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Canon PowerShot A3200 IS Digital Compact Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Canon PowerShot A3200 IS digital compact camera, the little brother to the recently reviewed A3300 IS.

|  Canon PowerShot A3200IS in Compact Cameras
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Due to similarities in the cameras, some of this review is taken from our Canon PowerShot A3300 IS review.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS front lens

In January 2011, Canon announced the A3300 IS and A3200 IS as replacements for the A3100 IS and A3000 IS in the Powershot range. On test here is the Canon Powershot A3200 IS which has more pixels and optical zoom than its predecessors, although it does have a lower resolution sensor and smaller screen than the A3300 IS. It is available in silver, red, blue and pink for £104.99.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS front

Canon PowerShot 3200 IS: Features

The A3200 IS is a 14.1 megapixel camera with a 5x optical zoom and 720p HD movie recording. On the rear is a 2.7inch LCD screen and on top of the camera is a mode dial. As well as Smart Auto and Easy modes there are a number of scene modes available to help take the best pictures possible.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS top

Key features:

  • 14.1 megapixels
  • 28mm wide, 5x zoom optical lens
  • Optical Image Stabiliser
  • 2.7inch LCD screen
  • Smart Auto, Easy mode and Hints & Tips
  • HD Movies (720p) with Dynamic IS
  • Live View Control and Creative Filters
  • Face Detection, Auto Red-Eye Correction
  • ISO80 - 1600
  • Auto, Easy, Program, Live View Control, SCN (Portrait, Landscape, Kids & Pets, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), Low Light (3.5MP), 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

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS rear

Canon PowerShot 3200 IS: Handling

The A3200 IS is a small and stylish compact which fits easily into your pocket. The 2.7 inch LCD on the rear is clear in all conditions, the menus are easy to navigate and the buttons are well laid out as well as being easy to press.

On the top of the camera there are the typical buttons you will find on a compact camera including the on/off switch, zoom rocker and shutter release. As well as these there is a mode dial, similar to what you would see on a DSLR. This makes it really easy to switch between the various modes on the camera, such as Program, Live, Auto, Easy, Scene, Filters, Discrete and Movie. There is also a dedicated button for Face Detection on the rear.

According to CIPA / Canon testing the battery life is rated at 250 shots. This is slightly more that what is expected from the battery when used in the A3300 IS. During testing the battery was more than capable of a couple of days shooting without charging.

Canon claim the camera is capable of 0.8fps in continuous shooting mode. During testing, in P mode the camera shot at 0.7fps and in low light mode it is capable of 2.7fps.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS battery

Canon PowerShot 3200 IS: Performance

At both ends of the lens, the pictures produced by the A3200 have plenty of detail throughout and the digital zoom takes images which look OK for use on the web. In Macro mode the camera can focus from just 3cm away from a subject and the images produced are excellent, as you can see in the picture of the flower below.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS wide-angle   Canon PowerShot A3200 IS full optical zoom
Wide-angle, ISO160, 1/800, f/2.8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)   Full optical zoom, ISO160, 1/320, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)
Canon PowerShot A3200 IS digital zoom   Canon PowerShot A3200 IS macro
Digital zoom, ISO200, 1/250, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)   Macro, ISO100, 1/60, f/2.8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)

Noise performance is good at ISO80 and doesn't show much difference at ISO100. At ISO200 it is clear that noise is starting to creep in, getting slightly worse at ISO400. Image quality starts to suffer at ISO800 with a lot of noise in images at ISO1600. Detail is lost in the pictures at high ISOs but the colours don't suffer much at all, so using a high ISO isn't too much to worry about.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS ISO80 Canon PowerShot A3200 IS ISO100 Canon PowerShot A3200 IS ISO200
ISO80, 1/2, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO100, 1/2, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO200, 1/5, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)
Canon PowerShot A3200 IS ISO400 Canon PowerShot A3200 IS ISO800 Canon PowerShot A3200 IS ISO1600
ISO400, 1/10, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO800, 1/20, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm) ISO1600, 1/40, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)

Taking shots with the A3200 is extremely easy and images are well exposed with colours accurately reproduced as well as being extremely competent at focusing. The Low Light mode takes sharp images even without the flash which makes it a good camera to take round a museum where the flash may disturb other visitors although the image size is limited to 3.5 megapixel.

