Canon PowerShot A4000 IS Review

June 19, 2012 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS replaces the A3300 as the new top-of-the-range model in the affordable PowerShot range of digital cameras. Featuring a 16 megapixel image sensor, new 8x optical zoom lens complete with image stabilizer and a 3 inch LCD screen, the A4000 IS sports a slim and lightweight metal body in four different colours. Other highlights include 720p HD movies, 32 shooting modes including Smart Auto and Easy modes with Scene Detection Technology for point-and-shoot operation, 6 creative filters, Face Detection, Auto Red-Eye Correction and the DIGIC 4 image processing engine. Available in red, pink, silver, black and blue for £149 / $179 we find out if the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS deserves its place at the top of the Canon A-series range.

Ease of Use

It was once the case that Canon had two distinctly different lines in their digital compact camera range. The Digital IXUS: sexy and neat with sharp edges and aimed at the fashion conscious over the feature driven crowd. The PowerShot: Bulky, oozing with tech, features and modes, based on practical use over looks. However, this new line of PowerShot cameras is a far cry from that and only serves to further merge the two ranges together.

Take the new Canon PowerShot A4000 IS for example. It has a slightly convex front face with an 8x optical zoom lens that protrudes from it by around 2-3mm. A small flash and autofocus assist lamp accompanies the 8x optical zoom lens on the front. On the top, the power button is sunken into the body to prevent accidental depressing when you're trying to take a picture. It's colour coded with the rest of the body - which is nice - and we'd liked to have seen this run through to the shutter release button. It would be easier to see in the dark but it looks lower quality.

On the back, the 3 inch LCD screen takes up around 80% of the available space. The buttons are crammed into the remaining space but are surprisingly large. A dedicated video button sits at the top ready to be used by a quick press with the thumb. Below this is the Help button. This useful little feature will give you an explanation of the mode you're in as well as some examples of when it will be useful.

Canon PowerShot A4000 IS Canon PowerShot A4000 IS
Front Rear

The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS's navigation pad is a little smaller than we'd like but it fits with the space available. The buttons double up when not in a menu system and access macro, flash options, display options and mode switch. The latter is a simple twin mode option. Pressing the button will switch between auto and the mode that's selected in the Function menu.

To select the mode in the Function menu, make sure you're not in Auto mode and press the button in the centre of the navigation pad. The first option is for the modes available is for the scenes. Choosing Program opens up the most options in the rest of the Function menu such as ISO, white-balance, resolution and drive modes.

Live View Control is a new feature that allows the photographer to see the changes made to the picture in real-time. Selecting Live View Control mode in the Function menu will bring up a small button in the bottom left corner.

Canon PowerShot A4000 IS Canon PowerShot A4000 IS
Front Top

There's a feature called i-Contrast on the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS. It's a similar concept to HDR photography. It works by expanding the dynamic range of the picture. It brings out more detail in shadowy areas and caps burn out in the highlights. The best time to try this feature is when there's complex light or strong sunlight.

This new breed of PowerShot digital compact cameras has shown a push in build quality from Canon. As well as the metal casing, there's a metal tripod bush which is generally reserved for higher specification cameras such as bridge, prosumer, CSC and DSLR. Compacts usually have a plastic bush because they don't experience as much use. In fact, the tripod bush is a weird benchmark to signify a leap in build quality. The camera fits nicely into the hand being palm sized but still crams an 8x zoom into the body. The buttons are responsive and the requests are actioned with a smoothness synonymous with Canon. There's no rush in the actions.

Canon menu systems have always been easy to use and the A4000 IS is no different. The camera has two menu systems; the Function menu and the Main menu. The Function menu is a quick access list of most used features such as picture modes, resolution, ISO, white-balance, drive and self-timer options. The Main menu is more in-depth and accesses more core functions such as AF framing, red-eye correction, i-Contrast and the Set-up menu which can change the whole actions of the camera such as LCD brightness and Date & time. It can also format the card so be careful venturing in there if you're unsure. The layout is a simple black background with white writing and an orange highlight. Photographers who are hard of sight will find this approach more agreeable.

Canon PowerShot A4000 IS Canon PowerShot A4000 IS
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS has only one drive mode in the Function menu and it's not really that fast. The camera obviously doesn't have a large buffer for holding picture information because the continuous mode simply plods along taking pictures when it's ready. We managed 7 frames in a ten second period which equates to an average of 0.7 frames per second (fps). Not even 1 fps which is pretty slow. Start up time shows more promise with a power up to first shot time of 2.3 seconds. Shutter lag tests came out a little slower than what we're used to seeing which is unusual considering Canon cameras we've tested in the past have had faster lag times. Our own reflexes need to be taken into account though.

