This camera has two things going for it: its DSLR-like design 30x optical zoom. While the image quality is good, smartphone output will likely pass it soon; if it hasn’t already (we still have yet to test out the iPhone 6 models or Galaxy Note 4).
About that zoom … no iPhone will ever have a 30x optical zoom, and smart cameras are still a very niche product category and expensive. The SX400’s $250 launch price is modest, all things considered, and we could see parents bringing this to a child’s soccer game or school play. The 30x will reach the stage even from the back row of the auditorium.
Its design and weight make it comfortable for holding and shooting for an extended time, and the buttons are all easy to access and press.
Otherwise, the device’s low-cost shows in its lack of video resolution, Wi-Fi, touchscreen, and mode dial. Navigating menus is enough of a chore that most users will want to stick with dummy mode, and altering the focus points is a complete hassle (how many cool shots will SX400 users miss while they fiddle with the focus?). A touchscreen would do wonders here, and the lack of wireless connectivity is hardly a trite complaint, as the feature is starting to trickle down to entry-level devices.