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It accomplishes what the "A" series Canon's are supposed to....
on July 10, 2010
This is the third Canon "A" series that I have purchased. For those of you unfamiliar with the Canon line, they are targeted at users who value simplicity and ease of use. Clearly, they are also focused on a price point that is quite low. If you are looking for greater sophistication and higher quality (both photographic and build), there are many other choices. However, given its mission, the A3100 succeeds.
First, ease of use is well thought out. The user is presented with icons intended to be intuitive. However, there is a safety net for those perplexed by that approach: the software provides a running, written commentary on the purpose of the available options. The designers have attempted to make this device as palatable and non threatening as possible.
Second, even for users accustomed to more sophisticated cameras, the image quality is more than satisfactory. When purchasing a digital camera, one should not concentrate on "pixels". Digital imaging is dependent upon lens quality and the processor, in this case Canon's Digic III. I have felt that Canon's processors were among the best, for years. However, it is fair to say that the technology has improved to such an extent that many of the major brands are competitive with one another.
My primary concern and criticism is build quality; the battery and memory card door is flimsy (another review mentioned this), as is the USB port cover. Only time will tell if this is a problem.
Another review has mentioned dark images and less than satisfactory results with the zoom. While I have not utilized the digital zoom, yet, I find the optical zoom and image stabilization to operate quite well.
This is not an advanced SLR or a Leica; nor is it intended to be. However, within the scope of its designers' intent, it performs admirably, rewarding the user with photos above "snapshot" quality. For approximately $150.00, it is difficult to imagine a better performer.