Not surprisingly, with the A2400 IS aimed at beginners, you simply aren't going to find a lot of complex photography features with this model; nor are you going to be able to make use of extensive manual control options. Canon attempted to make this camera as easy to use as possible, and the company appears to have succeeded. Auto mode and Live mode are the only two options available at first glance, although you can reach a Program mode by drilling down through the Live mode menu.
Auto mode, which is where most beginning photographers will choose to spend their time, really gives you almost no control over the images, other than putting the flash in an automatic or off setting, as well as setting the resolution. In Program mode, you can make some basic manual settings, such as to the ISO or white balance. Canon also included a Help button on the back panel, which provides tips and advice for using some of the camera's features or for shooting in particular photography situations.
The look of the A2400 IS is a basic one that's pretty standard among low-priced Canon cameras. It has a standard rectangular look, and the camera's edges are slightly rounded. The lens fully retracts into the body of the A2400 IS when the camera is powered down, and the lens glass is protected by a panel when the camera isn't in use. When the camera isn't in use, it measures only 0.84 inches in thickness, with dimensions of 3.72 by 2.22 inches, all of which makes it easy to carry in a pocket. When you turn on the camera, though, the lens housing extends almost an inch beyond the camera body, and it extends even more when you use the zoom.
The back panel contains two of the most disappointing features of the A2400 IS camera. First, the LCD is small, as the camera's control buttons occupy a fairly large part of the back panel. Second, the control buttons on the back panel are far too small and are poorly designed to be used comfortably.
With only a 5x optical zoom lens, it's going to be tough to shoot a lot of great nature photos with this camera, especially if you're trying to capture animals from afar. Most beginning photographers are going to be pretty disappointed in the telephoto abilities of the A2400 IS, and they'll find that this camera is primarily best used for portrait types of photos because of the limited zoom. It does have some wide angle options, carrying a 35mm equivalent range of 28mm to 140mm.
When it comes to the quality of the images found with the PowerShot A2400 IS, you're going to find some nice results at first glance. The color quality is very realistic and images are bright, at least when shooting outdoors, which is a common strength for a budget-priced digital camera. However, the A2400 IS does a pretty nice job with the accuracy of colors indoors, too, with or without the flash. This doesn't always occur with cameras in this price range, unfortunately. Images do seem slightly dull when shot indoors with the A2400 IS, but its indoor images still are better than what you're typically going to find in similarly priced cameras. I was a bit disappointed that more aspect ratios and resolution options weren't included in the A2400. For example, there's only one resolution option (12 MP) at a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. All other images must be shot at a 4:3 ratio, and you only have four resolution options, 16, 8, 2, and 0.3-megapixels.
Movie quality is good with the PowerShot A2400 IS, but you probably aren't going to want to replace your digital camcorder with this camera. You can shoot either 720p HD or standard definition video. As with still images, the camera does a pretty good job with creating realistic colors when shooting movies. However, if you attempt to use the zoom lens when shooting video, you're going to be pretty disappointed, as the image quality suffers greatly when using the zoom, due to it being digital zoom only. If you want to capture video of more distant subjects, we recommend you zoom in with the optical zoom before you start recording. Audio quality is about average, too, as you'll have difficulty picking up voices or other desired audio unless there's very little background noise and you're located pretty close to the desired source. The A2400 IS does follow moving images pretty well in movie mode, but because the digital zoom's quality is so poor, shooting subjects that will be moving away from you becomes pretty difficult. This camera will work adequately if you must shoot video unexpectedly and you don't have your camcorder available, but I wouldn't rely on it all of the time for shooting movies. Another problem is that Canon did not include an HDMI slot with this camera, meaning your long HD videos will take quite a while to download through a USB connection.
I was pleasantly surprised with the battery life of the A2400 IS. Canon has included a pretty thin battery pack with this camera, so I wasn't expecting a good battery life span; but it was able to handle quite a bit of my testing and various work with the menus on a little over one charge session. Canon estimates the A2400's battery life to be about 180 photos and that number may even be a bit low, which is pretty rare for a manufacturer's estimate of battery life. Canon also included a separate battery charger with this camera, which is something that fewer and fewer budget-priced cameras include. This is a nice feature, because it means you can charge one battery while shooting with another. With other cameras, you must charge the battery inside the camera, meaning you are out of commission for shooting images while the battery charges. The battery charger plugs directly into an outlet with no need for a power cord that could be lost; which is also nice.
Bottom Line - Compared to other cameras that are in the PowerShot A2400's price point range, Canon has succeeded in the areas where it really should in a beginner camera: Ease of use and image quality. You aren't going to be able to make extremely large prints with the A2400 IS, but its image quality is above average versus other low-priced models. In addition, this model is one of the easier cameras to use that you're going to find, thanks to a limited number of features and because of its Help button. However, the A2400 IS has a significant design flaw in the size and placement of its control buttons. These buttons need to be larger and raised a bit away from the camera body to make them easier to use. This is a significant drawback for those who like to often work through the menus. If you're looking to capture nature shots, it's shorter 5x zoom may disappoint too. If you're someone who's happy shooting in fully Auto mode, meaning you don't have to use the buttons very often, and if you'll want to shoot more portraits than telephoto animal nature pictures, the low price of the PowerShot A2400 IS is tough to ignore.
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