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Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital Camera Review

Canon Powershot SD1400 IS front side view

February 20th, 2011

The Canon Powershot SD1400 IS is the successor to the PowerShot SD1200 IS from 2009. Canon designed the SD1400 IS to appeal to those who are looking for an affordable stylish compact camera that offers point-and-shoot simplicity, and that is easy to bring along by fitting easily in a purse or pocket.

With features such as a 4x optical zoom lens with built-in optical image stabilizer (IS), advanced face detection technology, DIGIC 4 image processor, and a large 2.7-inch LCD, the Canon SD1400 IS seems to offer good value for the money.

We have now had the opportunity to review the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS. To see how the camera performed, check out our Canon SD1400 IS sample image gallery, along with the findings and conclusions from our review. We begin by providing a general overview of the SD1400 IS, and then present more of the details. You can use the navigation menu found under the product image below to jump to a specific section of the review.

Canon SD1400 IS Overview: The PowerShot SD1400 IS incorporates a 4x optical wide angle zoom lens with built-in Optical Image Stabilization (IS) technology, which offers photographer's the ability to capture images under lower light conditions, while minimizing potential image blur. The camera's image stabilizer system uses sophisticated gyroscopic sensors to detect vertical and horizontal movements, then moves the lens accordingly to compensate, which aids in maintaining stability and focus when using the telephoto capabilities of the camera or under lower light conditions.

The Canon SD1400 IS incorporates a 14.1 Megapixel sensor with Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor – delivering fast response times and natural colour reproduction. DIGIC 4 also takes care of difficult lighting conditions with i-Contrast – a technology which prevents highlight blowout, while retaining shadow detail.

For carefree shooting the PowerShot SD1400 IS includes Smart Auto and Easy modes with Scene Detection Technology. By analyzing people, distance, brightness and colour in the scene, the camera automatically selects one of 22 scene variables to optimize settings for the best results - freeing the user to concentrate on picture taking, while the camera takes care of the technical details.

The PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital ELPH lets you record video in 720p high definition (1280 x 720 pixels). The camera also makes it easy to enjoy HD movies (and still photos) on your HDTV with a mini-HDMI connector for direct connection to a high definition TV monitor (cable is optional). Framing and reviewing shots on the SD1400 IS is simple too, thanks to a large 2.7 inch 230K LCD with wide viewing angle and 5 levels of brightness adjustment.

Canon SD1400 IS back view

Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital Camera Review: Navigation Menu
  •  PowerShot SD1400 IS: Design & Operation
  •  Canon SD1400 IS: Sample Test Images
  •  Canon SD1400 IS Camera: Specifications
  •  PowerShot SD1400 IS: Review Conclusion

  • The PowerShot SD1400 IS also comes with the latest Face Detection Technology which recognizes up to 35 faces in a scene and automatically adjusts key focus and exposure settings to ensure everyone looks their best.

    This technology includes Auto Red-Eye Correction, Face Detection AF/AE/FE, and Face Self-Timer – a feature that is great for group shots and self-portraits as the camera waits until it detects a new face in the frame before taking the shot.

    Faces can also be detected if they are at an angle to the camera so that the correct focus and exposure can be achieved without subjects facing the camera directly.

    Powershot SD1400 IS Major Features:

    •  14.1 Megapixel CCD
    •  28mm wide, 4x zoom. Optical IS
    •  2.7-inch PureColor LCD II
    •  Smart Auto, Smart Flash Exposure
    •  Face Detection, FaceSelf-Timer, Auto Redeye Correction
    •  Motion Detection Technology
    •  I-Contrast
    •  DIGIC 4 Image Processor
    •  Auto Creative shooting modes
    •  720p HD movies with sound

    The camera ships with: Lithium-ion Battery Pack NB-4L, Battery Charger, USB interface cable, A/V cable, wrist strap and Canon's software suite.

    The Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS digital camera is available now for an estimated selling price of $249.99 Canadian or $199.99 in the US. Check real time street prices in Canada.

    Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Camera: Colour Options

    Canon Powershot SD1400 IS colour options


    The Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital Elph is available in a range of colours to suit individual preferences. Apart from the more common silver, the Canon SD1400 IS is available in the following colours: Black, Orange and Pink.

    Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Camera: Design, Features and Menus

    The Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS offers a very compact design with a comfortable hold. With 14-megapixel resolution and a proven 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent in 35mm terms), the SD1400 IS is geared towards general family and travel photography.

    Taking into account that the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS offers an attractive price point, current SLR users might also find the SD1400 IS as a nice complement to their existing camera, one that you are more likely to take with you for a night out on the town or simply for capturing those unexpected opportunities.


    The Canon SD1400 IS offers a good solution for capturing landscapes or larger group shots of people with its 28mm wide-angle lens coverage, providing a broader field of view compared to many point and shoot cameras which begin around 35mm.


    The zoom lever on the Canon Powershot SD1400 IS is found on the top of the camera beside the shutter release button.

    To compose the shot, simply toggle the zoom lever to the right in order to zoom in on the subject. Moving the lever to the left zooms out from the subject providing a wider field of view.

    Canon Powershot SD1400 IS at 28mm  


    Canon Powershot SD1400 IS zoomed in on the same suject at 112mm  

    Although the camera does not offer much in the way of manual exposure control (Shutter priority, Aperture Priority and Manual are not available), the Canon SD1400 IS does offer quite a few features, including a number of Scene modes, exposure compensation, White Balance presets (incl. Custom), ISO control and an enhanced information display with histogram in playback mode.

    Canon Powershot SD1400 IS back

    The main camera controls are found on the back of the PowerShot SD1400 IS. A sliding switch allows you select the desired shooting mode from three available options: Auto, Flexible Auto, and Movie.

    The camera offers the convenience of a basic 'green' Auto mode (Smart AUTO) for care free picture taking, and a total of 17 user selectable shooting modes.

    In Smart AUTO mode the Canon SD1400 IS selects the proper settings based on the scene at hand. Press lightly on the shutter release button and the camera displays an icon (on the top right of the LCD screen) for the scene it has determined. The SD1400 IS automatically focuses and selects from one of 22 predefined optimum settings to match the subject brightness and colour.

    Movie Mode: The Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS offers the ability to shoot movies at 1280 x 720 resolution. You can record 720P movie clips up to 4GB in size or 10 min in length. Two additional resolution levels are available: 640 x 480 at 30fps and 320 x 240 at 30 fps.

    During movie recording, the optical zoom on the Canon SD1400 IS is disabled and only the digital zoom can be used. The mechanical movement noise of the optical zoom would otherwise get picked up by the cameras built-in microphone. +/-2 stop exposure compensation in 1/3 step increments is available to darken or brighten the movie depending on lighting conditions. White Balance can also be manually adjusted in movie mode.


    Canon SD1400 IS Rear Buttons:

    Using the outer touch pad surrounding the FUNC. / SET button controls the camera's menu navigation and allows for the adjustment of a number of functions.

    Clockwise from the top the features include, Exposure Compensation, Flash Settings, Self Timer Settings (switches to Delete in Playback) and Focus mode.

    The SD1400 IS offers +/- 2 stops of exposure compensation which can be adjusted in 1/3 stop increments.

    Flash control settings include: Auto, Flash On (Fill), Slow Sync Flash and Flash Off. The flash coverage is approximately 30cm to 4m at wide-angle (up to 2.4m at telephoto).

    Self Timer Settings include: Off, 10 sec delay, 2 sec delay, Face Detect Delay, and Custom Self-Timer (set the delay from 0 to 30 sec)

    Macro Focus Mode and Infinity Focus can bet set by pushing on the left side of the outer FUNC.SET button pad.

    Pressing the MENU button accesses the cameras menu settings highlighted further below. A large playback button is conveniently located on the back of the Canon SD1400 IS.

    One push of the button and the camera will display the last image or movie taken. You can also select to go back and forth between your images.

    Scrolling options in Playback mode include jump by 10 or 100 images at a time, jump to movies, view by date taken, or jump to the first image taken.

    Pressing the Display (DISP.) button in Playback mode provides the choices of viewing the captured image with no information display (full screen), with simple information display, with detailed information display including histogram, or focus check display to confirm for fine details (as shown in screengrab to the right).


    To access the 'Scene' shooting modes available on the Canon Powershot SD1400 IS, first slide the camera's mode switch to 'Flexible Auto' mode , and then press the FUNC.SET button.

