Canon PowerShot SD40 Review

Canon PowerShot SD40 Review

The Canon PowerShot SD40 is one example of this phenomenon. Canon took their extremely compact PowerShot SD30 camera, added a sensor with 7 megapixels and a new picture processor, tossed in some helpful accessories, and then called it a day.

The fact that it is so compact makes it an appealing option for a pocket camera, but the problems with its speed and image quality are too significant to overlook.

Change isn’t always significant. It’s not always the case that new iterations of items provide significant, fundamental improvements over their ancestors. The only update a product receives may be a system pack, a bug repair, or a helpful new feature. Even if it’s not a significant breakthrough, it’s a step in the right direction.

The camera retains its predecessor’s sleek and compact design, the SD30, which it uses as its body. Its shape is the size of a candy bar and is made entirely of metal. It is available in various hues with unusual names, such as Olive Grey and Precious roses. Because it is less than an inch thick and weighs only 4.3 ounces, the SD40 may be carried in virtually any pocket without any difficulty.

Unfortunately, the SD40’s compact design necessitates reducing its feature set. The viewfinder’s camera features an LCD screen that is just 1.8 inches in size, and its lens has an equivalent focal length range of 38mm to 90mm, the same as the SD30. The angle of view is somewhat restricted. The most significant noticeable upgrade that the SD40 has over the SD30 is its new Digic III image processor. This is in addition to the more excellent resolution.

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Canon PowerShot SD40 7.1MP Digital Elph Camera with 2.4x Optical Zoom (Precious...

Last update was on: June 7, 2023 10:44 pm

Although Canon says the Digic III processor improves image quality, performance, and battery life, we could not see any significant improvements over the SD30 in any of these areas. If anything, the version felt a touch slow. However, this might be just due to the better camera quality. Furthermore, the maximum sensitivity that the sensor of the SD40 can achieve is ISO 1,600, which is a significant increase from the SD30’s limit of ISO 400. Lastly, the camera supports SDHD, enabling users to use 4GB and above-capacity SD memory cards.

Although it does not have many brand-new capabilities, the SD40 has a few additional attachments absent from the SD30. Along with the infrared remote control, the camera has a little cradle that may be laid on while charging. A cradle is a lovely place for the camera to rest, but the remote has far fewer applications than we are accustomed to seeing. It can only operate the camera when it is docked in the cradle and can only be used to examine, upload or print photographs. In addition, the shooting function cannot be activated by using the remote.

We were able to record some unremarkable performances in the miniature shooter. After it had woken up, which took 1.3 seconds, we could take a picture once every 2.3 seconds. However, when I turned on the flash built into the camera, the wait time increased to 5.2 seconds. The shutter speed was excellent but did not blow anybody away; the lag time was 0.5 seconds in solid light and 1.4 seconds in low light. In addition, the burst mode could only maintain 1.2 frames per second, which was an extremely sluggish rate.

Image noise is the most significant issue with the SD40. The first apparent speckles and grit appeared at an ISO setting of 100; the photographs were nearly useless at ISO 800 and above. Even though the sensor in the camera can reach ISO 1,600, images taken at that level appear to have an excellent coating of sand overlaid on them. In addition, although the colors were caught accurately, the automated white balance tended to produce a distinct yellow cast if the illumination was inside.

The Canon PowerShot SD40 demonstrates moments when beauty more than meets the eye. Unfortunately, its slow performance and high picture noise make it a poor choice for a frequent photographer, even thot and elegant design is the being all attractive to look at. If you are looking for a digital camera that is both compact and fashionable, you might consider purchasing either the Cyber-Shot DSC-T10 from Sony or the Exilim EX-Z850 from Casio. Both are compact cameras with comparable prices, and neither has the performance or picture quality difficulties that plagued the SD40.

