Canon PowerShot A400

Community images

Canon PowerShot A400

The PowerShot A400 has all the quality expected from a Canon, with a price to make you smile. A choice of four fun colors and technology to produce gr...

> Show product information

82% positive

11 reviews from the community

Review of "Canon PowerShot A400"

published 26/04/2005 | Plymyphil
Member since : 03/11/2003
Reviews : 65
Members who trust : 85
About me :
Pro Price - quality - ease of use
Cons Lack of an optical zoom
very helpful
Picture Quality
Range & Quality of Features
Ease of Use

"The best money you'll ever spend?"

As a long time fan of Canon digital cameras I was keen to get my hands on the Powershot A400. Having used the A310 for sometime, the A400 was an attractively priced upgrade and I'm pleased to report that with a little coercion Santa delivered the goods. So, four months down the line, what is my verdict?

Firstly - compared to all other digital cameras I have used this is my favourite. I have used a range of cameras including many of the leading brands but for sheer 'bang per buck' value for money this camera is superb.

Slightly larger than some entry level cameras this camera contains all the connectivity you may sensibly expect in a small camera, the facility to produce short movies and even a range of editing features direct on the camera so if you're away from your PC you can still produce some after effects on your image.

The colours on the camera seem to be superb in any lighting conditions. The camera has presets for a range of lighting conditions but the ability to set the 'white' using a plain sheet of paper is absolutely guaranteed to generate vibrant and realistic colours. Very occasionally the preset does appear to let you down producing a slightly jaundiced tinge to indoor skin tones - the use of the white balance removes this and I think it can be reasonably attributed to the range of colour in indoor lighting. If you look carefully at skin tone under a variety of indoor lights you will see what I mean - it must be just about impossible for a manufacturer to cover all of these variations on one preset. The Canon does have a number of presets for indoors but even so, if you are keen for accurate skin tones in artificial light do take the extra second or so needed to set the white balance manually.

Having provided an overview let me deal with some aspects of the cameras functionality separately - feel free to skim through this picking out the sections relevant to your own digital imaging needs.

As with all digital cameras I have ever owned the included memory allocation is woefully inadequate. The camera uses the smaller format SD memory card which is ideal for storage as they really are incredibly tiny. The card comes with a 16Mb card - this needs to be used as a toothpick in my own experience as used as a memory card it is marginally better than useless. Immediately invest in a 1Gb card or similar and you will then be delighted. At the higher resolutions the camera produces images approximately 2Mb in size and why would you want to lower the resolution and produce anything other than the best image your camera is capable of?

The camera is a 3.2 MegaPixel camera. I wish they would stop using this method of describing camera resolutions however and instead move on to an honest description of image quality at a particular size. Basically, the more the mega pixel number the larger the image can be and still retain all original quality. At 3.2 MegaPixels you can reasonably expect 10" photographs to still look superb and enlargements up to A4 to be perfectly acceptable.
The camera can emulate a range of ISO speeds from 50 to 400. This means it is acceptable for most every day situations. If you are trying to capture very fast movement you may want to opt for a camera capable of higher ISO speeds but expect to pay for that privilege. The ISO speed also enables you to make adjustments for light but with a range of presets including might time, underwater and fireworks, you may well find yourself letting the camera adjust the ISO setting most of the time.
The camera had a digital zoom of up to 3.2X and this is a high quality digital zoom. Those who are used to previous incarnations of this camera including the A310 will be used to an optical zoom that produced good results and a digital zoom thereafter that was disappointing. This is not the case here - although lacking an optical zoom the digital zoom produces results of identical quality to the A310 optical zoom.
Shutter speed is also adjustable from 1sec to 1/1500 sec which again is suitable for most every day tasks.

The focussing on this camera is stunning! Using some clever technology that Canon call '9 point AiAF' the camera breaks the image in to 9 segments and can simultaneously focus in all of the segments or be directed to only focus in the centre segment if you prefer. This enables you to produce those artistic 'soft focus' shots used on close up images and portraits. The effect with this camera is stunning and well worth playing around with.

Sepia, black and white, vivid - you name it the camera can produce it. 'Busy' shots with lots of texture and tone look truly superb in black and white - for example, a shot taken in woodland with the criss-crossing of branches really is made for finishing in black and white.

The LCD screen on the back of the camera is good in a variety of conditions. The only problem you will experience is a lack of brightness and clarity if the sun is shining directly onto the screen. This of course is a common complaint with LCD screens.

The camera comes bundled with a range of image editing and enhancing software and again, for every day use what you get is entirely sufficient. If you begin to take up the after shot editing as a hobby you may wish to invest in further more capable software but if you simply want to adjust colours or reduce red eye then everything you need is in the box. One of the more interesting software titles makes use of the 'stitch' facility on the camera. If you stand at any point and employ the 'stitch' effect on the camera you can move around and take a full 360 degree panoramic photograph. Using the Stitch Assist software the computer will then identify the overlap and 'stitch' the images together - the effect is stunning and enables some superb landscape shots to be developed. (If anybody knows of a photo printer that will produce these long narrow prints please do let me know!)