    Scene modes that can be selected include; Portrait, Night snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Smart Shutter (with Smile, Wink Self-Timer and FaceSelf-Timer), Low Light (3.5 MP file size), Color Accent, Colour Swap, Fish-Eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Beach, Underwater (requires optional UW case), Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, and Stitch Assist (helps with the creation of Panoramic images).

    Advanced camera settings including ISO, White Balance, My Colours, Metering, Continuous Shooting, Image Quality and Image Size are found in the camera's Function Menu, and are likewise quickly accessed by pushing the [FUNC. / SET] button with the camera set to 'Flexible Auto'. Function Menu settings are shown below.

    Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS: Function Menu Options
    Metering: Select from Evaluative (default), Centre Weighted or Spot metering for difficult lighting conditions
    My Colours: Default set to OFF. My colours options include: Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black and White Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, and Custom (Adjust contrast, sharpness, saturation, skin tone, and colour within 5 levels)
    White Balance (AWB): White Balance options include: Auto White Balance (AWB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent High and Custom preset
    ISO: Manually selectable ISO settings include: 80, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600 ISO
    Scene Mode Menu: Program (P) - Default setting. Scene modes include: Portrait, Night snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Smart Shutter (with Smile detection), Low Light (3.5 MP file size), Color Accent, Colour Swap, Fish-Eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Beach, Underwater (requires optional UW case), Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, and Stitch Assist (helps with the creation of Panoramic images).
    Continuous Shooting: Single shot, Continuous (Approx. 0.7 frames per second)
    Image Size: Settings include: L (4320 x 3240), M1 (3456 x 2592), M2 (2592 x 1944), M3 (1600 x 1200), S (640x 480) and W (4320 x 2432) Widescreen
    Image Quality: Adjust the compression ratio (image quality). Two available settings include Fine and Normal

    Pushing the 'MENU' button on the PowerShot SD1400 IS activates the camera setup and operation menus. The available MENU options vary depending on the selected shooting mode.

    Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS: Set Up Menu Options
    AF Frame: Select from Face Detect or Centre
    AF Frame Size: Default set to Normal. AF frame can be reduced by changing the setting to Small
    Digital Zoom: Digital Teleconverter. The focal length of the lens can be increased by an equivalent of 1.7x and 2.1x (some loss in image quality with these settings)
    AF-Point Zoom: Magnifying the focal point. Default setting is 'Off'. Select 'On' to have the AF frame magnify (to check focus) when you press the shutter release half way
    Servo AF: Select On / Off. Default setting is Off
    AF-assist Beam: Select On / Off to control the AF-assist beam function. Default setting is On
    Flash Settings: Redeye Reduction (On/Off), Redeye Reduction Lamp (On / Off)
    I-Contrast Off / Auto
    Review: Changes the image display time. Set from 2 to 10 sec, or Hold, Off
    Review Info: Change the way the image displays right after shooting. Choose Off (displays the image only), Detailed (with shooting information) or Focus Check
    Blink Detection: On /Off
    Disp. Overlay: You can display gridlines on the LCD to aid in horizontal or vertical composition. A 3:2 guide is also available for cropping guidance
    IS Mode: Select from Continuous, Shoot Only, Panning - only counters up and down motion
    Date Stamp: You can insert the shooting date and time into the right corner of the image. The Default setting is Off

    Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS: Playback Mode Menu
    Slideshow: Repeat (On / Off), Play Time (3 to 30 sec), Effect (Slide, Fade, Off)
    Erase: Select to erase all or a range of images and movies on the card
    Protect: Select images to protect from erasing
    Rotate: Choose images to rotate
    My Category: Sort images by category
    I-Contrast: Brightens shadow areas of the image - Auto, Low, Medium, High
    Redeye Correction: Choose an image to apply Redeye Correction
    Trimming: Crop the image in-camera
    Resize: Select 1600 x 1200 (M3), 640 x 480 (S) or 320 x 240 (XS)
    My Colour: Change colour effects for played back image. Save a copy. My colours options include: Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black and White Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, and Custom (Adjust contrast, sharpness, saturation, skin tone, and colour within 5 levels)
    Scroll Display: Displays images before and after current image
    Playback Transition: Image playback transitions - Slide, Fade, Off
    Resize to smaller copy for web or email  
    Apply I-Contrast to brighten shadows
    Set Up Menu for standard operation features  
    SD1400 IS offers Direct to Print (USB)

    The Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS runs on a supplied proprietary Canon NB-4L Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. The camera comes supplied with one battery and multi-voltage charger. The NB-4L battery will allow for about 230 shots on a full charge.

