canon powershot a3100 is

Luckily, trusting the A3100 is something we were happy to do during our time with it.

Images taken at ISO 100 were the match of any compact camera, with excellent colour and detail reproduction.

Moving the ISO up through the range inevitably reduces image quality, and the A3100 treads a careful path between giving image noise free rein and detail-destroying noise reduction.

canon powershot a3100 is
See full-res image

At its top setting of ISO 1600 our images are clearly suffering from a marked softness, but with a little care it should be possible to get printable images as long as you don't crop too heavily.

At lower ISOs there's plenty of potential for zooming in after the fact - the A3100's 12.1MP sensor produces 3,000 x 4,000 pixel images.

canon powershot a3100 is
See full-res image

Impressively, the lens showed very little chromatic aberration, even in typically difficult high-contrast situations.

It's not a spectacular piece of glass, offering a focal range of 35-140mm (35mm equivalent). That's fine for most standard situations, but will offer frustration if you want to get up close to a building, or take decent pictures at a wildlife park.

canon powershot a3100 is
See full-res image

On the plus side, the lens's conservative specifications mean there's no distortion to speak of.

The movie mode is nothing special, unfortunately. 30fps and 640 x 480 is the top setting, which means budding Spielbergs will need to rein in their aspirations somewhat.

canon powershot a3100 is
See full-res image

It's something of a shame, particularly when cameras such as Canon's own Ixus 120 IS cost around £30 more but throw in 720p, 30fps video recording.