When it comes to cameras, cheap doesn’t always mean nasty
For photographers on a budget, there are plenty of compact cameras available at the lower end of the market but few are any good.
Cheaply made lenses, poor construction and sub-standard image quality are common, and it's often hard to tell whether you're bagging a bargain or taking home a turkey.
Into this confusion, however, steps the Canon Powershot A800 – a low-cost digital camera from a highly respected brand. At just £70, you would expect to find some compromises and, indeed, there are quite a few. But Canon has been careful to employ most of the cutbacks in ways that don't adversely affect the camera's performance or its ease of use.
For example, the A800 is a little bulkier than many of the sleek ultra-slim compacts currently available but Canon is aware that slim usually means more expensive and has instead opted for a more practical design.
The A800 uses two standard AA batteries, which add significantly to the weight and running costs. But while the lack of a rechargeable power pack is a negative point for some, there are advantages: it's easy to pick up a fresh set of over-the-counter batteries if you run out of juice while you're out and about.
Canon makes a benefit of the large battery compartment by incorporating it into the A800's cake-slice-shaped design, the thick end forming the camera's grip. The camera was comfortable to operate and easy to use, thanks to its familiar button layout and simple menu system.
In terms of raw hardware, the A800's specifications are modest. It takes still images at a resolution of 10 megapixels, has a 3.3x optical zoom lens and a small 2.5in screen. Extras and options are pretty thin on the ground too: video recording is available, for example, but not in high definition.
Picture quality, however, was really rather good. Photos weren't perhaps as sharp as those you might get from a costlier camera but a little softness is easily overlooked in favour of the camera's punchy colours and plenty of detail.
That's especially true when you consider just how little the Canon A800 costs.
Read more reviews
With decent performance at a rock-bottom price, the A800 is several notches above most other similarly priced cameras
Good picture quality for a camera of its price; good value; very easy to use
Functional design; no rechargeable battery included; not many options or features
Phone 01737 220000
Updating your subscription status