Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Review

August 7, 2012 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is an image stabilised digital compact camera with a 16 megapixel CCD image sensor, 5x optical zoom starting at a wide 28mm, 3-inch touch screen LCD display with Touch Shutter and Touch AF functionality, 720p HD movies, live view control and a help button. Available in black, gold, red or silver for £129 / $179, at first glance the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS looks like it could be one of the most user friendly cameras on the market today - find out by reading our review.

Ease of Use

Once upon a time the Canon IXUS models were the good looking and well-made range of digital compact cameras. Now, it seems, Canon have shifted that pattern of focus and included some of the PowerShot range too. We're not talking about the top of the range £400+ PowerShot models, we're talking about the A3400 IS, a £120 budget digital compact point and shooter.

Interestingly, from the front it looks a lot like an IXUS with it's blocky design and clean, straight lines. The colour co-ordinated 5x optical zoom lens sits flush with the rest of the body. On the top, a small power button is cosily pushed into the body with the silver shutter release button being the only thing that brings the design down. A black button would look so much nicer.

On the back an indication of the actual price range is evident with the bulky screen that pushes the back of the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS out slightly. As usual the controls are squashed down the right side. We first thought that maybe they were a little too squashed but then realised that Canon have fitted slightly larger buttons which will be great for people with larger hands.

Like competing touch screen cameras, it takes a while to get used to the responsiveness of the A3400 IS's touch screen when it comes to making function selections. Sometimes we found it rather easy to scroll past the setting we actually wanted in our haste to implement particular settings before a photo opportunity vanishes. By contrast at times we had to repeatedly stroke the screen to prompt it to respond a little faster.

Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Canon PowerShot A3400 IS
Front Rear

There is the ability to tap an on-screen subject for the A3400 IS to bias focus toward, which Canon fittingly refers to as Touch AF. If subsequently altering framing, the AF point will perform its little dance across the screen as it attempts to keep tabs on the subject originally selected. Cute. Otherwise you can just point and shoot as normal, AF points appearing on screen in the form of green squares to signal which aspect of the subject the camera has itself picked out.

At the top is the dedicated video button. This will start video recording regardless of the mode you're in. Another way the internet has changed photography. After all, before the YouTube explosion, you had to choose the video mode in a menu system. Below this is a rather handy Help button. Pressing this button will give a quick explanation of the mode you've most recently chosen.

The navigation pad is used for moving around the menu system but also doubles up with access to macro, flash, display options and mode switch. Pressing up switches between Auto and whichever Scene mode you've selected from the menu such as Program, Portrait, Landscape or Live View Control, to name a few. Pressing the Function menu button in the centre brings up a quick access menu that has all the main features that you're likely to use while shooting such as ISO, white-balance and resolution. Access to these features will vary depending on the mode you're in. If you want full access to all features, you need to be in Program mode. Otherwise the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS will blank out areas it thinks you don't need and it will handle those itself.

If you've ever seen Live View on a DSLR, then you'll be pleased to know that the A3400 comes with its own version of it. It works the same way as normal shooting by allowing you to use the screen on the back to view the shot. However it also has three sliders for exposure, saturation and tone. They're labelled Dark/Light (exposure), Neutral/Vivid (saturation) and Cool/Warm (tone) to make them easier to understand what the end shot will look like. But the idea of Live View Control is that it shows you on screen what the changes will look like as you make them. It's much more versatile and will shorten the time you're sat there fiddling with the exposure compensation, colour filters and white-balance.

Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Canon PowerShot A3400 IS
Front Top

The main menu has its own separate button below the navigation pad and it's easy enough to use. The background is a carbon black with a dark grey menu and orange highlight. Interestingly, this normally changes depending on the tab you're in such as shooting, playback or set-up. On the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS it stays the same. Canon include their modes in the function menu unlike other manufacturers that give them a dedicated button. This reduces the amount of buttons which means - in the case of the A3400 especially - that the buttons can be made a bit bigger.

