The Bottom Line
If you're primarily worried about two things in a beginner-level digital camera -- a low price and good image quality -- the PowerShot A2400 from Canon may be a perfect camera for you. It can be found for less than $150, and my PowerShot A2400 review shows a model that shoots pretty good photos.
However, if your needs for a camera go beyond those basic desires mentioned above, you probably are going to be a bit disappointed in this model, no matter how inexpensively you can find it on the market.
I felt like the control buttons with this camera were poorly designed, which makes the A2400 frustrating to use. The buttons are too small for anyone with average-sized fingers, which makes it difficult to scroll through the camera's menus, as this model has no mode dial. Finally, the A2400 has some below-average features, including a small zoom lens and LCD screen.
This camera is very easy to use, and it'll get the job done, but it may frustrate you a bit along the way. Still, because of its image quality and low price point, the A2400 represents a pretty good value.
I was pleasantly surprised with the image quality of the PowerShot A2400, at least initially. The images have good color accuracy and vibrancy.
However, when you attempt to print these images at large sizes, which is something you likely will want to do with a 16MP camera, you'll notice a bit of image softness. The autofocus mechanism just isn't pin sharp, which isn't a significant surprise for a budget-priced model. As long as you stick with smaller prints or with sharing the photos electronically, the slightly soft focus issue shouldn't bother you.
I also was pretty pleased with flash photos, as the A2400's autofocus assist lamp works very well in low-light photos. Many budget-priced cameras really suffer with flash and low-light photos, but the A2400 is an above-average performer here.
It would've been nice to see a few more resolution options with this camera, as you only have five choices. Additionally, you only have one resolution option of 12 megapixels when shooting at a widescreen ratio, which is disappointing.
Movies shot with the A2400 IS are limited to 720p HD, and the camera has no HDMI slot for downloading movies quickly.
The response times for the A2400 are pretty much what you'd expect for a camera in this price range. Shutter lag problems and shot-to-shot delays will cause you to miss a few spontaneous photos. You'll be tired of seeing the word "busy" on the screen between shots.
If you're looking for big-time powerful features to be built into the PowerShot A2400 IS, you're going to be disappointed. Canon did include 16 megapixels of resolution with this model, which is nice at this price point. However, the 5X optical zoom lens is disappointingly small in today's point-and-shoot market, where 10X and larger zoom lenses are becoming very common, even in the best thin cameras.
Canon included a few features aimed at helping to improve the performance of this camera, but none of them are advanced features. There is an optical IS option with the A2400 IS, which doesn't always happen for a model in the sub-$150 price range.
There are a few advanced features available with this camera, but you really will have to hunt for them, as there's only basic modes available at first glance. You have to drill down through a few menus to find the manual control features, such as setting the ISO or white balance.
Because the automatic mode works pretty well, though, the beginning photographers at whom Canon is aiming the A2400 IS probably won't find themselves seeking out the more advanced modes very often.
Canon also included plenty of "help" screen with this camera, which contributes to the strong "ease-of-use" factor with the A2400.
Canon's design of the PowerShot "A" series has been pretty consistent during the past few years: A colorful camera with a sharp-edged rectangular shape. The PowerShot A2400 IS is no different. It's a nice looking camera for beginners with four color options.
I wish I could say the same about this camera's control buttons on the back panel. Simply put, these buttons are awful to use for any extended period of time. The buttons are too small for someone with average-sized fingers. Even worse, they're not raised away from the camera body at all, which makes it very difficult to press them. Because the A2400 has no mode dial, you have to make all of the choices for the camera's settings using the buttons and the on-screen menus.
Speaking of the LCD screen, it's a little small, measuring 2.7 inches diagonally, and it's not as sharp as I'd like to see. If you use the brightest setting that's available in the on-screen menus, you will be able to use this camera pretty easily in bright sunlight outdoors, as the glare will be minimized.
To be fair, because the A2400 IS is designed specifically as a beginner-level camera, you might not use the buttons a lot, because you'll be shooting in automatic mode the vast majority of the time. Still, this design flaw was a significant drawback to the A2400 in my opinion.
If you don't mind the small buttons, this camera has enough other adequate features to be worth a look for a beginner. Considering its reasonably good image quality, its price is certainly right.