Canon A430 Review

 
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Canon A430 Performance








Timing and Performance

PowerShot A430 Timing
Good to average speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
2.2 seconds
Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.
Shutdown
1.6 seconds
How long it takes to retract lens and stow in your pocket.
Buffer clearing time
~ 1 seconds
(Large/Fine JPEG,
Many shots in
continuous mode)
Worst case buffer clearing time.* This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
1.7 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
1.79 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
Display
recorded image
1.56 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.52 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.59 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
Prefocused
0.071 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Manual focus
0.49 second
(In "Landscape" scene mode.) For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused"
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.78 seconds
Time per shot averaged over 20 shots. No apparent buffer limit*)
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.76 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots (No apparent buffer limit*)
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras won't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.
Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.43 second (2.31 frames per second);
2 shot buffer;
~1 second to clear
Time per shot, only two shots this fast, then drops to 0.68 seconds/shot with a fast card*
Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG
0.45 second (2.23 frames per second);
No limit w/fast card*;
<1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, no apparent buffer limit with a fast card*
Flash recycling
11.9 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
590 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
771-4000=USB 2.0 High
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 120x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The A430's performance ranges from above average to average, depending on what you're trying to do. Start up is a good bit faster than many competing models. Shutter response is on the fast side of average unless you "prefocus" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure. Prefocused, it's blazingly fast, with a shutter delay of only 0.07 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are average, at about 1.8 seconds for large/fine JPEGs. Continuous-mode speed is better than average among entry-level cameras, at 2.3 frames/second, but only for two shots in succession. (With simple subjects with little detail, you may get more than two shots in a series, it depends on how well the camera can compress the images.) The flash takes about 12 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, a bit below average for this class of camera (particularly considering how weak the flash is). Connected to a computer, download speeds are fast enough that you probably won't feel a need for a separate card reader, but nonetheless aren't as fast as some cameras currently on the market. Bottom line, while not a first choice for sports or other fast-paced action, the Canon A430 is responsive enough to handle most family photo opportunities.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Good battery life. (Definitely buy NiMH cells and a charger though.)

Battery Type
Battery Life
Alkaline
90 shots
NiMH
(2500 mAh capacity)
360 shots

The PowerShot A430 uses two AA batteries for power. The table above shows the number of shots it can take with either Alkaline or NiMH batteries, based on the CIPA battery-life standard. (Based on 2500 mAh capacity cells.) A CIPA rating of 360 shots (with the LCD display enabled) is pretty good, but as always we strongly recommend that you purchase a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good-quality charger, as they'll save you many times their cost over the life of the camera.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
A 16-MB SD Card is included with the PowerShot A430.

Image Capacity with
16-MB SD Card
Fine
2,272 x 1,704 Images 7
File Size 2.1MB
1,600 x 1,200 Images 15
File Size 1MB
1,024 x 768 Images 25
File Size 616K
640 x 480
Images 56
File Size 283K

I strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/MMC memory card at least a 256MB card, preferably a 512MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings with the PowerShot A430.

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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.

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