Canon's budget PowerShot line-up has received a boost with the arrival of the A3100 IS, which boasts a 12.1-megapixel resolution, a 4x zoom and a new, slimmer, lightweight body. The A3100 replaces the chunkier PowerShot A1100 IS and comes in at around £160.
A satisfying handful
This camera has a slightly larger LCD display than its predecessor, measuring 67mm (2.7 inches) rather than 64mm (2.5 inches). It also has a smaller, metal-clad body and runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion cell rather than a pair of AA batteries. It looks quite smart and the slimmer profile makes it easy to fit in a pocket, yet it's still big enough for those with large hands to work it comfortably.
Canon's gone for straightforward four-way navigation buttons, rather than the spinning dials found on other models, and this actually makes the A3100 a good deal easier to use. All the buttons are big, as are the markings. They're also shaped to follow the curvature of the camera back at the edge, which is a neat touch.
On top is a mode dial, which is inset from the edge of the body and has very firm click stops, so you're not going to move it by accident. The control layout is clear and efficient, and anyone who's used Canon compacts in the past is going to feel right at home.
For this model, Canon's introduced a new 'low light' mode (which only produces 2-megapixel files, alas), a 'super vivid' mode and a 'poster effect' mode. Interestingly, the A3100 is compatible with the latestcards, although, with only a VGA-quality movie mode, it's not likely to need huge-capacity cards anyway.