Canon PowerShot A3300 IS Review

April 15, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS replaces the A3100 as the new top-of-the-range model in the affordable PowerShot range of digital cameras. Featuring a 16 megapixel image sensor, 5x optical zoom lens complete with image stabilizer and 3 inch LCD screen, the A3300 IS sports a slim and lightweight body in four different colours. Other highlights include 720p HD movies, 32 shooting modes including Smart Auto and Easy modes with Scene Detection Technology for point-and-shoot operation, 6 creative filters, Face Detection, Auto Red-Eye Correction and the DIGIC 4 image processing engine. Available in red, pink, silver and blue for £149 / $179 we find out if the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS deserves its place at the top of the Canon A-series range.

Ease of Use

The Canon Powershot A3300 IS is a small, easy to use digital compact camera with a high resolution 16 megapixel sensor, modest 5x optical zoom with a wide-angle 28mm focal length, 3 inch LCD screen and optical image stabiliser. Priced at around £150, the camera appears ideal for the point and shooter who needs a palm sized camera for nights and days out as well as holidays.

Looking at the front of the Canon Powershot A3300 IS, the 5x optical zoom proudly juts out of the body with the slim flash sat just above, which could cause trouble with red eye due to its alignment. The focal range is 5x optical which covers 28-140mm in 35mm terms.

There are three cameras in the range, the A3100, A3200 and the A3300 which sits at the top of the pile in terms of features. Build quality appears the same as the lower models and there are the same features on the camera. On top of the A3300 IS, it bears the same best shot dial which allows speedy access to certain functions such as video, scene modes, landscape and easy mode as well as standard auto and a program mode which still does everything for you, but it opens up more options in the menu system.

Canon PowerShot A3300 IS Canon PowerShot A3300 IS
Front Rear

Selecting the icon that has two intersecting circles, you can then go into the function menu and choose from six special effects that have been fitted to the camera. They're all there for a bit of fun and include posterize, super vivid, toy camera and miniature as well as a black & white mode. However, one of the best features on the entire camera is the fish-eye effect mode. All it does is bowl out the middle of the frame distorting anything in the centre but it's great to take some close up self portraits. Another interesting feature is the Live View Control mode which brings up three sliders for adjusting the picture such as contrast, saturation and colour temperature.

There are times when having a loud beep and whirr click to tell you a picture has been taken is not desirable, such as taking pictures of animals or if you're in a library or museum. Because of this obvious need, Canon have fitted a discreet mode to the command dial. Nothing else changes in the A3300, just that it's a lot quieter. In fact when taking a picture in discreet mode, the only sound is the slight clicking of the shutter opening and closing again.

The 3 inch LCD screen sits to the left on the back of the A3300 so all the buttons are pushed over to the right. Obviously that's the name of the game with all modern digital cameras of this specification, but with the Canon, there's little space for anything else. There's a patch to rest your thumb on the three raised spots just above the playback button. As negative as this all sounds, the camera isn't unpleasant to hold or operate.

Canon PowerShot A3300 IS Canon PowerShot A3300 IS
Side Front

To the right of the screen are all the buttons to gain access to the main controls of the camera. The menu button is for the main menu which is more extensive than the function menu. It allows you to change core features on the A3300 such as focusing points, zoom functionality and flash settings. There are two tabs, the camera tab is for shooting modes and the spanner and hammer tab are for changing the make up of the camera such as date & time, formatting the card and the language.

For everyday shooting, though, the A3300 IS has a light menu system called the function menu. This is accessed by pressing the function/set button in the centre of the navigation pad. It allows you to change typical settings of the camera such as ISO, metering, drive modes (continuous shooting) and file sizes. When you've made your selections, pressing the function button again sets these changes.

Around the function button are four more options. Pressing up will access the exposure compensation which forces the aperture open or closed by up to 2 stops if your subject is too bright or dark. Pressing right accesses the flash modes while pressing down activates the self timer modes. There are more than one self timer options, you can choose from 10 seconds, 2 seconds or input a custom time span for the camera to count down from. It would be nice to see the face activation self timer that is on the G series at the moment.

