Canon PowerShot SD400
Manufacturer: Canon Part number: 0557B001
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as of 07/24/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $599.95
- Reviewed by: David D. Busch
- Edited by: Aimee Baldridge
- Reviewed on: 06/02/2005
- Released on: 03/15/2005
The good: Ultracompact design; long battery life; excellent burst capabilities; low shutter lag; versatile movie mode.
The bad: The SD400 has few manual controls or scene modes; image quality far from stellar.
The bottom line: The SD400's improved image quality makes this high-performance ultracompact one of the better choices in the current Canon Digital Elph lineup.
Decent camera.. SD300 and SD500 are better
by krae84 on June 28, 2005
Pros: nice features, small compact
Cons: Too many pixels for a sensor this small.. see below
Summary: This is a decent ultracompact camera. However, it has the worst image quality of Canon's entire SD line. The SD400 is a 5 megapixel camera and 5 million pixels ...
Summary: This is a decent ultracompact camera. However, it has the worst image quality of Canon's entire SD line. The SD400 is a 5 megapixel camera and 5 million pixels is way too much for the small CCD sensor that this camera uses. This is the prime reason for the noisy pictures this camera creates. Most people say they don't need the 7.2 megapixels that the Sd400's big brother the SD500 has. This is true, but the SD500 is a much better choice for other reasons. Mainly the larger sensor that it uses. The SD500's larger sensor means that more light is able to get into the lens which in turn creates noticeably nicer and clearer photographs with much less digital noise. The SD500's flash has a 50% longer range than the SD400 (16ft vs 11ft) this is very important for party shots or properly lighting indoor shots. The 14% longer battery life of the SD500 is also another nice advantage. In my opinion the extra $100 you spend on the SD500 is well worth it for significantly better photos, a much stronger flash and longer battery life. If budget is a concern, then I would recommend the SD300 which is a step down from the SD400. The SD300 uses the same smaller CCD sensor as the SD400, but it has 4 megapixels instead of 5. Having 4 million pixels instead of 5 million pixels crammed into a sensor this small will definitlely create sharper images with less noise and unless you are printing pictures larger than 8x10's, 4 megapixels is plenty big.
89 out of 92 users found this user opinion helpful.
CNET Review Contains Errors
by jstanfordp on July 20, 2005
Pros: Very clear shots, packet with features, super small (pocketable like a cell phone), super fast
Cons: Slight purple fringing, camera gets hot with extended use, some features are almost "hidden" and hard to access
Summary: The camera does have decent manual features including shutter speed, which the review says that it lacks. You have to read the manual to figure out how to use some ...
Summary: The camera does have decent manual features including shutter speed, which the review says that it lacks. You have to read the manual to figure out how to use some of the more complex settings, but they're there. Adjusting shutter speed requires going to three menus and submenus, but its definitely there. It seems as if the cnet reviewer DID NOT EVEN ATTEMPT to explore the manual and drill down into some of the more complex features the camera has to offer before he wrote the review. The camera even has manual flash exposure and three different metering settings--not common on pocket cameras.
I have had experience with a few point and shoot cameras, and I must say that this one is the best hands down in terms of picture quality, size, and features. Judged against its peer set, it's a 10, there simply is not a pocketable point and shoot out there that will take nearly as high quality pictures. Judged against a DSLR, then the CNET review may make sense. It does not attempt to replace the quality of a DSLR, at 1/8th the size and 1/5 the price, it should be judged in a different category.
All-in-all the camera has everything that a consumer of this camera would want, and is best in its class.
65 out of 65 users found this user opinion helpful.
small package but disappoints
Pros: great replacement for my old mini-sony
Cons: soft pictures - almost out-of-focus, flash underpowered
Summary: this is the camera that I leave in my briefcase so it is always handy.
I chose it over the competition because it has an optical view-finder - the significance ...
Summary: this is the camera that I leave in my briefcase so it is always handy.
I chose it over the competition because it has an optical view-finder - the significance of which is if the batteries run low you can switch over from the LCD and still have a functional camera. I can just "set it and forget it" in my briefcase and not always worry about battery life.
the camera is easy to use and very slick looking - however, the pictures are often soft and I find myself taking two or three shots of each subject - the photos are so bad sometimes that I wonder if there is a focus matrix issue with the SD400 line.
it wasn't until I had already purchased the camera did I discover that this issue was raised on steve's digicam / dpreview and the other photography review.
hopefully there will be a firmware update now that the problem is more universally known.
