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Canon PowerShot A10

Canon introduces a "value priced, full featured" 1.3 megapixel with 3x zoom lens and great image quality!

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PowerShot A10 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 5/16/2001

We've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it! ;)


Outdoor portrait: (620 k)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why we set it up this way. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Canon A10 does a good job. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (620 k) and daylight (606 k) white balance settings, choosing the automatic setting for our main series. The daylight setting produced a warm image, with a magenta cast in the house siding and in the model's skin tones. Overall color balance appeared more accurate with the automatic white balance. Skin tones are quite natural, although we did notice a slight magenta tint. The blue flowers in the bouquet look very good, with just the slightest hint of purple here and there in their petals. (These blues are hard for many digicams to accurately reproduce, so the A10 performs nicely.) The red flower is very bright, with a soft halo that loses some detail. Resolution looks pretty good for a 1.3 megapixel camera, with a fair amount of fine detail visible in the image, particularly in the flower bouquet. The shadow areas also show good detail, with low noise. We achieved the best exposure with a +0.6 EV adjustment, which only slightly overexposed the highlight areas. Overall, a very nice job! The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.0 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 250
F/ 11
(627 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 200
F/ 11
(600 k)
0.6 EV
1/ 160
F/ 11
(620 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 125
F/ 11
(588 k)



 
Closer portrait: (629 k)
The A10 again performs well with this closer, portrait shot, thanks to its 3x lens. (Shorter focal length lenses tend to distort facial features in close-up shots like this and the availability of longer focal lengths is a key feature if you're going to be shooting close-up people shots.) We continued with the automatic white balance setting, which produced a good overall color balance. Resolution is higher in this shot, with more fine detail visible in the model's hair and face. Noise remains low in the shadow areas, and is also noticeable in the house siding. Our main shot was taken with no exposure adjustment at all, as this shot generally requires less exposure compensation than the wider, Outdoor Portrait. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.0 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 100
F/ 13
(629 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 100
F/ 13
(629 k)
0.6 EV
1/ 500
F/ 4.8
(610 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 400
F/ 4.8
(566 k)



 
Indoor Portrait, Flash: (504 k)
The A10's built-in flash does a pretty good job illuminating the subject while producing a reasonably bright exposure. In all of our flash test shots, the A10 produced a strong orange cast in response to the background incandescent lighting (this lighting is a common obstacle for digicams). We first shot with the flash in the normal shooting mode, without any exposure compensation, producing this (469 k) very dark shot. The orange cast covers the entire image, affecting skin tones, the white of the shirt, and the overall color. Next, we increased the exposure compensation to +1.3 EV,(504 k) which produced a much brighter image, and in fact was the one we selected for our main shot for this category. The orange cast is still present, but less obvious on the model's face and white shirt. Overall color looks much more accurate, with vibrant tones in the flower bouquet. Finally, we switched the flash mode to Slow Synchro,(502 k) which synchronizes the flash with a slower shutter speed, and we again adjusted the exposure compensation to +1.3 EV. Because more ambient light is allowed into the image, the overall exposure is much brighter, though the orange cast persists. Though skin tones are slightly orangish and the white shirt shows hints of orange in the shadows, the image looks pretty good.


 
Indoor portrait, no flash: (524 k)
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting, and the A10's white balance system performs well. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (515 k) and incandescent (525k) white balance settings, choosing the incandescent setting for our main series. The automatic setting resulted in a warm color cast, with dark orange, almost sepia, tints. The incandescent setting produced more accurate results, though the image is still slightly warm. Overall color balance and accuracy look good, despite a yellowish cast in the white wall background and in the model's shirt. The blue flowers of the bouquet show purple tints at the edges of the petals, though the remaining flowers appear nearly accurate. (The red flower is a little bright, with slightly blurred details and a pinkish cast.) The skin tones have some orange and magenta tints, but aren't too bad overall. Resolution looks good, with plenty of fine detail visible throughout the image, especially in the flowers. Details are also fairly sharp. Noise is moderately low in the shadow areas, with faint hints of it in the white shirt as well. We chose an exposure adjustment of +1.0 EV for our main image, as anything beyond that overexposed the highlight areas, causing them to glow. The table below shows a range of exposures from zero to +1.3 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 100
F/ 13
(500 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 100
F/ 13
(514 k)
0.6 EV
1/ 500
F/ 4.8
(526 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 400
F/ 4.8
(525 k)
1.3 EV
1/ 400
F/ 4.8
(513 k)



 
House shot: (928 k)
We shot samples of this image with the daylight (926 k) and automatic (928 k) white balance settings, noticing that both resulted in a slight color cast. The daylight setting resulted in a warm image, with yellowish tints in the white trim. Alternatively, the automatic setting resulted in a slightly cool cast, with bluish tints in the white trim and bricks. In the end, we decided that the automatic setting appeared the most natural overall. Despite the slight cool cast, color looks nice, with good saturation. Resolution is moderately high, with the bricks, shrubbery, and tree limbs above the roof showing a reasonable amount of detail. Details are also fairly sharp, particularly those of the linear house details. The roof shingles show a low level of noise, as do the shadow areas. In-camera sharpening is barely noticeable, as we picked up only about a half-pixel halo along the light and dark edges of the roof trim. Overall, the A10 does a nice job here.


