Customer Reviews: Canon PowerShot A810 16.0 MP Digital Camera with 5x Digital Image Stabilized Zoom 28mm Wide-Angle Lens with 720p HD Video Recording (Silver) (OLD MODEL)
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on July 2, 2012
Let me start with a little "complaint" here: People are unnecessarily ruining the reputation of a perfectly good camera because they don't know what they are talking about. So, if you haven't owned/used a range of photographic equipment or have some knowledge/skill/abilities in photography, don't write a review.

Quick summery: It's a great camera for the price range. It is reasonable rugged, easy to use, and has good picture quality. If you want to buy this camera as a beater, glovebox camera or as your pre-teen son/daughter's first camera it is excellent.

Rebuttal to the earlier reviewers:
-First, you are expected to get a new memory card as you get a new camera. They are very cheap nowadays. Expecting a new memory card is like expecting having a full tank of gas in new car as you pull it out of the dealer's lot. It's nice, but the maker has ZERO obligation to do so.

-Some complains about pictures being too big. That's like someone buys a new big house then complains about the front yard being too big! Big file size is the function of a high quality image. Get yourself a new bigger memory, hard driver, etc.... There's no free lunch.

-Even the best digital cameras (I'm talking about cameras costing about 20x of this one) has problems with dynamic range (the "distance" between the brightest and darkest parts of a photo). As a photographer, you are obligated to watch for bright, harsh lights and take measures to solve the problem. I used the camera under many different conditions and I don't see this camera being overly bad in terms of dynamic range.

-I'm using a 16GB card and I can hold 3700+ pictures (a 16GB can be had for about $25 nowadays) so that should be enough pictures for at least a day's shooting.

I have been a photographer since high school, and worked as one in various capacities (weddings, event coverage, portraits, etc...)since. My last point-and-shoot was stolen in a car break-in so I will need a replacement.

General comment:
-Picture/optical quality: It's very serviceable. Of course, for its price the picture quality aren't as good as more expensive point-and-shoot and my DSLR (Nikon D7000). However, it's superior to any phone camera. The zoom range is decent, and the macro works well.
-Video: It can make 720P (HD) video and it's a sufficient quality for most purpose.
-One set of fresh fully charged AA NiMH batteries last at least for a day of shooting. I haven't collect any data on number of pictures per charge so I can't give anything more precise.
-Indoor/low light shooting: This is the area where ALL point-and-shoot will suffer. If you don't want to use flash in those situations, be prepared for grainy images. Again, this is common to ALL point-and-shoot so it's not unique for this camera.

Thumbs up:
-Uses AA batteries: You can buy AA batteries anywhere and you can use rechargeables AA batteries. No expensive proprietary rechargeables batteries to buy.
-Small and light: It fits into a shirt pocket, cargo shorts pockets easily. It is bigger in terms of volume than the smallest cameras on the market but it is very light.
-Ergonomics: Buttons are big and legible. I can operate most controls even with my fingered cycling gloves on. The shutter button is big and feels good to the finger. All controls are where you expected them to be.
-Noise level: The motors operates almost silently so it's good when you have to use the camera in discreet environment.
-Menu layout: If you are previously a Canon user, it is the same as before. However, it added addition help statements to tell you want each function does.
-Auto-focus: As for any Canon, the auto-focus is fast and accurate.

Thumbs down (mostly very minor):
-The battery cover can come off if you handle the camera wrong once in a blue moon. You can always use some tape to tape the door down if that happens too often.
-Lacks Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority modes. Theses are more advanced functions that Canon took out for this entry level camera. That's a bummer for more advanced users. If you don't know what I am talking about, it's ok as it won't affect you one bit.

Final Words:
If you want a cheap, "beater" camera, or the first camera for a pre-teen that runs on AA batteries (highly recommend using rechargeables), it is a fantastic camera!
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on September 13, 2012
I bought this as a "go-anywhere" camera to carry with me when lugging the big DSLR and all its associated hardware (does stuff just grow in the gadget bag when you're not looking?) was impractical. So far, it has performed admirably.

