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 simply too significant to overlook.
Change isn’t always large. It’s not always the case that new iterations of items provide significant, fundamental improvements over their ancestors. It’s possible that the only update a product receives is a system pack, a bug repair, or a single helpful new feature. Even if it’s not a major breakthrough, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
The camera retains the sleek and compact design of its predecessor, 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 a range of hues with unusual names, such as Olive Grey and Precious Rose. 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 the reduction of 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 rather restricted. The biggest noticeable upgrade that the SD40 has over the SD30 is its new Digic III image processor. This is in addition to the greater resolution.
Although Canon says that the Digic III processor improves image quality, performance, and battery life, we could not see any major improvements over the SD30 in any of these areas. If anything, the performance felt a touch slow, however, this might be just due to the better quality of the camera. 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, which enables users to make use of SD memory cards with capacities of 4GB and above.
Although it does not have a significant number of brand-new capabilities, the SD40 does come with a few additional attachments that were absent from the SD30. Along with the infrared remote control, the camera now comes with a little cradle that may be used to lay it on while it is 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 it can only be used to examine upload or print photographs. The shooting function cannot be activated by using the remote.
We were able to record some unremarkable performance in the miniature shooter. After it had woken up, which took 1.3 seconds, we would be able to take a picture once every 2.3 seconds. When I turned on the flash that was built into the camera, the wait time increased to 5.2 seconds. The shutter speed was excellent, but it did not blow anybody away; the lag time was 0.5 seconds in strong light and 1.4 seconds in low light. 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 obvious speckles and grit appeared at an ISO setting of 100, and at ISO 800 and above, the photographs were nearly useless. Even though the sensor in the camera is capable of reaching ISO 1,600, images taken at that level have the appearance of having a very fine coating of sand overlaid on them. Although the colors were caught accurately, the automated white balance had a tendency to produce a distinct yellow cast if the illumination was inside.
The Canon PowerShot SD40 demonstrates that there are moments when beauty is more than meets the eye. Its slow performance and high picture noise make it a poor choice for a frequent photographer, despite the fact that its compact and elegant design is aesthetically 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 prices that are comparable, 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 located on the back of the camera. Even while that isn’t an especially 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 of the controls are clustered together 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 left side of the camera does not have any functions or features.
Towards the Right
The lid for the battery compartment, the loop for the lanyard, and the memory card compartment all take up the whole space on the right side of the camera. Because the lid for the battery and memory card compartment snaps securely into place, 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 then you have to raise it up. Handling the camera is made easier because to 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 top of the Canon PowerShot SD40. These controls are presented in the following order: left to right. As can be seen in this picture, the only portion of the camera that protrudes is the lanyard loop; as a result, it is quite 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 attached to the camera station with ease, 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; instead, the LCD screen serves as 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. In spite of the fact that it is quite a little more compact than many other recent cameras, this one is pretty bright and clear, and it fits in nicely with the design of the camera. There are 15 distinct brightness levels that 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 is difficult to get 10 people together to view a slide show on such a screen. On the other hand, the fact that it displays the captured image in its entirety makes it an effective 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 has a range of 1-6.6 feet when used in wide-angle mode and 1-4.3 feet when used 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, if it is to be used for portraiture, then it should be adequate. 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 make adjustments to 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 4 elements in 4 groups. When combined with the 1/2.5-inch CCD sensor, this results in a focal length range that is similar to 38–90 millimeters on a 35mm film camera. Although this is on the shorter end of the spectrum compared to most (particularly at the lower end, which is often more helpful), it is acceptable. In macro mode, the lens can focus from a distance of 3.9 inches, while in standard mode it can focus from 1 foot. When turned on, the Canon SD40’s lens protrudes from the camera’s housing, in contrast to the lenses found in many other ultra-compact cameras, which are housed entirely within the camera bodies.
