Canon’s latest SX40 HS superzoom retains the 35x optical zoom and design of the previous SX30 IS. But with a new CMOS sensor is the PowerShot SX40 the superzoom we’ve been waiting for? The What Digital Camera Canon PowerShot SX40 HS review…
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS review – Performance
With the superzoom market getting fiercely competitive, recent releases have seen vast improvements in focusing speeds. However, this is one area where the SX40 fails to amp up performance compared to its SX30 predecessor. As such the SX40 HS’s focusing speed is ample, yet can’t live up to the snappier speeds of the latest Panasonic Lumix FZ150, for example. Focusing areas, too, are also confined: the SX40 doesn’t offer a multi-area AF system, instead ‘FlexiZone’ AF provides a single AF point that can be moved around the majority of the screen. Face Detection and Tracking options also feature, though tracking fails to continuously autofocus. It’s possible to adjust the size of the focus point between small and large using a dedicated button on the rear of the camera, and placement is broad across the screen with the exception of the outermost edges.
The provision to shoot at up to 10.3fps is one of the SX40’s standout features, but this mode should be taken with a pinch of salt. Only accessible via the Scene options, this mode can’t be used with manual exposure adjustment and maxes out after capturing eight frames. The focus point is also fixed so no focus adjustment or continuous autofocus is possible. Should any of the manual modes be used then the Canon is reduced to 2.4fps at its best speed. A partial success, and yet other models such as the Panasonic FZ150 offer a superior 12fps burst mode or an AF Tracking mode at up to 5.5fps. Canon should have been able to go one better here.
The new sensor and processor do mean that Full HD 1080p video is possible, and this is one of the SX40’s finer points. The highest resolution clips are recorded at 24fps, or 720p can be captured at 30fps. The 1080p mode is of a good quality, the zoom can be used during
recording and the camera automatically glides into focus without needing
to half press the shutter. Plus there are 120fps and 240fps slow motion modes at lower resolutions, yet these latter two settings do suffer to excess from compression, but are fun to have nonetheless.
The camera’s zoom lens also works proficiently and is powered by a zoom toggle around the shutter button. We’re particularly fond of the markings on the lens barrel that mark out eight key focal lengths – 24mm, 85mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm, 300mm, 500mm and 840mm – to provide an accurate way of knowing your equivalent focal length.