    The Canon SD1400 IS uses Secure Digital (SD) type memory cards. The camera supports the following memory formats: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus.

    A memory card does not come supplied with the camera, and will be an added purchase. The good news is that these are inexpensive in today's market. We would recommend a 2GB SD card as a minimum, and a 4GB card would provide enough space for lots of images and movies as well.

    The interface connection for the Canon Powershot SD1400 IS can be found on the back of the camera behind a small rubber hinged door towards the top. The USB cable and the Audio/Video cable share the same camera connection plug. The SD 1400 IS also offers an HDMI output to connect the camera to an HD TV (cable is optional).

    Both a USB interface cable and an Audio / Video connection cable come supplied with the camera. (PAL/NTSC supported) The USB cable can also be used to connect the PowerShot SD1400 IS to a Pictbridge compatible printer for easy direct printing without the need of a computer.

    Supplied in the Box:

    PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital ELPH Body, Lithium-ion Battery Pack NB-4L, Battery Charger CB-2LV, Wrist Strap WS-DC7, Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM, USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU, AV Cable AVC-DC400

    Canon Powershot SD1400 IS supplied accessories

    Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Review: Performance and Conclusion

    We were pleased with the performance of the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS in our tests. The camera powers up responsively, and the comfortably positioned zoom lever next to the shutter button makes framing images a simple step. Buttons and controls are well layed out and are easy to operate.

    The 4x image stabilized zoom lens incorporated into the Canon SD1400 IS provides good image quality. Edge to edge image detail is generally quite good, although some corner softness can be noticed especially at the wide angle position. Some chromatic aberrations (colour fringes around strong highlight areas) were also noticed in a few of our tests, although this is fairly common to entry level point and shoots.

    If you are not regularly printing larger than 8" x 10" prints, the lens quality from the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS should be very acceptable to most users. We did observe some barrel distortion (curvature) when shooting at the wide angle setting, although once again this is fairly common with cameras in this category.

    The optical image stabilizer lens technology did a good job during our tests, offering up to 3 steps compensation, allowing us to hand hold the camera under lower light conditions and get blur free images were normally a tripod would have been required.

    The 2.7-inch 230,000 dot resolution LCD monitor offers easy composition and playback capabilities. The cameras menu system is easy to read and navigate, and images are vibrantly displayed in playback mode. The brightness of the monitor can be adjusted in 5 steps depending on viewing conditions.

    The SD1400 IS movie recording feature works well providing good quality HD movies at 720p resolution. Unfortunately the camera's optical zoom is disabled during movie recording which does offer some limitations. The available digital zoom feature degrades movie quality to quite a degree, and we would recommend to stay away from digital zooming when shooting movie clips.

    Overall we found the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS performed well in terms of image quality for its class. The 14 megapixel sensor offers good image quality from 80 to 200 ISO, with digital noise (grain like effect) becoming more noticeable from there on.

    The PowerShot SD1400 IS is capable of delivering usable (for web or smaller size prints) high ISO image quality even at 1600 ISO. The camera does experience approximately 0.6 sec shutter lag (the time from when you press the shutter button to the time the camera takes the picture), so a little forethought and anticipation is required to capture the exact movement.

    If you are looking for a value priced take anywhere type of compact camera with good wide angle zoom, offering solid performance, while delivering sharp and vibrant images under most conditions, we would definitely recommend the Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS as a good solution. See the latest US deals on the Canon SD1400IS

