but the camera couldn't find focus on any attempt we made.


Night (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot A1300 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 37 second movie is 95.4Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon PowerShot A1300

Front of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Canon PowerShot A1300

Isometric View

Canon PowerShot A1300

Isometric View

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu


Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon PowerShot A1300

Rear of the Camera / Help Menu

Canon PowerShot A1300

Top of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Bottom of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Side of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Side of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Front of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Front of the Camera

Canon PowerShot A1300

Memory Card Slot

Canon PowerShot A1300

Battery Compartment


The sole design of the Canon PowerShot A1300 is that it's a very easy camera to use. From the large buttons to the point and shoot simplicity. In fact, add the optical viewfinder and it would be easy to believe that this is a camera designed for the older generation. This could effectively be Canon's final digital nail in the film coffin. If that's the case and they're trying to emulate a film camera to make the passover as easy as possible, then they've nailed it - for want of a better phrase. If we're wrong, then the A1300 is a simple point and shooter for people with big hands and a badly made optical viewfinder.

We're impressed by other areas of the Canon PowerShot A1300 though. For example, the tripod bush is made of metal which is normally found on more expensive cameras. The lens is firm and doesn't wobble too much with physical manipulation. The entire design and build seems to be done to a higher standard than we'd expect at this price point. There are areas that show its position in the market such as the AA battery compatibility, lack of a lock on the battery door which also wobbles and moves far too much. Finally, the flimsy plastic cover for the USB port.

Image quality is great as long as the Canon PowerShot A1300 is kept to a low ISO setting. Either by using in bright light or with flash. But that's typical of a camera of this type: digital compact cameras. The sensors are so small, they're not as responsive to light as the larger cameras. They can't be. That's why the noise test is so important, so you know where the tolerance levels end. Aside from that, the colours are bright and the metering seems to work well. Focusing could be faster, and it is on more expensive cameras.

If you're a novice to photography, you don't want to mess around with all the controls or you find the buttons on other manufacturer's cameras too small, then the Canon PowerShot A1300 could be the camera for you.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 3.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon PowerShot A1300 from around the web. »

The PowerShot A1300 is a AA-battery powered compact, offered by Canon to appeal to old-fashioned (or well-prepared) shooters. But there’s a lot more going for this little camera. It’s very inexpensive, very small, very light, has a built-in optical viewfinder, and actually didn’t test quite as poorly as we expected.
Read the full review » »

The A1300 was launched in February 2012 as part of Canon's range of PowerShot cameras, as well as the A810, A2300, A2400 IS and A3400 IS. It is available in black and silver for around £94.
Read the full review »



Type 1/2.3 type CCD
Effective Pixels Approx. 16.0M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour


Type DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology


Focal Length 5.0 - 25.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 - 140 mm)
Zoom Optical 5x. Digital Approx. 4x. Combined Approx. 20x¹²
Maximum f/number f/2.8 - f/6.9
Construction 6 elements in 5 groups
(1 double-sided aspherical lens, 1 double-sided aspherical UA lens)


Type TTL
AF System/ Points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
AF Modes Single, Continuous (Auto mode only), Servo AF/AE¹, Tracking AF¹
AF Point Selection Size (Normal, Small)
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
AF Assist Beam Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 3 cm (W) from front of lens in macro


Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre)
AE Lock On/Off Selectable
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments.
Enhanced i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
ISO sensitivity* AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600


Speed 1 - 1/2000 sec. (factory default)
15 - 1/2000 sec. (total range - varies by shooting mode)


Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom


Viewfinder Real-image zoom, optical viewfinder


Monitor 6.8 cm (2.7") TFT, Approx. 230,000 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels


Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Built-in Flash Range 50 cm - 3.0 m (W) / 1.0 - 2.0 m (T)
External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2


Modes Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), P, Live View Control, Digital IS, Portrait, FaceSelf-Timer, Low Light (4.0MP), Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Discreet
Modes in Movie P, Live View Control, Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, iFrame Movie
Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting Approx. 0.8 shots/sec.¹ (until memory card becomes full)²


Image Size (L) 4608 x 3456, (M1) 3264 x 2448, (M2) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 4608 x 2592. Resize in playback (M2, S, 320 x 240)
Compression Fine
Movies (HD) 1280 x 720, 25 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps
Miniature Effect (HD (5, 2.5, 1.25 fps) or L (6, 3, 1.5 fps))
iFrame Movie (HD)
Movie Length (HD) Up to 4 GB or 29 min. 59 sec.¹
(L) up to 4 GB or 1 hour²


Still Image Type JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Movies MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (2 channel monaural) ]


Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
PictBridge Yes


Red-Eye Correction Yes, during shooting and playback
Histogram Yes
Playback zoom Approx. 2x - 10x
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom
Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian


Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other A/V output, dedicated connector (PAL/NTSC)




PC & Macintosh Windows 7 SP1/ Vista SP2/ XP SP3
Mac OS X v10.6 - 10.7


Browsing & Printing ImageBrowser EX
Other Camera Window


Batteries 2x Size-AA Alkaline or Ni-MH Batteries (Alkalines supplied)
Battery life Approx. 220 shots¹(with supplied batteries)
Approx. 500 shots (with optional Canon NB-3AH batteries)¹
Approx. 600 min. playback (with supplied batteries)
Approx. 780 min. playback (with Canon NB-3AH batteries)
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK800 (DC Coupler DR-DC10 also required)


Cases / Straps Soft Case DCC-490
Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Power Supply & Battery Chargers Battery Charger Kit CBK4-300, Ni-MH Batteries NB4-300, AC adapter kit ACK800 (DC Coupler DR-DC10 also required)
Other Canon AV Cable AVC-DC400


Operating Environment 0 - 40 °C¹, 10 - 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 94.7 x 61.7 x 29.8 mm
Weight Approx. 174 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)


Zoom ¹ Depending on the image size selected.
² Digital zoom available for still image and standard movie modes only. Optical zoom may not be available during movie recording.
AF Modes ¹ Some settings limit availability.
Continuous Shooting ¹ Under conditions where the flash does not fire.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
Movie Length ¹ The following Speed Class memory cards are required for maximum record time: (HD) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 4 or above. (Full HD) 1920 x 1080 Speed Class 6 or above. (iFrame) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 6 or above.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
Battery life ¹ Using the batteries and memory card format supplied with the camera (where included), except where indicated.
Operating Environment ¹ 0 - 35 °C when NB4-300 is used.
  • All data is based on Canon standard testing methods (according to CIPA Standards) except where indicated.
  • Subject to change without notice.
  • *Standard Output Sensitivity / Recommended Exposure Index.
  • According to ISO 12232:2006 (20th April 2006) which specifies the method for assigning and reporting ISO speed ratings for digital still cameras.

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