Canon PowerShot A1000 IS review: Canon PowerShot A1000 IS

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MSRP: $299.99

The Good Viewfinder; simple operation; inexpensive.

The Bad Limited shooting controls; mixed performance.

The Bottom Line The entry-level Canon PowerShot A1000 IS is low-cost without being lousy.

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6.8 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6
  • Image quality 8

The Canon PowerShot A1000 IS is not an exciting pocket camera by any means. But if you want the convenience of AA batteries, an optical viewfinder, optical image stabilization, and a low price, this camera has them and takes good photos, too.

The step-up model is the A1100 IS, which is 12 megapixels, uses Canon's Digic 4 image processor, and has a couple more shooting options like automatic scene recognition and long shutter, but no direct shutter or aperture controls.

Key specs Canon PowerShot A1000 IS
Price (MSRP) $149.99
Dimensions 4 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 1.3 inches deep
Weight (with battery and media) 7.1 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 10 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution 2.5-inch LCD, 115K dots
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 4x, f2.7-5.6, 35-140mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG
Highest resolution size (still/video) 3,648x2,736 pixels (4:3)/ 640x480 at 30fps (4:3)
Image stabilization type Mechanical and electronic
Battery type, rated life Alkaline (AA, 2), 220 shots

Available in four two-toned colors--blue, gray, purple, and brown--the A1000 IS feels higher quality than its price lets on. Its body has a nice curve on the right side for a steadier grip while shooting one handed. Though this makes it a little bulky (the bulge is necessary for the two AA batteries powering it), the camera is still small enough to slip in a pants pocket. By today's standards the LCD is small, but it's one of only a handful of Canon compact cameras with an optical viewfinder. While the viewfinder is small, slightly uncomfortable to use, and only represents about 80 percent of what's in the frame, it does come in handy when shooting in bright sunlight and you can save battery life by switching off the LCD.

At first glance, it seems as if there's a lot going on with the controls for the A1000 IS. On top are a power button, a shutter release with zoom ring, and a Mode dial with no fewer than 10 shooting options. Why so many for such a basic camera? Well, along with its P (for Program), Auto, Easy (auto without options), and Movie modes, Canon puts five popular scene selections (including Portrait, Landscape, Indoor) and a SCN choice for accessing lesser used scene settings like Sunset, Snow, and Aquarium. So while the Mode dial looks quite busy, it is actually simple. Likewise, the back of the camera is loaded with a directional pad and six buttons labeled in silver (for shooting functions) and blue (for playback functions), but even novice users should have things down pat fairly quickly.

Regardless of the controls, there's little reason to spend much time hanging out in the menu system. But for those times when it's necessary--say to change the autofocus priority, adjust the LCD brightness, or switch when the image stabilization is engaged--navigation is straightforward.

General shooting options Canon PowerShot A1000 IS
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Recording modes Auto, Easy, P (program), Portrait, Landscape, Special Scene, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot, Movie
Focus Face Detection AF, Center AF, Multi AF
Metering Evaluative, Center-weighted, Spot
Color effects Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Custom
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

If you're expecting to find the manual controls of earlier Canon A-series models, you'll be disappointed with the A1000 IS. The A590 IS is the only model in the current lineup that has aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and manual options. However, the A1000 IS' Program mode does give you control over ISO, white balance, autofocus type, light metering, and color effects. The rest of the camera is designed for point-and-shoot simplicity.

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