Canon Powershot A4000IS.

Canon Powershot A4000IS.

CANON POWERSHOT A4000IS
Price: $200
Too many pixels

The low-down: This 16-megapixel compact camera has an 8x zoom lens (28mm-224mm film equivalent). The body comes in three colours and is definitely a fashion accessory. On its website, Canon lists it as a basic ''point and shoot'' camera, although it is possible to select P (program) mode and exercise some control over the camera functions. The button and menu controls conform to the classic - very good - Canon style. The 75mm LCD is an ordinary affair of so-so resolution, brightness and colour fidelity. There is no printed manual but perhaps we should accept that a user manual is superfluous for a point-and-shoot camera intended to be used in fully automatic mode.

Like: Canon does a decent job of controlling noise without too much fudging of fine detail. Still, anyone looking for pin-sharp images should look elsewhere. Even at the lowest ISO settings, noise reduction is obvious and the boast that it can produce A2 prints at its highest JPEG quality is optimistic. This is a camera for postcard prints or online photo sharing.

Dislike: Macro performance is poor.

Verdict: This camera is intended for people who know nothing about photography. Nevertheless, Canon should tell us: why does a cheap camera sport more photoreceptors than their best, costliest compacts, which make do with 10 megapixels? The lovely Canon Ixus 500HS that we praised recently has a 10-megapixel sensor. Its RRP is twice that of the A4000, which ought to give us pause. More money for fewer pixels? A cheap camera with 16 megapixels looks like a sales pitch at ignorance. Save up for the Ixus 500HS - it's about $340 on the street - and the excellent 10-megapixel Ixus 1000 is even cheaper.