Canon Powershot S400 Review

Steve's Digicams

Canon Powershot S400

Review posted 3/10/03

Click to take a QTVR tour of the S400

The PowerShot S400 Digital Elph is the world's smallest 4 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom (36-108mm in 35mm equivalent) lens and a 9-point AiAF autofocus system that makes focusing quick and easy, even with off-center subjects. The camera also features a stainless steel body with a new super hard Cerabrite finish to guard against scratching; an improved Movie Mode that captures motion video clips up to 3 minutes in length with sound; and Direct Print capabilities with Canon's Card Photo Printer CP-100 or letter-size S820D, S830D, and S530D photo printers to make prints without the need of a computer.

Canon's proprietary image processor, called DIGIC, was developed specifically for use with its line of digital cameras and combines the jobs of image processing and camera function control into one chip. It handles nearly every digital camera function including JPEG compression/expansion; memory card control; LCD/Video control and processing; gain control (control of CCD signal amplification); Auto Exposure; Auto Focus; Auto White Balance control and most other functions of the camera. The result is a camera that offers faster and more powerful AF than ever before, faster image processing, longer battery life, and the ability to record 3-minute movie clips with sound.

Over the past 68 years, Canon has accumulated a vast amount of photographic data and know-how and used it to create some of the most innovative camera products in the marketplace. Now, using that same data and know-how, Canon has developed an exclusive technology called iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) that can predict certain camera settings such as focusing distance, exposure and optimum white balance based on zoom focal length, overall light level and tonal distribution data. Canon refers to this collective data as "Photographic Space." By incorporating iSAPS technology into its PowerShot line, the cameras can analyze a scene just before the image is made and in doing so, increase the speed and precision of the camera's autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance.

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

An Intelligent Orientation sensor detects whether an image has been recorded horizontally or vertically. During image playback, the sensor detects the proper orientation of each image, and previews them accordingly without the need to rotate the camera for image viewing. It also adjusts AF, AE and white balance accordingly. Similarly, when using the ZoomBrowser EX and ImageBrowser software included with the cameras, vertical and horizontal picture orientation is automatically detected and appropriately displayed.

When powered down, the lens is safely tucked away inside of the highly durable stainless steel body that measures just 3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 inches. This is truly a "pocket size" camera and at a scant 6.5 ounces, it's the lightest Digital ELPH yet. As with all the Canon compacts, it has a light-assisted autofocus that even works in the dark. An advanced TTL AiAF nine-point autofocus system permits the camera to automatically select the primary subject even when off-center.

The Powershot S400 can also record movies with sound in QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) and Q2VGA (160 x 120 pixels) at 15 frames per second. Up to 3 minutes of continuous recording is possible in either resolution. In addition, the Powershot S400 features a built-in speaker for audio playback, as well as a Voice Memo feature that allows users to add up to 60 seconds of sound annotation to any captured image on the camera's CF card.

Powershot S400 Features

  • 4.0 Megapixel CCD imager for up to 2272x1704 pixel images
  • 3x optical 36-108mm f/2.8-4.9 zoom, 3.6x digital zoom
  • 1.5" color LCD with up to 10x playback zoom
  • Ultra-compact and durable stainless steel body (3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 in.)
  • Advanced TTL AiAF nine-point autofocus system
  • Program AE automatic and Manual exposure modes
  • Movie mode w/sound 320x240 up to 3 minutes long
  • 2.5fps Continuous exposure mode
  • Evaluative metering on focus point or Spot
  • Stitch Assist mode for perfect panoramas
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Photo Effects: Low Sharpening, Vivid Color, Neutral, Sepia and B&W
  • Low-light focus assist illuminator
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/2000 second
  • Auto noise reduction with 1.3 sec or longer shutter speeds
  • Selectable ISO settings from 50 to 400
  • Voice memo (up to 60 secs) can be attached to images
  • Intelligent Orientation sensor
  • Builtin microphone and speaker
  • Lithium rechargable battery and charger included
  • Direct print to CP-100 and other Canon printers
  • USB connectivity for PC and Mac
  • Optional WP-DC500 Waterproof Case
The Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH is available at retailers nationwide in March 2003, and has a suggested retail price of $599.

Physical Views

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

The S400 compared to an average CD disc.

