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Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Review

The low-light performance of mega-zoom digital cameras isn’t quite as excellent as that of other digital cameras. Still, there’s nothing better than zooming in on something far away. Although Canon has played this game for quite some time, I have never considered its mega zooms among my favorites. Olympus was a pioneer in developing the first long-zoom lenses, and the company still makes some intriguing designs today. Since the days of the 18x zoom, however, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Casio, Canon, and Nikon have all entered the competition.

It’s not that there was anything wrong with Canon’s image quality; instead, the experience of using Canon mega zooms was just not as pleasurable as using other brands’ models. Canon is fighting for the league lead with the release of the SX40 HS. It’s possible that Canon devotees didn’t mind the shortcomings of its predecessors. Still, the Canon SX40 HS is a camera that everyone interested in a mega zoom needs to consider. It was an incredible adventure to take part in.

Look and Feel. Sculpted is the adjective that best describes it—sculpted like an EOS digital single-lens reflex camera, in point of fact, with those natural shoulders from Brooks Brothers. Mad guys. You don’t even worry about individual components like a grip or the controls because the Canon SX40 fits the hand and is so comfortable. It’s all just one charming sculpture on its whole.

Even compared to other compact mega zooms, the Canon SX40 is still too large to fit in a pocket, although it has a tiny footprint. It has a square shape. On one axis is the lens, and on the other is the camera’s body. However, you won’t mind swinging the Canon SX40 from your shoulder or wrist since it’s attached to either. It looks excellent. Everywhere you look, form and function may be found.

The eyelet for the shoulder strap is the only component that does not pass the design test. It is deftly integrated into the body so that it does not protrude, but much like the other eyelets on Canon cameras, it has pointed edges that risk the strap becoming frayed.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Controls

Even though I’m not usually a fan of power buttons, I didn’t have any problems with the one on the SX40 HS. Thankfully, it is not negligible, so you can locate it (even if you have to look for it next to the Mode dial).

The Playback button may turn the camera’s power on and off. The Playback button on specific cameras may activate the camera (so that you can view your photographs without extending the lens). Still, you cannot turn off the camera using this button. I realized how annoying it wasn’t until I used the Playback button on the SX40 HS. It has a more ingenious layout.

The Shutter button and the Zoom lever functioned together highly efficiently and effectively; it seemed almost natural. There are two speeds available for the Zoom control. The zoom level will gradually increase when you press it just a tiny bit. When you press it farther, it picks up pace. Excellent for use in the video.

The addition of Movie buttons on the rear of the camera does not appeal to me either. When I first start recording a video, I don’t want to have to move the camera in front of me (or lower it). However, there is not enough space on the upper deck for another button, and the one there is already arranged very well in a conical ring. You only have to slide your thumb a little bit more to the left to get there. When you click the button on the rear panel of a mega-zoom camera, you use your left hand to hold the lens. This keeps the camera from falling when you hit the button.

The mode dial of the Canon SX40 is undoubtedly the most attractive I’ve ever seen; it’s practically a piece of art in and of itself. I’m not sure why I’m so impressed with what amounts to little more than a Mode dial, but it certainly exudes elegance. It is more significant than most and has a lovely hollowed-out appearance. Even the bottom has a sliver of a dark red glow that’s just about noticeable. Canon ought to be given some prize for it.

The hot shoe of the Canon SX40 is protected from corrosion by a cover made of rubber and is located on the top of the camera. This design choice disrupts the lines of the top hump. Push the cap forward until you feel the front of it lift, and then pull the show up and off toward the rear of the bottle. It might be unclear at first, but it’s very simple once you get the hang of it.

In addition, there is a user-definable Shortcut button that can be assigned to i-Contrast, White Balance, Custom White Balance, My Colors, Drive Mode, Flash Exposure Compensation/Output, Light Metering, Aspect Ratio (which happens to be my favorite), Servo AF, Powered IS, AF Lock, AE Lock, Digital Teleconverter, or Display Off.

When I used Manual, Aperture Priority, or Shutter Priority modes on the Canon SX40, I had a problem with the camera’s controls. A subdial is included on certain mega zooms, which may be used to choose the desired selection (aperture, shutter, or both). The Canon SX40 HS, on the other hand, utilizes the scroll wheel.

It’s a beautiful scroll wheel, but when I tried to hold it to spin it left or right to modify the aperture or shutter speed, I discovered that I inadvertently pressed in too much, which made it difficult to control. And it would set either the EV or the Focus mode, or it would activate the ISO.

The LCD is a 2.7-inch TFT color Vari-angle LCD with a broad viewing angle (which is not as crucial on an articulating screen) and roughly 230,000 dots, which is not among the finest resolutions these days. The LCD has a variable viewing angle. I had difficulty recognizing the presence of a soft focus in macro images while using the LCD.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Lens

Even with the optical image stabilization turned on, the 35x optical zoom on the Canon SX40 HS camera is too powerful to be held comfortably in one hand due to its comparable focal length range of 24mm to 840mm when measured in terms of the 35mm format. When you include the 4x digital zoom, that 35x camera can now shoot up to 140x.

