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 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
35x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24 - 840mm) with ultrasonic motor
Image Stabiliser (4.5-stop)
12.1 megapixel sensor
HS System with DIGIC 5
Full 1080p HD
2.7 inch vari-angle LCD screen
High-speed Burst HQ
Zoom Framing Assist
Range of accessories
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
Wide - Focus and Shutter Response Average
Full zoom - Focus and Shutter Response Average
Switch on time
High-speed burst HQ
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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Cons
A larger screen would be good
Costs similar to that of an entry level DSLR