To test the Canon PowerShot A400’s color accuracy, we recorded a series of exposures of our GretagMacbeth color chart and analyzed the images with Imatest Imaging Software. The software reads each tone and determines the degree of variance from the ideal. The results are depicted in the graph below, with the outer square representing the actual hue produced by the camera, while the inner square is the camera’s produced tone corrected by the software, and the small vertical rectangle represents the ideal.

Canon-Powershot-A400_ColorC.jpg

 

The graphic below depicts the 24 tones produced by the Canon PowerShot A400 and the amount in which they deviate from the ideal. The circles are the camera’s produced colors, while the corresponding squares are the ideal. The line linking the two is the degree of error; the longer the line, the greater the error.

Canon-Powershot-A400ColorER.jpg

 

The Canon PowerShot A400 received a mean color saturation score of 103.5%. This is a moderate level of saturation, as many portable point-and-shoot digital cameras increase saturation levels to attain more vivid, lively images. The A400 maintains a reasonable level of vibrancy without over-saturating any tone too profusely. In terms of color accuracy, the A400 is as precise as point-and-shoot imagers get; with the exception of colors #16, #15, #9, #17, #10, and #18, nearly every tone is "spot on." The tones that do stray remain fairly close to the ideal, creating a slight modification to the natural color scale. This is likely a design tactic by Canon to accentuate those hues that impact skin tones, opting to create images that are more pleasing to the user rather then a direct, accurate reproduction. All around, the A400 is an impressive color producer, handling variation in tones exceptionally well and blending natural precision with added vibrancy.

**

Still Life Scene

Below is a shot of our superfy still life scene taken with the Canon PowerShot A400.

[

Canon-Powershot-A400_SMStil.jpg

Click on the above image to view a full resolution version (CAUTION: The linked file is very large!)](../viewer.php?picture=Canon-Powershot-A400_LGStil.jpg)


**Resolution / Sharpness ***(2.30)*

The term "resolution" has become overused, having been appropriated to imply a variety of different meanings and applications within the field of digital photography. While resolution does to some extent reflect the sharpness of an image, it primarily speaks about image size and pixel composition. Sharpness in terms of megapixels will become more evident as print size is increased; however, pixels are what visually formulate the image and the more abundant they are in total numbers, the less visible they are individually, and thus the cleaner and sharper the image will appear. While any camera exceeding 3.0 megapixels should produce a sharp, precise 4 x 6 print, often imperfections in image quality appear because the camera does not put out the resolution it advertises. There will always be some degree of variance between the marketed megapixel count on the camera’s box and the pixels contained within an actual, produced image. Therefore, we test for the camera’s "actual resolution," determining the number of pixels used to compose the image as contrasted with the total image size. This is reported in a percentage of the actual pixels used within the camera's largest available image. In general, any camera that scores 70-79% of its advertised resolution is considered to have a "good" score, while 80-89% is "very good" and anything exceeding 90% is "excellent."

 

The Canon PowerShot A400 produced images that contain 2.30 utilized megapixels. This is just over 72% of its advertised resolution. This is a respectable score, placing the A400 in a select group of point-and-shoot cameras in terms of performance. The only other compact point-and-shoot cameras to rival this are some of the Sony Cyber-shot models. The Sony P100, DSC-W1 and DSC-T1 all exceed 80% of their advertised resolution and establish a high standard for other compact imagers to strive for. The PowerShot A400 is one of the few that qualifies and brings Canon up into this realm.


**Noise — Auto ISO ***(5.28)*

The PowerShot A400’s noise performance in Auto ISO mode was adequate at best. While many point-and-shoot cameras do not reach this level, for a camera that aims for the top, this will not do. I was impressed with the A400’s handling of color and its resolution performance, but I feel that the camera is held back because of its handling of noise. Noise is generally quite distracting and deteriorates the quality of an image, regardless of the camera's resolution. For this reason, I feel the 5.28 overall score holds the A400 from reaching elite point-and-shoot status and will hinder those users who rely on automatic ISO settings. There are manual settings included on the PowerShot A400 that can be learned and maximized. Unfortunately, the A400 fared even worse in manual ISO mode.