The outside of the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is made of metal while the interior is plastic to save weight. We always say that the tripod bush is generally the bench mark for camera quality. Low end cameras tend to have plastic tripods but the A3400 IS has a metal one which is great. The Canon takes it's own lithium-ion battery which is located on the bottom of the camera next to the tripod bush. The SD slot sits next to the battery and is covered by a flimsy plastic door. The snap shut locking system is difficult to open and there's no metal on the inside of the door for additional sturdiness. The hinge also looks to be made of plastic. The video runs in Full HD which is nice but the sound is only mono which lets it down somewhat.

The lens is a Canon manufactured zoom lens. It's nothing special but will get the job done. For a 5x optical zoom, the body is nice and slim although they've had to widen it a bit where the screen is. Most likely to accommodate both the screen and zoom lens. When the lens is out there's a little amount of play. This reduces as the lens is zoomed out, but not by much.

Canon PowerShot A3400 IS Canon PowerShot A3400 IS
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Start-up time from shut down to taking a picture is around 2.6 seconds. Shutter lag sits at around 0.08 seconds. Both results are fairly standard in digital compact cameras on the market today. Continuous shooting is pretty slow but it doesn't have a buffer option for hi-speed bursts. It simply keeps taking pictures while you keep your finger on the button. We managed to get eight pictures in a 10 second period which gives an average of around 0.8 frames per second (fps). It took up until the 14 second mark to finish downloading. This shows that there is a small buffer that will hold any extra information but it's minor.

Playback mode can be entered whether the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is powered on or not. If it's off, the lens isn't poking out. If it's on, the lens will retract after a minute or so anyway. Pressing the help button in playback brings up some cool options. It teaches you what different buttons can do for you and how to perform simple tasks such as erasing pictures, returning to the shooting mode and what the touch screen can do in this mode. The playback menu is vast with options for searching your pictures, protecting them, editing them with features such as iContrast (a type of HDR), red-eye correction and setting up a photobook. Interestingly, the Erase option doesn't have a Select and Erase. It has Erase All or when you're looking at the pictures you can erase individual pictures by pressing up on the navigation pad.

In the box, you get a sealed pack that contains a Getting Started manual, a CD ROM with the installation drivers for your computer. There will also be a full manual and a basic photo editing suite. A USB cable, wrist strap, lithium ion battery and pen for the touch-screen accompany the camera.

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 from the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is very good. We managed to get goods results consistently throughout the test regardless of the situation we put the camera into. At low ISO, the pictures are crisp and clear with lovely colours and - more importantly - no colour noise showing through at all. OK, so if we were to be harsh, there's some JPEG artefacts that can be seen at full magnification but it is only a point and shooter which is easy to forget when faced with such quality pictures. The good news is that you can push the sensitivity settings up to the next level and at ISO 200 the quality doesn't change.

There's a slight nosedive at ISO 400 but it has to start somewhere and the mid-levels isn't a bad place. However, edge definition is still good at ISO 400. That doesn't start to suffer until ISO 800 where colour noise is becoming more prevalent. Interestingly, Canon have taken the decision to cap the ISO settings at ISO 1600.  Judging by the results of our test, it's a good idea. Colour noise is still being controlled by the camera but we think that pushing to ISO 3200 would simply exacerbate the problem and the struggling noise reduction software would be overwhelmed.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)



Despite the Canon PowerShot A3400IS producing sharp and detailed photographs, they do benefit from a zap of sharpening using an editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

Although we struggled to find instances of chromatic aberration, that's not to say it isn't present. We found it mainly at the edges of the frame and in very high contrast areas.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


The Canon PowerShot A3400 IS has a 3cm macro facility which allows you to get in nice and close to your subject. There's a degree of edge definition fall off around the centre of the frame but that's to be expected.


Macro (100% Crop)


With or without flash there's an element of vignetting at the corners of the frame with the A3400 IS. Using flash does alleviate the problem to a degree, but not fully.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (224mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (224mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

In the portrait images, red-eye seems to be present on both images. However it looks worse as a smaller image than at full magnification. This is due to a red ring around the flash catch-lights which could be red-eye or chromatic aberration. It's difficult to tell but if it's the latter, it spoils the picture and red-eye reduction software won't be able to compensate for that.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

Night Shot

There's little difference between the program setting and Night scene setting in terms of image quality. However, the Night mode allows slightly longer shutter speeds to give a lighter image.

