Sleek, sharp, shooter: Digital Ixus 400

The latest in the Ixus line is exactly what we would expect from Canon’s quality range: a sleek, efficient and easy-to-use pocket snapper that takes sharp, colourful shots. You’re paying over the odds for styling and the 400 lacks plenty of manual tweaks, but if you want one of the best automatic compact cameras around then the Ixus 400 is it.

This 4Mp (megapixel) shooter has a maximum resolution of 2272x1704 and a 3X optical zoom — specifications on a par with low-end intermediate cameras. While we liked the inclusion of a 32MB storage card, we were surprised Canon opted for CompactFlash memory rather than something smaller. After all, this model is all about compactness.

As ever, the Ixus’s design is a winning feature. No bigger than a packet of cigarettes, it fits easily into your pocket, and at 227g it won’t weigh you down. The 400 doesn’t have a case, but Canon says the cerabrite chassis (a mixture of metal and ceramic) is highly scratch-resistant.

The camera’s buttons and jogdial are well positioned and easy to reach. While the shot button responds wonderfully to finger pressure, the menu buttons and jogdial feel small and awkward. However, the menus are easy to navigate and the camera is a pleasure to use thanks to the quick response time.

We were particularly impressed with the Ixus’s focusing and redeye prevention. Try as we might, we couldn’t get a glimmer of glowing red in the pupils. A rechargeable lithium ion battery is always a welcome addition, but a camera of this size with a metal chassis tends to generate a lot of heat quickly. The Ixus 400 was no exception, heating up considerably on the front left side after just a couple of minutes of use.

In brief: Canon Digital Ixus 400
Anyone after photographic versatility should look elsewhere, but for compact, point-and-click simplicity the Canon can’t be beaten.
Price: $1049
Vendor: Canon
Phone: (02) 9805 2000

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