Body And Design 

The LCD screen, which measures 1.8 inches and has 118K pixels, is on the back of the camera. Even while that isn’t an incredibly high resolution, it is more than sufficient for the size of the screen, and the result is a startling level of quality in the image. All controls are clustered in a large area on the screen’s right-hand side. They are the mode switch (which has locations for playback, movie, and camera), the print button, the directional control (which also functions as a control of the zoom, flash, and focus modes), the menu button, and the Func./Set button, starting from the top left and moving clockwise.

The lid for the battery compartment, the loop for the lanyard, and the memory card compartment all occupy the whole space on the camera’s right side. Because the lid for the battery and memory card compartment snaps securely, there should be little risk of dust or moisture getting inside (although the camera is not waterproof). To open it, you first have to move it out of the way and raise it. In addition, handling the camera is made more accessible because of the curved design of this side of the device, which feels less like holding a box in your palm.

The on/off button, the shutter button, and the speaker are all located on the Canon PowerShot SD40. These controls are presented in the following order: left to right. As seen in this picture, the only portion of the camera that protrudes is the lanyard loop; as a result, it is pretty easy to conceal the camera in a shirt pocket, another tiny pocket, or even a small purse.

The USB socket for the camera station, which is already included with the camera, may be found at the bottom of the device, along with the tripod socket. The camera may be easily attached to the camera station, which also houses the camera’s USB and AV outputs and allows the camera’s battery to be charged.


The Canon SD40 lacks an optical viewfinder; the LCD screen is the sole means of framing and composing shots.

The panel is a low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT type that is 1.8 inches in size and has 118K individual pixels. Even though it is quite a little more compact than many other recent cameras, this one is pretty bright and clear, and it fits nicely with the camera’s design. Fifteen distinct brightness levels may be selected for the display’s brightness setting.

The images are not very crisp, but they are sharp enough to be viewed and to enable you to verify the focus, the framing, and other aspects of the photograph. Because of its tiny size, the LCD screen is not an ideal playback device. It isn’t easy to get ten people together to view a slide show on such a screen. On the other hand, the fact that it displays the captured image entirely makes it a good viewfinder.

The narrow and little flash may be found directly above the lens and to the right of it (looking from the front). According to Canon, the zoom ranges from 1-6.6 feet in wide-angle mode to 1-4.3 feet in telephoto mode. That is not very much; for example, it would not be sufficient for a group photo to be taken during a party. You’ll need to go elsewhere for a camera that can capture photographs of large gatherings of people even when it’s dark outside.

However, it should be adequate if it is to be used for portraiture. The HF-DC1 from Canon is compatible with the camera and may be used if you require a stronger flash. It is also possible for users to get flash compensation through the Func./Set menu, which provides +/- 2 power in full-stop increments. The right side of the multi-selector on the Canon PowerShot SD40 allows users to adjust the flash modes on the camera. The following configurations are open for use: Auto, Auto with Red-eye Reduction, Auto with Slow Synchro, Flash On, Flash On with Red-eye Reduction, Flash Off, and Flash Off with Slow Synchro are the modes available.

This Canon lens has a focal length range of 6.3-14.9mm with an optical zoom factor of 2.4, and it is constructed with four elements in 4 groups. Combined with the 1/2.5-inch CCD sensor, this results in a focal length range similar to 38–90 millimeters on a 35mm film camera. Although this is on the shorter end of the spectrum than most (particularly at the lower back, which is often more helpful), it is acceptable. In macro mode, the lens can focus from a distance of 3.9 inches, while in a standard way, it can focus from 1 foot. When turned on, the Canon SD40’s lens protrudes from the camera’s housing, unlike the lenses found in many other ultra-compact cameras housed entirely within the camera bodies.


It is possible to transform the Canon PowerShot SD40 into a real point-and-shoot camera by switching to the full auto mode and allowing the camera to take charge of the majority of the camera’s functions. The vast majority of users would shoot in this mode virtually exclusively.

The camera can record movies at a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels or 320 by 240 pixels at either 30 or 15 frames per second. The more compact QVGA resolution can also record video at 60 frames per second for up to one minute. In addition, a video mail format may register at a rate of 15 frames per second for a maximum of three minutes. The dimensions of this format are 160 by 120 pixels. The videos are stored on the device as Motion JPEG AVI files, and the built-in microphone only records mono sound. Up to 4 gigabytes of RAM can be used to record movies.

