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Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Digital Camera Review

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Category: Compact Cameras
Product: Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Price: £200.00
Rating: 4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Digital Camera Review - The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS has a 35x optical zoom lens, full HD video recording and high-speed shooting, Daniel Bell gives us his opinion.

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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS front angled
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS front angled

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS was released as an update to the SX30 in September 2011 featuring a 35x optical zoom lens, 12.1 megapixel sensor, full HD video recording, image stabilisation. It is available now for £369.00.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS front
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS front

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Features

The headlining feature on the SX40 is the massive 35x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24 - 840mm, making it ideal to shoot landscapes and long-range close-ups. The camera has an ultrasonic motor for accurate, near silent zooming. To ensure images are sharp there is Intelligent Image Stabilisation, for use in low light and when using the lens at longer lengths.

Packed with Canon's HS System, DIGIC 5 image processor and high-sensitivity CMOS sensor you can shoot images with low noise and high image quality even in low light, therefore reducing the need for flash or tripod and freezing motion without blur. With High-speed Burst HQ mode you can shoot full 12.1 megapixel images at up to 10.3 fps.

To make picture taking easy there is Smart Auto mode which automatically detects from 32 different scene modes (21 in movies). Multi-area White Balance allows the capture of scenes in their natural colours even when illuminated by multiple types of light.

If you are a more advanced photographer there are full manual controls, allowing you to set your own aperture, shutter speed, white balance and ISO. If you lose your subject when shooting at the maximum zoom you can hit the Zoom Framing Assist button and the lens will automatically zoom out and zoom back the moment it's released.

An optional lens filter adapter lets you attach 67mm lens filters from Canon’s EOS range. A hot-shoe allows use of Canon Speedlite EX flash units to increase flash range.

The SX40 records videos at full 1080p HD with stereo sound at 24fps, optical zoom and can also be connected to a HDTV for playback.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS lens extended
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS lens extended

Key Features

  • 35x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24 - 840mm) with ultrasonic motor
  • Image Stabiliser (4.5-stop)
  • Intelligent IS
  • 12.1 megapixel sensor
  • HS System with DIGIC 5
  • Full 1080p HD
  • 2.7 inch vari-angle LCD screen
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Smart Auto
  • Multi-area WB
  • High-speed Burst HQ
  • Manual modes
  • Zoom Framing Assist
  • Range of accessories
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS top
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS top

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Handling

The SX40 is made of plastic and looks very much like a small DSLR with a mode dial found on the top. Also on the top of the camera is a flash button, you'd expect this to pop up the flash but it doesn't. The flash has to be manually lifted and the button simply switches between the flash modes available. On the rear is a 2.7 inch swivel screen, if you'd prefer you can also shoot using the clear, bright electronic viewfinder. The d-pad also rotates allowing you to quickly cycle through menu options. 

The menu system is typical of Canon compacts and is clear and easy to navigate. The battery has a CIPA rating of 380 shots, which is great if you tend to go out shooting all day. Below we have measured shutter response and focusing speed at both wide angle and telephoto settings. We took 6 shots and calculated the average speed of the camera. The results can be seen below:

Shutter Response Average   0.2 seconds
Wide - Focus and Shutter Response Average   0.6 seconds
Full zoom - Focus and Shutter Response Average   0.6 seconds
Switch on time   2.5 seconds
Shot-to-shot   2.6 seconds
Continuous Shooting   2.1 fps
High-speed burst HQ   10 fps

Both continuous shooting and High-speed burst mode shoot at full 12.1 megapixels.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS screen to side
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS screen to side

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Performance

Whether shooting wide or with the lens fully extended, the SX40 takes wonderfully detailed images with a touch of softness in the corners. Pictures tend to be well exposed with excellent colour reproduction with no signs of purple fringing. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 0cm! This allows you to get really close to take great, well detailed, macro images.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Lens test images

Wide-angle | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Wide-angle | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Full optical zoom | 1/125 sec | f/5.8 | 150.5 mm | ISO 100

