Canon PowerShot A490 review

Canon surprises with this sub-£100 compact camera

TODO alt text


We were surprised at how much we liked the A490. Its rather staid plastic finish isn't amazing to look at, the 2.5-inch screen on the back isn't spectacular, and the AA batteries are a bit of a blast from the past, but more importantly than anything it does take excellent pictures.

We liked:

First and foremost image quality. Look at the test images - sharp details, reasonably low noise and good colour reproduction all make the A490 a decent buy. After that, the build quality is good considering the all-plastic construction, and the menu system is standard Canon - easy to navigate, quick, and intuitive.

We disliked:

Features are thin on the ground, and the A490's finish looks worse in real life than it does in the pictures. There's no way you'll pick it up and have any illusions as to which end of the price spectrum the A490 falls. We'd also prefer a little more from the video mode, but that really would be having our cake and eating it.


You don't always get the control that you want over them, and features such as a decent HD video mode are missing, but if you're looking for a camera for occasional use, and simply want reasonable results every time you press the shutter, this is a cast-iron bargain.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedAA
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Effective Camera Resolution10 Megapixel
Product FamilyPowerShot A
HD Movie ModeNo
Memory Card SupportedMMCplus, HC MMCplus, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Optical Zoom3.3x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesFace Detection
Screen Size6.4 cm (2.5")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)175 g
Maximum Image Resolution3648 x 2736
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height61.7 mm
Width93.5 mm
Depth30.6 mm
Product SeriesA
Focal Length6.60 mm to 21.60 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelA490
Product NamePowerShot A490 Compact Camera
Product LinePowerShot
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number4258B011
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Affordable, easy and fun, the PowerShot A490 uses Canon know-how to let everyone take great 10 Megapixel photos. Its compact, lightweight design slips easily into any pocket. A 10.0 Megapixel sensor gives you the detail for superb, large-scale prints, or creatively cropping shots to perfection.

Package Contents
  • PowerShot A490 Compact Camera
  • 2 x AA Alkaline Batteries
Limited Warranty1 Year