A big feature for me was the use of AA batteries. While the cameras with rechargeable batteries are more compact, the AA capability lets me get new batteries for it anywhere if necessary. That can be extremely important, especially on a trip, and was worth trading a bit of size for. Between the AA batteries and standard SD card slot, it doesn't need anything I can't get at Walgreen's.

The only real negative to me is the lack of instant-access controls and settings, with almost all of them being on-screen now. While that's the default nowadays, and it does have some advantages for reliability (not to mention real estate when most of the back of the camera is LCD screen) it is definitely slower than just turning a dial to switch modes. Still, for the average user who probably doesn't need to change them in an instant, this is not likely to be an issue.

All in all, an excellent pocket camera for the price. Definitely highly recommended.
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on January 25, 2013
The camera works fine, takes excellent pictures even though they look very grainy in the display screen before you take the shot. I love that it takes only 2 AA batteries, so I didn't have to bother with spending extra money on a special extra battery. I did have a problem with the software that comes with the camera; it refused to work or open; so I deleted it and just used the programs already installed in my macbook. The batteries tend to fall out when you remove the SD card to put it in your card reader, so I ended up using the USB cable and downloaded directly from the camera using PREVIEW and IMAGE CAPTURE, both Apps that were already on my Mac. Already a Powershot user, I found the menu's easy to use and of course the new help button reminded me of what I'd forgotten. I'd recommend this camera for casual point and shoot situations where an SLR is overkill. It also does a great job capturing written documents with clarity (something I do often) that rivals my SLR when it comes to clarity. Although the software was frustrating when it didn't work and froze my laptop, the camera itself is great. I'd say I'm pleased overall with the purchase.
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on January 8, 2013
I bought this with a little trepidation and $60 which is pretty cheap for a 16mp camera. Some people complained about image quality in other reviews but I noticed this only on the cameras screen NOT on the computer. Sometime however if you move while taking the picture it will come out blurry, but its noticeable on the camera's screen. It does not come with a memory card (MicroSD) so you'll have to pick one up. I wouldn't recommend buying a MicroSD less than 4gb, as the pictures can be pretty big and the video can take up a lot since it is 720. The video function is quite good and quite frankly I should use it more.
A good thing about the camera is that it uses AA batteries, making in convenient (I had a Nikon with a special battery which was really annoying, especially when it ran out of charge and you have to wait for it to charge). The battery life seemed to be not bad as well.
It has a mini usb cord that you can plug into the camera so you don't have to have a memory card reader on your computer.
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on December 25, 2012
I bought this camera to replace one I thought was lost at work. The price was the most important consideration and it had to be a Canon. I bought this on the strength of a couple of favorable reviews and had no particular expectations. So, I was very pleasantly surprised when it arrived.

The camera is small and light. It is smaller than I expected and is thin. It is all plastic and feels sturdy. It has no viewfinder. The LCD screen is large for a camera this small and shows good detail in outdoor light. The quality falls off in low or indoor light. The camera is easy to hold in one or two hands and has a substantial bump under the shutter release to grip. There is no texture to assist you in gripping the camera, but the bump has a defined edge you can grip with fingertips. My biggest complaint is having the on-off button right next the shutter release. The buttons are the same color and texture and differ only in size making them easy to confuse.

The camera powers up quickly. The menu system is easy to access, you put the camera in "Live" mode and you can access all the special shooting modes by repeatedly pressing the thumb dial. In "Auto" mode the camera chooses the mode for you. I found "Auto" mode adequate to most of my needs except when taking pictures of people, then I prefer the "Portrait" mode. Recording movies is simple, just push the red button. I have not used the movie mode extensively. The zoom lever is around the shutter release where I prefer it. The camera comes with the digital zoom set to on. The digital zoom cannot be turned off in "Auto" mode which is a feature I dislike. It can be turned off in "Live" mode.