**Noise — Manual ISO ***(3.73)*

There are four manual ISO ratings available on the Canon PowerShot A400. We tested the camera’s noise production at each ISO setting and now display the results in the graph below. The X-axis corresponds to the ISO settings, while the Y-axis represents the noise levels produced.

Canon-A400-NoiseCH.jpg

 

It is always nice to see manual ISO options included on a point-and-shoot camera. It provides added flexibility to any user, regardless of their manual control urges. Unfortunately for the PowerShot A400 user, this control will not do them much good, as there are really only two usable settings. The camera features four manual settings in total: ISO 50, 100, 200, and 400. However, the ISO ratings beyond 100 are utterly distorted and filled with noise. These higher settings are barely usable and should only be utilized when absolutely necessary. The ISO 100 setting is decent, and the ISO 50 rating is the camera’s saving grace. While an ISO 50 setting is somewhat rare, for this camera, it is an utter necessity. The A400 will still provide impressive images, but requires optimal lighting or a constant flash.

**Speed / Timing

***Start-up to First Shot (7.03)*

From the off position, the PowerShot A400 is reliable; while it is not an instantaneous shooter, it is far faster then many point-and-shoot cameras that boot up like a PC. The A400 takes just under 3 seconds (2.97 sec) to turn on, focus and record an image.

 

Shot-Shot (6.92)

Shot-to-shot time is a bit slower on the A400. Having some to do with auto focusing lag, rapid exposures are not available with this PowerShot camera. The eager user will have to wait well over 2 seconds between images.

 

Shutter-Shot (7.06)

It takes just under a second (.97 sec) from the moment the user presses the shutter release button to the time a shot is recorded by the A400’s imager. This is a decent speed, particularly from a camera that takes almost 3 full seconds from one shot to the next.

**

Canon-Powershot-A400_frontS.jpg
Front ***(8.0)*

The front of the Canon PowerShot A400 has a 5.9-13.2mm (equivalent to 45-100mm) Canon Zoom lens located on the left side of the camera body. This lens, when not in use, is recessed in the camera body and covered by a built-in automatic lens cover. To the left of the lens, near the top of the lens ring, the user will note the AF-assist beam/red-eye reduction/self-timer lamp, a three-in-one feature that appears as a small circle on the camera body. Above this feature is the internal flash. To the right of the flash is the viewfinder window, and to the right of that are two small dots, which record audio and allow for sound memos to be attached to still images. It should be noted here that it is impossible to attach sound memos to movie clips captured on the Canon PowerShot A400; however, audio can be captured in conjunction with video when shot simultaneously. Continuing on with the front, there is a cut into the slight grip to the far right. This small strap eyelet is neatly tucked away into the camera body and does not protrude, a common occurrence on other models.

 

**

Canon-Powershot-A400_back.jpg
Back ***(7.5)*

On the back left side of the back of the Canon PowerShot A400, the user will find the 1.5-inch LCD screen, set slightly into the camera body. Centered above the LCD screen, the user will find a circular real image zoom viewfinder and to the left, the operation indicators for the camera. When the upper indicator is green, the camera is ready to shoot or to communicate with a computer; if blinking green, it is still in start-up mode, recording images to the SD card, reading the card, erasing data on the card, or in the process of transferring data to the computer. Finally, if the upper indicator is orange, the camera is ready to shoot with a flash, and if blinking orange is ready to shoot with a shake warning, or is charging the flash. If the lower indicator is yellow, the camera is either in Macro or Infinity modes, and if blinking yellow, the camera is encountering focusing difficulties.

 

To the right of the circular viewfinder, the user will find the mode switch, which allows the user to choose from Shooting Mode, Still Mode, Special Scene Mode, or Movie Mode. The fifth mode available on this turning switch is the Playback Mode. Continuing along the top of the camera body is the Zoom button, which allows for adjustments to be made in regard to Wide Angle or Telephoto shots. When the Mode Switch is changed to the Playback setting, these features double as Index and Magnify controls for viewing previously captured images and video. Beneath the Mode Switch and the Zoom control, the user will find the four-way controller for the Canon PowerShot A400. This four-way controller allows for navigation within various menus, along with dual controls when shooting images. The up arrow also doubles as a light-metering feature, the right arrow as a flash control option, the down arrow for continuous shooting/self timer, and the left arrow for macro/infinity settings. In the center is the Set button. To the right of the four-way control is the Print/Share button.

