Card Reader
Batteries / Charger
LCD shades / magnifiers
A40 as WebCam
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Canon A40. Lenses/Filters. Equipment. General Information. Useful Software. Troubleshooting


The A40 uses Type I CompactFlash cards (Type II cards and Microdrives are thicker, and will not fit in the slot).

CompactFlash cards

While many brands are available, most most CompactFlash cards use SanDisk, Lexar Media or Hitachi controllers, and Toshiba, Hitachi or Samsung Flash memory chips. And it's the combination of controller and Flash memory that determines the basic performance of the card.

(Lexar CompactFlash cards are speed rated - a data transfer rate of 1X equals 150 kilobytes (KB) per second; so 24X equals 24 x 150KB/sec, or 3.6MB/sec. The higher the speed rating, the faster the camera will be able to write to the card.)

However, another factor in card performance is the the way the camera and card communicate, and this can vary from one camera model to another. So while a certain brand of card may out-perform others in one camera, it may not compare so well in another.

Cards for the A40

Because the A40 is writing relatively small files, it cannot take the same advantage of a fast card as the more expensive D-SLR cameras, but you might notice some small difference with a faster card, especially when taking movies or shooting in continuous mode.

It has been reported that write speeds with Viking, Transcend and SanDisk Ultra cards appear to be faster on the A40 than SimpleTech and Sandisk non-Ultra cards, with the read speed on just the Viking being slightly faster.

But perhaps under normal circumstances, it's probably not worth spending a vast amount of money for such a small advantage.

256MB have been used without problem in the A40 and, according to Canon, 512MB cards can be used as well. On the other hand, if a 512MB card full of photos was lost or damaged, the loss would be enormous - a few 64MB or 128MB cards might be less risky.

Most CF cards are now shipped pre-formatted, so don't worry if you forgot to format a new card but it still appears to work fine.

Writing to the card takes power, but there doesn't appear to be any significant difference in power consumption for different brands.

(For further information on CompactFlash card performance see

Card Reader

card readerI have a very basic Hama USB reader/writer that cost about 10 UKP. It's significantly quicker and easier that downloading from the camera, and it saves the camera's batteries too.

(This does depend upon having a spare USB port. Serial Port card readers do exist, but they tend to be more expensive.)

The reader appears in Windows Explorer, or any other software, just like any other mass storage device (floppy, CD, etc), so files can be dragged/copied/opened directly in the usual way ... and the correct picture number is in the filename.

I simply create a new folder in my Photography folder, and select and drag the photos from the card to this folder ... and it can also be used to delete photos, and upload to, or even reformat, the card. (Haven't touched ZoomBrowser since!)


Alkaline batteries, such as those that come with the camera, are ready charged and can be used straight away, but they last almost no time at all. Relying on alkaline batteries will be a costly and frustrating business. Since they hold their charge well, it would probably be better to keep them for emergencies, and instead buy some NiMH batteries and a charger.

NiMH Batteries

NiMH (nickel metal hydride) batteries don't normally come pre-charged - they lose charge over a relatively short time (on average 1-2% per day), so there wouldn't be much point. So they need to be charged before first use. Battery performance normally improves a lot after a few charge cycles.

Using the LCD on my A40 all the time, I get maybe 150-200 shots, depending on use of flash, etc.

The 'battery low' indicator gives very little warning  ... there'll be enough power for a few more photos, even with flash, before the 'Change Batteries' instruction appears and the camera switches itself off.

I have two sets, and find this is sufficient. It is important not to mix them, but to keep the sets apart, so one always uses equally charged batteries in the camera.

Extensive information can be found at

Green Issues - Alkalines and Nicads

The manufacture of disposible alkalines can take fifty times more energy than they give out in their lifetime, and uses fossil fuels. Zinc, present in zinc chloride or zinc carbon disposables, is a non-renewable resource. As well as the toxicity of zinc, extraction and refining releases lead, antimony, arsenic and bismuth, which are all toxic, into the environment. Cadmium is a by-product of the extraction of zinc. NiCads contain Cadmium.