Conception / Organization
Modeling in terms of Design and Appearance
The SD40 caters to the demographic that prefers point-and-shoot cameras due to its compact size and aesthetically pleasing design. There are four color options for the camera, and they are referred to as Precious Rose, Twilight Sepia, Olive Grey, and Noble Blue respectively. The majority of the photographs we took were in the hue Olive Grey. The camera is meant to be small enough to slip into a pocket and to be easily removed for use during spontaneous picture opportunities. Despite its diminutive dimensions, the design of this model was developed with maneuverability in mind. The right side of the camera is curved so that it may rest comfortably in the palm of your hand and was built with this in mind.
Size / Portability
The SD40 is one of the most compact cameras available; its dimensions are 3.8 by 1.8 by 0.94 inches, making it one of the smallest versions available. It is a highly portable camera because of its small size, which, when combined with the camera’s low weight (about 4 ounces), makes it a great choice for bringing on day trips or to parties where you wouldn’t want to tote around a larger camera.
Despite its little size, the SD40 is comfortable to hold with one hand, with the shutter button resting in its natural position beneath the index finger. The loop of the lanyard is on a curve, which gives a natural grasp point; thus, holding the camera shouldn’t provide any difficulties.
Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size
You have to press it up to zoom in, and you have to push it down to zoom out with the Canon PowerShot SD40 since it takes the rather odd technique of integrating the zoom control with the directional control. You will need some time to get used to this, but once you do, you will find that it serves its purpose rather effectively. The other control buttons benefit from having enough size and spacing owing, in part, to the little LCD screen that allows for additional room in other areas.
To navigate around the PowerShot SD40’s menu system, you will need to press both the Func./Set button as well as the Menu button. While the other menu is for more complicated features, the Func./Set button is mostly used for accessing items that you would want to adjust while shooting.
Ease of Operation
The Func./Set button on the SD40 makes it very simple to use the camera, since it places the majority of the settings that are most frequently selected within easy reach. The camera has a number of modes that are automated, making it simple to just point and shoot without having to worry about any other settings or features.
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 is capable of recording 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 is also capable of recording video at a steady 60 frames per second for up to one minute. In addition, there is a video mail format that may record 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.
Drive / Burst Mode
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, rather it captures all of the photographs in a continuous mode until you remove the shutter button.
The Canon SD40 is capable of a wide range of playback operations, including the generation of slideshows, the establishment of favorites, and the execution of fundamental video editing activities. Nevertheless, this is constrained by the size of the screen; a 1.8-inch screen is not exactly something that a group of people can gather around in order to observe.
If you wish to show off your photographs taken with the camera, you will need to bring along something that can connect to the AV output that is provided by the camera station. Images may be seen and enlarged anywhere from two to ten times their original size. They may also be organized into calendars and categories, both of which can then be navigated to 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
From the shooting menu, you may select scene modes 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 that has been 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
Options for Manually Adjusting the Controls
Full manual mode is available on the SD40, although I’m not sure how many people will take advantage of it. In this mode, you can manually adjust both the shutter speed and the aperture. In the fully manual shooting mode, you first choose the aperture, 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 amount of time. Although we were unable to perform extensive testing on the focus mechanism in a variety of lighting settings, it appeared to function properly in the illumination that was provided within the Photokina convention hall. It has a 9-point focus system, and it has three different focus modes: AiAF, single-point AF, and facial recognition.
AiAF is when the camera chooses the spot to focus on. The final mode, which was introduced with the release of new Canon digital cameras, is hardware-based software that is run by the image processor. The camera will search for faces in the scene and will automatically focus on those it finds. In our limited testing, this function appeared to operate; however, we will need to wait till we have a more in-depth look at this before we can truly establish how successful it is.
The Canon PowerShot SD40 does not include a setting that allows you to manually focus the camera. However, the majority of users won’t miss it at all.
By pressing the exposure compensation button, you have access to exposure compensation that can be adjusted up or down by two stops, and each stop of adjustment may be made in one-third of a stop increments.
Evaluative, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering are the three basic modes that are present in this camera. Evaluative metering is when the camera evaluates the scene and chooses the optimal exposure for it. Within the confines of the conference center, we were unable to evaluate the performance of the various metering modes. The camera also makes use of 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 properly exposed.
