Samsung Digimax A400

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Samsung Digimax A400

The A400 has outstanding 11X zoom and flaunts nine customizable photo frames. It demonstrates its versatility with a 2-inch macro mode that allows you...

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80% positive

4 reviews from the community

Review of "Samsung Digimax A400"

published 21/06/2011 | davidbuttery
Member since : 23/01/2001
Reviews : 447
Members who trust : 123
About me :
(3rd Jun '15) - Having another go at this. Will be fairly relaxed; don't expect me to review something every day. But I'll be around and about!
Good
Pro Takes fairly good pictures, has reasonable battery life, decent screen
Cons Competent rather than impressive, build quality not fabulous, only 2.8x zoom
very helpful
Picture Quality
Range & Quality of Features
Ease of Use
Durability
Reliability

"Doesn't excite strong emotions"

Introduction

I've had rather mixed results with Samsung digital cameras. On the plus side of the ledger, there are little gems such as the V5, which remains a model I'd be happy to take on holiday with me. Conversely, the company has also produced lacklustre examples such as the Digimax 230, which inflicts an objectionable brown colour cast on your photos. That being so, I was in two minds about whether to buy this A400 when I saw it advertised on eBay at £9.95. In the event I think I got a reasonable deal, but no more than that.

Lens and handling

On the face of it, the A400 is nothing special for a 2005 compact: a resolution of four megapixels is resolutely middle-of-the road and Samsung for some reason followed in the mucky footsteps of Olympus by allowing the user only a 2.8x optical zoom lens rather than the more usual 3x. That means that you get an equivalent range of 37 to 104 mm, neither wide enough for small indoor rooms nor extensive enough for truly distant subjects. (There's a digital zoom., which is as irrelevant as ever.)

Build quality, it has to be said, is not up to V5 standards. This is perhaps unsurprising as the A400 was a considerably cheaper model when new, but there's no denying that this camera is a bit plasticky. It's not excessively flimsy, but you won't mistake it for a top-of-the-line compact. The main controls don't feel too bad, though on my own camera the three round buttons right at the bottom seem a bit loose; that could simply be age, but as the other controls are noticeably better I'm not convinced of that.

The Samsung's design, like that of most Samsungs of the day, is not particularly exciting, at least when seen from the front. It's a long rectangle, rather boxy in appearance and indeed a little chunky to hold, though I don't find it uncomfortable. The lens is pushed over to the extreme right-hand side, something which you often see but which I don't personally like. Around the back things are slightly more interesting, with the same attractive oval main controller I have on my V5, and a pretty decent two-inch LCD screen.

Menus and settings

The menu system doesn't really do that screen justice, and rather feels as though it's been carried over from an older 1.5-inch display. It reminds me a fair bit of Fujifilm's menu setup, with a row of icons along the top, each of which supplies a drop-down list of options when selected. It's not terrible, but it does seem a bit clunky and basic. Maybe it doesn't help that the poor overworked +/- button is used for white balance, exposure compensation, ISO and the dedicated Night Scene setup!

The A400's feature set is something else that's bog-standard for the most part. Reading through the manual I grew briefly excited at the mention of "setting the aperture and shutter speed", but rather than full creative control this is something only available to a very limited extent in the aforementioned Night Scene mode. On the plus side, you do get a custom white balance option, which can be useful in tricky conditions, though it's a bit of a fiddle to set and not quite as reliable as that found in some posher cameras.

This camera's movie mode is slightly unusual, in that its fastest rate is 24 fps. Presumably the thinking behind this was to advertise it as being the same as 35 mm movie cameras, but in reality there's no real rhyme or reason to it, and 30 fps would have been nicer. As is generally the case with cameras like this, you need to plan for not using the optical zoom while taking a video. On the plus side, you can record in VGA (640 x 480) resolution, and there's no limit on the length of your clips other than that imposed by the amount of storage available.

Consumables and photo quality

Since this camera only has 16 MB of internal memory, you're pretty certain to want a memory card. Like the majority of compacts, the Digimax accepts ordinary SD – but not SDHC or SDXC – cards, in capacities up to 512 MB. (A slightly unusual upper limit, that.) Power is supplied by two ordinary AA batteries, and as usual you'll find that NiMH rechargeables will last longer than alkalines; battery life seems to be run-of-the-mill, which I suppose is what you'd expect from this model! Direct connection to a PC is via USB 1.1, which is rather stately; use a USB 2.0 (or built in) card reader for much better speed.

And so to the little matter of photo quality, and... actually, it's not too bad at all. Although colours don't have the same vivid brightness that you get from the likes of Canon and Fujifilm, some people may prefer the rather more neutral look Samsung gives you, and if you're among them it's not an objectionable look. Sharpness is generally quite decent (fiddling with the basic on-camera sharpening selector seems to help here) and that sharpness is mostly retained right to the corners, not something you can take for granted with a cheap digicam.

Buying and verdict

There's not a great deal that stands out about the Samsung Digimax A400, which of course is a comment that cuts two ways. It doesn't do anything much to enthrall, but nor does it inflict any great disasters upon you. I wouldn't be tempted to pay more than a tenner for it, and if you can afford just a little bit more some significantly better cameras will become available, but if you end up with one there's no need to despair. As a solid but unexciting compact, it gets a solid but unexciting three stars.