The photos are often unusable unless you are just emailing photos around.
One difference between the SD300 and SD400 is the resolution (4mp to 5mp) - but important for me was that the SD400's viewfinder "gains up" when taking photos in dark condition and that was important for me because my old sony's viewfinder was completely fly by wire at night.
The flash is very short. If you want to have the photo properly illuminated you need to get pretty close.
Overall, the camera itself is sharp and fast - but if you want your photos to be sharp look at other models or if it is too later - like for me - here is what I have found to reduce the softness - turn off the AiF, set the camera to Manual and select ISO 50 or 100 (auto ISO will bump up to 400 and make the picture useless) and take two shots of each subject.
31 out of 32 users found this user opinion helpful.
This camera is a must for parents of small children!!!
by Mum23Gr8Kdz on April 23, 2005
Pros: quick start up time; low light assistance beam, long battery life
Cons: digital zoom can be hard to focus; battery door and USB cover flimsy compared to rest of camera; no battery life indicator
Summary: I bought this camera to replace an Olympus Digicam 5.0 MP. This camera is far superior to my old camera. I especially like the quick start feature, which means ...
Summary: I bought this camera to replace an Olympus Digicam 5.0 MP. This camera is far superior to my old camera. I especially like the quick start feature, which means no more missed shots with my 11 month old daughter and my older childrens sports games. There are several different shooting modes, including one for "Kids and Pets" which is for capturing objects that don't stand still. The low light assistance beam is also a wonderful feature, not only in taking clearer pictures in low light situations, but getting the attention of my 11 month old!!
Camera has 3X optical zoom and 12X digital zoom, however digital zoom is hard to focus without a tripod. For my purposes, I have found the optical zoom to be sufficient. The camera seems to be very sturdy,especially for its ultracompact size. However, the battery door and USB cover should be opened with caution, as they are made of a very flimsy plastic. I also wish that there was a battery life indicator, but I generally charge the battery before going somewhere that I would be disappointed if my battery died.
I am an avid scrapbooker and take a lot of pictures. I chose this over the SD500 because of price (this is about $100 cheaper). Most of the pictures I use for scrapbooking are 4x6 (with a few 8x10), and I felt that 7.1 MP was overkill for what I needed the camera. (Plus we also own a Canon DSLR for those pictures that need a higher resolution.) FYI, with a 256 card, on high resolution, my camera holds approximately 174 pictures.
16 out of 16 users found this user opinion helpful.
by CoolDougNJ on May 25, 2005
Pros: Small size, great photo quality, quick start up, very short shutter lag, big screen, nice videos, USB 2.0
Cons: Occasional purple fringing in areas of high contrast
Summary: I had a PowerShot S45, with which I was extremely pleased, however, its size and weight discouraged me from always having it with me since I don't like to ...
Summary: I had a PowerShot S45, with which I was extremely pleased, however, its size and weight discouraged me from always having it with me since I don't like to have to carry anything with me that I can't comfortably fit in my pockets. So, I set out to find an ultracompact and was biased toward Canon since I had been so pleased with the S45.
I based my decision to get the SD400 after reading many reviews online of the SD300 at CNet and other websites (reviews of the SD400 didn't seem to be yet available). I did look closely at a few other ultra-compacts from Casio, Sony, and Panasonic/Lumix, but no one camera seemed to be perfect in all regards (what product is?). I'm very pleased with the 5MP SD400, and hope it will provide years of service as there's really no need to go higher than 5MP since I'd pretty much never need to print anything larger than 8x10.
Image quality being the most important factor to me, I ended up going with the Canon, despite reports of occasional purple fringing in high contrast or backlit scenes. It seemed in all other regards, Canon had the best picture quality, and I decided that if the puple fringing did occasionlly appear in some of my snapshots, I probably wouldn't notice it anyway.
I've used the camera for several weeks now at both family events and a trip to the UK. I'm extremely happy with the picture quality and absolutely love the small compact size of the camera. It starts up extremely quickly and shoots quickly upon pressing the shutter button--something I really appreciate after having been annoyed by slow response times in older digital cameras.
As far as the purple fringing, I did notice some in a couple of back-lit photos, however, I did have to purposely zoom-in and look for it. It doesn't bother me and is more than offset by the wonderful sharpness, accruacy, and colorfulness of the photos. The video taking ability is much improved from older Canon cameras, with the length restricted only by the size of the SD card and with much smoother motion.
