Canon PowerShot A460 compact camera
Cheap and cheerful
Review Quality used to cost. We all know that whenever we bought a consumer electronics product, part of what we paid went on the brand name. Well, things have changed and the Canon PowerShot A460 is sure testament to this, and a snip at just £70, the A460 is very much a budget-priced product.
At this price, quite a few compromises have to be made. For starters, this is hardly the most compact camera in town - indeed, it’s rather on the bulky side. That said, we happily carried it around in our pocket and it didn’t give our jacket a noticeable bulge.
Canon's A460: bulky but budget-priced
The A460 is also supplied with two alkaline AA batteries, so it’s going to cost a little more to run - although opting for rechargeables will help cut the cost.
This probably explains why the A460 has both a 2in LCD screen and an optical viewfinder. The latter making it possible to switch off the screen and save battery power. Still, it's nice to have a viewfinder for those bright sunny days.
The A460 comes with a few accessories, including a combined AV/PC cable, puny 16MB MMC card - it also takes SD and SDHC cards - and the ubiquitous CD containing the instruction book and photo software.
Taking a trip around the camera, on the top is a large power button and shutter control, with a small AV port covered by a plastic cover on the right. At the back is the LCD display, viewfinder, display and menu buttons, function set control and printer button. There’s also a large rocker control that doubles as zoom control and gives access to macro and flash settings. Also on the rear is a dial for selecting auto or manual control, scene settings and movie mode. At the other side of the camera body is the battery/memory card cover.
Despite its modest price, the A460 offers a fair sprinkling of features, including a five-megapixel sensor; 4x optical zoom equivalent to 38-152mm on a 35mm camera; and 12 shooting modes, including Portrait, Fireworks, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, plus colour effects, like sepia, and black and white, which can be applied to both still images and movies.
camera not phone..
Camera phones don't even get close. The lenses are nowhere near as good, and performance in low light levels tends to be far worse. True, manufacturers can cram 5-megapixel technology into them, but with tiny sensors this just means images tend to suffer from noise. Stick with a proper camera if you want photographs you can actually display.
I just got a Panasonic Lumix TZ3 to carry everyday (can't really do that with my DSLR), which is quite nice but does not have the optical VF. Quite disconcerting too, for someone who's grown up with a K1000...
How does it compare...
.. to the current batch of 'top of the range' camera phones?
The reason I've been holding off spending the extra money on / putting up with the extra bulk of one of those mobiles is because I've never seen them produce results that get anywhere near rivalling the most basic of budget digital cameras.