Canon PowerShot S400 Review

Canon PowerShot S400 Review

Canon launched the PowerShot S400 (AKA Digital IXUS 400), an ultra-compact four-megapixel camera with three times optical zoom, just a few days before the Photo Marketing Association 2003.

A four-megapixel sensor and a three-times optical zoom lens are packed into a device the same size as the PowerShot S230, making the PowerShot S400 the newest addition to Canon’s ultra-compact PowerShot series (three megapixels, two times zoom, announced in September 2002).

Canon PowerShot S400 4MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom
2 used from $199.00
as of May 28, 2023 8:54 pm

Unlike previous ultra-compact Powershot models, this camera does away with the stainless steel shell that gets filthy easily in favor of an entirely new ‘Cerabrite’ material that blends metal and ceramic. It retains its coolness to the touch, does not exhibit fingerprints, and is not readily scratched or dented.

More: Best Canon Point and Shoot Camera | Best Point and Shoot Camera | Best Point and Shoot Camera for Travel | Best Point and Shoot Camera under 300

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Canon PowerShot S400 4MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 8:54 pm

Essential Attributes

  • 4.0-megapixel CCD.
  • Optical viewfinder that displays the real image.
  • a color TFT LCD monitor with a 1.5-inch display.
  • Glass, 3x, 7.4-22.2mm lens, equal to a 36-108mm lens on a 35mm camera.
  • Maximum 3.6x digital zoom.
  • Automatic control of the exposure, with a Long Shutter option available for shooting at greater shutter speeds.
  • speeds ranging from 1/2000 to 15 seconds for the shutter.
  • The maximum aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/4.9, depending on the location of the lens zoom.
  • Integrated flash with a total of five different modes.
  • Memory card storage of the CompactFlash Type I kind, with a 32 MB card provided.
  • Power is provided either by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (the charger is included) or by an AC adapter, which may be purchased separately.
  • ArcSoft Camera Suite 1.2, software for Canon digital cameras, and USB drivers are all included, and they are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Special Features

  • A movie mode that includes sound.
  • Two modes of continuous shooting are available: standard and high speed.
  • Panorama mode with stitching assistance.
  • Focusing modes include infinity and macro.
  • Settings for “My Camera” that may be customized.
  • Self-Timer options of two or ten seconds for delaying the release of the shutter.
  • There is a choice to record captions using Sound Memo.
  • There are three types of exposure metering: spot, center-weighted, and evaluative.
  • Adjustment of the white balance (color), with seven different settings and a Custom option available.
  • Menu under “Photo Effect” for making color adjustments.
  • Adjustable ISO setting.
  • compatible with the DPOF format (Digital Print Order Format).
  • A USB cable that may be used to connect to a computer (driver software included).
  • A video and audio cable that may be connected to a television set.


The PowerShot S400 is, in all other respects, very identical to its predecessors, the PowerShot S300 and S330, and it keeps the compact proportions that have helped make the ELPH line so successful. The small size makes it ideal for discretely stowing away in a pocket or pocketbook, where it may be carried without endangering the sensitive camera systems.

A retractable lens is a clever feature that leaves the front of the case entirely flat when the camera is turned off, highlighting the pocket-friendly form of the camera. Additionally, an automatic lens cover ensures that you do not need to worry about dirtying the lens or losing the lens cap.

The S400 variant has dimensions of 3.4 by 2.2 by 1.1 inches (87 by 57 by 28 millimeters) and is a tad more compact than the S330 version. Including the battery and memory card, the camera tips the scale at 7.96 ounces (or 226 grams).

The front of the S400 has a distinctive ELPH design, with the viewfinder and Flash located directly above the lens, which is somewhat off-center and slightly toward the right. Next to the optical viewfinder is a light emitter that serves various purposes. These include helping with focusing, reducing the appearance of red eyes, and providing a countdown for the self-timer.