After years of lugging SLRs and superzooms around I decided to downsize to smaller cameras a couple of years ago. The pictures the A810 takes have well saturated color and plenty of detail for viewing on a screen or prints up to 8x10. Actually for a camera as small and as inexpensive as this is I find the picture quality amazing. Compared to the cameraphones most people use it takes stunning pictures. On my laptop screen it takes pictures that are as good as those made with my superzoom. I give up some zoom range and lens speed,but gain a camera that fits in a pocket. I get that convenience without giving up much image quality.

For the price and size I highly recommend this camera.
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on January 27, 2013
I gave this camera to my sister who had previously owned a Nikon Cool Pix that she didn't like because it had too many bells and whistles and it was a touch screen that annoyed her. Long story short she dropped the Nikon and it broke so I told her I'd order something I thought she would like better. Easy to use right out of the box and takes great photo. Has video and that too is simple to use. If you are looking for a nice basic point and shoot don't hesitate to purchase this one. I own 5 Canons and each one from the point and shoot to the Rebel is a great camera, you can,t go wrong with a Canon
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on January 6, 2013
I'm trained in art and photography, and I sort of have a thing for cameras. My wife, on the other hand is not into anything technical. She needed a simple point and shoot with good video and sound for when our grand daughter visits.I am a big fan of Canon, so I began my search there. The reason I settled on this one was the BATTERIES. I think a simple pocket point and shoot should use AA batteries, it's much more practical for the casual user, just use rechargeables. The great thing about AA is that if you're out at the zoo or somewhere and your batteries go dead, you can find them anywhere.
After comparing this camera to the other Canons in it's price range, this was the right choice, the little bulge for the batteries actually make it easier to handle in my opinion. It's a great little camera for what I paid, takes very good pictures and videos, it's simple to use, easy to store, and it uses AA BATTERIES! I wish more cameras did.
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on August 20, 2013
My son received a Canon PowerShot A810 as a gift. It's a 16 megapixel camera with a 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) zoom. Canon also sells the PowerShot G15. It's a 12 megapixel camera with a zoom of 28-140mm. It's bigger and clunkier, and a lot more expensive. Why would anyone buy the G15, when they could have the A810? The answer to that question illustrates what is wrong with the A810, and the way cameras are advertised.

Here are some specifications for the A810:
Sensor 1/2.3" (the smallest standard size)
Lens Aperture: f2.8 (wide) to f6.9 (telephoto, very slow)
Resolutions available: 16MP: 4608 x 3456, 8MP: 3264 x 2448, 2MP: 1600 x 1200, 0.3MP: 640 x 480

This camera is capable of producing enormous images at potentially very high resolution. It can't achieve these resolutions. It can't even come close. There are two reasons for this:

1) A 1/2.3" sensor is very densely packed. That means far fewer photons to strike each pixel. To compensate the manufacturer has to turn up the gain on the chip. The more density, the more gain needed. The more gain, the more noise. At 16 megapixels, this camera has such densely packed pixels that even ISO 100 shots are noisy. Canon can either let the user live with the noise, or apply noise reduction. Noise reduction is useful if done well and selectively. Here noise reduction smears the image, getting rid of SOME of the noise. Think of it: At ISO 100, you get noise and smearing. The problem worsens as the ISO value goes up.

2) A 16 megapixel, 1/2.3" sensor demands a lens capable of high resolution. You don't get that with this camera. First, the lens is cheaply made. It isn't bad for a cheap lens, but it will not perform up to its potential specification. Those specifications are are pretty low to begin with:

If you do a search for the terms "diffraction" and "digital camera" you will get pages that have diffraction limit calculators for various digital camera formats. Diffraction is a property that has been well understood for centuries. For cameras, the higher the F-ratio of a lens, the more diffraction it introduces, and the less detail shows up on your pictures.

For this camera, the sensor might benefit from a perfect lens if the lens were f2.6 or lower. As I stated above, the lens at wide angle is f2.8, and at telephoto is f6.9.