 
 
Far-Field Test (932 k)
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

We shot this image with the automatic white balance setting, which produced an accurate color balance without any strong color casts. Colors are bright and vibrant, with good saturation and accuracy, particularly in the greens. The greens here look almost "electric," but as it was springtime in Atlanta, the colors of the new vegetation really were about that bright! This shot is a strong test of detail, given the practically infinite range of fine detail in a natural scene like this, viewed from a distance. Resolution looks moderately high, with good detail in the tree branches, bricks, and house front. Overall sharpness looks nice as well, though the more organic, rounded details of the trees and shrubbery are somewhat soft. We also judge a camera's dynamic range in this shot, comparing how well the camera holds detail in both the shadow and highlight areas. The A10 has some trouble negotiating the bright, white paint of the bay window area, as it picks up only the strongest details of the trim. The stark brightness of the bay window also produces a small glow around the outside edges. The shadow area under the porch fares reasonably well, though the brick pattern is just barely distinguishable. Noise is moderately low in the roof shingles and shadow areas. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Fine
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(932 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(630 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(324 k)
Medium/Fine
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(601 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(409 k)
Medium/Economy
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(214 k)
Small/Fine
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(275 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(189 k)
Small/Economy
1/ 800
F/ 3.5
(106 k)



 
 
Lens Zoom Range
We've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. Thus, we're happy to present you here with the following series of shots, showing the field of view with the lens at full wide angle, at full 3x telephoto, and at full telephoto with 2x digital telephoto enabled. The A10's wide angle setting captures a good, wide field of view, with only a hint of barrel distortion along the curb of the street. Resolution is moderate, with a reasonable amount of fine detail visible along the house front and in the tree limbs. The 3x telephoto increases resolution and detail as it magnifies the image, also slightly increasing the amount of visible detail in the bright bay window area. The shrubbery and grasses in front of the house also appear sharper. Though details soften somewhat with the 2x digital enlargement, overall resolution still looks pretty good. (These shots were taken at the 1024x768 image size, so are somewhat sharper than would be ones shot at the full 1280x960 resolution.) Exposure darkens just a touch, and we see a few JPEG artifacts in the glass window panes, but noise remains at a moderately low level.

Wide Angle
Shutter: 1/ 160
Aperture: F8
(604 k)
3x Telephoto
Shutter: 1/ 500
Aperture: F4.8
(551 k)
2x Digital Telephoto
Shutter: 1/ 640
Aperture: F4.8
(378 k)



 
 
Musicians Poster (625 k)
The A10 doesn't get terribly close for macro shots, capturing a minimum area of 6.93 x 5.20 inches (175.97 x 131.98 millimeters). However, color, detail and resolution all look good, with great detail visible in the coins as well as on the brooch. The gray background shows moderate noise, and we noticed a small amount of barrel distortion from the lens' wide angle setting. The A10's built-in flash (609 k) does a good job of throttling down for the macro area, maintaining good color and increased clarity. Flash coverage is a little uneven, with a large hot spot in the center of the image (a tiny reflection in the coin), and falloff along the edges and in the corners.


 
Macro Shot (976 k)
The A10 is a little limited in the macro category, capturing a larger than average minimum area of 6.41 x 4.81 inches (162.87 x 122.15 millimeters). However, color, detail and resolution all look good, with great detail visible in the coins as well as on the brooch. There's a faint moire pattern in the background surrounding Washington's portrait, probably from the fine pattern of the engraving on the bill. We also noticed a little barrel distortion from the lens' wide angle setting. The A10's built-in flash (961 k) does a great job of throttling down for the macro area, maintaining good color and increased clarity. Flash coverage is a little uneven, with a large hot spot in the center of the image, and falloff along the edges and in the corners.


"Davebox" Test Target (460 k)
We shot samples of this target using the automatic (460 k) and daylight (465 k) white balance settings, choosing the automatic setting as the most accurate overall. The daylight setting resulted in a slightly warm image, with a yellowish/orangish cast to the white color block and resolution target. The automatic setting produced a more accurate white value, though slightly cool (the mini-resolution target has a slight cyan tint). The large color blocks look about right, with reasonably good saturation. The large magenta and red blocks show a bluish tint, and we noticed a glow around the large blue block at the bottom of the target. The A10 picks up the subtle difference between the red and magenta color blocks on the middle, horizontal color chart (a common problem area for many digicams). Exposure looks pretty good, as the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 chart are visible all the way up to the "B" range (this is another common problem area for digicams). The tonal gradations of the smaller, vertical gray scales look nice, though the two darkest blocks on both scales blend together slightly. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows good detail, with moderately low noise. We also noticed a lot of detail in the highlights of the white gauze area. Resolution is high throughout the image, with fairly sharp details in the mini-resolution target. A very nice performance overall.