 

Beneath the four-way control is the only port cover, a plastic strip which is opened via a slight tab on the bottom left side. When flipped upwards and over, the following three ports are revealed: Digital, DC in, and A/V out. It should be noted that this cover is somewhat flimsy in its attachment, and its length makes it easy to fumble during playback or other use. Running between the four-way controller and the LCD screen, the user will find three controllers. At the top, there is the Menu button, which allows the user to scan between Rec Menu, Set up Menu, and My Camera Menu. When the camera is in playback mode, the user replaces the Record menu with the Play Menu. Beneath this button is the Display button, which controls the amount of information displayed on the LCD screen, and turns the LCD screen on and off during shooting. The lowest button, located above the port cover that runs along the base of the camera body, is the Function button, which allows the user to select among a series of onscreen sidebar menus in a variety of modes. This button can allow for alterations in image size, quality, manual control settings, automatic mode, and scene selections. Also, when engaged in Playback mode and depressed, this button allows for single-image erasures to occur.

 

**

Canon-Powershot-A400_leftsi.jpg
Left Side ***(7.5)*

The left side of the Canon PowerShot A400 has no features, and is a smooth and sleek silver surface.

 

**

Canon-Powershot-A400_rights.jpg
Right Side ***(7.5)*

The right side of the Canon PowerShot A400 has a card/battery cover, which opens when the small tab located at the bottom of the camera is pushed forward, revealing the appropriate slots for the SD memory card and the position for the two double-A batteries. This door is a bit frail upon first opening, as the tab is a little undersized and takes a bit of practice to master comfortably.

 

**

Canon_Powershot-A400_top.jpg
Top ***(7.0)*

The top of the camera body has three distinct features on the far left side. Towards the back of the camera body, the user will find the internal playback speakers. On the far right side, also near the back, is the On/Off button, located slightly to the right and behind the shutter button.

 

**

**

**Viewfinder ***(5.0)*

The circular viewfinder located on the back of the Canon PowerShot A400 is a real image optical zoom viewfinder, and is somehow neatly placed so that it’s nearly impossible for me to rub my nose on the LCD screen below, no matter how hard I try. Also, the viewfinder is large enough to actually use, a surprising feature when the smaller body size of this camera is considered.

 

**LCD Screen ***(6.0)*

The LCD screen located directly below the viewfinder is a 1.5-inch, 115,000-pixel TFT color monitor, which is framed and slightly recessed, and can be turned on and off via the Display button located to the right of it. This button also controls the amount of information displayed on the LCD screen. The LCD brightness is controllable via the Menu button.

 

**Flash ***(6.0)*

The flash is available in all scene settings and modes except for fireworks and movie. The flash is set by the four-way controller located on the back of the Canon PowerShot A400. The settings available are as follows: Auto with red-eye reduction, Auto, Flash with red-eye reduction, Flash on, and Flash off. The flash is located in the upper left corner on the front of the Canon PowerShot A400 and is a bit awkward in placement, as I found my left hand fingers wandering over its surface many times, obscuring it during image capture.

 

**Zoom Lens ***(6.0)*

The Canon PowerShot A400 is equipped with a 45-100mm (equivalent) zoom lens with 2.2x optical and an additional 3.2x digital zoom capabilities. There is a maximum aperture opening of f/3.8. The focal range on this camera is somewhat constrained and heavily weighted towards the telephoto end. For a point-and-shoot camera, I would have liked to see more wide angle coverage included.

 

**

Model Design / Appearance ***(7.5)***

The Canon PowerShot A400 that we received had a pleasant peach complexion (technically orange) with brushed silver highlights. It has a long, low slung body with clearly marked controls on the back, reserving the top for the shutter and on/off controller. The camera has an appropriately sized 1.5-inch LCD screen and a real image zoom viewfinder. There is a rubber port cover that runs along the bottom of the back of the camera body. Underneath it lie the three ports available to the camera’s user.


