For its sub-$180 price, the A3300 IS is capable of turning out some excellent photos. But as with most compacts, this really depends on how much light you have--the more, the better. Fine detail and sharpness are very good up to ISO 200 (though a little sharpening with photo-editing software improves things). Photos get noticeably softer at ISO 400 because of heavier noise reduction. Pixel peepers will see there's image noise at all ISO sensitivities, but it's really not visible at reduced sizes until you get to ISO 800. As long as you don't mind increased softness and noise--including faint yellow blotching--ISO 800 is usable for small prints and Web sharing. The camera's highest full-resolution sensitivity is ISO 1,600, and I'd stay clear of it unless you really need to take a low-light photo. On the other hand, because of consistent color at higher ISOs, the photos are better than from other cameras at this price; they just get slightly washed out at and above ISO 400.
As for the A3300's 16-megapixel resolution, it's only useful at and below ISO 100 for cropping and enlarging. It doesn't help the overall photo quality and, in this case, it mainly seems to slow the camera down between shots. I would not recommend buying this camera--or any point-and-shoot--on the basis of a 16-megapixel resolution alone.
April 29, 2011 9:27 AM PDT
Photo by: Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
| Caption by: Joshua Goldman
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