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Canon PowerShot S400 Digital Elph
4.0 Megapixel, 3x Optical Zoom in a Compact Metal Body

The PowerShot S400 Digital Elph is one of the world's smallest 4 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom (36mm-108mm in 35mm terms) lens and a 9-point AiAF autofocus system that makes focusing quick and easy, even with off-center subjects.

The camera also offers a stainless steel body with a new super hard Cerabrite finish to guard against scratching; an improved Movie Mode that captures clips up to 3 minutes apiece with sound; and Direct Print capabilities with Canon's Card Printer CP-100 dye-sublimation printer and several Canon Bubble Jet Direct printers.

Image from Canon Inc.

Major features:

  • 4.0 effective megapixels with 3x optical zoom
  • Compact stylish metal body
  • 9-point AiAF
  • DIGIC and iSAPs technology
  • Enhanced movie mode
  • Direct Print with Canon printers
  • Vertical Orientation Sensor

DIGIC and iSAPs Technology: The PowerShot S400's DIGIC Imaging Processor allows the camera to process images faster and improves the accuracy of the autofocus. DIGIC also reduces the effects on 'noise' in your images.

iSAPs technology is a new scene-recognition technology developed for digital cameras by Canon. Using an internal database of thousands of different photos, iSAPs works with the DIGIC Imaging Processor to improve focus speed and accuracy, as well as exposure and white-balance.

9-Point AiAF and Intelligent Orientation Sensor: With wide area 9-point AF, the Powershot S400 is ensured to focus accurately. Canon's intelligent Orientation Sensor makes sure your shots are displayed correctly, whether they where taken horizontally or vertically.

Canon Powershot S400 compared in size to the S230 Digital Elph

LCD monitor: The Canon S400 features a 1.5" LCD monitor for previewing and viewing captured images. The monitor also features a brightness adjustment for difficult viewing conditions. (Harsh sunlight) There is a speaker on the camera to playback recorded audio as well.

Shooting Modes: The Canon Powershot S400 offers four shooting modes which can be selected with the convenient Mode dial located on the back of the camera.

  • Auto: Most settings are automatically selected by the camera.

  • Manual: Exposure compensation, white balance and other settings can be manually selected.

  • Stitch Assist: Use this mode to shoot a series of overlapping frames for merging (stitching) into a large panoramic image using a computer.

  • Movie: Movies can be recorded at 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 resolution for up to 3 min at a time. The clip will end automatically after this time elapses or when the CF card becomes full. Movies can also be edited in camera if so desired.

Light Metering: The Canon Powershot offers three choices for light metering, including;

  • Evaluative Light Metering: Appropriate for standard shooting conditions, including backlit scenes.

  • Center-Weighted Average: Averages the light metered from the entire image, but gives greater weight towards the center.

  • Spot AE Point: Meters the area within the spot AE point at the center of the LCD monitor.

Continuous Shooting: In this mode, the camera shoots continuously at the rate of approximately 2.5 or 1.5 frames per second while the shutter button is held down. Recording ceases when the shutter button is released.

Self-Timer Shooting: The shutter release will be delayed for 10 or 2 seconds. You can change the self-timer countdown time in Rec. menu.

Built-in Flash: The output of the built-in flash is from 46cm to 3m (1.5 ft - 11.5 ft) in wide-angle mode. The Canon Powershot S400 features five flash modes, which can be selected by pushing the flash mode button on the back of the camera.

  • Auto: The flash fires automatically as required.

  • Red-Eye Reduction, Auto: The flash fires automatically as required by the light level. The red-eye reduction lamp fires with each shot.

  • Flash on: The flash will always fire. (Fill-flash)

  • Flash off: the flash will not fire.

  • Slow Sync: Reduces the chance that background will be dark when shots are taken at night or in rooms with artificial lighting by extending the exposure time. The red-eye reduction lamp fires with each shot.

The Canon Powershot S400 also features an AF assist beam to help the camera lock focus under lower light conditions. (Subject to limited range)

Function Button:
If you press the "FUNC" button (found under LCD monitor to the right) in shooting mode, icons of the selectable settings appear on the left side of the LCD monitor. The settings include;

Exposure Compensation: You can set the adjustment from -2 to +2, in 1/3-step increments. Allows you to darken or lighten the image that will be captured accordingly.

Long Exposure: For capturing extended exposures, shutter speeds from 1 to 15 seconds can be selected.

