Canon PowerShot A630 review
Disappointed with color & Auto-focus. Two months ago I bought a Canon A630. I've taken several hundred shots, mostly outdoors (visiting Thailand) and of our puppy indoors. The colors are flat, photos lack clarity, the gimmick scene modes are useless, and in the Auto setting the focus is undependable. I like the shutter-priority mode (very much), and in program mode I changed things (like center focus instead of multi-point) which gives me dependable results. I can also get decent colors via Photoshop, if I go to the trouble involved. I'm sorry I bought the A630, but I'm not sure that there is a better choice in my budget range (with the control I wanted). I formerly used a Nikon FM and then Kodak CX6330--both gave better color/clarity than A630. Canon fans say the color is "more realistic," but not to my eyes. I want colors in my photos to look as vibrant as they do to my eyes—and the Canon A630 doesn't give this to me.
Photos look kind of muddy to me instead of vibrant. I've tried all kinds of options, and there are many, but nothing really helps. The "Auto" setting is the most unreliable. I've had several photos out of focus, but of course you don't know this until you see them later on a computer. In particular, twice it focused on a nearby, in-the-corner tree when I was trying to take a shot of a lake and mountains. Fortunately, I shot the same scene using the program mode (with center focus instead of multi-point), and it turned out fine. Several other photos were out of focus in the Auto setting as well. I found the flash weak, but at least this can be changed in program and other modes. "Kids & Pets" mode sounded useful but wasn't--it often chose 1/60 of a second so the kid/pet was out of focus when in action. Not surprisingly, "night" settings are useless without a tripod (but I imagine that many novice photographers think these should work hand-held). I felt that the "super fine" setting looked worse than the "fine" setting, and didn't see a difference between results in L vs. M1 (I think the former produces bigger files). I haven't tried the video mode because I think this is a useless feature--that's what video cameras are for.
I was so unhappy with the color that I went back to the camera store and borrowed another A630 and took three sets of photos (with my new A630, their A630, and their Nikon D40). The two A630s were basically identical, and equally flat in my opinion. The Nikon gave me better color and clarity, even though it only had 6 megapixels to the Canon's 8. Of course, the Nikon also costs twice as much.
Bottom line: My A630 doesn't give vibrant colors like my old Kodak & Nikon cameras. Auto setting is unreliable (esp. the focus), but at least I have other choices/controls. If you don't mind flat color, and want controls like shutter priority, then you might be happy with the A630.
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