Canon Powershot S400 Digital ELPH

The Powershot A70 and the S400 Digital ELPH

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Page Two

Powershot S400 Specifications

Effective pixels: Approx. 4 million
Image sensor: 1/1.8 in. CCD
(Total number of pixels: approx. 4.1 million)
Lens :
7.4 - 22.2mm
36-108mm (35 mm film equivalent)
F2.8 - 4.9 maximum aperture
Digital Zoom: Maximum approx. 3.6x (Maximum approx. 11x with optical zoom)
Optical Viewfinder: Real-image optical zoom viewfinder
LCD monitor : 1.5 in. low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD, Approx. 118,000 pixels
Autofocus : TTL 9-point AiAF / TTL 1-point center AF
Focus lock possible
Focus assist lamp for accurate low-light AF
Focusing Range :
(from tip of the lens barrel)
Normal: 46 cm (1.5 ft.) - infinity
Macro AF: 5-46 cm (2.0 in. - 1.5 ft.) (W)
30-46 cm (11.8 in. - 1.5 ft.) (T)
Shutter : Mechanical + electronic
Shutter Speed: 1-1/2000 sec. Automatic
1 - 15 sec. in Long Shutter mode only
Noise reduction is used on speeds between 1.3 - 15 sec.
Light Metering System: Evaluative metering
Center-weighted averaging
Spot metering
Exposure Control: Program AE
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
Sensitivity : ISO 50, 100, 200, 400 equivalent and Auto
White Balance: TTL auto / preset (daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H) or custom white balance
Flash : Red-eye reduction auto/auto/on/off/slow-synchro
Flash Range:
Normal: 46 cm- 3.5 m (1.5- 11.5 ft.) (W)
46 cm- 2.0 m (1.5- 6.6 ft.) (T)
Macro: 30- 46 cm (11.8 in.- 1.5 ft.) (W /T)
Shooting Modes: Auto / Manual / Stitch Assist / Movie
Continuous Shooting: Approx. 1.5 images/ sec. (2.5 images / sec. in highspeed mode)
(Large/Fine mode, LCD monitor off)
Self-Timer : Shoots after approx. 10 sec. or approx. 2 sec.
PC Connected Shooting: Available (USB connection only. Exclusive software program RemoteCapture is included in the camera kit.)
Recording Media: CompactFlash Type I card, 32MB supplied
File Format: Design rule for Camera File system, DPOF compliant
Image Recording Format:
Still Images: JPEG (Exif 2.2)*
Movies :

AVI (Image data : Motion JPEG
Audio data : WAVE [monaural])

Compression: Superfine / Fine / Normal
Number of Recording Pixels:
Still Images:
large : 2272 x 1704 pixels
medium 1 : 1600 x 1200 pixels
medium 2 : 1024 x 768 pixels
small : 640 x 480 pixels
320 x 240 pixels (maximum 3 min.)
160 x 120 pixels (maximum 3 min.)
Approx. 15 frames / sec.
Replay Modes: Single image view/ index view (9 thumbnails)/ zoomed view (LCD monitor zooms images up to 10 x ) / slide show / printing with Card Photo Printer CP-100, CP-10 or Bubble Jet Printer (Direct Print)
My Camera Settings (Customizing): Start-up image, start-up sound, shutter sound, operation sound and selftimer sound can be customized with the following procedures.
1. Using the images and sounds recorded on the camera.
2. Using the downloaded data from your computer using
the supplied software.
Interface :
USB (mini-B, PTP [Picture Transfer Protocol]),
Audio / Video output (NTSC or PAL selectable, Monaural audio)
Power Source:
Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery (Canon NB-1LH / NB-1L)

Battery life:
    190 shots with LCD on
    440 shots with LCD off
    Replay time is 140 minutes

Optional AC Adapter Kit ACK500
Optional Car Battery Charger CBC-NB1
Operating Temperatures : 0 - 40 °C (32 - 104 °F)
Operating Humidity: 10 - 90 %
(w x h x d):
87.0 x 57.0 x 27.8 mm (3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 in.)
(excluding protrusions)
Weight: Approx. 185 g (6.5 oz.)
(camera body only)
* This digital camera supports Exif 2.2 (also called "Exif Print"). Exif Print is a standard for enhancing the communication between digital cameras and printers. By connecting to an Exif Print-compliant printer, the camera's image data at the time of shooting is used and optimized, yielding extremely high quality prints.

Package Contents (U.S./N. America)

  • Digital Camera
  • Wrist Strap WS-300
  • Battery Charger CB-2LS
  • Battery Pack NB-1LH
  • CompactFlash Card FC-32M
  • Case for CompactFlash Card
  • AV Cable AVC-DC100
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-300PCU
  • Digital Camera Solution Disk
  • ArcSoft Camera Suite Disk
  • User Guides

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