Playback can be activated in two ways. More precisely, it's using one button but can be done either when the camera is powered on or not. There are three displays to try by pressing the Disp. Button on the navigation pad. They are: full image, no information, full image, basic information such as image resolution, number, date & time. The final option is for more seasoned photographers and holds more information such as Shooting mode, ISO, Exposure Compensation setting, resolution, file size, shutter speed and aperture. In the playback menu, there's a search feature, you can create a slideshow, set up a photobook, edit functions such as i-Contrast, red-eye and resize. There are also two more tabs for setting printing options and the set-up menu again.

In the box there's a sealed package that contains the CD software, basic starter pack to set the camera up and understand it's primary functions along with some promotional and health and safety paperwork. With this pack, the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS comes with a lithium ion battery, charger, USB lead and wrist strap. This is the usual stuff to find in a digital camera box these days. Memory cards used to be included and canon was one of the last bastions of this tradition but even they gave in to the fact that with the internal memory, they simply don't have to.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.


At low ISO, image quality from the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS is great. In the highlights and mid tones there's no hint of noise and edge definition is marvellous. It's not perfect in shadow areas, there's a degree of smoothing out from the noise reduction system and evidence of black and white noise showing through. This is at full magnification though and looking at a picture normally shows no signs of any distress.

In fact, the image quality doesn't start to drop visibly until ISO 400 where colour noise becomes more aggressive in the darker areas. At ISO 800 JPEG artefacts are starting to peep out of the picture and make themselves known. Canon have capped the ISO settings to ISO 1600. It's a smart move because the flash is intelligent enough to cope with any darker situations. 

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)



In our sharpness test, we think that on the whole the added sharpening from Adobe Photoshop did the picture some good but there were places where it looked too overdone.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Canon Powershot A4000 IS has quite a versatile 8x optical zoom, as shown in the images below.



Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration is presentin the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS pictures but it shows up rarely and only on the high contrast edges.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


At first glance, we were really impressed that Canon had put a 1cm macro facility on the A4000 IS. However in practice it's a different matter and our optimism soon dropped when we saw the picture results. The exact centre of the photographs is sharp but it drops off after leaving only a small circle of focus. The edges are extremely blurred to the point we thought we had a speed filter in front of the lens.


Macro (100% Crop)


With the flash off, the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS suffers from a little vignetting at wide-angle. The flash should ideally remove this but it serves to simply make it lighter. At full zoom there's no issues with vignetting with or without the flash.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (224mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (224mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Taking portraits, exposure using the flash leaves a natural result with no bleaching. However, with tiny amounts of red eye present, the red eye reduction struggles to get rid of it which is a problem in an otherwise flawless performance.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

Night Shot

There's little difference in image quality between the program and night scene shot taken in the dark. However, choosing the Night scene mode will afford you a longer exposure if you need it. Noise is kept to a minimum though and images are lovely and sharp.

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)


Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 22 second movie is 57.3Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Movie Mode

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Effects Menu

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Camera Menu


Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Settings Menu

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Playback Menu

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Rear of the Camera / Help Mode

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Top of the Camera

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Side of the Camera

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Side of the Camera

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Memory Card Slot

Canon Powershot A4000 IS

Battery Compartment


We got a lot of pleasure from the little Canon PowerShot A4000 IS. It's a digital compact that works well as a day tripper camera - something to throw in a bag pocket or slip in a coat before setting out with the family. The wide-angle lens will help capture those vistas while the 8x optical zoom should provide adequate coverage to afford you the luxury of not having to walk places. The menu has always been easy to use on a Canon digital compact camera and the A4000 IS is no different. The buttons are firm and precise and the only thing we would like to see is a touch-screen, although that would inevitably increase the asking price.

We love the build quality of the A4000 IS. It's a metal casing with colour coded buttons, except for the shutter release button and the lens. We would've preferred to see these colour coded too but you can't have everything. The metal tripod bush is a big surprise - but a welcome one. It suggests the camera is of a higher calibre but the build quality is let down in places such as the flimsy battery door and rubber USB port cover. While we applaud the use of a cover on the USB port, both of the lids are difficult to get open.

The pictures we got from the A4000 IS are very good. We received the A4000 IS in the middle of one of the wettest and gloomy Aprils in the UK's history, so the first sunny day we got was when we shot. The camera handled complex light well as well as strong colours. Primaries aren't too over saturated, subtle colours are accurate and skin tones are realistic. What we do have to grumble over is the dynamic range. It's not very good on the A4000 IS. That's where i-Contrast comes in and it's worth using if you have a lot of shadow and sky in the same shot, especially on a bright day.