The A3200 IS is capable of taking good portrait pictures with pleasing skin tones whether using the flash or not, although there is a tendency for a touch of red-eye when using the flash.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS portrait with flash   Canon PowerShot A3200 IS landscape
Portrait with flash, ISO160, 1/60, f/5.9, 17mm (35mm equiv: 85mm)   Landscape, ISO160, 1/200, f/8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)

Generally the auto-white balance does a good job, excelling under the fluorescent lights in our studio, but under the incandescent lighting the incandescent preset gives a better result than the auto setting.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting   Canon PowerShot A3200 IS Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/13, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 40mm)   Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light, ISO100, 1/13, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 40mm)
Canon PowerShot A3200 IS Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light   Canon PowerShot A3200 IS Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 40mm)   Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/3.5, 8mm (35mm equiv: 40mm)

To add to the fun of using the A3200 IS there are six filters to choose from to take more creative images: Fish-eye, Miniature, Toy Camera, Monochrome, Super Vivid and Poster. Below is a sample of images taken using some of the modes.

Canon PowerShot A3200 IS super vivid   Canon PowerShot A3200 IS monochrome
Super Vivid, ISO80, 1/100, f/8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)   Monochrome, ISO80, 1/100, f/8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)
Canon PowerShot A3200 IS poster effect   Canon PowerShot A3200 IS miniature
Poster Effect, ISO80, 1/100, f/8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)   Miniature, ISO100, 1/60, f/2.8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)

Video Mode

The A3200 IS takes videos at 720p HD as well as 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 VGA's at 30 fps. There is also an option to take a HD Miniature Effect video at 6fps, 3fps and 1.5 fps.

Value For Money

The Canon PowerShot A3200 IS is available for £104.99. There are a wide range of cameras available with a 14.1 megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom. Options to consider are the Nikon Coolpix S3100 at £111 and the Fujifilm FinePix Z90 at £119 both with 14Mp sensors. For just an extra £15 you can purchase the A3200 IS' big brother, the A3300 IS, with a larger 16 megapixel sensor.

Canon PowerShot 3200 IS: Verdict

Although not packed with features, the PowerShot 3200 IS takes excellent pictures for an extremely reasonable price. The mode dial makes using the camera even easier than most compact cameras and the filters make it really easy to add that extra bit of creativity to your images. The Canon PowerShot A3200 IS comes recommended by ePHOTOzine.

The Canon PowerShot A3200 IS gives excellent performance for a very reasonable print.

Canon PowerShot 3200 IS: Pros

Mode dial
Excellent image quality
Macro mode
Creative filters
Low light mode

Canon PowerShot 3200 IS: Cons

Continuous shooting doesn't offer many fps
The A3300 IS costs just £15 more


Canon PowerShot 3200 IS: Specification

Price £104.99
Optical zoom 5x optical zoom, 5 - 25mm (35mm equiv: 28 - 140mm), f/2.8-5.9
Resolution 14.1 megapixel
Sensor size 1/2.3in
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4320 x 3240
Aspect ratio 4:3
Focusing system TTL
Focus points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre or Face Select and Track)
Focus distance 3cm
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80 - 1600
Metering system Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre)
Exposure compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
Shutter speed range 15 - 1/1600sec
Frames-per-second Approx. 0.9 shots/sec
Image stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), Approx. 3-stop
Movie mode 720p HD @ 24fps
Monitor 2.7in LCD screen, 230,400 dots
Media type SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HCMMCplus Memory Card
Interface Hi-Speed USB
Power Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-8L(250 shots)
Box Contents Digital Camera PowerShot A3300 IS
Wrist Strap WS-800
Battery Pack NB-8L (with Terminal Cap)
Battery Charger CB-2LAE
AC Cable (E-type plug)
AV Cable AVC-DC400
USB Cable
User Manual Kit
Size 95.1 x 56.7 x 24.3mm
Weight 149g


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Photographs taken using the Canon PowerShot A3200IS

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4 Dec 2011 1:03PM
I have just bought a new Canon Powershot A3200.I still cannot figure out how to manually set my own preffered F values.So far it seems that only ISO values can be adjusted but the rest of the fearure are set by the auto program. Also what is this IS really means technically.Can some one help me. Thanks.
joshwa Plus
10 927 1 United Kingdom
5 Dec 2011 10:30AM
The Canon Powershot A series doesn't have manual shutter / aperture controls. Only the older Powershot A series models do.

IS = Image Stabilisation.


26 Feb 2012 4:39AM
i need a big help.plz tell me whethr sweep panorama photo mode is available in canon powershot A3200 camera.
joshwa Plus
10 927 1 United Kingdom
26 Jul 2012 2:23PM

Quote:I need a big help.plz tell me whethr sweep panorama photo mode is available in canon powershot A3200 camera.

No, Canon cameras don't yet feature this.

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