Health effects associated with ingestion or inhalation of water, food, or air that has been contaminated with high levels of heavy metals, such as cadmium, mercury, silver, lead, nickel, and zinc, range from headaches and abdominal discomfort to seizures, cancer, comas, and even death. Cadmium is an acutely toxic metal and a known carcinogen that has been shown to affect lung, liver, and kidney damage, anemia, and decrease in male fertility. Batteries that contain heavy metals are considered toxic waste - the vast majority end up in landfill where metals can leach into the environment. They should be disposed of as hazardous waste or recycled.

See: and

But in any case, NiMH batteries have distinct practical advantages over Nicads:
If you have an intelligent charger, NiMHs can be kept on trickle charge, and ready for use.

By all means keep a set of alkalines in case of emergencies, since they hold their charge well, but for regular use use NiMH rechargables.

Lithium Batteries

I tried searching for some information on this ... the following links to the Canon PowerShot groups might help:

See also bit about batteries in:

Might be worth joining the Canon PowerShot A-Series Users Group and posting an explicit question there before trying it - wouldn't want to void the warranty - but it looks like it might be OK.


trekker bag I started off with a Samsonite 'Trekker'. What I like about this is that the camera compartment has a draw-string top, rather than a zip, so the camera slips in easily without risk of scratching the LCD.
(It also has belt loop and shoulder strap, and front zip pocket for spare batteries & card, and nicely fits in my handbag.)

mini bagBut then I wanted something just big enough to hold the camera with the lens adapter in place - with spare batteries and card, and maybe a filter or two - yet which will still fit in my bag. The Jessop 'Town and Country Mini Bag' is just right for this.


I discovered that a lot of even short exposure photos were not as sharp as I would have liked - the tiniest amount of camera shake can spoil a good picture. A bit of post-processing sharpening can help, but it can also make a photo slightly grainier, and it's never quite as good as a really sharp photo.

I bought the Jessops 'Alfa 3' (17.99 UKP) the week before Christmas, but realised quickly that I just wasn't taking it out with me because it was too bulky ... it did have nice features (quick release platform, 3-way pan & tilt, braced legs with clip leg locks), tho' the plastic parts felt rather cheap.

velbon tripod So I exchanged it for the relatively inexpensive Velbon VPT-815 Travel Tripod - 19.99 UKP (in Jessops) - 505g, 10.3" when folded, 40.8" when extended - 2-way pan & tilt and that's about it. It would have been nice if the Velbon VPT-815 had had a quick-release platform, but I've since bought a universal quick-release platfrom adapter to fit it. The tripod is just over a pound weight, but seems sufficiently sturdy for the A40.

(If you decide on the Velbon, I'd check it out carefully in the store first ... the first one I took away had one leg that wouldn't quite extend properly, and a metal trim (at the base of the black) on one of the legs just fell off ... a same metal trim also fell off the next one the salesman brought out when he extended it to check it ... but the third seems fine ... so far)

I haven't used it much yet, but even without the tripod, I always try to brace preferably the camera but if not at least myself against something solid.

There's an interesting article at, which might give some other ideas.

LCD shades/magnifiers

I've seen shades and magnifiers discussed in relation to other cameras,but I've not tried it myself. One would need to take care to get something that fits without obstructing the buttons.

For instance, there's the 'Xtend-a-View' LCD shades/magnifier described at

See a few reviews at

Another idea might be to make your own using an inexpensive slide viewer, as in and

(note the warnings about focusing sun on the LCD)

or even something like

A40 as WebCam

According to, it can be done /if/ you happen to have a capture device to hand, to connect to the camera.

On the other hand, I've seen references to certain webcam functions provided by the Cam4you software for PowerShot cameras at

I have no idea if this is sufficient to get the A40 working as a webcam in any way, but it might be worth a look.