There is a continuous shooting mode that is accessible, and it is capable of taking images at a rate of 1.6 frames per second continually until the memory card is filled. This mode is decent. The camera does not have a first or last shooting mode; instead, it continuously captures all of the photographs until you remove the shutter button.

The Canon SD40 is capable of a wide range of playback operations, including developing slideshows, establishing favorites, and executing fundamental video editing activities. Nevertheless, this is constrained by the screen size; a 1.8-inch screen is not exactly something a group of people can gather to observe.

If you wish to show off your photographs taken with the camera, you must bring something connected to the camera station’s AV output. Images may be seen and enlarged anywhere from two to ten times their original size. They may also be organized into calendars and categories, which can be navigated using the multi-selector. Images may be rotated, and other My Colors modes may be added to the available options. In addition to that, voice memos may be added. Individually Tailored Image Presets

You may select scene modes from the shooting menu, such as Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Stitch Assist, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, Color Accent, and Color Swap. Other scene types include Night Scene, Stitch Assist, and Night Snapshot. The image is processed by the latter two modes, with the color accent mode eliminating all colors other than the one picked (creating a monochromatic image with a single color) and the color switch mode alternating between the two colors that have been selected. Adjusting the white balance in the Func./Set menu is analogous to setting the colors for these modes, which can be found in the menu.

Manage the Settings

Full manual mode is available on the SD40, although I’m unsure how many people will use it. You can manually adjust the shutter speed and aperture in this mode. In the fully manual shooting mode, you choose the gap, and then, while holding down the exposure compensation button, you change the shutter speed. The system is far from perfect, but it does what it’s supposed to do and is good enough for occasional usage.

The autofocus of the SD40 appears to be speedy and responsive, and it locates the optimal focusing point in a short time. Although we could not extensively test the focus mechanism in various lighting settings, it appeared to function correctly in the illumination provided within the Photokina convention hall. It has a 9-point focus system and three focus modes: AiAF, single-point AF, and facial recognition.

AiAF is when the camera chooses the Spot to focus on. The final mode, introduced with the release of new Canon digital cameras, is hardware-based software that the image processor runs. The camera will search for faces in the scene and automatically focus on those it finds. In our limited testing, this function appeared to operate; however, we will need to wait until we have a more in-depth look at this before we can genuinely establish its success.

The Canon PowerShot SD40 does not include a setting that allows you to focus the camera manually. However, the majority of users won’t miss it at all.

By pressing the exposure compensation button, you can access exposure compensation that can be adjusted up or down by two stops. Each adjustment visit may be made in one-third of a stop increment.

Evaluative, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering are the three basic modes present in this camera. Evaluative metering is when the camera evaluates the scene and chooses the optimal exposure. Unfortunately, within the confines of the conference center, we could not assess the performance of the various metering modes. The camera also uses facial recognition while it is metering; if this feature is activated, the camera will attempt to locate a face, after which it will adjust the exposure to ensure that the face is exposed correctly.

In addition to the conventional auto mode, seven pre-sets for the white balance may also be chosen. These include Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, and Custom. The latter method uses a white card (or another white item) to determine what constitutes true white under lighting conditions. The fact that there is only room for one unique white balance setting in the memory is annoying despite everything else being relatively standard fare.

Canon says that the new Digic III engine limits the effects of noise, which means that the maximum ISO may go up to 1600. This is even though the image sensor used in the SD40 is the same as the image sensor used in previous PowerShot cameras. The following sensitivity levels may be adjusted manually: 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600. Canon cameras also have a conventional Auto mode and a High ISO Auto mode, designed for low-available light levels.

The shutter speed ranges from one minute and fifteen seconds to sixteen-hundredths of a second. Therefore, only by activating the extended shutter speed setting is it possible to use shutter speeds that are longer than one second.

