At ISO 100 and in good light, the Canon A4000 IS performs superbly, with pictures that are very clean and show excellent levels of colour saturation with good dynamic range. The camera's HDR-like i-Contrast function can be activated to open up shadows and hold back the highlights to improve dynamic range further.
Outdoors in sunny conditions, the Canon A4000 IS's Auto White Balance (top) delivers accurate colours that are very close to those achieved with the manual Daylight preset. In dull conditions, or when faced with strong colours, better results are frequently obtained using the presets or by creating a Custom White Balance (an easy process with the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS). Here, the difference between using AWB (top) and the Daylight preset (bottom) is, almost like night and day.
Boasting a 16MP sensor, the Canon A4000 IS produces images that are of a high enough resolution to enable fairly substantial cropping in software. However, this will exacerbate the effects of noise associated with the higher ISO settings.
Using the widest zoom setting, the Canon A4000 IS can focus on subjects as close as 1cm from the front of the lens in Macro mode. However, there's noticeable difference in sharpness between the centre and the edges.
The Canon A4000 IS's 28-224mm equivalent zoom offers a good range of framing options for everyday shooting. However, it's left a little wanting at the wide-angle when compared to the likes of the sub-£100/$150 Olympus VR-340 (24-240mm) and £150/$170 Nikon Coolpix S6300 (25-250mm).
The Canon A4000 IS's lens does show signs of chromatic aberration. In this image it's quite subtle, with colour separation only visible around the bird and towards the top of the building. It was particularly noticeable when shooting bright flowers against blue skies during our tests, with the petals taking on a faint red halo.
For the most part, the Canon PowerShot A4000 IS's evaluative metering can be relied on to give good results. In low light, some positive exposure compensation may be required to brighten up the image. In high-contrast conditions, the Canon A4000 IS has a tendency to favour opening up shadow detail - resulting in this scene being overexposed.
Despite the emphasis on automatic operation, the Canon A4000 IS does enable you to have some creative freedom. The camera has six dedicated creative modes: Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect and Toy Camera Effect (seen used here, with a touch of flash).
There are also scene modes to use when shooting snow, fireworks, long exposures, portraits and subjects in low light, although the resolution drops to 4MP for the latter.
Canon PowerShot A4000 IS at 5.0mm (28mm equivalent)
Canon PowerShot A4000 IS at 40.0mm (224mm equivalent)