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Canon PowerShot A2300 review: Canon PowerShot A2300

Design and features
The A2400 IS is a small, lightweight, and attractive camera. It easily slips into a small pocket without weighing you down and its metal casing makes it look and feel nicer than all plastic.

Part of the reason it is so small, though, is that Canon went with a 2.7-inch LCD; 3-inch displays are not uncommon at this price. It's not a bad size, though, and the screen gets bright enough that you can use it in the sun and still see well enough to frame shots.

Key specs Canon PowerShot A2400 IS, A2300
Price (MSRP) A2400 IS: $149.99; A2300: $139.99
Dimensions (WHD) A2400 IS: 3.7 inches x 2.2 inches x 0.8 inch; A2300: 3.7 inches by 2.1 inches by 0.8 inch
Weight (with battery and media) A2400 IS: 5 ounces; A2300: 4.4 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 16 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 5x, f2.8-6.9, 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/H.264 (.MOV)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,608x3,456 pixels/1,280x720 pixels at 30fps
Image stabilization type A2400 IS: Optical and digital; A2300: Digital only
Battery type, CIPA rated life A2400 IS: Li-ion rechargeable, 180 shots; A2300: Li-ion rechargeable, 230 shots
Battery charged in camera No; external charger included
Storage media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Bundled software CameraWindow DC 8.7 transfer utility, ImageBrowser EX 1, PhotoStitch 3.1/3.2 (Widows, Mac)

Also helping keep the A2400 IS slim are its flat buttons, which can be difficult for those with larger fingers to press accurately. I found the Func. Set button at the center of the control pad was particularly tricky to press. Also, past Canon models either used a knob or switch to change between Auto and other shooting modes. With the A2400 IS it's done with the top of the control pad, which is too easy to accidentally hit.

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One thing that is nice to see is the new Help button that brings up a menu of topics including explanations of shooting options as well as shooting advice.

On the right side of the camera is a Mini-USB port for connecting to a computer or TV. The battery and SD memory card compartment is in the bottom of the camera behind a sliding door. It doesn't lock and slides open a bit too easily if you're going to be keeping this in a bag unprotected. Battery life is below average; you get about 180 shots per charge, less depending on your settings and use of the zoom lens and movie capture.

General shooting options Canon PowerShot A2400 IS, A2300
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Recording modes Auto, Program, Live View Control, Portrait, Face Self-timer, Low Light, Fisheye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Discreet, iFrame Movie
Focus modes Normal AF (Face, Tracking, Center), Macro, Infinity
Macro 1.2 inches (Wide); 3.9 feet (Tele)
Metering modes Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot
Color effects None
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

The A-series models are pretty much meant to be left in Canon's Smart Auto, which recognizes up to 32 scene types and adjusts settings accordingly. For more control, the Program mode lets you select things like white balance, ISO, and autofocus mode. Sadly, Canon dropped the My Color options from previous models that let you, among other things, adjust contrast, sharpness, and saturation. However, you do get the Live View Control mode, which enables you to adjust brightness, color, and tone with onscreen sliders and see what the photo will look like as you make the changes.

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All of the shooting modes are laid out in one long row, requiring you to hunt through them all to find what you want: Program, Live View Control, Portrait, Face Self-timer (sets off a timed shot when a new face enters the frame), Low Light, Fisheye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter (exposure settings from 1 to 15 seconds), Discreet, and iFrame Movie (a format made for easy editing and viewing on mobile devices). There's plenty here to experiment with, but if you just want to leave it in auto, it does very well.

If you're looking for an easy-to-use camera to slip in your pocket before you go out to an event or a walk around town, the Canon PowerShot A2400 IS is a safe choice. It might not be the fastest camera or the best deal, but you'll get reliably good results leaving it in auto. However, I can't recommend getting the A2300; the cost savings isn't worth giving up optical image stabilization.

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