The 2.4x lens has an aperture range from f/3.2 up to f/5.4. Of course, that’s not much of a degree, and it won’t give you much depth of field, but point-and-shoot cameras often have tiny lenses, so this limitation is not rare.

The Quality of the Picture

Canon provides users with three different settings for image quality: Superfine, Fine, and Normal. Unfortunately, there is no provision for shooting in RAW mode. The following are the available options for the picture size: Large is 3072 pixels by 2304 pixels, Medium 1 is 2592 pixels by 1944 pixels, Medium 2 is 2048 pixels by 1536 pixels, Medium 3 is 1600 pixels by 1200 pixels, Small is 640 pixels by 480 pixels, and Widescreen is 3072 pixels by 1728 pixels.

Canon offers a variety of photo effects settings that are referred to as My Colors options. The following effects are available: Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Positive Film, Custom Color, Vivid Blue, Vivid Red, and Vivid Green.

The latter allows you to modify the way the colors are processed by providing sliders for the augmentation of the red, green, and blue hues and controls for the saturation, contrast, and sharpness of the colors. Some extraordinary effects can be generated, but they do not convince me because you could accomplish the same in an image editing tool with more refinement and better results.


A tiny lithium-ion rechargeable type is the power source for the SD40. When the camera is plugged into the docking station, it triggers an automated charging process for the battery. The battery life that Canon claims its cameras have is around 190 shots. Although we could not confirm this statistic, it is safe to say that it is nothing to brag about.


The camera comes with an SD card that has 16 megabytes on it, which is barely enough space to take four photographs at the highest possible resolution. On the other hand, the Canon PowerShot SD40 can read up to 4 gigabytes on MMC, SD, or SDHC memory cards.

Canon PowerShot SD40 Specifications

Type1/2.5″ CCD
Effective PixelsApprox.7.1M
Color Filter TypePrimary Color
TypeDIGIC III with iSAPS technology
Focal Length6.3 – 14.9 mm (35mm equivalent: 38 – 90mm)
ZoomOptical 2.4x. Digital approx. 4x (with Safety Zoom*)**. Combined approx. 10x* Depending on the image size selected
** Digital zoom is available for still images and standard movie modes only. Optical zoom may not be available during movie recording
Maximum f/numberf/3.2 – f/5.4
ConstructionFour elements in 4 groups (3 aspherical elements)
AF System / PointsAiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed center)
AF LockOn/Off Selectable
AF Assist BeamYes
Closest Focusing Distance10cm
Metering ModesEvaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot (center or linked to Face Detection AF frame)
AE LockLocked when the shutter button is pressed halfway
Exposure Compensation+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
ISO SensitivityAUTO, High ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600* Standard Output Sensitivity / Recommended Exposure Index. ISO 12232:2006 (20th April 2006) specifies how to assign and report ISO speed ratings for digital still cameras. This does not apply to Digital IXUS WIRELESS.
Speed15 – 1/1600 sec
(Shutter speeds of 1 sec. and more available in Long Shutter Mode only)
SettingsAuto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
ViewfinderReal-image zoom, optical viewfinder
Monitor1.8″ P-Si TFT, approx. 118,000 dots
BrightnessAdjustable to one of fifteen levels
ModesAuto, Manual Flash On / Off
Slow Sync SpeedYes
Red-eye ReductionYes
Built-in Flash Range30cm – 2.0m (W) / 1.3m (T) (at ISO AUTO equivalent)
External FlashCanon’s High Power Flash HF-DC1
ModesAuto, Manual, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Color Accent, Color Swap, Stitch Assist, Movie, Scene (Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater)
Photo EffectsMy Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Drive ModesSingle, Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous ShootingApprox. 1.6 fps* (until memory card becomes full)*** Large/Fine with LCD monitor off
** Depending on memory card speed/capacity
Image Size(L) 3072 x 2304, (M1) 2592 x 1944, (M2) 2048 x 1536, (M3) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 3072 x 1728, (Postcard Date Imprint) 1600 x 1200
CompressionSuperfine, Fine, Normal
Movies(L)640 x 480, 30/15fps (M)320 x 240, 60/30/15fps (S)160 x 120, 15fps
Movie LengthUp to 4GB or 1 hour (L and M, 30/15fps)*
Up to 3 mins (S)*
Up to 1 min (M, 60fps)** Depending on memory card speed/capacity
File FormatDesign rule for the camera file system, DPOF (Version1.1)compliant
Still Image TypeExif 2.2 (JPEG)
MoviesImage data: Motion JPEG; Audio data: WAVE (monaural)
AudioSound Memos WAVE (monaural)
Canon PrintersCanon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print, and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only.
My CameraStart-up image and camera sound customization
By CategoryImage tagging feature
Sound MemoUp to 60 sec per image
Intelligent Orientation SensorYes
Self TimerApprox. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom
Menu LanguagesEnglish, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian
ComputerUSB 2.0 Hi-Speed (Mini-B, PTP)
OtherA/V output (PAL/NTSC)
TypeSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) Card, or MultiMediaCard (MMC),
16MB memory card supplied
PCWindows 98SE / Me / 2000 SP4 / XP / XP SP1-2
MacintoshOS X v10.2 – 10.4
Browsing & PrintingZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
DriversTWAIN (Windows 98 / 2000), WIA (Windows Me)
BatteriesRechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-4L (battery and Camera Station supplied )
Battery LifeApprox. 190 shots*
Approx. 300 min. playback* Based on the CIPA Standard and using the batteries and memory card format supplied with the camera, except where indicated
AC Power SupplyOptional AC adapter kit ACK-DC30
CaseSoft Leather Case DCC-200, Digital IXUS Metal or Leather Strap
Waterproof / WeatherproofAll Weather Case (3m) AW-DC40
FlashHigh Power Flash HF-DC1
Remote Controller / SwitchWireless Controller WL-DC200 (supplied)
Power Supply & Battery ChargersCompact Power Adapter CA-DC20E (supplied and sold separately) for charging through Camera Station CS-DC1a, CB-2LVE Battery Charger
Camera Station CS-DC1a (Battery charging, A/V out, USB for PC or printer connection (supplied and sold separately)
Operating Environment0 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity
Dimensions96.1 x 45.1 x 23.9 mm (excluding protrusions)
Weight (body only)Approx. 105g


