The Canon PowerShot A800 may be the cheapest camera in Canon's line up, but reviewers say it shoots photos that outshine pricier models. It surpasses the Nikon Coolpix L24 (*Est. $70) in tests by CameraLabs.com and ousts the Kodak EasyShare M580 in tests by PCMag.com. As successor to the discontinued Canon PowerShot A490 and Canon PowerShot A495, the A800 has two big advantages over its predecessor: a lower price and longer battery life (an estimated 300 shots on standard AA batteries). Otherwise, it has the same easy-to-handle plastic body, 10-megapixel sensor, 3.3x zoom lens and 2.5-inch LCD. The large control buttons and automatic settings make it "dead simple" to use, says PJ Jacobowitz at PCMag.com.
However, critics say the A800 comes with trade-offs. For starters, the LCD (115,000 dots) has half the resolution of the average point-and-shoot camera. There's also no optical viewfinder or HD video. Other shortcomings include slow shooting, a cramped wide-angle lens, poor image stabilization and a weak Anti-Blur mode. For a few dollars more, reviewers say, the Canon PowerShot A1200 (*Est. $90) offers better features and performance, although the A800 runs neck-in-neck for photo quality.
We found thorough reviews of the Canon PowerShot A800 at PhotographyBlog.com, CameraLabs.com and PCMag.com. Which? magazine and ConsumerReports.org post lab-based test results along with rating charts, and About.com offers a hands-on review. We typically include user reviews, but not enough have been posted to establish a clear consensus.
Mark Goldstein considers the Canon PowerShot A800 a bit more difficult to use than its predecessor, but he says it delivers good image quality and longer battery life. The camera's biggest asset, however, is value for the money, which helps it to land the Recommended award.
Review: Canon PowerShot A800 Review, Mark Goldstein, April 29, 2011
"With an under-$100 price, the Canon PowerShot A800 is not without its fair share of compromises," says PJ Jacobowitz. The camera lacks image stabilization and HD video, but the drawbacks are outweighed by its low price tag, great photos and simple operation.
Review: Canon PowerShot A800, PJ Jacobowitz, May 18, 2011
3. Camera Labs.com
The Canon PowerShot A800 may be a budget model, yet it manages to pack plenty of value for the money and better photos than the more expensive Canon PowerShot A1200, says Ken McMahon. However, the A800's liabilities include a pixilated LCD display and poor image stabilization, and McMahon says the A1200 offers more across the board.
Review: Canon PowerShot A800, Ken McMahon, April 2011
4. Which? magazine
In tests, editors say the Canon PowerShot A800 is "basically good" for a budget camera. It's simple to use and snaps "competent" pictures, but among the weak spots are a tight wide angle lens, limited zoom range, slow performance and poor image stabilization.
Review: Canon PowerShot A800, Editors at Which? magazine, As of July 2011
The editors at ConsumerReports.org run the Canon PowerShot A800 through rigorous lab tests alongside more than 150 digital cameras. A ratings chart shows how the camera fares for features like image quality, ease of use, battery life and features.
Review: Point and Shoot Digital Camera Ratings and Reliability, Editors at ConsumerReports.org
Kyle Schurman, About.com's digital camera guide, isn't a fan of the Canon PowerShot A800. Although it has pretty good image quality, he says the A800 has a disappointing LCD display and that response times are slow, even for a budget camera. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Canon PowerShot A800 Review, Kyle Schurman, Not Dated