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)


Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot A3400 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 31 second movie is 79Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera / Movie Mode

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu


Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera / Playback Menu

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Rear of the Camera / Help Mode

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Top of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Side of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Side of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Memory Card Slot

Canon Powershot A3400 IS

Battery Compartment


We enjoyed using the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS. Its diminutive size meant we could just slip it in a pocket when we weren't using it and not worry about it getting in the way. The screen is nice and bright but we think it makes pictures look a bit nicer than they are on a computer screen so keep an eye out for that. We had no trouble with the buttons because of their larger size so photographers with big hands should maybe take a look at this camera, with the touch-screen LCD providing a genuinely useful alternative. We think there's room for a slightly larger zoom but looking at the specification for the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS there's little difference between the two cameras except the zoom so it looks like that's the deciding factor Canon have opted for instead of the zoom.

That's pretty refreshing and certainly a welcome sign that the pixel race is over. What we like about the A3400 IS though - and call us nerdy - is the metal tripod bush. It's so nice to see one on a low end camera because cameras with this are like chicken's teeth. It's a shame that the battery compartment door is so flimsy because it really brings the camera down.

Image quality from the A3400 IS is great. Colours are punchy and bold. Primary colours aren't too saturated and don't overwhelm the rest of the picture. Softer colours and subtle hues are recorded sympathetically and skin tones are natural. Noise is handled well at lower settings and thanks to a decent noise reduction system, it doesn't get too out of control. We like the wisdom that Canon have not included an ISO 3200 setting because it would have ruined the images at that setting.

At just £120, the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is a great little camera. There are areas that could be better such as the battery door and small zoom but there are reasons for it and to keep the price low, there has to be some sacrifices somewhere. This is a nice little compact to hide away in a pocket while you go for a day out or on holiday. It goes unnoticed until it's needed and takes cracking pictures when it's needed. We weren't blessed with the best weather during the test, but when the sun did shine and we got outside, the pictures the camera produced are lovely. Even on the dullest of days, we got pictures we're happy with. If you're looking for an attractive little compact at a reasonable price with good picture quality and build then take a closer look at the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS.

4.5 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon PowerShot A3400 IS from around the web. »

The Canon PowerShot A3400 IS is a 16 Megapixel compact with a 5x stabilised optical zoom and a 3 inch touch screen. Announced along with the rest of the 2012 PowerShot range in January it's the first PowerShot with a touch screen, a feature normally reserved for the more expensive ELPH / IXUS models.
Read the full review » »

The PowerShot A3400 IS is one of six all new A-series cameras Canon introduced for 2012. Priced between $109.99 and $199.99, the A-series is designed for novices and includes a number of great automatic features and even a brand new Help Button to make even the most technophobe among us confident with this new gadget.
Read the full review » »

The A3400 IS was launched in February 2012 as part of Canon's range of PowerShot cameras, as well as the A810, A1300, A2300 and A2400 IS. It is available in black, bronze, pink and white for around £120.00.
Read the full review » »

The Canon PowerShot A3400 IS ($179.99 direct) is a pocket camera that succeeds in having a responsive touch-screen LCD, but in a rare misstep for Canon, fails in most of its image gathering capabilities. Its lens is rather sharp, albeit extremely slow on the long end of its middling 5x zoom range, but the 16-megapixel camera is plagued by high image noise, even though it saps details from photos in a vain attempt to curtail it. The camera, which is also slow to start up and recycle between photos, doesn't come close to ousting one of Canon's better efforts, the PowerShot Elph 310 HS ($259.99, 4 stars) as our Editors' Choice for mid-range point-and-shoot cameras.
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)
Image Stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), 3.5-stop. Intelligent IS


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


Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0") Touch 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, 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 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-11L (battery and charger supplied)
Battery life Approx. 180 shots¹
Approx. 240 min. playback
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC90


Cases / Straps Soft Case DCC-520
Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC90
Other Canon AV Cable AVC-DC400


Operating Environment 0 - 40 °C, 10 - 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 94.4 x 56.3 x 21.3 mm
Weight Approx. 141 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.
  • 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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