We used it to take a handheld shot of a loud squirrel, and we successfully did so by somehow guiding the camera while pressing the shutter button.

Macro caused us a lot of trouble. The range is from zero to 1.6 feet, but you constantly feel too far away because the lens has a broad angle comparable to 24 millimeters. Furthermore, when you zoom in to get the perfect, undistorted composition, you find that it is beyond the macro range of the lens.

The maximum aperture varies depending on the lens setting, going from f/2.7 for wide-angle to f/5.8 for telephoto. The slowest shutter speed can be achieved with the Canon SX40 HS is 15 seconds while using the Shutter Priority shooting mode. The fastest shutter speed that can be achieved is one second.

Conveniently, the lens cap has a little finger on the inside that can be clipped into the shoulder strap so that it can hang from the string it is attached to.

Image Quality of the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Camera

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS generally generated a pretty good color, but the brilliant yellows were undersaturated. On the other hand, the robust reds, blues, and certain greens were pumped a little bit (greens, least of all). Although this issue is pretty typical with digital cameras, the hue is wrong for hues like yellow, orange, and cyan. Darker skin tones tend to lean toward yellow, whereas lighter skin tones have a very slight tendency toward red. Overall, this was a solid showing.

The manual white balance setting worked much better with our incandescent lighting than the Incandescent default, which produced far too pink results. Auto mode yielded far better results than usual, but with a tiny pinkish cast.

The resolution chart available in the lab showed clear, distinct line patterns down to around 1,800 lines per image height in both directions. The design completely disappeared at a line density of 2,200 and 2,400 lines per image height.

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS ISO

Detail and Noise: The PowerShot SX40 HS provided a good point at ISO 100 and 200, with apparent softening beginning at ISO 400 and developing from there. Noise levels were low across the camera’s sensitivity range. The chroma (color) noise is generally well managed, but it will begin to affect the color as the parameters increase. The luminance noise becomes far more noticeable, but the camera’s attempts to conceal it also rise, which leads to details being muddled. Please refer to the section under “Printed” for further information on this impact on prints.

Specifications

Body typeSLR-like (bridge)
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions4000 x 2248, 4000 x 2664, 2992 x 2992, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1880, 2816 x 1584, 2112 x 2112, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1600 x 1064, 1200 x 1200, 640 x 480, 640 x 424, 640 x 360, 480 x 480
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ISOAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
Focal length (equiv.)24–840 mm
Optical zoom35×
Maximum apertureF2.7–5.8
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaSelective single-pointSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Macro focus range0 cm (0″)
Number of focus points9
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size2.7″
Screen dots230,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typePureColor II VA TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/3200 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesYes
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range7.00 m
External flashYes (Hot-shoe)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Fill-in
Continuous drive10.3 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (24fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30, 120 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 240 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerNone
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-10L rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)380
Weight (inc. batteries)600 g (1.32 lb / 21.16 oz)
Dimensions123 x 92 x 108 mm (4.84 x 3.62 x 4.25″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone

Conclusion

When you first look at it, the Canon SX40 HS is a stunning camera. Once you have it in your possession, the joy of using it will quickly become apparent to you. Long after you’ve forgotten how much fun it was to compose with it, you’ll continue to appreciate the vivid colors and minute details it catches. The specifications are a source of comfort as well. A 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor is fed by the Canon SX40’s 35x optical zoom lens, which has a focal length range of 24-840mm. This sensor enables the camera to shoot high-speed Full HD video. When framing tricky photos, the 2.7-inch articulating LCD is just what you need, while the electronic viewfinder (EVF) does the job in bright sunshine.

Taking a step back from the SX30’s 14.1-megapixel sensor enhanced the camera’s performance at high ISO settings, while upgrading to the most recent DIGIC 5 engine helped bring chromatic aberration and distortion under control.

The Canon SX40 HS is a touch heavier than comparable mega zooms and has somewhat reduced capabilities for capturing macro subjects, but these are rather minor issues. The heaviness is a good sign that the build quality is high, and the macro functionality comes at the expense of the zoom range. The quality of the prints was another nice surprise. Even at the lowest ISO level, the camera could easily create an excellent 16×20-inch pattern, and even at the maximum setting, it produced a fantastic 4×6.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Microphones in stereo
  • The very long 35x lens also has a large field of view.
  • Excellent picture quality overall.
  • Compact and aesthetically pleasing design for the camera
need Improvement
  • Microphones in stereo
  • The very long 35x lens also has a large field of view.
  • Excellent picture quality overall.
  • Compact and aesthetically pleasing design for the camera

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