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Canon PowerShot SD40 7.1MP Digital Elph Camera with 2.4x Optical Zoom (Precious...

Last update was on: June 7, 2023 10:44 pm

The SD40 is a reasonably compact camera that has a charming appearance. Although its diminutive size necessitates some concessions, they are, on the whole, few and few between. The manual controls aren’t straightforward to understand, and the zoom range isn’t extensive, but that’s all there is.

Additionally, most people who use this digital camera won’t have any issues with these aspects of the device. The Canon PowerShot SD40 is a straightforward and easily transportable point-and-shoot digital camera. The actual verdict on this Digital Elph’s image quality won’t be known until a more in-depth evaluation is completed, but early indications are encouraging.

Canon PowerShot SD40 FAQs

How old is the Canon PowerShot SD400?

Since it first appeared on the market in 2005, the Canon PowerShot SD400 is approximately 17 years old as of 2022.

Is a Canon PowerShot SD40 a professional camera?

It is not a professional camera; the Canon PowerShot SD40 does not have that designation. Instead, it’s a simple point-and-shoot camera perfect for taking photos in your spare time.

How much is the Canon PowerShot SD40?

Since the production of the Canon PowerShot SD40 was terminated several years ago, the camera is no longer available for purchase brand new. 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 Canon PowerShot SD40 suitable for wildlife photography?

Because of its compact picture sensor and restricted zoom range, the Canon PowerShot SD40 is not ideal for photographing wildlife. Instead, it is more suitable for informal photography, such as taking pictures at family events or traveling.

Is the Canon PowerShot SD40 waterproof?

The Canon PowerShot SD40 is not a submersible camera, unfortunately. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you keep the camera away from any source of water or dampness to prevent the interior components from being harmed.



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.

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