Canon A630 Review

 
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Canon A630 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A generous 4x optical zoom range, with good performance.

Canon PowerShot digital camera image Canon PowerShot digital camera image
35mm
140mm
4x Digital Zoom

The Canon A630 zooms 4x over the equivalent of a 35-140mm range, a bit better than the 3x range typical its class. The 4x digital zoom takes it out to 16x total with less quality loss than we're accustomed to seeing from digital zoom. As you can see in the tests below, the A630's lens is great across the frame, especially in terms of sharpness. Even chromatic aberration is kept under control. If you're looking for the best image quality for the money, the A630 and A640 are the closest you'll get to superb without buying an SLR and a few lenses.

Macro
A small macro area with good detail and high resolution. Flash does not throttle down well at this range, so plan on using external flash for macro shots.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon A630's macro setting performs very well, capturing a small minimum area of 0.82 x 0.62 inches (21 x 16 millimeters). Detail is strong and resolution high, with only a moderate amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in Macro mode.) The flash doesn't throttle down well, nor can it evenly illuminate the field at such close range. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the A630.) Most macro shooting for duties like selling on ebay isn't done from this close, however.

Distortion
Moderate barrel distortion, average pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.60%
Canon PowerShot digital camera image
Pincushion distortion at 140mm is 0.26%
Canon PowerShot digital camera image

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel; usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion; usually at telephoto). The Canon A630's 0.60% barrel distortion at wide angle is lower than average among the cameras I've tested. At the telephoto end, the A630's 0.26% pincushion distortion is average.

Chromatic aberration
Pretty low at both wide angle and telephoto, showing just a small effect on images at edges.

Canon PowerShot digital camera image Canon PowerShot digital camera image
Wide: Low, top left @ 200% Wide: Low, top right @ 200%
Tele: Quite low, top left @200% Tele: Quite low, top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is very low at wide angle, showing very few pixels of moderately bright coloration on either side of the target lines, decreasing to very low levels at telephoto focal lengths. (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.) It is rare to see chromatic aberration this low on a modern digicam.

Corner Sharpness
Some minor softening in the lower corners of the frame, with the strongest effect in the lower right corner.

Wide: Only slightly softer
in the lower right corner.
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Slightly soft
in the lower right corner.
Tele: Sharp at center.

The Canon A630 showed only a slight loss of sharpness in the corners of the frame, quite a bit less than is average among cameras of its class. The center of the frame was slightly sharper at wide angle than telephoto, but the difference between the two was minor indeed. There is a slight halo visible around the black elements from the sharpening algorithm.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Optical viewfinder tight and skewed to the upper right. Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

Canon PowerShot digital camera image Canon PowerShot digital camera image
35mm eq., optical viewfinder 140mm eq., optical viewfinder
Canon PowerShot digital camera image Canon PowerShot digital camera image
35mm eq., LCD monitor 140mm eq., LCD monitor

The Canon A630's optical viewfinder was quite tight, showing only about 80% frame accuracy at wide angle and 78% at telephoto lens settings. However, the LCD monitor showed close to about 100 percent frame accuracy.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot A630 Photo Gallery.

Canon A630

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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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