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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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)
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.
Portrait with flash, ISO160, 1/60, f/5.9, 17mm (35mm equiv: 85mm)
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.
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/13, 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.
Super Vivid, ISO80, 1/100, f/8, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)
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.