Full optical zoom | 1/125 sec | f/5.8 | 150.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Digital zoom | 1/125 sec | f/5.8 | 150.5 mm | ISO 100

Digital zoom | 1/125 sec | f/5.8 | 150.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Macro | 0.4 sec | f/2.7 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Macro | 0.4 sec | f/2.7 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
High-Res


At the lowest settings, ISO 100 and ISO 200, good sharp images with minimal amounts of noise are produced. At ISO 400 you can see a little extra noise appearing with the images becoming softer at ISO 800. Noise continues to increase as you go through ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 but the camera still produces decent image which colours unaffected by the extra levels of noise found at these settings.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS ISO test images

ISO 100 | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm

ISO 100 | 1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm
High-Res

ISO 200 | 1/25 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm

ISO 200 | 1/25 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm
High-Res

ISO 400 | 1/50 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm

ISO 400 | 1/50 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm
High-Res

ISO 800 | 1/100 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm

ISO 800 | 1/100 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm
High-Res

ISO 1600 | 1/200 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm

ISO 1600 | 1/200 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm
High-Res

ISO 3200 | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm

ISO 3200 | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 14.3 mm
High-Res


Below are some examples using some of the scene modes available. The landscapes have good blues and greens, but if you want a more colourful sky you can select Vivid Blue from "My Colours". Also available is Vivid Green and Vivid Red. Portraits have pleasant skin tones and are free from red-eye. The 35x optical zoom lens also means it's possible to take detailed pictures of the moon, but requires the use a tripod to ensure they are sharp.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Sample Photos

Landscape | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Landscape | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Landscape with building | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 5.6 mm | ISO 100

Landscape with building | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 5.6 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 12.9 mm | ISO 100

Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 12.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Sport | 1/1250 sec | f/4.5 | 22.2 mm | ISO 1600

Sport | 1/1250 sec | f/4.5 | 22.2 mm | ISO 1600
High-Res

Vivid Red | 1/320 sec | f/5.0 | 53.2 mm | ISO 100

Vivid Red | 1/320 sec | f/5.0 | 53.2 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Moon | 1/200 sec | f/5.8 | 150.5 mm | ISO 100

Moon | 1/200 sec | f/5.8 | 150.5 mm | ISO 100
High-Res


Under the incandescent lighting the AWB preset gives a strong orange cast in the image, with the better result coming from the incandescent preset. Under the fluorescent lights there is very little difference to tell whether using the AWB or fluorescent presets.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS White-balance test images

AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/25 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100

AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/25 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100

Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100

AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100

Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.2 | 6.6 mm | ISO 100
High-Res


For an added touch of creativity there are a range of filters as well as "My Colours" which can be used during shooting. Examples of some are below.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Digital filters

Colour accent | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800

Colour accent | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

Colour swap | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800

Colour swap | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

Fish-eye effect | 1/80 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 1600

Fish-eye effect | 1/80 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 1600
High-Res

Miniature effect | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800

Miniature effect | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

My colours - black and white | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - black and white | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

My colours - neutral | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - neutral | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

My colours - positive film | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - positive film | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

My colours - sepia | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - sepia | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

My colours - vivid | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - vivid | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

My colours - vivid blue | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - vivid blue | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

My colours - vivid green | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - vivid green | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

My colours - vivid red | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100

My colours - vivid red | 1/5 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Poster effect | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800

Poster effect | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

Super vivid | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800

Super vivid | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

Toy camera effect | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800

Toy camera effect | 1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

Monochrome | 1/80 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 1600

Monochrome | 1/80 sec | f/4.0 | 15.9 mm | ISO 1600
High-Res


Video Mode

Below is an example video shot at 1080p HD. Optical zoom is available during recording and you can also record Super Slow Motion videos, examples of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.