Size / Portability ***(7.0)***

The camera body is long and rectangular, approaching 2.6 inches in height while extending 4.1 inches in length, providing a horizontally stretched design and feel. The only problem with this layout is that the camera is still 1.1 inches thick, complicating portability a bit. Overall, the camera is lightweight and can easily be carried in a user’s hand. On the other hand, slipping this in your pocket isn’t really an option. Therefore, as long as buying a carrying case or transporting the camera in the palm is not a deterrent for the user, portability will not be difficult. ****


Handling Ability ***(7.5)***

There is a slight lift on the front face of the Canon PowerShot A400 that’s paired with a scallop on the back of the body, providing a secure grip for the right thumb and index finger. I found myself often having to hold the camera in awkward positions when using the viewfinder or when viewing the LCD in close proximity. The left hand basically has to fend for itself, a conundrum I solved by holding the camera body at the top and the base, as otherwise my fingers would block the lens or mask the internal flash.


Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size ***(7.5)***

The button control on the Canon PowerShot A400 is entirely dedicated to the right hand. All controls are located on this half of the camera body, allowing the LCD screen and the viewfinder to reside on the left portion of the frame. The buttons are fairly comfortably positioned for fast access and manipulation, and are clearly labeled with blue, red or black symbols that are large enough to see without strain. My only major concern is in the positioning of the Function Button that controls the auto/manual modes and all the manual features, as its meager size and crammed placement often complicates fast alterations. Beyond this, though, the controls are logically designed and easy to engage, particularly the cupped, four-way navigational buttons.

 

The four-way mode switch is an appreciated change from the standard mode dial that, with the addition of more and more features in past years, has become over-congested and reminiscent of the Wheel of Fortune. With this model, the rotating control easily switches between playback, still camera, and movie modes.

**Menu ***(7.5)*

There are two menus available to the user of the Canon PowerShot A400. The first is accessed via the Menu button located to the right of the LCD screen. This menu has three subsections: Play/Rec Menu, Set Up, and My Camera. When in regular shot mode, the Rec menu allows the user to control such options as Quick Shot, AiAF, Red-Eye, Self Timer, AF Assist Beam, Digital Zoom, and Review. When in Playback mode, this screen changes to the Play Menu and controls the following options: Protect, Rotate, Sound Memo, Erase All, Auto Play, Print Order, and Transfer Order. The Set up Menu controls Audio, Volume, LCD Brightness, Power Saver, Date/Time, Memory Card Format, File Number Reset, Auto Rotate, Language, and Video System. Lastly, the My Camera Menu controls these options for the Canon PowerShot A400: Theme, Start Up Image, Start Up Sound, Operation Sound, Self timer Sound, and Shutter Sound.

 

The second Menu is located under the Function button and controls the parameters of the camera more specifically concerned with the image being recorded. When in Still Mode, the user can choose between Automatic and Manual Modes. Either mode allows for Image Size/Quality to be determined, but in Manual Mode, the user can also choose to control the Exposure, White Balance, ISO, or Image Effects along with the previously mentioned Image Size/Quality. It is also possible to engage two different stitch-assist programs when in Still image mode, both of which are found in the same subsection menu as the Automatic and Manual control settings. In Scene Mode, it is possible for the user to control Exposure, Scene Selection, and Image Size/Quality. When in Movie Mode, Image Size, White Balance, Exposure, and Image Effect are all available in a menu that appears on the LCD screen as a bar located on the left side of the screen, and another bar that runs along the base of the screen horizontally.

**Ease of Use ***(8.0)*

Overall ease of use for the Canon PowerShot A400 is quite high. The onscreen menu features are clearly labeled and laid out. With consistency being one of the major features of this camera, it allowed fluid access to the features and control functions. The clear marking and large size of the buttons made accessing most of them simple, except perhaps for the more cramped Function Menu button. The mode switch was clearly labeled and straightforward, allowing the scene modes to be easily accessed via the onscreen LCD menu. All in all, the camera is fairly stripped-down, with limited control dials, each specifically oriented for particular functions. This allows the user to learn each control quickly and become more familiar with them as usage progresses.


Auto Mode ***(7.0)***

When the Canon PowerShot A400 is placed into auto mode, the user can control the quality of the image shot through the Function menu while in standard Still Image on the Mode Switch. Macro mode is still accessible, though infinity mode is not, along with flash settings and continuous shooting mode. It is also possible to control the zoom levels of the camera. To focus and prepare the camera for the shot, the user must depress the shutter button partially. While in Scene Mode, the user can control not only the scene mode selected, but also the quality and size of the image, along with the exposure settings for the camera. These image settings hold whether in manual or auto modes, making them independent from these two controls.

