Good news for anyone looking for an affordable compact camera with a viewfinder – Canon has revealed a new addition to its line, the PowerShot A1300. Is this evidence of a renewed enthusiasm for viewfinders?
A few years ago, Canon was the last game in town if you were after a small, cheap digital camera with a viewfinder.
Every other manufacturer had largely given up on producing such models. Before long, Canon followed suit, with 2009’s Canon Ixus 100 IS looking like the last of a dying breed.
Canon tests the waters
Then last year, Canon returned to its old ways by releasing the Canon PowerShot A1200, the first cheap compact model with a viewfinder in years. Camera enthusiasts who wanted a simple, affordable model that they could hold to their eye in bright conditions finally had an option.
We were excited as we’d been pushing for a return of viewfinders here on Which? Conversation. The bad news was that Canon at the time refused to commit to producing future cameras with viewfinders. The A1200 was effectively a way of testing the waters – initially, it was only available from Jessops before spreading to other retailers.
It seems that sales of the A1200, which has dropped in price to under £60, have been strong enough to persuade Canon that a market still exists for simple digital cameras with viewfinders.
Enthusiasm for viewfinder cameras
We’ve had hundreds of comments on Which? Convo telling us that there’s a real hunger for cameras with built-in viewfinders, and we’ve been passing these comments on to all the major manufacturers.
I’ve spoken to representatives from Canon numerous times on this issue myself, reminding them that plenty of potential customers have been tracking down old cameras online rather than buying the latest models which don’t have viewfinders.
With the release of the new Canon PowerShot A1300, it seems Canon has listened to its customers and renewed its commitment to producing cheap compacts with viewfinders.
The A1300 offers a 16Mp image sensor, 5x optical zoom (up from the A1200’s 4x zoom) and 720p HD video recording. It will launch in April priced at £109, and we’d expect this price to drop further as well.
We want more viewfinders
Make no mistake, from our independent lab testing of last year’s A1200 we didn’t think the camera was perfect, and the viewfinder itself was on the uncomfortably small side. But it’s still great to see a major manufacturer offering low-cost models with a feature that’s in demand but hard to find.
Most of the viewfinder cameras released in 2011 were ludicrously expensive, so a cheap option will always be a welcome prospect. Well done Canon, but why stop there? I’d now like to see other major manufacturers upping their game and offering cheap viewfinder cameras!