    Canon Powershot ELPH SD1400 IS top view

    Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Image Sample Gallery

    Canon Powershot SD1400 IS Specifications
    Sensor 14.1 Megapixel, 1/2.3-inch type Charge Coupled Device (CCD)
    Focal Length 5.0 (W) - 20.0 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 28 - 112mm)
    Aperture f/2.8 (W) - f/5.9 (T)
    Stabilizer Optical Image Stabilizer
    Digital Zoom 4x
    Focus Range Normal: 1.2 in. (3 cm) - infinity (W), 2.6 ft. (80 cm) - infinity (T)
    Macro: 1.2 in - 1.6 ft (3 - 50 cm) (W)
    LCD 2.7-inch TFT colour LCD (wide viewing angle type) Approx. 230,000 pixels
    Shutter Speed 1-1/1500 sec.
    15-1/1500 sec. (Total shutter speed range); Long Shutter operates with noise reduction when manually set at 1.3 - 15 sec.
    • Shutter speeds differ depending on the shooting mode
    • Shutter speeds available in Long Shutter: 15, 13, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3.2, 2.5, 2, 1.6, 1.3, 1 (unit: sec.)
    ISO Range Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600 equivalent (Standard Output Sensitivity. Recommended Exposure Index
    Metering Centre-Weighted average, Evaluative*, Spot**

    * Control to incorporate facial brightness in Face Detection AF
    ** Metering frame is fixed to the centre
    Exposure Control Program AE, i-Contrast; AE Lock
    Shooting Modes Auto*, P, Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Smart Shutter **, Low Light, Colour Accent, Colour Swap, Fisheye Effect, Miniature Effect, Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Stitch Assist, Movie

    *Automatically detects shooting scene
    **Incorporates Smile, Wink Self-timer, Face Detection Self-timer
    Photo Effects My Colours Off, Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom*

    *Adjustment of contrast, sharpness, saturation, red, green, blue and skin tone are available.
    Exposure Compensation +/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
    White Balance Auto*, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom

    *Facial colour is evaluated in Face AiAF
    Built-In Flash Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Auto Red-eye Correction, Flash On, Flash Off; FE lock, Slow Synchro
    Flash Range 30 cm - 4.0 m (W), 50 cm - 2.0 m (T)
    12 in. - 13 ft (W), 1.6 - 6.6 (T)
    Recycling Time 10 sec. or less
    Self Timer Activates shutter after an approx. 10 sec. delay/approx. 2-sec. delay/custom*

    *Shoot start time (0-10 sec. (in one-second increments), 15/20/30 sec.) and number of shots (1-10 shots (in one-shot increments)) can be specified.
    Continuous Shooting: Approx. 0.7 shots/sec (approx. 2.6 shots/sec. in Low Light)
    Storage Media SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMCplus Card, HC MMCplus Card
    File Type Still Image: Exif 2.2 (JPEG)
    Movie: MOV (Image: H.264; Audio: Linear PCM (Monaural))
    Image Size

    Still Image: 4320 x 3240 (Large), 3456 x 2592 (Medium 1), 2592 x 1944 (Medium 2), 1600 x 1200 (Medium 3/Date Stamp), 640 x 480 (Small), 4320 x 2432 (Widescreen), 2144 x 1608 (Low Light)

    HD 1280 x 720 (30 fps available up to 10 min or 4GB per clip), 640 x 480 (30 fps) or 320 x 240 (30 fps) or 320 x 240 (30 fps) available up to 60 min. or 4GB per clip

    Recording Time for Movies

    High Definition
    Standard Definition
    HD: 1,280 x 720
    640 x 480
    320 x 240
    30 fps*
    30 fps*
    30 fps*
    4GB card
    21 min. 23 sec.
    46 min. 46 sec.
    2 hr. 23 min. 41 sec.
    16GB card
    1 hr. 27 min. 37 sec.
    3 hr. 11 min. 32 sec.
    9 hr. 48 min. 19 sec.
    *Actual frame rate is 29.97 fps
    Computer Interface: Hi-Speed USB
    Video Output NTSC / PAL
    Audio Monaural
    Connections Mini-HDMI cable: connection to high definition monitor; SD Memory card slot: direct connection to Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers, PIXMA Inkjet Photo Printers and PictBridge-compatible printers via camera's USB 2.0 Hi-Speed cable
    Power Source 1. Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery NB-4L Approximately 230 shots
    2. AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC10 (optional)
    (W x H x D)
    3.63 x 2.21 x 0.70 in. (92.2 x 56.1 x 17.8mm)
    Weight Approx. 4.69 oz./133g (includes batteries and memory card)
    Language 26 display languages provided (English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified/Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Romanian, Ukrainian, Farsi)

    Compare to the Canon Powershot ELPH SD1300 IS:

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