If you're anything like me with any portable device the battery life is where you make your purchasing decision or otherwise. The news here however is great. The camera runs on 2AA batteries and using standard off the shelf batteries you will get about 300-400 shots per battery change. This is with the LCD screen switched on. However, if you choose to invest in rechargeable batteries, this can be almost doubled!

Please, before I go into the details contained in the Canon instruction book consider whether or not your computer is capable of moving around 2Mb images. If you can work comfortably with files of this size and not suffer too much lag then this camera should be fine. If however your computer matches the specification below but 2Mb images reduce your machine to a tearful heap of grinding silicon then do the sensible thing and upgrade your computer before buying a digital camera such as this - the end result otherwise will be superb images on the camera and a frustrating experience attempting to improve and print those images.
The camera supports:
Windows XP, 2000, ME, 98, 98 SE, Apple Mac OS X, OS 9.0-9.2.

Overall I come back to my starting point - I have never used a better entry to mid range digital camera and of course I have my sights set further and will be back with a review of a Digital SLR as soon as my finances allow but until then the results from this camera are superb and the price was great to at a fraction over £120.

Community evaluation

This review was read 1712 times and was rated at
90% :
> How to understand evaluation of this review
very helpful

Comments on this review

  • xx_LadyC_xx published 02/08/2005
    I've just brought this camera, so thanks for the good review.
  • suzywong666 published 08/07/2005
    Sounds great to me. My partner has a digital SLR, and loves it, but I don't know enought about them to be able to give information. Suzy x
  • ciao_coralie published 01/06/2005
    Hi, That's a good review, thank you for the information, I'd like to buy a camera and I'm known well advised. nice to read you! COralie
  • Did you find this review interesting? Do you have any questions? Sign into your Ciao account to leave the author a comment. Log in

Most popular similar products

Product Information : Canon PowerShot A400

Manufacturer's product description

The PowerShot A400 has all the quality expected from a Canon, with a price to make you smile. A choice of four fun colors and technology to produce great results make this camera a joy to use. From the Canon Visionary Technologies that deliver great shot after shot to the easy access special scene modes, everything about the PowerShot A400 is designed to make photography simple. A camera that takes the hard work out of super results, leaving you to focus on capturing the right moment. And with 3.2 Megapixels, you'll be delighted at the detail and quality of your digital images and photo prints. A Canon high-performance lens ensures outstanding image quality from one corner of the picture to the other. Its 2.2x optical zoom is great for closing in on the action, while the macro close-up function lets you focus on objects as little as 5cm away. A 9-point AiAF auto-focus system keeps subjects in focus - even when they are not centered in the frame. A special scene mode gives access to 8 clever presets for excellent results in tricky conditions: Portrait, Night Scene, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, and Indoor. Special effects include Sepia, Black & White and Vivid Color. The PowerShot A400 takes up to 3-minute movie clips, (up to 30 seconds at VGA quality) complete with sound recording, fun playback and in-camera editing on the 1.5" LCD screen. You can even connect your camera to the TV to share the best moments with family and friends. Get beautiful prints instantly without a PC, with any Canon Direct Print or PictBridge compatible printer. Simply connect your camera to the printer, hit the Print/Share button and you'll have a photo in your hands within seconds. The button also simplifies uploading to any Windows PC. When connected to a Canon Compact Photo Printer, the PowerShot A400 allows you to create handy ID photo prints.

Product Details

Product Description: Canon PowerShot A400 - digital camera, Canon PowerShot A400 - digital camera - with SELPHY CP400, Canon PowerShot A400 - digital camera - with Canon CP-400

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Sensor Resolution: 3.2 Megapixel

Lens System: 2.2 x zoom lens - 5.9 - 13.2 mm - f/3.8

Focus Adjustment: Automatic

Min Focus Distance: 47 cm

Digital Zoom: 3.2 x

Camera Flash: Built-in flash

Viewfinder: Optical - real-image zoom

Display: LCD display - 1.5"

Supported Battery: 2 x AA alkaline battery ( included )

AV Interfaces: Composite video

Colour: Spring green, Silver, Sunset gold, Sky blue, Lime green

Dimensions (WxDxH): 10.7 cm x 3.7 cm x 5.4 cm

Weight: 0.2 kg

Bundled with: Canon SELPHY CP400 Compact Photo Printer, Canon CP-400 Compact Photo Printer


MPN: 9688A007AA, 9686A009, 9686A007, 9689A007AA, 9689A007, 9686A003, 9686A008, 9687A008, 9689A008, 9688A008, 9687A009, 9686A033AA, 9689A001, 9687A001, 9686A001, 9686A034, 9688A009