 
Low-Light Tests
The A10 had some difficulty with the low-light category, as the camera only produced a bright, somewhat usable image at the eight foot-candle light level (0.88 lux). Images still usable (with post-exposure tweaking on the computer) as low as one foot-candle (11 lux), but became progressively darker from there. Noise is pretty low in all of the images, with a small grain pattern. To put the A10's low-light performance into perspective, an average city night scene under modern street lighting corresponds to a light level of about one foot-candle, meaning most night exposures will require use of the built-in flash. The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the came

8fc
10EV
88lux
4fc
9EV
44lux
2fc
8EV
22lux
1fc
7EV
11lux
1/2fc
6EV
5.5lux
1/4fc
5EV
2.7lux
Click to see A10L10NR00.JPG
432 KB
1/ 6
F3.5
Click to see A10L10NR01.JPG
430 KB
1/ 4
F3.5
Click to see A10L10NR02.JPG
398 KB
1/ 3
F3.5
Click to see A10L10NR03.JPG
392 KB
1/ 1
F3.5
Click to see A10L10NR04.JPG
300 KB
1
F3.5
Click to see A10L10NR05.JPG
265 KB
1
F3.5



 
Flash Range Test
Canon rates the A10's flash as effective from 2.5 to 13.8 feet (0.76 to 4.2 meters) at wide angle, and from 2.5 to 8.2 feet (26 to 76 centimeters) at telephoto. In our testing, we found the A10's flash brightest at the eight foot distance from the target. The flash remained reasonably bright as far as 10 feet from the target, though the dimmer intensity produced a slightly warm color cast. Flash power continued to decrease in intensity all the way out to 15 feet, but was still somewhat effective. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 15 feet from the target.


8 ft
1/ 60
F/ 4.5
(383 k)

9 ft
1/ 60
F/ 4.5
(407 k)

10 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4.8
(374 k)

11 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4.8
(364 k)

12 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4.8
(339 k)

13 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4.8
(314 k)

14 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4.8
(323 k)



 
ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (535 k)
In our laboratory resolution test, the A10 resolves the target patterns cleanly (with no artifacts) out to 500 lines per picture height in both horizontal and vertical directions, with good detail showing to 650 lines in both directions, although artifacts become quite evident starting around 600 lines. "Extinction" of the target lines occurs at about 800 lines of resolution in both directions. Overall, a bit better than average among 1.3 megapixel cameras we've tested.

Optical distortion on the A10 is a bit lower than average at the wide angle end, where we measured a 0.62 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as we didn't see even a pixel of pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is also very low, showing only a half-pixel of coloration on either side of the black target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) Overall, the A10's lens appears to be of higher than average quality.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Large/Fine
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(535 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(330 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(156 k)
Medium/Fine
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(344 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(218 k)
Medium/Economy
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(109 k)
Small/Fine
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(163 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(106 k)
Small/Economy
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(59 k)


Resolution Series, Telephoto
Large/Fine
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(513 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(312 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(143 k)
Medium/Fine
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(332 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(208 k)
Medium/Economy
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(101 k)
Small/Fine
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(156 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(101 k)
Small/Economy
1/ 160
F/ 2.8
(56 k)



 
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
We found the A10's optical viewfinder to be fairly tight, showing only 75.6 percent of the final image area at wide angle (478 k), and about 79.4 percent at telephoto (472 k) (at the 1,280 x 960-pixel resolution size). We also noticed that images framed with the optical viewfinder were slanted toward the lower left corner, indicating a slightly shifted CCD. The LCD monitor was much more accurate, showing approximately 99.06 percent of the final image area at telephoto (453 k) (also at the 1,280 x 960-pixel resolution size). We were unable to measure the exact frame accuracy at the wide angle (447 k) setting, as our standard lines of measurement were just outside of the frame in the final image, causing the LCD monitor to be a little loose at the wide angle setting. Since we generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the A10 did very well in this regard. Flash distribution is fairly even at the telephoto setting, with a small hot spot/reflection in the center of the target. At wide angle, flash distribution is slightly uneven, with falloff around the edges and in the corners of the frame.

Bottom line, we'd have liked to see a more accurate optical viewfinder, but the LCD viewfinder was very precise.


Wide Angle (Optical)
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(478 k)

Telephoto (Optical)
1/ 60
F/ 4.8
(472 k)

Wide Angle (LCD)
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(447 k)

Telephoto (LCD)
1/ 60
F/ 4.8
(453 k)


 

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<<Reference: Datasheet | Print-Friendly Review Version>>

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