To use this lens, you need to drop the camera's resolution. F6.9 supports a resolution of between 2-3 megapixels, given a perfectly made lens. Now look at what the camera makes available: 16, 8, 2, and 0.3 megapixels. At 8 megapixels, you can shoot wide angle shots with this lens, but normal (40+mm) through telephoto shots only achieve the resolution of the lens at 2 megapixels. Try to push the resolution higher, and you will get empty megapixels, lots of them. Indeed, the A810 is one of the most extreme examples on the market of a camera promising something it can't come close to delivering.

The level of lying in the marketing of this camera is breathtaking.

What about that other camera I mentioned, the Canon G15 that sells for over $500? It comes with a larger sensor, a 1/1.8", and fewer megapixels, 12. Its lens' f-ratio ranges from f1.8 (wide) to f2.8 (telephoto). Plug those values into a diffraction calculator, and you have a camera that can take full advantage of 12 megapixels at f2.8. The larger chip also results in lower noise per given ISO, and less need for noise reduction. In short, this is a pretty honest camera, aimed at people who understand cameras better.

The majority of people who purchase an A810 and all its over-pixeled brethren don't have a clue, and this allows companies like Canon to market to them shamelessly. In optics you tend to get what you pay for. If you buy this camera knowing you are getting a usable 2 megapixel camera, then go for it. To the rest of the people out there, beware. Canon may slap a 16 megapixel sensor in the A810, but don't expect to take advantage of it.

December 2013 update: My son is getting another camera as a gift, a Canon Powershot S120. It uses the same larger sensor as the G series Canons, but uses a much slower lens for telephoto shots, and lacks such niceties as a flash shoe, or a viewfinder. The up-side? It's a far more compact camera than the G series. Compared to the A series cameras, the S120 can take some advantage of the available 6 megapixel resolution setting (M1) at full telephoto. The extra chip size means it can use higher ISOs without the smearing and noise of the A series cameras.
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on November 28, 2012
I don't know why, in all the descriptions of this camera that is does not include "Uses SDHC, not included." I had to go to the Canon web site to plow through the information to find that sort of necessary bit of information. Other than that, to me, very important bit of information, it is an excellent, tiny camera. It does everything I want to do with it, and does it quite simply. It's not a big, expensive, professional camera, but I didn't need one of those. Another thought in passing. It might not need to be said, but this is pretty much a right handed camera. A leftie can probably use it, but it might be a little awkward. Works fine for me
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on February 13, 2013
I'm a serious amateur photographer, so my go-to camera is a digital DSLR...but it's heavy and with prohibitive luggage prices these days, sometimes I'd rather not travel with it and risk its health. For destinations involving family parties or where I'll likely take fun photos versus anything deeply artistic, I don't mind a simpler point and shoot. The last one I bought I had high hopes for as my previous model with Sony was great. It was terrible and I've never been happy with it. I read reviews and took a chance on this one and am very, very happy. If all you want to do is point and shoot a photo or video you'll LOVE it. No "dialing" to video setting, just push the record button on the back and launch right into filming. Now, if you want to be a little more artistic or have very high standards...I think you'll still like it a lot. 16 megapixels means great resolution. It has a decent zoom feature and it's very easy to use (there is a 'question' button on the back, how much simpler can you get??) There is a slight hesitation in some settings but you can find a setting that pretty much fires as soon as you push the button. Likewise, there is quite a long hesitation using the flash as it is "charging the flash". I can still get around that with a different setting. There is an interesting setting that takes three photos in lightening-speed-succession and "marries" the best from each into one final photo--so if someone moves or blinks, you'll still get a good sharp shot. That was pretty cool. Since high resolution and a fast trigger are my biggest concerns, I'm happy with this. It's not a DSLR, but I know that and don't hold that against it. There are other reviews here that go into much greater depth (and I found them to be spot-on)---my unanswered question was about shutter speed and I find it adequate for what I use this camera for. I'm not sorry at all that I took a chance on it.
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