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Everything included in the retail package, including separate English and Spanish guides.

The Canon A2400 IS includes the following accessories in the box:

• battery pack NB-11L

• battery charger CB-2LD

• wrist strap WS-800

• USB interface cable IFC-400PCU

• CD-ROM

The lens on the Canon A2400 IS is a basic 5x optical zoom lens, with optical image stabilization and a focal range of 5-25mm (35mm equivalent: 28-140mm). The lens telescopes out from the body, with the lens hidden behind a plastic hinged door that slides up automatically when the camera is activated. It's a typical zoom range for a camera in this price point, and the 28mm wide angle equivalent is a nice feature, though we wouldn't recommend relying on it to get good telephoto shots.

The image sensor on the A2400 IS is the same 16-megapixel CCD found on the $199.99 A-series flagship, the A4000 IS. We found that the sensor performed ably at the lowest ISO settings when light was readily available, but struggled mightily in low light. The sensor has a native ISO range of 100-1600, with automatic settings available. It's capable of some great shots in bright light, but if you're indoors or recording action at dusk, you may not like the results.

The rear display on the Canon A2400 IS, unsurprisingly, features no frills. It's a standard 2.7-inch 230k-dot resolution LCD. It's a perfectly serviceable display that provides legible text and enough resolution to detect fine details (like focus accuracy) on an image during playback. The A2400 IS does not feature a viewfinder, though the Canon A1300, released at the same time, does include an optical view window.

The flash on the A2400 IS is a typical unit, tucked into the top right corner on the front of the camera. This puts it out of the way of your fingers most of the time. The flash can be used automatically (with the camera choosing it when necessary), forced on as a fill-flash, or in slow synchro mode. The camera also features red-eye reduction, though it's done digitally and not by the flash. The flash is rated to work at up to 9.8 feet at the wide angle (only 6.6 feet when zooming in with the largest focal lengths), but it's a harsh light and should only be used when necessary.

The A2400 IS features a small USB/AV port behind a plastic flap on the right side of the camera. The port is a standard mini-USB shape with a small hump to accommodate the transfer of video and audio content as well. In testing we found the port worked on PCs with a non-Canon mini-USB cable, but a Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 failed to detect the camera via USB.

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Much to our surprise, image quality turned out to be one of the key selling points of this camera. Color accuracy performance blew us away, and sharpness was strong in some areas. Were it not for the lackluster noise performance, the A2400 would've been one of the best deals in photography.

The A2400 is not sharp throughout the frame, not by a long shot. However resolution is very strong at the center of the frame, and this brought the score up more than we would've expected. At the closest focal length, we recorded detail levels over 2600 MTF50's, though that figure could drop down below 600 at the maximum zoom. We often see this trend in travel zoom and ultrazoom cameras, since those lenses are really pushed to their limit. In this case, the lens just seems to be on the cheaper side.

So it is certainly possible to achieve very sharp images with this affordable camera, but you'll need to zoom all the way out and keep your subjects centered. More on how we test sharpness.

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Optical stabilization is a rarity at this price point, and the A2400's implementation is quite effective. Canon gives you the option of activating full-time continuous stabilization, shot-only stabilization that only operates when focus is locked, or shutting the feature off completely. Beyond that, a "Powered" option is also included, and this is intended for stable video shooting.

Color accuracy is one of the most impressive features of the A2400. In our test, it recorded an error value of only 2.29, that's way below the 3.00 average. Saturation was also nearly perfect, over by only 3.3%. Most flesh tones except bright yellow were quite accurate, while the worst problem areas were blues and reds, minor as those inaccuracies were. More on how we test color.

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

We like this test because the price of a camera seems to have little bearing on the outcome. You could spend $800 on Canon's G1 X, for example, and still get below-average color accuracy. The A2400 will render scenes very naturally, yet sells for a fraction of the price.

At the low end, this camera's closest competitor is Canon's own A4000, a brother of the A2400 released at the same time and using the same sensor. Samsung's WB150F is a little further behind, but also posted a strong score.

The camera's automatic white balance is accurate under daylight and fluorescent lighting, but like all cameras, struggles with incandescent or "tungsten" sources. Taking a custom white balance eliminates the problem with tungsten light, and improves the readings for other light sources too.

While we were pleasantly surprised by the A2400's color accuracy and, to a lesser extent, its resolution of detail, noise reduction was less impressive. With a maximum ISO of only 1600, this model clearly isn't intended for much low light use, and its performance confirms this. Noise rates are never less than 1.00%, even at the minimum ISO, and by ISO 400 noise rates already hit an ugly 1.50%. Finally, at 1600 noise peaks at an unprintable 2.15%. More on how we test noise.

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The limited ISO range is a step in wrong direction for compact cameras, where we're beginning to see 3200 and 6400 sensitivities with regularity. The A2400 is capable of up to ISO 6400, however this requires the Low Light scene mode, and cuts resolution down to 4 megapixels.

Fringing is rather severe in our studio test shots, and although we of course base our scores on these, the problem wasn't as noticeable in sample photos. Below, notice the drastic difference between crops taken from the edges of the frame versus the center.

