A few years ago, I found the Canon S100, Canon’s first tiny, high-quality digital camera.  Since that time, I have loved the series.  Each has been an improvement on its predecessor, with still higher quality, refined features, and with a common heritage of pocket size, high-quality performance unmatched by the competition.

Now, with the new Canon PowerShot S400, $499, which I found while shopping at Best Buy, this is a camera that makes a perfect Father’s Day gift for the dad (or anyone) who wants outstanding four megapixel performance, ease of use, rugged construction and much more.  Best of all, it is SO small, it literally fits in the palm of the hand AND in a pocket without a case.  Hold up a credit card.  The S400 fits neatly behind it.  Its rugged stainless steel body with the new super hard Cerabrite finish guards against scratching is better than the original.  This camera does not need to be carried in a case, which is something I recommend for 99% of the other digital cameras out there.  When off, the lens is flush and protected by a built-in lens cover, and the camera fits neatly slipped into a pants or jacket pocket.

How great is this!  A camera so easy to use, with high quality images, easy to use and that is easy to take along anywhere.  Do not underestimate the benefit of this small size.  No cases to drag around, and that means the user will gladly take it along and it won’t get in the way.  Just pop it in a pocket and you’re good to go!

Under the skin, there is a brilliantly designed 3x optical zoom lens, with a 3.6x digital for a total of 11x combined zoom.  I always recommend using only the optical zoom whenever possible, as this does not degrade the image quality.

There is also a nine-point autofocus that makes focusing instant and easy, even with off-center subjects.

I found an improved Movie mode allowing up to three minutes apiece – with sound!  In other words, I can put my big 256MB CF memory card inside and take well over 100 high-quality photos and have room for several three-minute videos with sound.

To top it all off, this camera carries Direct Print capabilities with Canon printers, such as the Card Printer CP-100 dye-sublimation printer and others listed HERE.  So, with the proper cable and supplied software, this camera plugs directly into the printer WITHOUT the computer, and prints directly from the camera.  It just does not get easier than this.

I recently took along my borrowed PowerShot S400 on a trip with Mrs. Gadget to share in the joy as we watched our nephew graduate from a Midwest law school.  The S400 was a perfect travel partner, so small and unobtrusive.  In this age of pain-in-the-neck travel, with its many restrictions, what a pleasure it was to take along the S400.  I was ready for all the action.  The S400 captured the event and the people perfectly in very high quality, with sharp and accurate colors and with great detail.  It even captured the surprise as my nephew and his lady love announced their engagement before both of them drove off, U-Haul trailer in tow, to start their new life together in another state.  I not only captured precious digital photos, but I also captured in video and sound all the farewells and even the images as they drove away.  All on that tiny camera.

I returned home and transferred the photos without effort to my Macintosh G4 and to a Windows XP PC with a simple plug-in to the computers.  I then selected a few of the photos to print on my $149 Canon i850.  The results were absolutely remarkable.  “Stunning” was the word from one of my family members upon seeing a beautiful 8 x 10 that came from the i850! For those of you who will see one of these photos during Father’s Day with Mr. Gadget® gift segments on TV, you, too, will know of the quality of both the camera and printer.

Get to know this Canon S400 and be rewarded for many years to come.  Dad is going to love it, too!

More information is at www.bestbuy.com/canonstore/cameras and at www.usa.Canon.com or by calling 1-800-OK-CANON (1-800-652-2666).

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