For £140, the A4000 IS is a great little camera. It's positioned at a price point that, if you lose it or break it, it doesn't matter too much. But the great thing is all the features you get for the money. This is a camera that will suit a family down to the ground. It will capture great pictures of the kids (just don't use the continuous shooting mode), will fit nicely into a small bag for carrying around and accepts SDXC cards for larger storage capacities. This means you can keep shooting and not worry about filling the card up. If this sounds like you, then take a look at the excellent new Canon PowerShot A4000 IS.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS from around the web. »

A mixed bag, but it might be worth living with image quality concerns and slow performance to get an 8x zoom in such a slim, low-cost camera
Read the full review » »

The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS can capture sharp photos and has a nice 8x zoom lens. It keeps noise low at higher ISOs, but sacrifices a good amount of image detail in doing so.
Read the full review » »

The Canon Powershot A4000 IS is a compact camera with a 16 megapixel sensor, 8x optical zoom lens and 3 inch screen on the back. It's available in a number of colours and features a metal body.
Read the full review »



Type 1/2.3 type CCD
Effective Pixels Approx. 16.0M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour


Type DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology


Focal Length 5.0 - 40.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 - 224 mm)
Zoom Optical 8x. Digital Approx. 4x. Combined Approx. 32x¹²
Maximum f/number f/3.0 - f/5.9
Construction 8 elements in 7 groups
(1 double-sided aspherical lens, 1 single-sided aspherical UA lens, 1 single-sided aspherical lens)
Image Stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), 4-stop. Intelligent IS


Type TTL
AF System/ Points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
AF Modes Single, Continuous (Auto mode only), Servo AF/AE¹, Tracking AF¹
AF Point Selection Size (Normal, Small)
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
AF Assist Beam Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 1 cm (W) from front of lens in macro


Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre)
AE Lock On/Off Selectable
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments.
Enhanced i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
ISO sensitivity* AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600


Speed 1 - 1/2000 sec. (factory default)
15 - 1/2000 sec. (total range - varies by shooting mode)


Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom


Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0") TFT, Approx. 230,000 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels


Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Built-in Flash Range 50 cm - 3.0 m (W) / 1.0 - 2.0 m (T)
External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2


Modes Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), P, Live View Control, Portrait, FaceSelf-Timer, Low Light (4.0MP), Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Discreet
Modes in Movie P, Live View Control, Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks, iFrame Movie
Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting Approx. 0.8 shots/sec.¹ (until memory card becomes full)²


Image Size (L) 4608 x 3456, (M1) 3264 x 2448, (M2) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 4608 x 2592. Resize in playback (M2, S, 320 x 240)
Compression Fine
Movies (HD) 1280 x 720, 25 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps
Miniature Effect (HD (5, 2.5, 1.25 fps) or L (6, 3, 1.5 fps))
iFrame Movie (HD)
Movie Length (HD) Up to 4 GB or 29 min. 59 sec.¹
(L) up to 4 GB or 1 hour²


Still Image Type JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Movies MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (2 channel monaural)]


Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
PictBridge Yes


Red-Eye Correction Yes, during shooting and playback
Histogram Yes
Playback zoom Approx. 2x - 10x
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, Farsi, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian


Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other A/V output, dedicated connector (PAL/NTSC)




PC & Macintosh Windows 7 SP1/ Vista SP2/ XP SP3
Mac OS X v10.6 - 10.7


Browsing & Printing ImageBrowser EX
Other Camera Window


Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-11L (battery and charger supplied)
Battery life Approx. 175 shots¹
Approx. 240 min. playback
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC90


Cases / Straps Soft Case DCC-520
Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC90
Other Canon AV Cable AVC-DC400


Operating Environment 0 - 40 °C, 10 - 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 95.3 x 56.3 x 24.3 mm
Weight Approx. 145 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)
Zoom ¹ Depending on the image size selected.
² Digital zoom available for still image and standard movie modes only. Optical zoom may not be available during movie recording.
AF Modes ¹ Some settings limit availability.
Continuous Shooting ¹ Under conditions where the flash does not fire.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
Movie Length ¹ The following Speed Class memory cards are required for maximum record time: (HD) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 4 or above. (Full HD) 1920 x 1080 Speed Class 6 or above. (iFrame) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 6 or above.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
Battery life ¹ Using the batteries and memory card format supplied with the camera (where included), except where indicated.
  • All data is based on Canon standard testing methods (according to CIPA Standards) except where indicated.
  • Subject to change without notice.
  • *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.

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