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Canon PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH / Digital IXUS 50 Review

August 2005 | By Simon Joinson
Buy on From $429.00

Review based on a production Canon Digital IXUS 50

Announced in February 2005, the SD400 (which goes by the names of Digital IXUS 50 in Europe and IXY DIGITAL 55 in Japan) is the latest in a long line of ultra-compact 'ELPH' or 'IXUS' cameras stretching back to early 2000 (and a lot farther back than that in the film camera world). Like the SD300 before it, the SD400 incorporates two UA (Ultra-high Refractive Index Glass Molded (GMo) Aspherical lens) elements which has allowed Canon to produced its smallest cameras yet to feature a 3x zoom. It may be smaller than a credit card, but Canon has still managed to cram a fairly comprehensive range of features into the SD400;

  • 5.0 megapixel CCD
  • 2.0-inch color TFT monitor
  • 35-105mm (equiv.) F2.8 - 4.9, 3x optical zoom
  • 640 x 480 movies at 30fps
  • Print/Share button
  • Fast Frame Rate movies (320x240 pixels @ 60fps)
  • 'My Colors' feature
  • Six special scene modes
  • Custom white balance
  • Spot, center-weighted and evaluative metering
  • DIGIC II processor & iSAPS
  • 9-point AiAF

Side by Side

Here for comparison is the SD400 (center) alongside the 7 megapixel SD500 (IXUS 700) and Fujifilm's new ultra-slim compact, the Z1.

Canon PowerShot SD400/Ixus 50 Key specifications

Street price • US: $370
• UK: £230
Body Material Metal
Sensor • 1/2.5" CCD, 5.3 million total pixels
• 5.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes

• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480

Movie clips • 640 x 480 pixels @ 30fps or 15fps (clip length limited by card capacity)
• 320 x 240 pixels @ 30fps or 15fps (clip length limited by card capacity)
• 320 x 240 pixels @ 60fps (max clip 1 minute)
• 160 x 120 pixels @ 15fps (max clip 3 minutes)
• Motion JPEG (.avi)
• Mono sound (.wav)

• 35 - 105mm equiv. (3x digital zoom)
• F2.8 - F4.9
• 4x digital zoom

Focus • TTL autofocus
• 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF (fixed to center)
• 3cm macro mode (Wide), 30cm (Tele)
Shooting mode

• Auto
• Manual
• Portrait
• Night Snapshot
• Kids & Pets
• Indoor
• Underwater
• Digital Macro
• Stitch Assist
• AE compensation -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50,100,200,400
Shutter speed • 15 - 1/1500 sec
• Slow shutter speeds of 1.3 seconds or slower operate with noise reduction
White Balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
Image parameters • Picture Adjust (Vivid, Neutral)
• Sharpness (low or normal)
• Color effects (Sepia, Black and White)
• My Colors
Continuous 2.1 fps approx
Flash • Built-in flash
• Auto, on, off, slow-synchro, Red-eye reduction: on/off
• Range (normal, ISO auto): W: 0.5m - 3.5m (1.6 - 11.5 ft)
T:0.5m - 2.0m (1.6 - 6.6 ft).
• Range (macro, ISO auto): 30 - 50cm (1.0 - 1.6 ft)
Storage • SD Memory Card
• 16MB SD supplied*
Viewfinder Real Image Optical
LCD monitor • 2.0" TFT LCD
• 118,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 High Speed
• A/V out
• DC-in
Power • Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery (NB-4L)
• (Optional AC adapter)
In the box*

Canon PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH (IXUS 50)
• NB-4L battery
Battery charger
Wrist strap
AV cable
Interface cable
16MB SD card
Software CD ROM (ZoomBrowser, PhotoStitch, PhotoRecord, ArcSoft PhotoSutdio)

Other features

Spot (center), Center-weighted & Evaluative metering
2/10 sec self-timer + custom self-timer
PictBridge, Canon Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct-compatible
Playback Histogram
Optional Slave Flash (HF-DC1)
Optional 3m All-Weather case (AW-DC30)

Weight (inc batt) 130 g (4.6 oz)
Dimensions 86 x 53 x 20.7mm (3.4 x 2.1 x 0.82in) Excluding protrusions

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2005 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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