The SD4000 IS arrives with a lot of fanfare directed primarily towards its back-illuminated sensor and fast (at wide angle) zoom lens, and these are certainly the hardware that will distinguish this camera in the crowded field of 3 to 5x compact digitals.
The lens gets shooters an extra stop of shutter speed or a reduction in ISO sensitivity (at wide angle) and the sensor seems to provide a bit better than average compact digital noise performance in the high ranges along with a more linear progression of noise onset than I’ve come across in other compacts. So, you’ll be able to hand hold in dimmer conditions a bit better than most other compacts (if you shoot at wide angle). Image quality and color fidelity are typical of a Canon compact, and that’s darn good.
The camera is primarily an auto shooter, but Canon has included three of the four manual exposure modes just in case, leaving out only the fully manual option. Video quality at 720p is quite good, and the camera will autofocus automatically if scene composition changes or zooming occurs. Clip length is a bit limited at 10 minutes. The replay menu has some useful image fix-it options.
AF acquisition time was a bit slow, the flash is positioned so fingers will be able to obstruct it easily and the speed advantage of the 28mm wide angle lens is largely gone by the time you’ve zoomed it to 35mm. The SD4000 IS may not be blemish free, but it’s still an awfully good competitor in a very crowded field.
- Good image and color quality
- Good video quality and autofocus
- Better than average noise performance in higher sensitivities
- Good shutter lag
- Somewhat slow still autofocus
- Flash location easy to obstruct with fingers
- Fast lens only faster than competition at wide angle
- Video clip length shorter than most