White Balance: The WB settings include; Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, and Custom.

ISO sensitivity: ISO settings can be set to Auto, 50, 100, 200 and 400 ISO

Photo Effects: A number of different photo effects can be selected. Options include; Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Sepia and B&W. Vivid mode emphasizes contrast and saturation to record an image in bold color. Neutral mode tones down the contrast and color saturation to record more neutral hues.

Compresion settings: One of three different settings can be selected; Super-Fine, Fine and Normal.

Resolution settings: One of four resolution settings can be choosen; (L) 2272 x 1704, (M1) 1600 x 1200, (M2) 1024 x 768 or (S) 640 x 480.

Recording Media:
The Powershot S400 uses a Type I CompactFlash (CF) Card as the recording media. A 32MB compactflash card comes bundled with the camera. The CF card slot is found on the right side of the camera behind a hinged door . (facing from the back)

Other Features:

Slide Show: A selection of images or all the images on a CF card can be displayed one-by-one in an automated slide show. You can change the playback time (between 3-10 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds and Manual) for all the images in a show and have the show repeat continuously. The slideshow can be viewed on a TV by connecting the camera with the supplied AV cables. The Canon Powershot S400 supports both the NTSC and PAL video standards.

Sound Memo: You can attach sound memos (up to 60 seconds) to an image. The sound data is saved in a WAVE format.

My Camera mode: Allows a user to customize the start-up image and start-up, shutter, operation and self-timer sounds. You can also use the supplied software to upload images and sounds from the computer to the camera.

Intelligent Orientation Sensor: The camera is equipped with an Intelligent Orientation sensor that detects the orientation of an image shot vertically and automatically rotates it to the correct viewing orientation in the display.

Conclusion: Overall we like the Canon Powershot S400 for its fairly rich feature set, and compact size. The camera is small with a rugged design and as such is easy to take with you. The Canon Powershot S400 provides good image quality up to an 11" x 14" print size.

Our only observation from the images that we test printed, was that the lens tended to produce a certain amount of softness towards the corners of the image, especially when compared to other cameras in its class like the Nikon Coolpix 4300. For the target audience that this camera is aimed at, the question is whether this will really be of any major concern.

Supplied Accessories:

  • Wrist Strap WS-300
  • Battery Charger CB-2LS
  • Battery Pack NB-1LH
  • CompactFlashTM(CF) Card FC-32M
  • AV Cable AVC-DC100
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-300PCU
  • Digital Camera Solution Disk (CD-ROM)
  • ArcSoft Camera Suite Disk (CD-ROM)
  • User Guides

Image Samples: Canon has posted three image samples from the PowerShot S400 Digital Elph on their BeBit site. Click on the images below to see them in their full size (hosted by Canon).

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  Canon PowerShot S400
CCD ? 1/1.8-inch CCD, 4.0 million effective pixels
Lens ? 3x optical (36-108mm) F2.8-4.9 zoom
File formats  ? JPEG, EXIF 2.2
LCD monitor ?/font> 1.5 in. 118,000 pixel TFT LCD
Metering ?/font> Evaluative metering
?/font> Centre-weighted average 
?/font> Spot
Sensitivity ?/font> Auto, ISO 50, 100, 200, 400
Shutter Speeds ?/font> 15 sec - 1/2000 sec
Focusing range ?/font> 30cm to 46cm in Macro setting
?/font> 46cm to infinity normal
Focus type ?/font> TTL 9-point AiAF
?/font> Focus lock possible
Exposure modes ?/font> Program AE
Exposure Compensation ?/font> +/- 2 stops in 1/3 stop increments
Quality & Resolution ?/font> 2272 x 1704
?/font> 1600 x 1200
?/font> 1024 x 768
?/font>  640 x 480
White Balance  ?/font> Automatic
?/font> Manual: Daylight, Tungsten,      Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Cloudy
?/font> Custom Preset 
Continuous mode  ? Single frame 
?/font> Continuous 1.5 fps
?/font> 2.5 fps in high speed mode
?/font> Movie 320 x 240 up to 3 min with audio
?/font> Movie 160 x 120 up to 3 min with audio
Other Features ? Automatic vertical orientation sensor
?/font> DIGIC Processor and iSAPs technology
?/font> Stitch Assist for creating Panoramas
?/font> PC connected shooting with supplied   software
?/font> Slide Show playback feature
?/font> My Camera Setting: customizable start   up menu using images and sound
Photo Effects ? Vivid
?/font> Neutral
?/font> Low Sharpening
?/font> Sepia
?/font> Black and White
Built-in Flash  ? Automatic
? Effective range approx. 11.5 ft Wide
? 5 flash modes: Auto, Red eye reduction,     Fill-flash, Flash off, Slow sync flash
?nbsp;Low light AF assist beam
Included Accessories