 

The automatic focus and flash settings are fairly responsive; however, exposure and ISO settings do have some difficulty, particularly in low lit scenes.

**Movie Mode ***(4.5)*

When the camera is placed in Movie Mode, the user still retains significant control of the image, with all of the Picture Effects still available, along with White Balance, Exposure, and Self Timer. However, it is not possible to engage the zoom function when in Movie Mode. Three images sizes are available for movie clips: 640 x 480, 320 x 240, and 160 x 120. The two smaller image sizes can be recorded at frame rates of 15 frames per second, while the largest movie size (640 x 480) is only available at 10 frames per second. This is fairly disappointing when 30 frames per second has become pretty much standard for most other manufacturers.

 

**Drive / Burst Mode ***(7.0)*

Continuous Shot mode is engaged in either Manual or Automatic modes and is the secondary control for the down arrow on the four-way controller. This allows for the user to shoot at a rate of approximately 1.3 shots per second in either Large or Fine mode with the LCD monitor off. If the flash is used, the shots will occur at a slower rate.

 

**Playback Mode ***(6.5)*

When the Mode Switch is turned to the Playback Mode, the user can choose between single-image slide show and a multi setting that displays up to nine images for review. You cannot magnify a movie image during review. Still images, however, can be magnified during playback, at specific sections of images reexamined following shooting. This is done using the zoom toggle controls to move closer in or away from the image.

 

**Custom Image Presets ***(7.5)*

The custom image presets available for the Canon PowerShot A400 are located in the Scene Mode and are engaged when the Mode Switch is turned to the Scene setting of the Function Menu. Once entered, the user can select the Scene selection subsection and choose from the following settings: Portrait, Night, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, and Indoor. Macro and Infinity shots are possible through the left arrow on the four-way controller.

Manual Control Options

When the Canon PowerShot A400 is placed in standard still image capture mode, and the Func Menu is open, it is possible to shift the camera from Auto to Manual mode via the bar located on the bottom of the LCD screen. Once set, the user can choose from the following options: image size, image quality, effects, ISO speed, white balance, and exposure. It is possible to engage all of the dual features on the four-way controller, allowing the user to select flash settings, Macro/Infinity shots, Continuous Shooting modes, and Light Metering options. Zoom is, not surprisingly, controllable when the camera is in manual mode.

 


**Focus ***

Auto (7.5)*

When the Canon PowerShot A400 is shooting with Auto focus, the user may choose to use the AF Lock. Auto focus lock is suggested for most shooting situations, and is engaged when the shutter is pressed partially. This is acknowledged when the camera beeps twice. The user can then return to the original shot format and capture the image, and the subject of the AF Lock will remain the focal point in the image. In the Rec Menu, entered through the Menu button, the user can scroll down and select the AiAF focus feature, allowing between a focus setting of either the center point, or a larger nine-frame overall focus selection option. The nine-frame AF is an addition to the line and provides a wider range for focusing calculations.

Manual (0.0)

There is no manual focus setting for the Canon PowerShot A400, with the user having to rely on AF and AF Lock for all images.

 

**Metering ***(7.5)*

There are three different light metering settings available to the user of the Canon PowerShot A400. Evaluative metering is the default setting, and can be changed when the camera is in manual shooting mode. Evaluative metering is standard for most shooting conditions, including backlit situations and is capable of handling the more complex lighting situations that may be encountered. The second mode is Center Weighted, which allows the entire frame to be metered but with more consideration given to the subject situated in the center of the screen. The third and final setting available is Spot AE Point, which meters the area in the spot AE point located in the center of the scene, and is best used only when the subject is either surrounded by strong lighting, or is backlit.

Exposure ***(7.0)*

**Exposure settings, unlike ISO settings, are available in several shooting modes for the Canon PowerShot A400. Exposure can be accessed in Manual Standard image capture, Scene Mode, or Movie mode, but not in Auto Mode. When highlighted in the left side bar of the Function Menu, the user can choose an exposure setting between -2 to +2 in 1/3-stop increments.