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Enclosure Colour: Spring green, Silver, Sunset gold, Sky blue, Lime green

Sensor Resolution: 3.2 Megapixel

Optical Sensor Type: CCD

Total Pixels: 3,300,000 pixels

Effective Sensor Resolution: 3,200,000 pixels

Optical Sensor Size: 1/3.2"

Optical Zoom: 2.2 x

Digital Zoom: 3.2 x

Auto Focus: TTL contrast detection

Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty: 9

Digital Video Format: AVI

Image Recording Format: JPEG

AV Interfaces: Composite video

Bundled with: Canon SELPHY CP400 Compact Photo Printer, Canon CP-400 Compact Photo Printer

Exposure & White Balance

Light Sensitivity: ISO 100, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 50

Exposure Metering: Evaluative, centre-weighted, spot

Exposure Modes: Programme, automatic, manual

Shooting Programs: Portrait mode, stitch assist, beach/snow, fireworks, night scene, Underwater, indoor, foliage

Special Effects: Black & White, Sepia, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Vivid

White Balance: Custom, automatic, presets

White Balance Presets: Fluorescent, cloudy, tungsten light, daylight, fluorescent light (daylight)

Max Shutter Speed: 1/1500 sec

Min Shutter Speed: 1 sec

Exposure Compensation: ±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps

Lens System

Type: 2.2 x zoom lens - 5.9 - 13.2 mm - f/3.8

Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 45 - 100mm

Focus Adjustment: Automatic

Min Focus Distance: 47 cm

Macro Focus Range: 5-47cm

Zoom Adjustment: Motorised drive

Lens Construction: 7 groups / 9 elements

Camera Flash

Camera Flash: Built-in flash

Flash Modes: Fill-in mode, auto mode, flash OFF mode, red-eye reduction

Features: AF illuminator

Effective Flash Range: 0.3 m - 2 m

Additional Features

Continuous Shooting Speed: 1.3 frames per second

Self Timer Delay: 10 sec, 2sec

Additional Features: Audio recording, direct print, built-in speaker, auto power save, digital noise reduction, date/time stamp, DPOF support, display brightness control, digital image rotation, camera orientation detection, PictBridge support, AE lock, AF lock


Viewfinder Type: Optical - real-image zoom


Type: 1.5" LCD display

Resolution: 115,000 pixels

Display Features: Built-in


Connector Type: 1 x USB ¦ 1 x composite video/audio output

Memory Card Slot: SD card


Software: Drivers & Utilities, Canon PhotoStitch, Canon ZoomBrowser EX, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, ArcSoft VideoImpression, Canon ImageBrowser, Canon PhotoRecord

System Requirements for PC Connection

Operating System Support: MS Windows XP, MS Windows 2000, MS Windows ME, MS Windows 98, MS Windows 98 SE, Apple Mac OS X, Apple Mac OS 9.0 - 9.2

Peripheral Devices: USB port, SVGA monitor, CD-ROM Drive

System Requirements Details: MacOS 9.0 - 9.2 - PowerPC - 64 MB - 120 MB ¦ MacOS X - PowerPC - 128 MB - 120 MB ¦ Windows 98/98SE/2000/ME - 150 MHz - 64 MB - 200 MB ¦ Windows XP - 300 MHz - 128 MB - 200 MB


Included Accessories: USB cable, wrist strap, audio / video cable


Battery Type: AA

Details: 2 x AA alkaline battery ( included )

Memory / Storage

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Supported Memory Cards: SD Memory Card

Included Memory Card: 16 MB SD

Image Storage: Super-fine JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 8 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 15 - with 16MB card ¦ Normal JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 30 - with 16MB card ¦ Super-fine JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 13 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 24 - with 16MB card ¦ Normal JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 46 - with 16MB card ¦ Super-fine JPEG 1024 x 768 : 23 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 1024 x 768 : 41 - with 16MB card ¦ Normal JPEG 1024 x 768 : 73 - with 16MB card ¦ Super-fine JPEG 640 x 480 : 51 - with 16MB card ¦ Fine JPEG 640 x 480 : 80 - with 16MB card ¦ Normal JPEG 640 x 480 : 126 - with 16MB card

Video Capture: AVI - 640 x 480 - 10 fps - 30 sec - max clip duration ¦ AVI - 320 x 240 - 15 fps - 180sec - max clip duration ¦ AVI - 160 x 120 - 15 fps - 180sec - max clip duration ¦ AVI - 640 x 480 - 10 fps - 20sec - with 16MB card ¦ AVI - 320 x 240 - 15 fps - 40 sec - with 16MB card ¦ AVI - 160 x 120 - 15 fps - 98 sec - with 16MB card

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 10.7 cm

Depth: 3.7 cm

Height: 5.4 cm

Weight: 0.2 kg

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature: 0 °C

Max Operating Temperature: 40 °C


Listed on Ciao since: 14/12/2004