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With resolutions of up to five megapixels now available in other cameras, the two megapixel chip in the A40 may seem lightweight. But for the camera's intended user, two million pixels is a great balance between performance and price. This resolution produces gorgeous full-screen images on your computer (even with a 19-inch monitor) and prints that look great at sizes up to 8 by 10 inches. If you're hoping for a camera that captures even more detail, consider Canon's three megapixel S30 or four megapixel S40. A 3x optical zoom lens (35-105 mm equivalent) aids in photo composition and an additional 2.5x digital zoom (7.5x total) further magnifies your image. Remember, however, that digital zoom reduces the sharpness and detail of your image, so it's best used sparingly.
Two systems help ensure your pictures will be perfectly focused, even in challenging conditions: a multi-zone auto-focus works even when the subject of your photo isn't in the centre of the scene and in low-light situations (a particular weakness of many digital cameras) a focus-assist lamp sends out a small patterned beam to help the camera accurately determine distance.
Though it's primarily designed as a point-and-shoot, the A40 includes a surprising number of advanced features for photographers who want more creative control. These include aperture priority, shutter priority, full manual modes, exposure compensation, low-light manual shutter speeds, manual ISO, white balance and stitch assist as well as black-and-white, sepia, vivid and neutral modes.
A movie mode captures video clips with sound. Depending upon resolution, these clips can last from 10 to 30 seconds. The limited length and resolution of these clips guarantees that this feature won't replace your camcorder, but it's perfect for when you just want to capture a quick movie and e-mail it to a friend or relative.
The A40 is the successor to last year's A20. Physically, the two cameras are nearly identical, but the new model has substantially more manual controls and a movie mode. The A40 uses four AA batteries, and a set of alkalines is included. Use of alkaline batteries in digital cameras is not recommended unless you have no alternative: the high power demands of digital cameras drain alkaline batteries ridiculously quickly. Lithium batteries are preferred for occasional users: they last much longer and also stay fresh if your camera sits unused for months at a time. If you use the camera more than once every couple of weeks, we strongly recommend getting a set of rechargeable NiMH batteries and a charger. These can be recharged hundreds of times and hold an excellent charge, but will lose their power in as little as a month of disuse. Many people solve this problem by purchasing a charger with two sets of batteries, keeping one set in the camera and the other in the charger at all times.
Images are stored on standard Type I CompactFlash cards. This camera is supplied with an 8MB card. To transfer images to your computer, simply connect the included USB cable between your PC and your camera. Your computer should automatically recognise your camera and let you move the pictures to your hard drive.
Dimensions of 4.3 by 2.8 by 1.5 inches put the A40 in the middle of the compact-camera pack. The plastic body keeps weight down to 8.8 ounces. The package includes the A40 camera, AV and USB cables, wrist strap, printed manual, software suite, four AA batteries and an 8 MB memory card.
You can take the A40 anywhere, including the beach and the sea. An optional underwater case is effective for use underwater to depths of 30 metres while retaining access to all the camera controls. Also available are a Wide converter and Tele Converter, which extend the zoom lens and your creative possibilities.
Once again I *MUST* recommend you go out and get NiMH rechargeable batteries as it kills AAs super-fast. (about 100 photos with LCD on) Also the 32 meg CF card is the smallest you want, think about a 128meg card as an upgrade.
The camera passed all expectations I had about it. It's simple, and complex to use... Stick it on auto for simple snapping away, with no fuss and non-sense, or choose manual to tinker with shutter speed, exposure and effects. The variable shutter speed is excelent for shots in low light with a tripod, being upto 15 seconds long. The black and white effect makes any shot look profesional, and being able to see what effect adjustments have on your shot, with the LCD is the best!
Last word of warning is to buy some high power rechargable batteries and a charger!
All I can say is BUY THIS CAMERA... IT ROCKS!
I'd never used a digital before, and wasn't expecting the picture quality to be particularly good, but I've been very pleasantly surprised. Even in fully automatic mode it takes sharp, properly exposed pictures in most conditions, and with the manual settings I've managed to get good results where the automatic mode has struggled. I'll certainly be taking it with me whenever I go out now.
I'm extremely pleased with my purchase, and with Amazon's speed of delivery and price -
In agreement with other buyers, I'd reccomend also buying the following, especially if you plan on using it a lot:
64 Mb or 128 Mb compact flash card - The 8Mb card that comes with the camera gets filled in no time at all if you're shooting in superfine mode. I got the Viking card from Amazon... nice perfomance and I haven't found cheaper.
1800MaH NiMH rechargable batteries and charger, otherwise you'll end up spending a fortune on alkalines.
I also bought a Compact Flash Card reader. The download software that comes with the camera worked fine, but it took about 3 - 5 seconds to download one picture in superfine mode. Downloading an entire cardfull seemed to take forever. With a card reader you can do it about 40 times faster.
Buy this camera!
It takes great pictures in Auto mode - just point and shoot, but you also get a lot of manual control over your photos which is good for tweaking shots. The 'movie' mode is actually a lot less gimicky than you might think, it's a great feature just to be able to shoot a quick moving scene without having to take a seperate video camera with you.
I ordered this from Amazon and got a free 32MB CF card with it making it even more of a bargain.
It would have been nice to have got an A/C adapter as part of the standard package, as when you first get the camera, you want to just play about with all the features without having to worry about the batteries running out, but this is just a minor point.
This is a solid piece of equipment and well made. Read more