Canon PowerShot A3300 IS Canon PowerShot A3300 IS
Top Memory Card Slot

The Canon Powershot A3300 IS takes any type of MMC or SD card that are available today. The difference between Multi Media Cards (MMC) and Secure Digital (SD) is a small locking button on SD and SD have much higher capacities available to them. There are two extra types of SD card on top of the standard SD type. SDHC is the High Capacity version that ranges from 4Gb to 32Gb while the newly introduced SDXC card type has a capacity of 64Gb to a theoretical maximum capacity of 2Tb (2048Gb).

If you're looking at the A3300, you may not be fully conversant with the jargon that some of the manufacturers use to describe their features such as a DIGIC processor and iSAPS technology. The DIGIC processor is Canon's dedicated processor for digital imaging. The A3300 IS features the fourth version which was introduced in 2008 and boasts faster image processing, improved noise reduction and the capability of recording Full HD video. However, the A3300 IS doesn't record at that level, so it's more than enough. DIGIC stands for Digital Imaging Core and is the heart of the camera. When you take a picture with the camera, the information runs through the DIGIC processor before storing onto the memory card. During this process, the image is sharpened, compressed and appropriate colours are boosted to make it look more attractive.

Every camera has its own scene recognition system these days; Panasonic (pioneers of the technology) call it Intelligent Auto for example, and they all do the same job. The system analyses the picture before you take it and selects the correct scene to get the best shot. So if you have a person in the frame, the camera automatically selects portrait mode, enables face detection and gets the flash ready in case it needs to use it. This information is taken from thousands of photographic scenarios programmed into its data banks so it's pretty clever stuff.

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.

Generally speaking, the higher the resolution, the greater the noise problem. This is because they're all tightly packed in together and when you take a picture they generate heat which causes a form of noise on neighbouring pixels. The good news is that Canon told us that they're aware of this type and the noise reduction they fit to the A3300 is geared up to remove it.

Good news for people who enjoy taking pictures at night with no flash but the noise test will see if that rings true or not.
Image quality was pretty consistent with nice colours although a couple of times the multi metering had a problem and would over-expose by a stop. Dropping the exposure compensation down solved the error but it should have been unnecessary.

One area we were impressed with was the macro feature. It has a close focusing setting of 3cm but we managed to get in a bit closer than that, which was nice.


At low settings, noise is handled very well and normally with a camera it this level, noise would start to invade around ISO200 but with the Canon Powershot A3300 IS, we didn't detect any noise until ISO400. At this point it's pretty aggressive as though it's over powered the noise reduction software and left it tied to a chair in a locked room with a bag on its head. Purple discolouration is very noticeable at ISO800 and severe image degradation happens at ISO1600. After all this, it's still a better result than we were expecting and if you're looking to buy a camera like this, it's likely you're not interested in the high ISO performance anyway.

Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


The pictures from the Canon Powershot A3300 IS are a little soft straight from camera and do benefit from the standard sharpening that you can perform in editing suites such as Adobe Photoshop. The sample pictures here were edited in Adobe Photoshop CS4. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes via the My Colors menu option.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Canon Powershot A3300 IS has a modest 5x optical zoom. In general use, we didn't find any lens problems such as edge definition but we did find a lot of blurriness out to the edges when taking pictures in the macro mode.



File Quality

By pressing the function button on the back of the camera, you can change the the image size and compression. The two options are fine and normal and choosing normal over fine will double the amount of pictures you can store on the card but with little noticeable difference to the picture. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16M Fine (100% Crop) 16M Normal (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

It can be tricky trying to look for purple fringing because lens flare can sometimes give off similar attributes but in our tests, we didn't come across any problems with chroma which is a great result for a camera at this level.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Canon Powershot A3300 IS has a close focusing distance of 3cm which is pretty good for a camera at this price as they tend to be sat at around the 5-10cm mark. Of course there are a few exceptions, this being one of them. We noticed that while we were trying to get the optimum focusing point, the camera would double beep focus lock but would actually be out of focus. Edge definition is distinctly lacking as well with only a small portion of the picture in focus at the centre. However, we did manage to get in a bit closer than 3 cm which is great.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


There are four options in the flash menu on the back of the camera; auto flash, forced on, slow synchro and forced off. However, within the main menu is a sub menu called flash settings and this is where you can switch red eye correction on or off as well as the red eye lamp. Light fall off at the wide setting is pretty dramatic with dark vignetted edges while at full telephoto, it doesn't appear at all.