Pincushion distortion is moderately severe while framing, though this only occurs at the widest focal length and even then, since lens distortion is constant and predictable, the software compensates before JPEG shots are output. As a result, we're awarding the maximum score here, though many point-and-shoots can claim the same.

The Canon A2400 can record HD video, but the resolution is topped out at 1280 x 720 (not Full HD 1080p). This limited resolution, in combination with what is likely a low recording bitrate, made for an unimpressive motion performance in our test. There was quite a bit of artifacting, the video wasn't very smooth, and there was a fair amount of interference throughout the video. On the other hand, the camera did well in limiting the blur and trailing—especially considering it uses a 25p frame rate in its 720p record mode. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.

The A2400 IS struggled in our sharpness test, but, in the end, its results were on par with what we expect to see from a compact digital camera. In our bright light test, the camera was able to resolve 400 lw/ph for both horizontal and vertical sharpness. Like we said, this isn't a great showing for the camera, but it's not much different than the competition (like the Canon A4000). More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.

In low light, the A2400 showed a bit of a drop in the sharpness of its image, but not by much. We found the horizontal and vertical sharpness to be 375 lw/ph with our lights illuminating the test chart at 60 lux. Again, not a great showing, but a performance that is similar to the competition.

The Canon A2400 needed 25 lux of light in order to record video that was deemed "bright enough for broadcast television." This is not a very good performance for the little camera, and it is indicative of the camera's poor low light video capabilities overall. However, as was the case for most of the A2400's video scores, the low light sensitivity—while still not very good—wasn't much different than the competition in this price range. Basically, most pocket-sized point-and-shoots don't offer much in the way of low light video performance.

The Canon A2400 IS, like the rest of Canon's A-series, is predicated on one design philosophy: keep only a bare minimum of operational control in the hands of the user, and make things as simple as possible. Unfortunately on the A-series this also means the lack of many of the fun, creative shooting modes and filters that have appeared on past Canon compact cameras in their SD-series. Those cameras were just as easy to use, but offered a little more utility for your money. The A2400 IS is as simple a camera as it gets, but we expect shooters will expect more fun features at a $160 price point.

The Canon A2400 features a standard automatic mode, accessible by pressing the green "auto" key on the rear of the camera. There is also a program automatic mode, which can be found in the camera's shooting mode menu (in the "func. set" menu). The program automatic mode has a few extra options available, such as ISO sensitivity and exposure compensation. The camera also features several scene modes, but these are also all mostly automatic, designed to better cope with specific lighting conditions.

One of the issues we have with this current crop of A-series compact cameras is the low profile design of many of the buttons, including the zoom toggle and video record buttons. The rear control pad also has this problem, meaning the function set, menu, playback, and help buttons are all designed with minimal travel, hugging closely against the body of the camera. This makes them difficult to press, a problem compounded by a lack of haptic response or audible click when the buttons are actually activated. The worst offender is the zoom toggle on the top of the camera, which has only the smallest nub for the index finger to manipulate. We understand the desire to not have large buttons taking up the entire camera, but a little more depth would go a long way here.

The Canon A2400 IS doesn't feature much in the way of creative modes—a surprise for the A-series, given Canon's typical emphasis on them. The camera does feature a few scene modes, however, including: live view control, portrait, face self-timer, low light, fisheye effect, miniature effect, toy camera effect, monochrome, super vivid, poster effect, snow, fireworks, long shutter, discreet, and iFrame movie.

The super vivid, monochrome, and poster effect give you some creative leeway, but not the standard (and shooting mode-independent) color profiles that have been popular on previous compact Canon cameras. It may be a result of lack of built-in memory on the camera or simply a desire to eliminate as many extraneous options as possible, but the lack of creative modes really seems like a baby out with the bathwater situation.

The menu on the Canon A2400 IS is split up into two types of menu: the main menu and the function set menu. The main menu is replete with the more complicated options like autofocus method, red-eye settings, memory card formatting, and the like. The function set menu just pulls up over your image as you're framing, giving you access to shooting mode, exposure compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity, and other shooting settings. Some of these functions are removed from view when in scene modes or the full automatic mode, as the camera takes over.

The Canon A2400 IS includes both a quick start guide in the box and a CD-ROM containing the full user's guide. The full guide is stored as .pdf on the disc, though it can also be downloaded from Canon's website. This document includes basic information before going over many of the important features in greater depth. The index is clearly labeled in the back and helps you to use the guide as a reference tool for understanding specific settings.

The Canon A2400 IS is meant for quick snapshots of the kids or your friends while out and about. The camera isn't designed for a long day of shooting, but to be slipped out right before the decisive moment, and then quickly put away. We have major issues with the button characteristics of this camera, as detailed on the last page, but as far as physical handling and stability, things aren't quite as bad.

Handling Photo 1

For short periods of time, the light A2400 was comfortable to use one-handed.

There are no specifically designed ergonomic features on this camera, aside from a dubious lip beside the LCD. However the camera's extremely light weight means grip isn't really a consideration, since very little effort is required to hold it up in the first place. We did most of our shooting one handed, and found the camera comfortable in short bursts.

