Freshly dipping  your toes in the deep and expansive world of photography can be an exciting endeavor. But choosing the right device to properly baby-step into this new realm can be daunting. Most fresh new photographers go for the point-and-click variety of beginner cameras. If that’s where you choose to start, then Canon’s PowerShot A4000 IS 16 megapixel digital camera is a very fine device, through which beginners can effectively hone their craft.

The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS is significantly compact, though not as discreet as it’s more expensive sister clicker – the Canon PowerShot Elph line of entry level cameras. At 3-inches long and an inch thick, the PowerShot A4000 IS is quite portable. It fits nicely in my jean or khaki pockets (though suspect skinny jean wearers will be less fortunate). So transport via purse, tote bag, backpack or laptop bag are all viable and handy.

I also enjoy the modestly showcase-worthy construction. The metal casing and solid compact-feel, set it apart from other less distinguished entry level cameras. Moreover, the PowerShot A4000 IS comes is an assortment of colors including black, blue, pink and silver… This one is a nice candy-apple red.

In truth, the feature set for this one is rather modest. What’s notable is the 16 megapixel image sensor, which trumps that of the Nikon V1’s 10 megapixel capabilities. Other features include 2-inch LCD touch-screen and  its modest 230k dots screen, powerful 8x zoom, impressive optical image stabilizer for correcting undesirable shaky hands, 720p video recording, intuitive help button and a 28mm wide-angle zoom lens. Again, the feature set isn’t amazing, but it is more than enough for a novice to feel accomplished with their point-and-shoot results.

In addition, that 8x zoom is a powerhouse. It blankets an area, equal to 35mm. Users can capture wide shots like several party goers, classroom photos or those necessary wide shots needed to capture you young one’s entire sports team. It also works considerably well for retaining sharpness and clarity when zooming in from substantial distances.

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Just press the On/Off at the top of the camera to begin your photo shoot. The unit boots to ready in 2.2 seconds. Pressing the green “Auto” button to the right of the LCD screen accesses the automatic shooting mode. This mode performed admirably for most of my shoots. Auto “determines scene and chooses optimal settings”. But you can also access the Live mode which is an “Easy picture adjustment to create desired effects. Some sub features of this range from cool to cute to completely unneeded. They are portrait face Self-timer, low light mode, the infamous fish-eye, miniature effects, monochrome, super vivid, fireworks, long shutter, discreet and iFrame movie modes. The latter is handy for those looking to quickly format video for mobile devices such as iPhones. From the main Live and Auto modes, you can elect to use the built-in flash or leave it off when light is readily abundant. With the Smart AUTO modes that optimizes image stabilization on the convenient rear 3.0-inch LCD display, the Powershot A4000 IS Digital Camera will save you many headaches trying to get those clear shots. The lack of more intricate hands-on controls paints a picture the beginner can easiy digest and appreciate. Simplicity and efficacy in shooting are the orders of the day here. The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS serves up those orders nicely, with an extra large helping of eye-candy.

Looking to try your hand in the little directors chair? The PowerShot A4000 IS’s dedicated movie feature can shoot 720p HD video at 25fps. Not bad! But you can lower the video capture resolution to 640 x 480 and achieve a smoother 30 frames per second. Recording video is a synch. But the quality supersedes the simplicity. The results are sharp rich and very smooth, albeit for the modest 720p HD resolution.

As for speed. Canon understands their target market. The novice should have little concern for the speediest camera. Fast moving objects require a speedy camera as well as some fine tuning of options, lighting and more. This is the technical minutia best saved for the savvy photographer. But what the PowerShot A4000 IS lacks in speed it makes up for in handy time options. The custom timer settings can be dialed in for a delay of up to 30sec for the first shot. Giving you and your subject/s ample time to get in position and strike a pose. Each photo snapped after that initial delay is taken every 1-second.

The color reproduction is vibrant and completely accurate to the naked eye. By mine, I would say the sharpness and clarity surpass that of the Nikon V1 for less than a 1/4th the cost. Sure you don’t get the ability to swap other various powered lens in and out,  you can’t add aftermarket accessories such as flashes and flood lights (though you can attack tripods/stands) and there is no fancy GPS application embedded to tag your photos with location-based intel.

Refusing to be overshadowed by glitzy features sets, the PowerShot A4000 IS is a handsome tool to sharpen your photography. It’s elegant and compact, a snap to function and notably empowering to use–leaving the most uninitiated feeling skilled and accomplished with their photography. Note that the A4000 uses SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards for storage.

Editor Rating:

[Rating: 4.5/5]


The Bottom Line: The Canon PowerShot  A4000 IS cuts out most of the fluff and grants the novice a powerful tool that skillfully thrust them into the world of accomplished photography.


  • Strong performance
  • Ease of use
  • Elegant
  • Empowering


  • Modest features and user controls
  • As is–no after marketing sprucing


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One Comment

  1. Thanks so much Shawn. You helped me in my decision to make a purchase for the A4000. Iam going to be 70 and really challenged with gadgets. I tried to give you a couple stars and then relaized it was minus and thought if I kept going, they migh go back to zero. Oh well, sorry if it gives a negative meaning. You wrote a super great report. Thank you again! Linda Souderton, PA

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