The large screen is fantastic and extremely bright and sharp. Again, I'm VERY impressed with a Canon product and highly recommend the SD400 to anyone who wants a high-quality ultra-compact go-anywhere camera.
13 out of 14 users found this user opinion helpful.
by bcl00 on April 4, 2005
Pros: Great quality vids + pics, fits in pocket perfectly
Cons: Haven't found any yet
Summary: I just bought this camera at Best Buy last week. The salesman said that he put it out about 5 minutes before I got there and that it wasn't ...
Summary: I just bought this camera at Best Buy last week. The salesman said that he put it out about 5 minutes before I got there and that it wasn't technically supposed to be available for a week.
I had my mind made up that I was going to buy the SD300 (very similar 4 megapixel camera) but when I saw that the SD400 was only $50 more and finally available, I decided to go for the higher end camera.
My previous digital camera is about 4 years old and clunky by today's standards (Olympus Camedia 360). The thing that blew me away the most about this camera was the quality of the video recordings. One of my friends had another Canon digital elph and took some video recordings in the past. I thought they were ok but kind of pixelated and choppy. The SD400's videos are excellent, they are very crisp and smooth. Watching them on my laptop or the TV did not generate any pixelation when the video was recorded at the widest zoom. Digital zoom while recording videos will produce some pixelation.
It was a rainy, overcast day in Massachusetts when I bought this camera so I haven't had much to take pictures of yet. I shot a few in my house while I was there and I was definitely impressed with the quality.
The menu system was very logical and the learning curve for me was very flat. The camera displays the videos and pictures very quickly.
My first impressions of this camera are definitely the size (smaller than I thought), quality of images/video, and responsiveness of the camera when displaying images already taken.
I'll know more about the battery life and stitch assist later on as I take more pictures.
The other accessories that I purchased for this camera are: sd300 accessory kit (extra battery, case, wrist and neck strap) and a sandisk 512 mb SD Ultra memory card.
The only reason I didn't give this product a 10 was that I haven't used it enough yet and I'm sure I will find at least some small flaw.Updated
Some additional notes after using the camera a few times.
1. The battery/memory card door is flimsy as well as the door for the AV output.
2. Not having a battery indicator kind of stinks. I have no idea if I'm nearing the end of the life of the battery.
3. It would be nice to have more manual controls but I guess I should accept that I bought a point and shoot camera, not an enthusiast's camera. It still takes great pictures.
8 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
Super "Take me along" camera
by fogdog on June 20, 2005
Pros: Size, Movies Great!, Easy to Use +++, Super Macro!!
Cons: Get a protective case for LCD, USB plug flimsey
Summary: After reading a bizillion reviews, I got this camera about 4 months ago. It does what i wanted quite well. My wife is not a "techie" and she loves it, ...
Summary: After reading a bizillion reviews, I got this camera about 4 months ago. It does what i wanted quite well. My wife is not a "techie" and she loves it, point and away it goes, and it goes in her purse.
I work on antique radios so i needed a camera that would do really sharp close ups (macro) this camera is AMAZING at super close up. I have my kids dog, and the other set of grandparents for the grandkids live across the country. The movie capability is simple to us, makes really respectible short movies ( we have a 1GB SD card upgrade from Costco) of 30 seconds plus - these on a cd in the mail are really great for capturing the 'real feel' of the subjects and it gets the sound also, with good fidelity.
The "panorama" photo stiching software is a big surprise! -- take a series of overlapping photos and put them together AUTOMATICALLY with the photo stich software. I was blown away by a 360 degree panorama i made in the mountains with a click of the button. Completely surprised would be an understatement, no manual matching , nothing but put the overlap photos in order and click - voila - an integrated panorama!
On the down side the flash is weak - but what can you expect with a camera this size. It is adequate for parties and people up to about 5-6 feet - lighiting a ballroom i better use the 35 MM with pro flash.
Picture sharpness in the snapshot range is good, but not super sharp. Finally, for a small camera i don't have to hold it super still to get good photos.
Wonderful, take it with you camera.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
SIMPLY A WORK OF TECHNOLOGICAL ART
by tortillasoup2 on April 29, 2005
Pros: compact "fits nicly in pocket", nice size lcd "not over kill but just right on the eyes", fool proof opperating system, crystal clear vids, high reas photos, it has everything!!!!
Cons: NONE WHATSOEVER
Summary: Hi im a 14 male high school student, and im a point and shoot kinda person... i wanted a pocket sized camara that i could easily carry and i wanted ...