Handling Photo 2

The shutter button resides just where it should, without the need for straining or stretching to reach.

One of the issues we have with this current crop of A-series compact cameras is the low profile design of many of the buttons, including the zoom toggle and video record buttons. The rear control pad also has this problem, meaning the function set, menu, playback, and help buttons are all designed with minimal travel, hugging closely against the body of the camera. This makes them difficult to press, a problem compounded by a lack of haptic response or audible click when the buttons are actually activated. The worst offender is the zoom toggle on the top of the camera, which has only the smallest nub for the index finger to manipulate. We understand the desire to not have large buttons taking up the entire camera, but a little more depth would go a long way here.

Buttons Photo 1

The rear control panel is way too shallow and left us constantly frustrated.

The rear display on the Canon A2400 IS, unsurprisingly, features no frills. It's a standard 2.7-inch 230k-dot resolution LCD. It's a perfectly serviceable display that provides legible text and enough resolution to detect fine details (like focus accuracy) on an image during playback. The A2400 IS does not feature a viewfinder, though the Canon A1300, released at the same time, does include an optical view window.

Optical stabilization is a rarity at this price point, and the A2400's implementation is quite effective. Canon gives you the option of activating full-time continuous stabilization, shot-only stabilization that only operates when focus is locked, or shutting the feature off completely. Beyond that, a "Powered" option is also included, and this is intended for stable video shooting.

Shooting modes are divided between Auto and...well, everything else. The top position of the directional pad is dedicated completely to swapping back and forth between a fully automatic (or "green") mode, and the programmable mode for users with a little more experience.

Five resolution options of varying quality levels are available, including a widescreen option. RAW encoding is not possible, unsurprisingly, with a camera of this class, however it's also not possible to specify JPEG compression quality.

While the A2400 does not feature a high speed burst mode, full resolution continuous shooting is possible, with an apparently unlimited memory buffer. This technique is easily accessed from the camera's quick menu.

We clocked shooting speed at only 0.72 frames per second, making this camera a slow poke like many of its budget-friendly competitors. Note that noise reduction introduces even more delay, so to achieve the highest speeds be sure to shoot at low ISO sensitivities. At ISO 1600, the camera is only capable of 0.48 frames per second. Strangely, reducing megapixel resolution does not improve speed performance.

10 second and 2 second countdown timers are available, along with a handy fully-customizable option. In addition, one of the Scene modes is a face-detecting timer, but it doesn't work very well.

Part of designing an effective budget camera involves stripping away unnecessary features. Canon has certainly done that, leaving us with a barebones, but still very usable ultracompact.

The Canon A2400 IS doesn't feature much in the way of creative modes—a surprise for the A-series, given Canon's typical emphasis on them. The camera does feature a few scene modes, however, including: live view control, portrait, face self-timer, low light, fisheye effect, miniature effect, toy camera effect, monochrome, super vivid, poster effect, snow, fireworks, long shutter, discreet, and iFrame movie.

The super vivid, monochrome, and poster effect give you some creative leeway, but not the standard (and shooting mode-independent) color profiles that have been popular on previous compact Canon cameras. It may be a result of lack of built-in memory on the camera or simply a desire to eliminate as many extraneous options as possible, but the lack of creative modes really seems like a baby out with the bathwater situation.

Videos may be recorded in either 720p or 480p, and beyond that there are few shooting options available. Videos adopt some settings from the still shooting options, such as automatic white balance. However optical zoom control is locked out while a recording is in progress, and autofocus doesn't seem to work either. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content

For a little over a hundred and fifty bucks, you could do a lot worse than the Canon PowerShot A2400 IS. Whether a manufacturer is designing an entry-level point-and-shoot like this one, or a high-end professional grade DSLR, we appreciate attention to the target audience. Design of the A2400 is at least self-aware, and in this sense it's a strong addition to the low end.

This little camera's performance is quite excellent in some ways. Color accuracy is particularly impressive, and easily exceeds the results of some cameras at many times the price point. Resolution, while marred by some pretty obvious chromatic aberration, is above average, and resulted in some very detailed, lifelike sample photos.

Sadly this model's noise reduction software is highly destructive, obliterating some of the detail enabled by the sharp lens, and this is true even at the minimum ISO. Don't expect to use this camera in low light, period. We were also very annoyed by the poorly designed rear control panel, which was too shallow and difficult to operate, and actually ruined the camera's highly intuitive menu system. The lack of a burst mode is also disappointing, and while continuous shooting is available, it's too slow to function as intended.

Poor low light performance makes this camera a bad choice for toting out to the bars, but for other young or beginner customers, the A2400 IS represents a great value for general daytime use. The slim, lightweight design is highly portable and suited to travel. So if you don't need an extra long zoom, and are willing to put up with the controls in exchange for low price, this camera should be a finalist in your purchase decision.

Meet the tester

TJ Donegan

TJ Donegan

Executive Editor

@TJDonegan

TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.

See all of TJ Donegan's reviews

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