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Taking portraits, exposure using the flash leaves a natural result with no bleaching. However, with tiny amounts of red eye present, the red eye reduction struggles to get rid of it which is a problem in an otherwise flawless performance.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

Night Shot

Being an entry level model, the A3300 doesn't have manual controls to adjust shutter speeds and apertures. The only way we could test a long exposure was to reduce the ISO but we only got down to 1 second even at ISO80 at night time.
There's a degree of noise reduction shown by some image distortion on sharp, contrasty edges. At a low ISO, it's likely that this is the predictable heat noise that's being removed.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Canon Powershot A3300 IS boasts 3 different image stabilisation options which can be found in the main menu at the bottom of the shooting tab. Here you can choose from continuous, which drains the battery but shows you the stabilised image on screen. Shoot only mode will stabilise the picture as you take it but not show you on the preview monitor. Then there's the panning mode if you're shooting cars and need to move with them. During this type of image stabilisation, the camera only uses the stabilisation on the horizontal axis.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

0.8 sec / 28mm

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS 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 26 second movie is 74.1Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Rear of the Camera / Effects Menu

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Rear of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Side of the Camera


Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Top of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3300 IS

Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment


Ok, so as a brand new camera the Canon Powershot A3300 IS doesn't break any new ground, but what it does offer is a decent build, good image quality and excellent noise control for the resolution and tiny sensor. It also offers fun features such as the miniature, fish eye and toy camera effects.

It's an easy to use camera with a good, clear menu and intuitive controls. The design of the Canon Powershot A3300 is nice although from a personal point of view, we feel that the command dial looks a little awkward design wise and it may have been better redesigning the back to fit it on there. Not that it impairs the cameras performance in any way.

For the price that the camera is set at, you get a lot for your money. We'd expect more noise at low to mid-range ISO settings and a slower camera. If you're on the look out for an attractive little compact for holidays or days/nights out then the Canon Powershot A3300 IS is a good camera to consider.

4 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS from around the web. »

At first glance Canon's new PowerShot A3300 IS doesn't look like the culmination of a century and a half of photographic progress, but it is. During the 19th century photographers captured images on large and very delicate glass plates loaded (one at a time) into very slow tripod mounted view cameras and viewed upside down under a dark hood before being manually exposed. When William Henry Jackson photographed Yellowstone National Park in the early 1870's he needed an enclosed wagon drawn by two mules to carry his photographic gear and portable darkroom.
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. 4x¹ (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.6x or 2.0x and Safety Zoom²)¹. Combined Approx. 20x
Maximum f/number f/2.8 – f/5.9
Construction 7 elements in 6 groups (2 double-sided aspherical lenses (including 1 UA lens), and 1 single-sided aspherical UA lens)
Image Stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), approx. 3-stop
Type TTL
AF System/ Points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre or Face Select and Track)
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, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Speed 1 – 1/1600 sec. (factory default)
15 – 1/1600 sec. (total range – varies by shooting mode)
Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0") TFT, Approx. 230,400 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels. Quick-bright LCD
Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/1600 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Built-in Flash Range 30 cm – 4.0 m (W) / 50 cm – 2.0 m (T)
External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Modes Auto*, Easy*, P, Live View Control, SCN (Portrait, Landscape, Kids & Pets, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), Low Light (4.0MP), Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter), Creative Filters (Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect), Discreet, Movie
*with Scene Detection Technology and Motion Detection Technology
Photo Effects My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Custom Color (limited))
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, Normal
Movies (HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps, (M) 320 x 240, 30 fps
Miniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps
Movie Length (HD) Up to 4 GB or 10 min. 00 sec.¹
(L and M) 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 (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
My Camera / My Menu Start-up image and camera sounds customisation
My Category Image tagging feature
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
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
Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other A/V output, dedicated connector (PAL/NTSC)
Type SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HCMMCplus
PC & Macintosh Windows 7/ Vista SP1-2/ XP SP3
Mac OS X v10.5 – 10.6
Browsing & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Other PhotoStitch
Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-8L (battery and charger supplied)
Battery life Approx. 230 shots¹
Approx. 300 min. playback
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC60
Cases / Straps Soft Case DCC-510
Flash High Power Flash HF-DC1
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC60
Operating Environment 0 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 95.1 x 56.7 x 23.9 mm
Weight Approx. 149 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)

Your Comments

Loading comments…