Canon PowerShot A480 review

Price when reviewed

The PowerShot A480 is the cheapest of the three Canon cameras in this group and it doesn’t feel as swish as the others. It’s cheerful plastic body is chunky at 30mm thick, although its width and height mean it’s still pocketable.

Canon PowerShot A480 review

You get a 3.3x optical zoom, a 10-megapixel sensor and the same sub-two-second startup time of its more expensive Ixus peers. But the camera lacks image stabilisation, plus its 2.5in screen is lower resolution and grainy compared to the other Canon models. Probably the biggest drawback is the fact it uses alkaline AA batteries.

Those disadvantages are almost forgotten when you start using the A480. In use it’s quick and fuss-free and, from the front at least, it won’t shame you when you take it out in public, though controls round the back do look and feel a bit toy-like. It’s just as swift and sure in its focus as more expensive models, and a shot-to-shot time of three seconds isn’t shabby at all. Canon’s expertise in getting the essentials right shows; we never found ourselves becoming frustrated or missing shots. The menu navigation is a subset of the same system the Ixus models use, and you get manual controls including the likes of spot-metering and even a histogram facility to check exposure.

In fact, the impression you get of the A480 is of a high-end engine wrapped up in a cheap body. Image quality is similar to the more expensive Canons, with clean shots and good detail undermined only by more chromatic aberration than we’d like, especially in the corners. Low-light performance is acceptable: images are noisy, but just about pass muster. Amazingly, all this places the A480 third overall in our image quality rankings.

If you’re the sort of person who wants a techno-fetish gadget, you’ll need to spend more than this on your compact. The lack of a lithium ion battery, and thus poorer battery life and less convenience, are also minus points. But if you’re after a pocketable, cheap and capable camera, the A480 is a cute little bargain.


Image quality 6

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 10.0MP
Camera screen size 2.5in
Camera optical zoom range 3.3x
Camera maximum resolution 3,648 x 2,736

Weight and dimensions

Weight 144g
Dimensions 92 x 30 x 62mm (WDH)


Battery type included Alkaline AA
Battery life (CIPA standard) 200 shots
Charger included? no

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
Aperture range f3 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance 1.00m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent) 37
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent) 122
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/2,000
Bulb exposure mode? no
Exposure compensation range +/- 2EV
ISO range 80 - 1600
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? yes
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? no
Aperture priority mode? no
Fully auto mode? yes
Burst frame rate 0.8fps
Exposure bracketing? no
White-balance bracketing? no
Memory-card type SD
Viewfinder coverage N/A
LCD resolution 115k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
Body construction Plastic
Tripod mounting thread? yes
Data connector type Mini-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual? no
Software supplied Canon ZoomBrowser EX, PhotoStitch
Accessories supplied Strap, USB cable, 32MB SD card

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