Value For Money

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is currently available for £369.00. There aren't many other digital compact cameras which offer this amount of zoom, other options being the Nikon Coolpix P500 at £279.00 and Olympus SP-610 UZ at £189.00, both of which offer 36x optical zoom. Other cameras to offer a large amount of optical zoom are the Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR at £469.00, Sony DSC-HX100V at £384.95 and Fujifilm FinePix S4500 at £229.00.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Verdict

If your main requirement from a camera is a large amount of optical zoom you can't go far wrong with the PowerShot SX40 HS. If it is manual controls that you particularly desire then there are a few cameras to consider, particularly with the SX40's price taking it to that of an entry level DSLR. Overall, picture quality is good and the camera has a wide range of features to help you take creative pictures.

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is a feature-packed camera which also produces great images.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Pros

Full 1080p HD video recording
0cm minimum focusing distance
35x optical zoom
10 fps High-speed shooting at full resolution
Electronic viewfinder

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Cons

A larger screen would be good
Costs similar to that of an entry level DSLR

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Specifications

ManufacturerCanon
Lens
Max Aperture f/2.7 - f/5.8
35mm equivalent 24mm - 840mm
Optical Zoom 35x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels 12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 4000
Pixels (H) 3000
Sensor Type CMOS
Sensor Size 1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width) 6.16mm
Sensor Size (height) 4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 2.7in
Screen resolution 230,000 dots
Touch Screen No
Focusing
Min Focus 0cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/3200sec
Shutter speeds longest 15sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity 100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp +/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting 10.3fps
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS 24
Stereo Sound No
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi No
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-10L
CIPA Rating 380
Box Contents
Box Contents Lens Cap (with strap), Neck Strap NS-DC11, Case for Hot Shoe Cap, Battery Pack NB-10L, Battery Charger CB-2LCE, AC Cable, Interface Cable IFC-400PCU (for USB), User Manual Kit
Dimensions
Weight 600g
Width 122.9mm
Height 92.4mm
Depth 107.7mm

View Full Product Details




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Comments

franken
franken e2 Member 112924 forum postsfranken vcard Wales4 Constructive Critique Points
18 Jan 2012 - 3:26 PM

I never understand as to why camera manufacturers are of the opinion that we don't need the ability to shoot raw especially at the price of this one?

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19 May 2012 - 5:44 PM

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paulbroad
paulbroad  681 forum posts United Kingdom826 Constructive Critique Points
19 May 2012 - 5:44 PM

RAW would be nice, but is this aimed at people who need RAW? I've just bought one for my wife, who is quite a keen photographer, but finds my Canon DSLR's heavy. She can now use my EOS flash should she need to, but has a much lighter camera.

The image quality is very good - difficult in many cases to tell the difference on computer screen to work from my 40D or 7D. I shoot RAW with both cameras when necessary, but usually use best JPG for bulk shooting - RAW + JPG on occasion. It can be very difficult to tell any difference in many cases and most photographers will tend to shoot best JPG for most general purposes.

Try processing 2000 images shot at a car show in RAW - life just isn't long enough!

paul

clint11
clint11  1
26 Jun 2012 - 1:54 AM

Ive just ordered this lens .Should get it in a few days .I wanted to get nikon because i wanted the range .But i realized i could not put a filter or hood on it without some adapter and i didnt want to go through the hassle .Then i thought of Sony because of it having the best picture quality .But i realized that also didnt have any facility for attaching the hood or lens directly .Then for a very long time i was going to get the Lumix..but the 600mm range held me back .Lumix is supposed to be the best around because its very fast and has a good picture and also has raw .But its range kept on pulling me back . In the end ,all of a sudden , i got this canon .I know overall its a good camera with all around performance and a good 840mm range .Oh i so much wish it had raw like Lumix .I have seen in a video that lumix has a separate section where one gets both jpeg &raw in 1 place .
I have a good slr which takes super photos . .But not this range 0-840 in 1 go .So that means if im taking a photo of a coin 1in from me and all of a sudden an eagle is flying 20feet over me .I can straight away take several photos of that also . So great isnt it .

bluedog69
bluedog69  2
8 Sep 2012 - 11:51 AM

With a fixed LCD screen (and low res at that), and no evf, this is hardly a replacement for the SX40.

I hope it's not. I'd like to replace my Canon S3 IS - but not this!

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