The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is a brilliantly versatile bridge camera whose key feature, the 35x optical zoom, is made all the more attractive by an excellent image stabilisation system. Picture quality is good and overall speed is much improved over its series precursor, the SX30. If you can live without the picture quality perfection and improved low-light performance of a DSLR, this is a really great buy.
- 35x optical zoom (and that isn’t a typo…it really is 35x)
- 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
- Optional manual focus
- 8-shot high speed Burst mode
- 1080p 24fps video recording
- Buy now for R3895.00 incl VAT
Getting serious about photography is not a cheap endeavour. Buying a basic DSLR setup isn’t so painful, with decent models now available for under R6000.00. But once you start adding the cost of the additional lenses needed for anything approaching all-purpose flexibility, you can expect to spend at least double that. If this is beyond your budget, then the Canon SX40 HS could be worth a look. It’s a super zoom bridge camera that gives you a hugely flexible focal range and plenty of potential for manual control – if not quite DSLR-rivalling image quality.
The Canon SX40 HS represents a significant upgrade over its predecessor, the SX30. It offers much faster performance, full HD video recording and improved light sensitivity for improved low-light performance. The effective resolution of the SX40′s sensor is lower at 12.1 megapixels (instead of 14.1), but the sensor type has changed to a 1/2.3in CMOS type instead of the CCD type used in the SX30.
The build hasn’t changed drastically, however. The Canon SX40 is made of hard matt black plastic, and while it doesn’t feel quite as immaculately constructed as one of Canon’s metal-bodied cameras, like the 60D or G12, it is tough and creak-free.
Some care and attention has gone into making it feel great in-hand too. The front side of the right hand grip has a lightly rubberised finish, giving it greater friction than the rest of the body, which is otherwise very smooth. Although smaller than standard SLR size, this hand grip feels comfortable and gives you a good sense of mastery over the camera’s position for one-handed shooting. It also gives you confidence that you’re not going to drop it.
On its right edge is a flap covering the miniUSB and mini HDMI ports. The latter is noteworthy because it’s CEC-compatible, meaning you can control your camera using a TV remote using it – all the better to bore your nearest and dearest with.
The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS may be little more than the SX30 IS equipped with a new sensor, but this single change has a significant impact on the camera as a whole. The 720p video and paltry 1.3fps continuous shooting of the SX30 IS have now been upgraded to 1080p and up to 10.3fps (for eight frames anyway), while the switch to CMOS, drop in resolution and new image processor really do lower noise levels with no perceptible loss in real-life resolving power. Considering you get all of this in a body which already housed one of the longest zooms on the market, and the SX40 HS is looking like a very strong camera.
As for the Canon SX40 HS, it will of course be chosen by those who love the idea of having one of the biggest zoom ranges on the market with a good balance of other features. As such the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS comes easily recommended.