Summary: Hi im a 14 male high school student, and im a point and shoot kinda person... i wanted a pocket sized camara that i could easily carry and i wanted it to be somewhat rugged but also looked good "hot looking gadgets is a big factor in todays social world", also being in a phtography club i wanted somthing that would take high res pics rapidly to catch momtents that are on the move "such as a bird sturring up the dust as it takes off". It took me quite a while to find the camara that would answere my high demands, and after 6 months of searching this camara has met every one and goes above and beyond. I own two sonys, a Cybershot 3 mega pixel and the Cybershot dsc-v1. I now prefer this one over both of my others... now i know what your thinking "Why would i abandon such a high end camera like the dsc-vi?" well this one is just flat out better!!!!
WHAT THIS CAMERA HAS THAT REALLY CAUGHT MY EYE:
.extreme functionality in a small package
.streamline look with meatal casing
.2 inch ldc screen with very bright backlight "good for outdoors"
.3x optical zoom "allways look for anykind of optical zoom in a digital camera, if it doesnt have it and has digital... stay away... it will degrade picture quality"
.led automatic zoom "sends light onto the area that is being captured and estimates the distance to zoom in just right, good for point and shooters and can be turned off for manual opperation"
.battery/memory compartment is sturdy and locks firmly shut "no more coming open when useing"
.separate charger for battery, "no more plugging your camer to the outlet to charge"
.high speed processor for faster image taking "good for takeing many photos in rapid succesion"
.user friendly system interface "simplifys looking at pictures, modifying them, deleting them ect..."
.has unique color alteration feature "select certain colors and make them more vivid"
.crystal clear video, with good sound quality "video only pixilates when zooming and captureing at the same time"
.the list goes on and on!!!!
If you are looking for a good camera for yourself "taking pics of friends parties, family events, birthdays,ect..." this is the camera for you!!!
If your buying for you son/daughter whos in high school, they will love this camera, i use mine every day and i never miss a moment i just pull it out of my pocket and snap away!!! plus you know how us teens are "someof us dont take care of anything and are posessions get roughed around; well with this camera no worries ive dropped mine twice and its still alive "no scratches, dents, or damage whatsoever"!!!!!
THIS CAMERA IS AN ALL AROUND GREAT BUY AND IF YOU DONT BELIEVE ME AND PASS UP THE DEAL OF A LIFETIME, YOUR REALLY MISSING OUT!!!
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
Cool package but...
by thierryt on June 21, 2005
Pros: size, package, fast firmware
Cons: picture quality
Summary: I bought this little jewel of a camera (at least for the look it has) a week ago and used it the same i use my Canon Powershot S50,randomly ...
Summary: I bought this little jewel of a camera (at least for the look it has) a week ago and used it the same i use my Canon Powershot S50,randomly and during daylight with good exposure...
to my surprise the image quality was nowhere near the quality of my S50!
The reason I purchased another Canon camera is because i've been so pleased with the S50 and bought the SD400 because of the same performance in a smaller package.
Well i brought the SD400 back to the store and kept the S50.
It is a kickass camera,an older one yes,a bigger one yes,but the quality of its images are excellent.
6 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
Canon's 1st 5MP Pocket Camera Tops All
by AKA_Ben on April 16, 2005
Pros: Fast start-up time, 5MP Image Censor, Very fast photo speed, compact size, excellent video capture
Cons: Poor optical viewfinder (but who uses that still?), limited manual controls, finger print prone, flimsy battery/mem card door,
Summary: I just bought my SD400 today and have already gone on a shooting spree and have tested it out. I'm very pleased with the SD400. When I first turned ...
Summary: I just bought my SD400 today and have already gone on a shooting spree and have tested it out. I'm very pleased with the SD400. When I first turned it on I was a little shocked at how fast it was ready to shoot. I started taking pictures and the image quality is very good and it focuses very quickly. The shooting modes and manual controls are good but I felt left wanting more control-but, this isn't the kind of camera meant for total control like that. The size is very nice and fits very nicely in one hand but a little cramped while using both.
Overall the SD400 shoots quickly and with superb quality. A very great point and shoot with some manual controls for advanced users to grow into. I highly recommend it.Updated
While shooting in my partially dark room I noticed the LCD's preview's framerate decreses drastically in low-very low lighting. That wasn't too irritating though.