A Perfect White Balance
In addition to the conventional auto mode, there are also seven pre-sets for the white balance that may be chosen. These include Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, fluorescent H, Underwater, and Custom. The latter method makes use of a white card (or another white item) in order to determine what constitutes true white under the given lighting conditions. The fact that there is only room for one unique white balance setting in the memory is a little annoyance despite the fact that everything else is relatively standard fare.
Canon says that the new Digic III engine allows it to limit the effects of noise, which means that the maximum ISO may go up to 1600. This is despite the fact that 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 come with a conventional Auto mode and a High ISO Auto mode, which is designed for use in environments with low levels of available light.
The range of shutter speed ranges from one minute and fifteen seconds down to one sixteen hundredths of a second. Only by activating the long shutter speed setting is it possible to use shutter speeds that are longer than one second.
The 2.4x lens has an aperture range that goes from f/3.2 all the way up to f/5.4. That’s not much of a range, and it won’t give you much in the way of depth of field, but point-and-shoot cameras often have very small lenses, so this kind of limitation is not rare.
The Quality of the Picture
Canon provides users with three different settings for the image quality, which they term Superfine, Fine, and Normal respectively. There is no provision for shooting in RAW mode at this time. 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.
Mode d’effets de photographie
Canon offers a variety of photo effects settings that are together referred to as My Colors options. The following effects are available to choose from Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Positive Film, Custom Color, Vivid Blue, Vivid Red, and Vivid Green.
The latter gives you the ability to modify the way the colors are processed by providing sliders for the augmentation of the red, green, and blue hues as well as controls for the saturation, contrast, and sharpness of the colors. There are some very strange effects that can be generated, but I’m not convinced by them because you could accomplish the same thing in an image editing tool with more refinement and better results.
Accessibility / Additional Features
Software This camera comes with Canon’s own image organization and editing software called ZoomBrowser EX, which does a respectable job of handling the pictures you take. However, the application is only compatible with Windows, so those who use a Mac will have to go elsewhere for a solution.
Additionally included is the panorama creation software PhotoStitch 3.1, which is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, as well as TWAIN drivers, which allow photographs to be imported straight from the camera into Photoshop or other applications of a similar kind.
Jacks, Ports, Plugs
There are no connectors on the actual camera body of the Canon PowerShot SD40; instead, all of the connections are made through the camera station, which features ports for power, USB 2.0, and AV outputs. On the other hand, although this is convenient to use at home (since you can hide the wire), it may be a real nuisance when you’re out and about because you have to bring the camera station along with all of the necessary cords.
However, it is important to keep in mind that you may read photographs into a laptop computer using an SD card reader rather than a USB port. This is something that you should keep in mind.
Options for Direct Printing
The SD40 is capable of connecting to the Canon Selphy and Pixma printer lines, in addition to providing support for DPOF and PictBridge (which allows users to mark photos for subsequent printing and connect straight to a PictBridge printer). Both the Selphy CP and the Selphy ES are capable of printing still images from video files.
A tiny lithium-ion rechargeable type is utilized as 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 were unable to confirm this statistic, it is safe to say that it is not anything 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. The Canon PowerShot SD40 is capable of reading up to 4 gigabytes on MMC, SD, or SDHC memory cards.
The brand-new Digic III image processor has a feature called facial recognition, which makes it possible for the camera to search for faces inside a picture. In addition to utilizing this to try to determine the focal point, the SD40 also utilizes this for metering, which includes adjusting the exposure and flash strength in an effort to appropriately expose the face.
The SD40 is a mid-range point-and-shoot camera with a price tag of $349. The SD40 is a fantastic bargain for a camera that is this compact and has a complete range of manual and automated features, despite the fact that there are versions available for considerably less money (Panasonic offers many that are under $200).
