Known A40 Problems
Poor picture quality
Blurry pictures
Flash too brightDark pictures
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Canon A40. Lenses/Filters. Equipment. General Information. Useful Software. Troubleshooting

Known A40 problems

Focus Problem

The early editions of the A40 had trouble focusing when the camera was zoomed to the second last zoom position of 13.4mm. Canon provided an adjustment for this around July 2002.

A40 cameras released since then will have this adjustment included. If the fifth digit of the serial number of your camera is 5 or highter, then the adjustment should already be applied.

Some cameras with a 4 as the fifth digit have also been found to not require the adjustment, so if in doubt go to the Canon site to check your serial number.

Further information can be found under 'Service Notifications' at

Problem with focusing in Infinity Mode

Several people have reported finding it difficult to get a focus in Infinity mode, and almost impossible when zoomed as well. Chuck Martin suggests that ...

"... when in Landscape the lens cannot move away from its setting for the hyperfocal distance, and that this inability to move interferes with the A40's ability to determine that an object at, say, 50 ft is really in focus. Certainly, when you look at the LCD while "focusing" in Landscape it is hard to detect any lens motion. I don't know if the A40 needs to focus back and forth a little bit to find the best focus setting or not, but the behavior in Landscape suggests that it might."

However, not everyone seems to have this problem, so I don't know if this is a fault or a limitiation.

Poor picture quality

In AUTO mode

It should be possible to take good photos using Auto mode without even trying.

Things that might affect picture quality in Auto mode include:
If  none of these are a factor, then it could be that there is a fault with the camera.
  1. I find the photos straight from the camera are a little soft, so I often apply a little 'Unsharp Mask' to them as a matter of course.

Blurry Pictures

Often caused by camera shake, especially with longer exposures. To avoid this, hold the camera on or against a fixed object - a wall or fence, cafe tables, street lamps, rubbish bins ... anything that hopefully won't move. Consider buying a tripod.

And I also heard that breathing out, holding it, and shooting between heartbeats can also work - but not for long exposures ... :-)

Using the self timer can also help, by avoiding any slight movement caused by pressing/releasing the shutter.

Flash too bright

A couple of options - try a few practice shots to see the effects:
  1. In Program mode(P), first of all adjust the exposure compensation (the ± button)[p.75] ... -2 will give a relatively dark photo. And if possible, meter (which happens when you half press the shutter to set the focus) on a light area rather than a dark area. This will also decrease the exposure a little further.
  2. In Manual mode(M), a smaller aperture[p.69] will give a darker photo. And if the subject is close enough, switch to macro mode[p.55], and this will also reduce the intensity of the flash.

Dark Pictures

If your pictures are coming out too dark, try metering on dark areas rather than light ones.


If you see bright circles or spots on photos taken with flash, and the lens appears to be clean, then this is probably caused by particles (dust, pollen, etc) in the air.


There's also an interesting thread on the CANON DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY FORUM at <>

And an explanation of sorts at <>

I really don't know if a slave flash would help, because I assume the A40 flash would still be operating, but if you could borrow one it might be worth a try.

Might be a wild goose chase, but you could try changing some small thing, just in case ...
... like trying a different flash mode - slow synch for example?
... or different picture modes - perhaps snapshot or infinity?
... or changing from AUTO to Program, or from Program to Manual, etc?

Otherwise it's probably a case of waiting for most of the dust to settle, taking more than one photo, or just trying to do without flash whenever possible in that sort of situation ...

Another suggestion I just came across is to use a Negative Ion Generator - used to purify air by precipitating out the particles. Don't know how well it would work - probably not very well if folk keep moving around - and sounds expensive, so maybe not worth buying one - but if dust is a regular problem, and you just happen to know someone that has one ...