?nbsp;Wrist Strap WS-300
?nbsp;Battery Pack NB-1LH
?nbsp;Battery Charger CB-2LS
?nbsp;32 MB CompactFlashTM(CF) Card
?nbsp;USB interface cable
?nbsp;Audio Video Cable AVC-DC100
?nbsp;Digital Camera Solution Disk (CD-ROM)
?nbsp;ArcSoft Camera Suite Disk (CD-ROM)
?nbsp;User Guides

Connectivity ? USB 1.1
?Audio/Video output 
Power ? NB-1L Li-Ion battery and CB2-LS    charger included
? CA-PS500 AC adapter (optional)
? CBC-NB1 charger car adapter (optional)
Dimensions ? 3.4(W) x 2.2(H) x 1.1(D) in.
Weight (no battery) ? 185 g
Storage memory  ? Compact Flash I

Canon Press release

Canon, a leader in photographic and imaging technology, introduces a new flagship for the Digital IXUS range, the Digital IXUS 400. The smallest 4 Megapixel 3x zoom compact in Canon's line-up, this model continues the IXUS tradition of stunning design and outstanding build quality.

A stainless steel shell protects the camera, while a new finish, "Super Hard Cerabrite", mixes metals and ceramics to produce a tough cool-toned exterior that is visually stunning. The classic Digital IXUS design features a chrome ring around the cameras 36-108mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8-4.9 3x zoom lens, while a strap-lug peels around the curved body edge to become part of a stylishly simple artwork.

"The Digital IXUS 400 is more than just a good looking, precision-crafted, camera," explains Hiroshi Komatsuzaki, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. "It brings together design and extended functionality to create a camera that's the perfect blend of form and function."

All function
Typical of the high technology that is a hallmark of Canon cameras, the Digital IXUS 400 features an amazing 9-point AiAF (Artificial intelligence Auto Focus) system that can automatically detect a subject within a wide area of the frame. Digital IXUS 400 users will also benefit from shutter speeds of 15-1/2000sec and a maximum continuous shooting speed of 2.5 frames per second in still photo mode.

Digital IXUS 400 is more than just a still camera; it is capable of capturing movie clips of up to 3 minutes and records sound with all movies. Voice annotations allow you to tag each picture with a 60-second voice memo.

Light fantastic
Fitted with Canon's unique and powerful DIGIC (DIGital Imaging Core) processor the Digital IXUS 400 offers excellent colour rendition, accurate white balance in all conditions and extremely accurate focusing and exposure. Users are able to select from evaluative, centre weighted and spot metering modes depending on the subject matter, and may even choose to set shutter speeds and apertures manually. An ISO range of 50-400 ensures practical shutter speeds in a wide variety of lighting situations, while a multi-functional built-in flash offers a maximum reach of 3.5m in Auto ISO mode.

Intelligent playback and direct printing
Reviewing pictures is fast and easy, the 10x playback zoom is available for checking image details. In addition the camera's playback modes provide a histogram display for users to check exposure and contrast levels in images stored on the memory card. A built-in orientation sensor automatically rotates portrait pictures, and these images remain rotated when downloaded, saving time during in-computer image processing

The Canon Digital IXUS 400 supports Canon's Direct Print system for direct connection to Bubble Jet and CP printers. The camera allows the quantity of prints to be selected in-camera, as well as cropping and print size options. Users of the Digital IXUS 400 will automatically gain access to the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY online photo service, where images can be stored and shared on-line. The service also provides the opportunity to customise the camera with sounds and start-up images.

Power, accessories and software
Powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack the Digital IXUS 400 offers excellent battery life and is capable of recording up to 420 images from a single charge. The camera comes complete with a NB-1LH battery, charger, USB cable, A/V cable and a 32MB CompactFlash memory card. The software included is Canon's ZoomBrowser EX (Windows), Image Browser (Mac), PhotoRecord, PhotoStitch and RemoteCapture software. As the camera is PTP compatible no additional drivers are needed in Windows XP or MAC OS X environments.

Download the Canon PowerShot S400 Brochure here (PDF file)

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