When the camera is switched off, the telescopic lens swiftly goes into position within the camera. Still, when the camera is powered on, the lens completely retracts within the camera so that it has a flat profile. The only thing that serves as a finger grip is a little ridge extending from the wrist strap’s eyelet. However, the wrist strap that comes with it should offer a more secure overall sensation.

You’ll find the Shutter button, the Zoom lever, and the Power button at the top of the camera. All three of them protrude somewhat from the surface. There is also a speaker for playback and a tiny microphone to capture sound to accompany the movies.

The connector for the wrist strap can be found on the right side of the camera (when viewed from the back), and the CompactFlash slot can be found on the same side. The space is protected by a plastic lid that locks into place. The actual location of the card slot’s release lever is on the camera’s rear panel.

The plugs for the USB and A/V outputs, shielded by a rubber cover, are located on the side of the camera that faces away from the viewfinder.

All of the remaining controls are located on the back panel of the camera, as well as the optical and LCD viewfinders. When shooting with one hand, a modest thumb grip is provided by a little ridge that runs along the camera’s right side. The finger grip on the front of the camera is strengthened (for small to medium hands, those with larger hands may have a little difficulty negotiating the controls, which are a little close together).

The buttons for the LCD monitor’s Set, Menu, Display, and Function menus are arranged along the bottom edge of the screen, and just to the right of these buttons is a pad with four directional arrows. In addition, the door to the CompactFlash slot may be opened using the sliding switch on the right side, and the Mode switch allows access to the Record and Playback modes.

The dial for the Exposure Mode may be found just above the LCD panel. Two LED lamps located next to the viewfinder display the camera’s status. These lamps show when the focus has been adjusted, or the Flash has been ultimately charged.

The battery compartment and the metal tripod mount are housed in the S400’s lovely, flat bottom panel, another of the S400’s distinguishing characteristics. Because the weight of the camera, which is placed off-center on the tripod head, might cause the mount threads to become too stressed, I like it when the tripod mount is not positioned so far off to the side of the camera.

It’s possible that this won’t be an issue, given how compact the S400 is and how well the tripod socket is designed (kudos for that!). However, because the tripod socket is located so near the edge of the camera, it is possible that the camera will not sit level on sure tripod’s heads.

(Once again, this is a relatively unimportant issue given that you can typically tilt the tripod to position the camera in any way you see fit.) A little rubber flap is located in the middle of the entrance to the battery compartment, and the cover for the battery compartment locks by sliding open and then outwards.

This flap covers a hole in the supplied battery compartment lid so that access can be granted to the connection jack found in the “dummy battery” coupler utilized in the AC adapter kit. (The AC adapter method for the Canon PowerShot S400 digital camera, like that of many other Canon digital cameras, uses a fake battery that fits into the battery compartment and offers a connector for the cable of the AC power converter.)

Image Quality

I recommend allowing your own eyes to judge how well the camera worked, as is the case with all of the product testing that Imaging Resource does. Examine the photographs on the pictures page to get an idea of how the images produced by the S400 compare to those made by other cameras that you might be considering purchasing.

Color The S400 provided great color throughout my tests, with accurate results under various lighting settings. This was one of the S400’s most vital selling points for me. The color saturation was generally approximately where it should have been, and the hue was rarely off (even with the problematic blue flowers in the outdoor and indoor portraits).

In most cases, the additive primaries that contributed the most strength, such as red and blue, were somewhat oversaturated, but the effect was insignificant. In most cases, the skin tones were also realistic, but with a tint of pink that was added compared to the subject’s true hue.

White balance was perfect under virtually all light sources, including the very challenging household incandescent lighting of my “indoor portrait” test. However, the Incandescent or Manual, white balance settings needed to be utilized to produce good results with this light source.

I found that the Auto and Daylight settings had the propensity to run somewhat warmer, while the Manual location tended to be a touch chilly and greenish. However, the impacts were subtle, and the color was outstanding overall.