 



**White Balance ***(6.5)*

The White Balance settings are reached through entering the Function Menu and scrolling up/down the left side bar until the White Balance section is highlighted. Once this subsection is highlighted the user can engage the left/right arrows to select from the following settings: Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, and Evaluate. It is possible to alter White Balance in both Manual Still Mode and Movie Mode.

**ISO ***(8.0)*

The ISO settings are available only in Manual Mode, unlike some of the other controls. Once the Function Menu is entered, the user can scan the left side bar up and down via the four-way controller until the ISO subsection is highlighted. The user can then select from the following settings for the Canon PowerShot A400: Auto, 50, 100, 200, and 400. The higher the ISO rating is, the greater likelihood there will be for noise or grain to appear on the captured image; thus, the proper mix of illumination and noise will dictate the necessary ISO setting. This makes it desirable to have a wider range of ISO ratings available. ISO 400 is typically the highest setting available on point-and-shoot cameras, however, the ISO 50 rating available is a great benefit and will ensure clear, low noise images in direct light.


Shutter Speed ***(0.0)***

Shutter speeds for the Canon PowerShot A400 are between 1 and 1/1500 sec. The shutter speeds are automatically set by the camera, implementing a noise reduction operation when shutter speeds slow below 1/6 of a second.


Aperture ***(0.0)***

There is no manual control of aperture settings; however, the camera will alter the size of the aperture with a maximum opening of f/3.8.


**Picture Quality / Size Options ***(7.0)*

Picture Quality/Image Size settings are located in the Function Menu and are available in all of the Canon PowerShot A400's four modes. When in Still Image Mode or Scene Mode, the user can choose from the following settings: Large (2048 x 1536), M1 (1600 x 1200), M2 (1024 x 768), S (640 x 480), and Post Card (1600 x 1200), with image quality ratings of SuperFine, Fine and Normal. The following settings are available when the camera is turned to Movie Mode: 640 x 480, 320 x 240, and 160 x 120. At 640 x 480, the camera can record 30 seconds when using a memory card upgrade, and at a rate of 10 fps. When in the two lower modes, the SD memory card (available separately) can record up to 3 minutes at a rate of 15 fps.

 

**Picture Effects Mode ***(7.0)*

The picture effects available on this camera (Effect off, Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Sepia, and B/W) are also accessed through the Function Menu and are accessible when the camera is in manual or movie mode.


**


Connectivity

Software*(6.0)*

The following image editing software is included when the Canon PowerShot A400 is purchased: ArcSoft Camera Suite 1.3 and Digital Camera Solution Disk. Interestingly, and thankfully, Canon has included a manual for Direct Printing, an appreciated addition in the digital camera market that allows for easier installation and use.

**

Jacks, ports, plugs (5.0)

The following ports are located on the back of the Canon PowerShot A400 underneath a plastic port cover: USB digital, DC in, and A/V out.

**

Direct Print Options (6.0)

This camera is direct print capable with CP compatible printers or compatible Canon Bubble Jet Printers.

Memory (5.5)

The memory for the Canon PowerShot A400 is controlled via an SD memory card. An SDC-16M memory card is included when this camera is purchased. The number of images or footage that can be garnered is primarily dictated by card size and image quality/size chosen by the user. If video is going to be shot, it is recommended that a larger memory card be chosen by the user as the stock card will only hold about 30 seconds when shot in full resolution.



Other Features ***(7.0)***

Quick Shot This feature allows for faster shutter speeds and is selected through the Rec. Menu once the Menu button has been pressed.

**

Direct Print User Guide To have a digital camera company include an entire manual dedicated to this feature is appreciated. It allows for users to determine proper compatible printers, and once engaged, how to have both pieces of equipment interface properly.

**

Stitch Assist These features are located in the same menu subsection in the Functions menu on the Canon PowerShot A400 as the Automatic and Manual control settings. Stitch assist allows for panoramic shots to be recorded by the user without a lot of estimation. This feature detects overlapping subjects, and aligns the camera to record these moments appropriately. It is possible to choose between Left-Right or Right-Left Stitch Assist settings.


**Value ***(7.5)*

The Canon PowerShot A400 retails for US $179.99. It has a 3.2 MP CCD in a sleek package, providing comfortable handling and basic controls. This is a lot for the price and is an ideal option for the beginning user who wants a well performing introductory camera without spending buckets of cash.