Who Should Have It
The SD40 is a great choice for individuals who like to throw parties because of its compact size. It can be carried in a purse, and there is still enough for a pair of stylish sunglasses.
|Color Filter Type||Primary Color|
|Type||DIGIC III with iSAPS technology|
|Focal Length||6.3 – 14.9 mm (35mm equivalent: 38 – 90mm)|
|Zoom||Optical 2.4x. Digital approx. 4x (with Safety Zoom*)**. Combined approx. 10x* Depending on the image size selected|
** Digital zoom available for still image and standard movie modes only. Optical zoom may not be available during movie recording
|Maximum f/number||f/3.2 – f/5.4|
|Construction||4 elements in 4 groups (3 aspherical elements)|
|AF System / Points||AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed centre)|
|AF Lock||On/Off Selectable|
|AF Assist Beam||Yes|
|Closest Focusing Distance||10cm|
|Metering Modes||Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre or linked to Face Detection AF frame)|
|AE Lock||Locked when shutter button is pressed half way|
|Exposure Compensation||+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments|
|ISO Sensitivity||AUTO, High ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600* Standard Output Sensitivity / Recommended Exposure Index. According to ISO 12232:2006 (20th April 2006) which specifies the method for assigning and reporting ISO speed ratings for digital still cameras. This does not apply to Digital IXUS WIRELESS.|
|Speed||15 – 1/1600 sec|
(Shutter speeds of 1 sec. and more available in Long Shutter Mode only)
|Settings||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom|
|Viewfinder||Real-image zoom, optical viewfinder|
|Monitor||1.8″ P-Si TFT, approx. 118,000 dots|
|Brightness||Adjustable to one of fifteen levels|
|Modes||Auto, Manual Flash On / Off|
|Slow Sync Speed||Yes|
|Built-in Flash Range||30cm – 2.0m (W) / 1.3m (T) (at ISO AUTO equivalent)|
|External Flash||Canon’s High Power Flash HF-DC1|
|Modes||Auto, Manual, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Color Accent, Color Swap, Stitch Assist, Movie, Scene (Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater)|
|Photo Effects||My 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 Modes||Single, Continuous, Self-Timer|
|Continuous Shooting||Approx. 1.6 fps* (until memory card becomes full)*** Large/Fine with LCD monitor off|
** Depending on memory card speed / capacity
|RECORDING PIXELS / COMPRESSION|
|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|
|Compression||Superfine, Fine, Normal|
|Movies||(L)640 x 480, 30/15fps (M)320 x 240, 60/30/15fps (S)160 x 120, 15fps|
|Movie Length||Up 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 Format||Design rule for camera file system, DPOF (Version1.1)compliant|
|Still Image Type||Exif 2.2 (JPEG)|
|Movies||Image data: Motion JPEG; Audio data: WAVE (monaural)|
|Audio||Sound Memos WAVE (monaural)|
|Canon Printers||Canon 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 Camera||Start-up image and camera sounds customisation|
|My Category||Image tagging feature|
|Sound Memo||Up to 60 sec per image|
|Intelligent Orientation Sensor||Yes|
|Self Timer||Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom|
|Menu Languages||English, 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|
|Computer||USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (Mini-B, PTP)|
|Other||A/V output (PAL/NTSC)|
|Type||Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) Card or MultiMediaCard (MMC),|
16MB memory card supplied
|SUPPORTED OPERATING SYSTEM|
|PC||Windows 98SE / Me / 2000 SP4 / XP / XP SP1-2|
|Macintosh||OS X v10.2 – 10.4|
|Browsing & Printing||ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser|
|Drivers||TWAIN (Windows 98 / 2000), WIA (Windows Me)|
|Batteries||Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-4L (battery and Camera Station supplied )|
|Battery Life||Approx. 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 Supply||Optional, AC adapter kit ACK-DC30|
|Case||Soft Leather Case DCC-200, Digital IXUS Metal or Leather Strap|
|Waterproof / Weatherproof||All Weather Case (3m) AW-DC40|
|Flash||High Power Flash HF-DC1|
|Remote Controller / Switch||Wireless Controller WL-DC200 (supplied)|
|Power Supply & Battery Chargers||Compact 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 Environment||0 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity|
|Dimensions||96.1 x 45.1 x 23.9 mm (excluding protrusions)|
|Weight (body only)||Approx. 105g|
The SD40 is a fairly 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 particularly easy to understand, and the zoom range isn’t very wide, but that’s about all there is to it.
Additionally, the majority of 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 true 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.
Pros & Cons
- Includes a dock and remote control.
- Terrible picture noise
- The use of remote control is hardly unnecessary.