Canon PowerShot A490 review

Canon surprises with this sub-£100 compact camera

canon powershot a490
The Canon PowerShot A490 is one of the cheapest Canon compacts yet released

TechRadar Verdict


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    Good image quality

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    Dull video mode

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    AA batteries double-edged sword

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The PowerShot A490 is the latest budget compact camera from Canon, and it comes with a surprising twist.

It takes a lot for a digital camera to stand out these days. Things are particularly messy at the £200 mark, where a chokepoint of similar cameras compete for your cash.

And with megapixel counts stalling and new features thin on the ground, for once the most interesting developments are happening much further down the line.

canon powershot a490

Sub-£100 digital cameras have never been terribly tempting. Dodgy performance, poor images and no features to speak of have long meant that the only people buying cheap cameras were estate agents and people with the most cursory interest in taking pictures.

But the A490 offers a 10MP sensor and the same processing engine as some of Canon's top-end DSLRs.

canon powershot a490

And yet a bit of looking around reveals an astonishing price tag for a camera from one of the world's leading manufacturers - even shortly after its release it was selling for less than £70 from some top retailers.

Where's the catch?

Dave is a professional photographer whose work has appeared everywhere from National Geographic to the Guardian. Along the way he’s been commissioned to shoot zoo animals, luxury tech, the occasional car, countless headshots and the Northern Lights. As a videographer he’s filmed gorillas, talking heads, corporate events and the occasional penguin. He loves a good gadget but his favourite bit of kit (at the moment) is a Canon EOS T80 35mm film camera he picked up on eBay for £18.