4 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Canon
- Part number: 0557B001
- Description: The PowerShot SD400 is a 5.0 Megapixel camera unrivaled in its category. With an ultra-thin Digital ELPH style, an impressive set of high-end features and exclusive Canon innovations and technology, you'll achieve the results you've been dreaming of - and have a great time doing it.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Product Type Digital camera - Compact
- Point-and-shoot highlights With a slim profile of 0.8 in., this camera fits easily into a pocket or purse. Having video capture capability makes this camera ideal for social functions or vacation shots.
- Resolution 5 megapixels
- Optical Sensor Type CCD
- Total Pixels 5,300,000 pixels
- Effective Sensor Resolution 5,000,000 pixels
- Optical Sensor Size 1/2.5"
- Optical Zoom 3 x
- Digital Zoom 4 x
- Image Processor DIGIC II
- Auto Focus TTL contrast detection
- Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty 9
- Digital Video Format AVI
- Image Recording Format JPEG
- AV Interfaces Composite video
Exposure & White Balance
- Light Sensitivity ISO 100,
- Exposure Metering Evaluative,
- Exposure Modes Program,
- Shooting Programs Night snapshot,
Kids & pets,
- Special Effects Vivid,
Black & White,
- White Balance Automatic,
- White Balance Presets Daylight,
Fluorescent light (daylight)
- Max Shutter Speed 1/1500 sec
- Min Shutter Speed 15 sec
- Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps
- Type 3 x x Zoom lens - 5.8 mm - 17.4 mm - F/2.8-4.9
- Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera 35 - 105 mm
- Focus Adjustment Automatic
- Min Focus Range 11.8 in
- Macro Focus Range 1 in - 19.7 in
- Zoom Adjustment Motorized drive
- Lens Construction 5 groups / 6 elements
- Features UA lens,
Built-in lens shield
- Camera Flash Built-in flash
- Flash Modes Fill-in mode,
Flash OFF mode,
- Features AF illuminator
- Effective Flash Range 1.6 ft - 11.5 ft
- Continuous Shooting Speed 2.1 frames per second
- Self Timer Delay 2 sec,
- Additional Features Display brightness control,
RGB primary color filter,
Auto power save,
Digital noise reduction,
Camera orientation detection,
USB 2.0 compatibility,
- Viewfinder Type Optical - Real-image zoom
- Type 2 in LCD display
- Display Features Built-in
- Connector Type 1 x USB,
1 x Composite video/audio output
- Software ArcSoft VideoImpression,
Canon ZoomBrowser EX,
Drivers & Utilities,
System Requirements for PC Connection
- Operating System Support MS Windows 98 SE,
MS Windows XP,
MS Windows 2000,
MS Windows ME,
Apple Mac OS X 10.1.5 - 10.3
- Peripheral Devices USB port,
- Included Accessories Battery charger,
Audio / video cable
- Body Material Stainless steel
- Supported Battery Canon NB-4L
- Supported Battery 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery - 760 mAh ( Included )
Memory / Storage
- Memory Card Slot SD card
- Supported Memory Cards SD Memory Card
- Included Memory Card 16 MB SD Memory Card
- Image Storage Super-fine JPEG 2592 x 1944 : 5 VA - With 16MB card,
Fine JPEG 2592 x 1944 : 9 VA - With 16MB card,
Normal JPEG 2592 x 1944 : 19 VA - With 16MB card,
Super-fine JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 8 VA - With 16MB card,
Fine JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 15 VA - With 16MB card,
Normal JPEG 2048 x 1536 : 30 VA - With 16MB card,
Super-fine JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 13 VA - With 16MB card,
Fine JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 24 VA - With 16MB card,
Normal JPEG 1600 x 1200 : 46 VA - With 16MB card,
Super-fine JPEG 640 x 480 : 52 VA - With 16MB card,
Fine JPEG 640 x 480 : 80 VA - With 16MB card,
Normal JPEG 640 x 480 : 127 VA - With 16MB card
- Video Capture AVI - 320 x 240 - 60 sec - Max clip duration,
AVI - 160 x 120 - 180 sec - Max clip duration,
AVI - 640 x 480 - 6 sec - With 16MB card,
AVI - 640 x 480 - 14 sec - With 16MB card,
AVI - 320 x 240 - 10 sec - With 16MB card,
AVI - 320 x 240 - 40 sec - With 16MB card,
AVI - 160 x 120 - 98 sec - With 16MB card
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 3.4 in
- Depth 0.8 in
- Height 2.1 in
- Weight 0.2 lbs
- Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
- Max Operating Temperature 104 °F