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Canon PowerShot A40 digital camera

The subject of this short article is one of Canon’s early ventures into digital photography, the PowerShot A40 compact camera. This 2Mp, compact, zoom camera was made in about 2002 and offered a range of features for both the holiday snapshot photographer and the more advanced user.

Canon PowerShot A40 Images

My Canon PowerShot A40

I’ve had my copy of the PowerShot A40 for a number of months now having bought it when I became interested in vintage digital cameras and found it in an auction for a couple of pounds. Although I’m not a great fan of Canon cameras, it was free postage, and included a compact flash memory card so I bought it.

Wen I received it a few days after the end of the sale, I found it was in very good order and, with the addition of a new set of batteries, fully functional. What I wasn’t expecting, and what surprised me about the PowerShot A40, is how well featured the unit is for such an early digital compact.

Canon PowerShot A40 Description

The PowerShot A40 is quite a small camera physically with an optical viewfinder, an integral flash, a 5.4 – 16.2mm zoom lens (35 – 105 eq) and a small LCD panel on the back of the camera which can be used for both composition and picture review. Next to the LCD are the controls which set all the camera’s functionality.

Although the camera seems slow in comparison to a modern camera, it is noticeably faster than many cameras made at the time this unit was popular, meaning in it’s day, this camera would have been pretty fast. It takes about 2 seconds from pressing the button until the lens is extended and the camera is ready, and about another 2 seconds to move the zoom from one end of it’s travel to the other.

As well as offering a fully automatic exposure mode, the PowerShot A40 also offers a Program mode and a fully manual mode (although the only aperture values available are f/2.8 and f/8). In program mode there is the option to adjust the exposure with the exposure compensation button, and there are also controls for white balance and to set the picture ‘effect’ to be used – black & white, vivid etc.

The controls are fairly straight forward to use and also pretty well labelled as to their function. The only slight problem I had was working out how to set the exposure when the camera is set to manual exposure (set with the +/- exp comp button and the arrow keys for shutter speed, and the display button sets the aperture).

One function I was quite surprised to see is the ability to stitch together shots into a panorama. This is done ‘in camera’ but matching the scene as closely as possible while taking the picture, and shows how advanced the camera is for it’s age.

Images are stored on the compact flash card which fits into a slot in the side of the camera. I have taken some sample images with my copy of the PowerShot A40, but don’t have a compact flash reader with me while writing this post. I will include the images at a later date.

Canon PowerShot A40 Specifications

  • Canon PowerShot A40 compact digital camera
  • 2Mp sensor
  • Fully auto exposure, Program Exposure & Manual Exposure mode
  • Auto focus with 3 focus sensors
  • Self-timer
  • Exposure compensation and White balance adjustment
  • Macro, portrait and landscape scene modes
  • Multiple flash modes
  • 5.4 to 16.2 mm Zoom Lens (eq to 35-105 in 35mm terms)
  • Optical viewfinder + LCD panel
  • Rocker switch for zoom, buttons for other functions
  • Removable accessory ring around lens
  • Eye level warning LED’s in optical viewfinder
  • Inbuilt flash
  • Spot or Matrix metering
  • Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400 ISO settings
  • Digital Zoom
  • AF Assist light
  • Compact Flash storage
  • Powered by 4 AA batteries
  • CR2016 button cell for internal memory
  • Auto stitch function for panorama photos
  • Manual available on-line here


I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

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