Comparisons

[

FujiA330Comp.jpg
Fujifilm FinePix A330*](../specs/Fuji/FinePix%20A330.htm) - *The FinePix A330 retails for US $179.95, and is equipped with a 3.0x optical/1.6x digital zoom. The A330 is meant for the point-and-shoot consumer. Its design is less sleek and honed than the Canon PowerShot A400, and it is not capable of audio recording at all. Also, it only has three formats for still images, and two for video. It has center point AF only, is capable of manual exposure and white balance, and has controllable flash settings. It shoots in burst mode at a rate of 1.5 frames per second and records onto an x-D Picture Card. Still image capture levels and video lengths are both drastically diminished when compared with those of the Canon PowerShot A400. It does have direct printing options, however.

**

vivitar3715Comp.jpg
Vivitar ViviCam 3715 - This camera by Vivitar has a 3.3 MP CCD. It has 8MB of internal memory that can be complemented with optional SD memory cards. It retails for US $149.95. It has a 2x digital zoom, and a 1.5-inch LCD screen. Exposure is automatic, with slight manual compensation settings; there is no burst mode, White Balance is auto or preset, and there is only one video format setting available with this camera.

**

PentaxOptio30Comp.jpg
Pentax Optio30 - As for the Pentax Optio30, it comes equipped with a 3x optical/4x digital zoom and is also intended for the point-and-shoot market, retailing for around US $179.95. This camera has a 1/2.7-inch 3.2 MP CCD, and five-point auto focus. It has preset scene settings, along with white balance. Exposure, as with the Vivitar, is only capable of being controlled slightly through the compensation adjustment format. Four-in-one shooting for four shots in one frame is as close to burst mode as this camera comes, and it can record still images in four formats and video in two, although it does have 16MB of internal memory.

[

OlympusD540Comp.jpg
](../specs/Olympus/D-540%20Zoom.htm)Olympus* D-540*- This camera by Olympus is a slightly more expensive model, retailing for US $199.00, and is described in an attempt to consider the features and attributes of the Canon PowerShot A400 against those of a higher priced model. This camera has a 3x optical/3.3x digital zoom, and a 1/3.7-inch 3.2 MP CCD. It has three still image formats and two video formats, although audio recording is not possible with this camera. This camera is meant for the point-and-shoot enthusiast, with most settings controlled by the camera except for such slight cases as exposure compensation. There are scene presets and image effects settings available. There is no internal memory, although when purchased, this camera does come with a 16MB xD-Picture card, and can engage in direct print.



Who It's For

*Point-and-Shooters - *This is an ideal camera for the point-and-shoot user, with standard options available and advanced automatic imagery this is designed for the point-and-shooter.

**

*Budget Consumers - *The Canon PowerShot A400 only costs US $179.99, making this an option for those seeking a reliable digital camera for bottom price.

**

*Gadget Freaks - *For the gadget freak, it looks good, coming in four pastel colors; however, it is pretty barren as far as features are concerned. If you're amused by colors this may do it for you, but if its true gadgets and functions your after, better seek other alternatives.

**

*Manual Control Freaks - *This camera lacks most essential manual controls and would last under a minute with the hard core manual control junkie before the boredom kicked in.

**

Pros/Serious Hobbyists - The pro/serious hobbyist wouldn’t find this camera to be necessary, unless they wanted a portable camera that looks good to complement their fashion oeuvre.


Conclusion

With a 1/3.2-inch 3.2 MP CCD the A400, for the most part, does perform. Color reproduction is excellent and there is strong image clarity and resolution. The camera does contain some glaring noise problems, making lighting an issue unless constant flash use occurs. The body comes in four separate model colors, all with sleek silver highlights and a slightly pastel exterior offering fashionable styling. There are eight scene presets, stitch assist for panoramic modes, and a real image optical zoom viewfinder included. This camera is best suited for those budget-oriented users seeking a basic imager that they don’t need to fumble with. Controls are sparse, making handling effortless but limiting user control. All around, this is an ideal camera for a very specific user: the point-and-shooter who wants a fashionable, automatic camera that will take good images for a low price. If this is what you're after, the PowerShot A400 is a more than suitable option.

Specs Table

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James Murray

James Murray

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