Exposure: The metering mechanism of the S400 produced accurate readings regardless of the lighting conditions I was shooting in. It underexposed the extremely high-key outdoor portrait image, as is customary. Still, a small amount of positive exposure compensation was needed to restore the exposure such that it looked great.

Additionally, the interior portrait image was considerably underexposed while using or not using the Flash. It required a little bit more exposure correction in the positive direction to reach adequate exposure. (However, the amount of positive compensation necessary for this was comparable to that required by other consumer digicams I tested.)

During my “Davebox” test, the S400 had no issue identifying the delicate pastel tones on the Q60 target, and it maintained a high-resolution level even in the image’s darkest areas. Overall, you did a fantastic job.

Resolution and Sharpness: The S400 did quite well on the resolution test chart completed in the “laboratory.” At solutions as low as 800 lines per image height vertically and around 700 lines horizontally, it displayed artifacts in the test patterns.

I counted at least 1,100 lines of “strong detail” in the vertical direction and 1,200 lines in the horizontal direction. In addition, the target patterns’ ” extinction ” did not occur until around 1,300 to 1,400 lines had been drawn. Overall, a pretty impressive performance for such a small and portable digital camera.

Close-ups: The S400 did admirably in the macro category, recording a minimum area of just 2.70 x 2.03 inches (69 × 51 millimeters), which is somewhat better than usual for a camera of its class. The resolution was excellent, and there was great detail in the coins and brooch.

It is possible that the S400’s AiAF focusing technology, which focused on the item that was physically nearest to the lens, is to blame for the lack of detail in the dollar bill (the brooch). As a result, there was a more excellent softness in the corners of this photo; nevertheless, this is a stent fault of the macro settings of consumer digicams, and the S400 does not warrant any specific condemnation in this area because of this.

Even though it overexposed the top of the frame and generated a shadow in the bottom half, the Flash of the S400 came close to being able to be throttled down sufficiently for the macro-region. (If you back off slightly from the absolute closest focusing distance, you should be able to capture acceptable flash images while using the macro setting on your camera.)

Night Shots: It is hugely “hidden” in the user interface, but the S400 features a slow-shutter option that turns it into a brilliant low-light performer. This mode is used for taking pictures at night. First, you must go into the record-mode configuration menu and enable the long-shutter mode. After that, navigate to the first entry on the Function menu (Exposure Compensation) and hit the Set button to adjust the exposure duration to a value between 1 and 15 seconds.

However, the long-exposure mode will function well once you have located it. Even at ISO 50, the S400 could take acceptable photos down to the limit of my test, which was 1/16 foot-candle, and it could shoot images that were brilliant at that light level at all higher ISOs. Every photograph was sharp and focused, even at the lowest possible light levels.

The sole drawback is that the camera’s exposure metering system is inaccessible when the shutter speed is set to a lengthy value. As a result, determining the correct exposure is a rather laborious and chance-based endeavor while using this mode. (The optional histogram display comes in quite helpful for analyzing this data.)

The camera’s regular exposure mode has a maximum exposure length of one second, enabling you to take good shots under average city street lighting (less than one foot-candle) regardless of your ISO setting. However, if you switch to a location with a longer shutter speed, you can effortlessly photograph in considerably darker environments.

Accuracy of the Viewfinder, The optical viewfinder of the S400 was accurate to just 79 percent of the final frame when used at the wide-angle end of the zoom range. This makes the viewfinder somewhat constricted. Still on the low side was the optical viewfinder’s reported frame accuracy of roughly 84 percent when using the telephoto setting.

The LCD monitor is more accurate. However, it is only slightly off, giving the impression that it displays somewhat more than what is shown in the final frame. Therefore, even though the top and left sides of my standard measurement lines were just chopped off, I have no choice but to consider this to be within the acceptable error range for this particular test.

Because I want LCDs to have an accuracy that is as near to one hundred percent as is humanly feasible, the LCD monitor that comes with the S400 is terrific in this regard; nevertheless, I would like to see an optical VF that is more accurate.

