Canon A430 Optics


A 4x optical zoom range, with good performance.

3.6x Digital Zoom

The Canon A430 zooms over the equivalent of a 39-156mm range, more generous than the traditional 3x zoom lens that is still standard on many cameras. The 3.6x digital zoom takes it out to 14x total, albeit with the loss of quality that digital zoom creates.

A very 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 the closest macro shots.
Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon A430's macro setting performed well, capturing a very small minimum area of 1.63 x 1.22 inches (41 x 31 millimeters). Detail was 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 at the minimum shooting distance though, so plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the Canon A430.

Slight barrel distortion, much better than average.

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 A430's 0.49% barrel distortion at wide angle is lower than average among the cameras I've tested. At the telephoto end, the A430's 0.0% distortion is very low indeed.

Barrel distortion at 39mm is 0.49%
Distortion at 156mm is 0.0%

Chromatic aberration
Moderately high at wide angle, quite low at telephoto.

Wide: fairly high, top left @ 200% Wide: fairly high, top right @ 200%
Tele: quite low, top left @200% Tele: quite low, top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is a bit high at wide angle on the PowerShot A430, showing several pixels of moderately bright coloration on either side of the target lines, but decreases 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.)

Corner Sharpness
Slight softening in the lower corners of the frame, but quite a bit better than average.

WA: Slightly soft in the corners WA: Sharper at center
T: Not bad in the corners T: Slightly sharper at center

The PowerShot produced slightly soft corners at wide angle (although much of the blurring there was more properly just a smearing of color due to chromatic aberration). At telephoto, the corners are nearly as sharp as the center of the frame. An impressive performance for such a low priced camera, outperforming most higher-end cameras of this size and weight.


Optical viewfinder is very tight and skewed to the lower left. Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor though.

39mm eq., optical viewfinder 156mm eq., optical viewfinder
39mm eq., LCD monitor 156mm eq., LCD monitor

The PowerShot A430's optical viewfinder was quite tight, showing only about 78% of the final image area at wide angle and 76% at the telephoto lens settings. However, the LCD monitor showed close to 100 percent frame accuracy. Its LCD viewfinder is excellent, but the A430 could really use a more accurate optical viewfinder.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot A430 Photo Gallery .

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