Performance and use
As you might expect, shooting with the PowerShot A4000 IS is easy. The learning curve – if there even is one – is so slight that it’s barely worth mentioning. Whether you’re a seasoned point-and-shoot user or unboxing your very first model, you’ll be able to turn it on and use it to its full abilities.
We immediately turned the camera to its manual setting and began to explore what Canon had to offer. As every Canon shooter is used to, the PowerShot A4000 IS yields accurate, if slightly warm colors. Still, compared to cameras in this class, it handles color accuracy wonderfully – and that’s a pretty important element to your photos. There’s also an in-camera option to manipulate how warm or cool photos tend to be, so you are able to opt for cooler images if you so choose.
The camera boasts an ISO range of 100 to 1600, you’ll want to keep it below 600 if you plan on printing anything larger than a 4×6. Of course, if you’re buying a $200 point and shoot, odds are you don’t. Even when you’re viewing shots, things get pretty grainy when you zoom in on anything above ISO 600.
Low-light performance leaves something to be desired. The limited manual settings and ISO capabilities mean you aren’t able to push it unless the lighting is there – or rather, you can, but the results won’t be great.
Like with most Canon point and shoots, speed isn’t a selling point for the PowerShot A4000 IS. Continuous shooting mode is benchmarked right around 0.8 shots per second, which is on the slower end for cameras in this class. But the speed for powering on, to shot, to processing, to shot is workable – meaning just about everyone interested in buying this camera won’t notice. But be warned that this thing isn’t built for sports shooting.
Video and audio playback was smooth as well, and zooming in and out you could tell the image stabilization mechanism was doing its job. It gets quite grainy on extreme close-ups, be forewarned.
Anytime we use a camera this simplistic, we’re torn. On one hand, the fact that it’s so easy to manipulate and get the most out of is great: Beginners and on-the-fly photographers don’t want to stumble through settings and experiment for hours before they get the results they want. These users want to throw in a battery and SD card and be able to get their money’s worth. On the other hand, though, we worry about outgrowing it too quickly. If you’re instantly able to master everything a camera has to offer, what’s going to happen in a few months?
It’s an unavoidable issue with entry-level point and shoots, but Canon deserves credit for doing its best to keep users busy. There are enough little adjustment options packed into the PowerShot A4000 IS that while you might master the manual shooter mode, you are able to dive into little manipulations in various settings – it might sound gimmicky, but it’s a new way to be creative and use your point and shoot in a way that you didn’t used to be able to, so it’s important.
We wouldn’t recommend this camera to anyone except beginners or buyers who don’t want to learn how to shoot – they just want to do it. And that’s plenty of people. You don’t have to be a electronics junkie anymore to want a capable camera; it’s pretty much just a standard utility everyone has now. Canon continues to fill the market will affordable yet above-average point and shoots, including the PowerShot A4000 IS.
There are a few things consumers should require in a pocket cam (with few exceptions): a 3-inch screen; presets, auto, and manual controls; filters or effects; li-ion battery, and some amount of instant controls (i.e., instant power on when hitting playback or a dedicated video record button). The PowerShot A4000 IS can check all of these off its list, and then some.
But it isn’t paving the way for the next generation of point-and-shoot cams (that’s up to other products from Canon): Touchscreens, panorama, and/or some degree of instant-sharing are becoming more common for cameras of this genre.
So while the PowerShot A4000 IS isn’t going to blow any minds, it will fit the bill as a dependable, quality camera for quite a few. And you might as well get used to it now: Close to $200 is very, very rapidly becoming the minimum you can spend if you want a camera that you’ll be happy with six months down the line.
- Nice, simple control interface
- Inner-navigation is incredibly simple
- Just enough extra options to keep exploring
- You’re limited with it comes to ISO
- Average low light performance at best