Optical Distortion: When looking at the wide-angle end of the lens, I found that the S400 had a visual distortion that was slightly better than typical. I measured roughly 0.7 percent of barrel distortion. (This is marginally better than the average across the cameras I’ve tested, but I’d still prefer to see far less geometric distortion in the photographs captured by my digital camera than this.)

My measurements showed that the telephoto end had just one pixel of pincushion distortion, significantly improving over the wide-angle end. In addition, the degree of chromatic aberration was relatively low, as evidenced by the presence of only very weak coloring on each side of the target lines. (You may see evidence of this distortion on the resolution target in the form of a very faint tinge of color around the items located on the periphery of the field of vision.)

The most noticeable effect of the distortion was a certain degree of corner softness (maybe produced by coma?) in the image’s four corners, most noticeably in the four top corners. But, the lens on the S400 performed a pretty good job, which is especially impressive given that the camera is a subcompact model.

Life of the Battery

The PowerShot S400 gets its power from a single Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Unfortunately, I could not test its power usage as usual because of the nonstandard “dummy battery” power adapter connection. I regret this.

I timed how long the camera would run from a freshly charged battery in its worst-case power consumption mode (capture mode with the LCD turned on), and I found that it turned in a slightly shorter than average (for a compact digicam) run time of approximately 60 minutes. Furthermore, I found this true after I timed how long the camera would run in its worst-case power consumption mode.

When going on extended trips, bringing along ultimately charged spare batteries is usually a good idea. Thus, it would be best to get a second battery in addition to the S400.

Canon PowerShot S400 Specifications

Body Material“Celebrate” (metal / ceramic mix)
CCD pixels4.1 megapixels
JCIA effective pixels4.0 million
CCD size1/1.8″ (7.2 x 5.3 mm – more info)
CCD Colour Filter ArrayG – R – G – B
Image sizes• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
Movie clips• 320 x 240, 15 fps, up to 3 mins
• 160 x 120, 15 fps, up to 3 mins
Image ratio w:h4:3
File formats• Still: JPEG EXIF 2.2
• Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG + Wave audio)
JPEG quality levels• Super-Fine
• Fine
• Normal
Sensitivity Equiv.• Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Zoom wide (W)36 mm
Zoom Tele (T)108 mm (3x)
Zoom stepsSeven steps (including full wide and full telephoto)
Lens ThreadNone
Lens Max ApertureF2.8 – F4.9
Digital zoomUp to 3.6x
Focus modes• 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF
AF Illumination lampYes (can be disabled)
Manual FocusNo
Focus range• Normal: 46 cm – Infinity (1.5 ft – Infinity)
• Macro (Wide): 5 – 46 cm (2.0 – 18.1 in)
• Macro (Tele): 30 – 46 cm (11.8 – 18.1 in)
Shooting modes• Auto
• Manual
• Stitch Assist
• Movie (with sound)
AF LockYes (shutter release half-press + focus button)
Metering• Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
Min shutter• Auto: 1/8 sec
• Manual: 1 sec
• Manual ‘long shutter’: 15 sec
Max shutter1/2000 sec
Noise reductionYes, automatic below 1.3 sec
Aperture PriorityNo
Shutter PriorityNo
Exposure company.-2 EV to +2 EV in 1/3 EV steps
AE LockYes (shutter release half-press + meter button)
White Balance• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
Photo Effects• Vivid
• Neutral
• Low Sharpening
• Sepia
• Black & White
Drive modes• Single
• Continuous High: 2.5 fps, up to 5 frames
• Continuous Normal: 1.5 fps, up to 8 frames
FlashYes, internal
Flash range (Auto ISO)• Wide: 0.30 – 3.5 m (1.0 – 11.5 ft)
• Tele: 0.30 – 2.0 m (1.0 – 6.6 ft)
Flash modes• Auto Flash
• Anti-Redeye
• Fill-in Flash (forced on)
• Inhibit Flash (forced off)
• Slow-sync Flash
Flash compensation+/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
External FlashNo
Tripod mountYes, metal
Self-timerYes, 2 or 10 sec
Remote controlNo
Time-lapse recordingNo
Video outYes, selectable NTSC / PAL
Storage media• Compact Flash Type I
• FAT 12/16 and FAT 32 support
Storage included32 MB CF card supplied
ViewfinderOptical, no dioptre adjustment
• 118,000 pixels
Print compliance• DPOF
• Canon Direct Printing – Card Photo Printers, Bubble Jet Printers with direct print function
Other features• My Camera
• Orientation sensor
• iSAPS technology
• Movie editing
• Sound memo (up to 60 secs)
• Magnify Zoom (2 – 10x)
• Histogram display
• Slide show
• DPOF / Transfer Order
Connectivity• USB 1.1 (inc PTP)
• A/V out
BatteryLithium-Ion NB-1LH rechargeable battery supplied
Battery chargerYes, supplied
Weight (inc. battery)222 g (7.8 oz)
Dimensions87 x 57 x 28 mm (3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 in)


