Canon A430 Review
Canon A430 Design
The Canon PowerShot A430's compact body has a solid feel, thanks to its rugged plastic body and healthy heft. Measuring 4.1 x 2.0 x 1.6 inches (103 x 52 x 40 millimeters), the A430 won't slip comfortably into your shirt pocket. It will, however, find its way into larger coat pockets, purses, and hip packs, good for travel. The A430 has good heft, with its 7.7-ounce (218-gram) weight, with batteries and memory card, but isn't at all uncomfortable to carry. The PowerShot A430's two-toned body is sleek and understated, more sculpture than jewelry.
The A430's front panel features the telescoping 4x zoom lens, which pops out 7/8-inch from the body when fully extended. Also on the front panel are the optical viewfinder window, flash, microphone, and a light emitter that serves multiple purposes, including autofocus assist, red-eye reduction, and the self-timer countdown.
On the right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) is the eyelet for attaching the wrist strap, the battery/card compartment door, and the connector compartment covered by a flexible, rubbery plastic flap that snaps in and out of place. When opened, the flap remains connected to the PowerShot A430's body, and folds out of the way to accommodate cables. Inside the compartment are the DC In and USB jacks.
On the opposite side of the camera, on the bottom edge, is the Audio/Video Out jack and the removable compartment for a tiny CR1220 battery that maintains the PowerShot A430's clock settings when the main batteries run out.
The A430's top panel features the Power button and the Shutter button.
The rest of the PowerShot A430's controls are located on the camera's rear panel, including the Mode dial, the optical viewfinder and 1.8-inch LCD monitor. The eye-level optical viewfinder features two LED lamps that report camera status. A Mode switch puts the camera into Playback or Record modes (Auto, Manual, Scene, or Movie), and is adjacent to the top right corner of the LCD monitor. Below the Mode switch is a four-way multi-controller that navigates settings menus, pressing up, down, left, and right. The right edge also controls flash mode, while the left edge accesses Macro mode. The top edge also zooms in and the bottom edge zooms out for image composition in Record mode or image magnification in Playback mode. A Function Set button below left of the multi-controller confirms menu changes. Between the LCD and the multi-controller are the Display button and the Menu button.
The A430's bottom panel is reasonably flat, with a threaded plastic tripod mount off center toward the lens. With the battery door located on the side of the camera, it does not interfere with quick battery or memory card changes while working with a tripod, a blessing if you want to do any studio shooting.
Canon A430 External Controls
Shutter Button: This large button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.
Power Button: To the right of the Shutter button, this recessed button turns the camera on or off.
Mode Dial: On the PowerShot A430's back panel, this large, notched dial is used to select the camera's shooting modes. The options are as follows:
- Auto: The camera controls everything about the exposure, except for Flash and Macro modes, image size, and quality settings.
- Manual: While the camera always controls aperture and shutter speed, this mode allows you to select some settings yourself, including exposure compensation, white balance, photo effect, metering method, and ISO.
- Scene: Offers Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, and Fireworks options.
- Movie: Press the shutter button to record a movie in one of three modes: Standard, Compact (for emailing) and My Colors.
Multi-Controller Rocker Button: This four-way rocker button is marked with arrows to navigate through the PowerShot A430's settings menus. In Record mode, the left arrow sets focus mode while the right arrow sets flash mode, and the up arrow zooms in while the down arrow zooms out.
In Playback mode, the left and right arrows scroll through captured images. When an image has been enlarged, all four arrows pan within the view when the Function Set button has been pressed. Otherwise, the down arrow displays the single-image erase menu.
Function Set Button: Below and to the left of the multi-controller, this button confirms menu selections. It also switches between available exposure adjustments in Manual mode.
- Shooting Mode: Selects among the modes available for each shooting mode in Manual, Scene, and Movie modes (Auto is the single option in Auto mode). Manual, offers Manual, Super Macro, Color Accent, Color Swap, and two Stitch Assist options. Scene offers Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, and Fireworks options. Movie offers Standard, Compact, Color Accent, and Color Swap.
- Exposure Compensation: Increases or decreases the exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments.
- ISO Speed: Sets the camera's sensitivity to Auto, 64, 100, 200, or 400 ISO equivalents.
- White Balance: Controls the color balance of images. Options are Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, and Custom (manual setting).
- Drive Mode: Accesses Single, Continuous Shooting, and the three Self-Timer modes (a two- or 10-second delay, or the adjustable timer).
- Photo Effect: Enables Vivid Color, Neutral Color, Sepia, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, or Custom Color effects.
- Resolution: Specifies the image resolution and quality settings. Still image resolutions are 2,272 x 1,704; 1,600 x 1,200; 1,024 x 768; and 640 x 480 pixels. Postcard mode also offers 1,600 x 1,200 pixel resolution but greys out a portion of the screen top and bottom, revealing which part of the image won't fit on a standard 4x6 print. Wide screen offers 2,272 x 1,280. Quality options (activated by pressing the Menu button) are Superfine, Fine, and Normal.
Display Button: To the left and above the multi-controller and adjacent to the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this button controls the information and image display modes in Record and Playback modes.
Menu Button: Below the Display button, this button calls up the settings menu in Record and Playback modes. It also dismisses the menu screen and backs out of menu selections.
Print/Share Button: Directly right of the Function Set button, is the Print/Share button. When the Canon A430 is connected to a printer or Windows computer, this button lights up, indicating that sync or printing is one button away. On a Macintosh computer, transfers are typically initiated after the camera is recognized by the operating system.
Battery Compartment Latch: Nestled in the center of the battery compartment door on the bottom of the PowerShot A430, this sliding switch unlocks the door, so that it can slide forward and open.
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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.