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Comments on this review

  • greenierexyboy published 26/06/2011
    I'm not really inclined to get emotional about digital cameras at all, never mind strongly emotional...;-)
  • catsholiday published 23/06/2011
    Not one that I will be rushing to buy
  • RICHADA published 23/06/2011
    Not one that I'd probably have considered in the first place this. R.
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Product Information : Samsung Digimax A400

Manufacturer's product description

The A400 has outstanding 11X zoom and flaunts nine customizable photo frames. It demonstrates its versatility with a 2-inch macro mode that allows you to capture clear images of a subject as close as 2 inches from the camera's lens. A 2-inch LCD lets you look at your shots in detail, while eight acceptable power sources ensure that your camera will never run out of juice. Other features offered by the A400 include: multiple flash modes, adjustable white balance and selectable ISO sensitivity (auto, 100, 200 and 400). You can capture both still images and movie clips with audio at 24 fps and resolutions of up to 640 x 480 (VGA). The length of the movie clip depends on the capacity of the memory card that you use. The camera has 16 MB of internal flash memory and 4.0 mega pixel auto focus. Additional storage can be put on an external SD/MMC card. With 2.8X optical and 4X digital zoom, the A400 doesn't just take pictures - it captures memories.

Product Details

Product Description: Samsung Digimax A400 - digital camera

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Internal Storage: 16 MB flash

Sensor Resolution: 4.0 Megapixel

Lens System: 2.8 x zoom lens - 6.2 - 17.4 mm - f/2.9-4.8

Focus Adjustment: Automatic

Min Focus Distance: 80 cm

Digital Zoom: 4 x

Camera Flash: Built-in flash

Display: LCD display - 2"

Supported Battery: 2 x AA ( included )

AV Interfaces: Composite video

Dimensions (WxDxH): 10.9 cm x 3.4 cm x 5.7 cm

Weight: 0.1 kg

General

MPN: 8801089744500, C24DMA400, Digimax A400

Product Type: Digital camera - compact

Sensor Resolution: 4.0 Megapixel

Optical Sensor Type: CCD

Total Pixels: 4,200,000 pixels

Effective Sensor Resolution: 4,000,000 pixels

Optical Sensor Size: 1/2.5"

Optical Zoom: 2.8 x

Digital Zoom: 4 x

Auto Focus: TTL contrast detection

Digital Video Format: AVI

Image Recording Format: JPEG

AV Interfaces: Composite video

Exposure & White Balance

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

Exposure Metering: Multi-segment, spot

Exposure Modes: Programme, automatic

Shooting Programs: Landscape, portrait mode, night mode, text, fireworks

Special Effects: Black & White, Sepia

White Balance: Custom, automatic, presets

White Balance Presets: Cloudy, tungsten light, daylight, fluorescent light (cool white), fluorescent light (warm white), sunset

Max Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec

Min Shutter Speed: 8 sec

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

Lens System

Type: 2.8 x zoom lens - 6.2 - 17.4 mm - f/2.9-4.8

Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 37 - 104mm

Focus Adjustment: Automatic

Min Focus Distance: 80 cm

Macro Focus Range: 5-80cm

Zoom Adjustment: Motorised drive

Camera Flash

Camera Flash: Built-in flash

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

Effective Flash Range: 0.3 m - 3 m

Additional Features

Self Timer Delay: 10 sec, 2sec

Additional Features: Audio recording, auto power save, DPOF support, sharpness control, digital image rotation, PictBridge support, resizing an image

Display

Type: 2" LCD display

Resolution: 115,200 pixels

Display Features: Built-in

Connections

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

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Software

Software: Drivers & Utilities, ArcSoft PhotoImpression, Samsung Digimax Viewer

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 9.x - X 10.2

Peripheral Devices: USB port, CD-ROM Drive

System Requirements Details: Windows 98/2000/ME - Pentium MMX - 233 MHz - 32 MB - 140 MB ¦ Windows XP - Pentium II - 300 MHz - 128 MB - 140 MB ¦ MacOS 9 or later - PowerPC G3 - 64 MB - 110 MB

Miscellaneous

Included Accessories: Hand strap, carrying pouch, USB cable, audio / video cable

Battery

Battery Type: AA, CR-V3

Details: 2 x AA ( included )

Memory / Storage

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Supported Memory Cards: MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card

Internal Storage: 16 MB flash

Image Storage: Super-fine JPEG 2272 x 1704 : 10 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Fine JPEG 2272 x 1704 : 20 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Normal JPEG 2272 x 1704 : 31 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Super-fine JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 11 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Fine JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 23 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Normal JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 35 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Super-fine JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 17 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Fine JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 34 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Normal JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 48 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Super-fine JPEG 1024 x 768 : 32 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Fine JPEG 1024 x 768 : 64 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Normal JPEG 1024 x 768 : 94 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Super-fine JPEG 640 x 480 : 66 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Fine JPEG 640 x 480 : 122 - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ Normal JPEG 640 x 480 : 183 - with 16MB built-in memory

Video Capture: AVI - 640 x 480 - 24 fps - 20sec - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ AVI - 320 x 240 - 15 fps - 85 sec - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ AVI - 320 x 240 - 24 fps - 44 sec - with 16MB built-in memory ¦ AVI - 640 x 480 - 15 fps - 35 sec - with 16MB built-in memory

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 10.9 cm

Depth: 3.4 cm

Height: 5.7 cm

Weight: 0.1 kg

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature: 0 °C

Max Operating Temperature: 40 °C

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