I’ve been pleased from the beginning with Canon’s Digital ELPH series’s quality, adaptability, and image quality. The 4.0-megapixel S400 stays true to the history of excellence set by its predecessors.

The camera’s breadth of functions gives it an advantage over many other point-and-shoot style digital cameras on the market, notably specific different subcompact versions, in addition to the camera’s diminutive size, which makes it an ideal travel companion.

The camera’s shooting versatility is increased quite a bit thanks to the option to alter the ISO and the white balance and access to longer shutter times. However, the actual exposure management is still automated.

The four-megapixel CCD produces outstanding image quality and excellent color reproduction CCD, and the lens on the S400 is superior to those found on many other subcompact cameras. The S400 is the fourth generation of Canon’s ELPH digital camera line, and it lives up to Canon’s reputation for producing high-quality digital cameras that are highly portable.

My description from earlier in the discussion probably does the most excellent job of summarizing it: A high-quality digital camera that excels in “all around” performance while being housed in a highly portable housing. They are strongly suggested as an option.

Canon PowerShot S400 Price

  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

Canon PowerShot S400 4MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 8:54 pm

Canon PowerShot S400 FAQs

What is the price of the Canon PowerShot S400?

The Canon PowerShot S400 was made available to consumers in 2003 but has been out of production for many years. Therefore, if you can locate it for purchase, it will most likely be a used or refurbished edition, and the price will range from low to high, contingent on the camera’s overall condition.

Is a Canon PowerShot S400 a professional camera?

The Canon PowerShot S400 is not a professional camera but a consumer-grade model. Instead, it’s a simple point-and-shoot camera perfect for taking photos in your spare time.

Is A PowerShot S400 better than a DSLR?

The Canon PowerShot S400 is not superior to a DSLR camera. However, professional photographers will find that DSLR cameras, with their bigger picture sensors, interchangeable lenses, and other more sophisticated features, are more adapted to their needs.

Is Canon PowerShot S400 suitable for wildlife photography?

The Canon PowerShot S400 does not lend itself particularly well to photographing untamed animals due to the camera’s restricted zoom range and relatively modest image sensor. Instead, it is more suitable for informal photography, such as taking pictures at family events or traveling.

Does the Canon PowerShot S400 have Wi fi?

The Canon PowerShot S400 cannot connect to a Wi-Fi network. This is because it was introduced before the widespread adoption of Wi-Fi communication as a standard function in digital cameras.



Paul is a highly experienced journalist and the editor of DSLRCameraSearch. With a background in the photographic industry since 2017, he has worked with notable clients such as . Paul's expertise lies in camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, and industry news. His work has been featured in renowned publications including . He is also a respected workshop host, speaker Photography Shows. Paul's passion for photography extends to his love for Sony, Canon, Olympus cameras.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply