Canon Powershot SX40 HS review

Is it time to upgrade to the SX40?

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Canon powershot sx40

As with many bridge cameras of its ilk, the SX40 uses the familiar miniature DSLR styling, complete with grip to the right and the faux lens release button mentioned earlier.

The controls are laid out in a similar manner to that of a DSLR, with an exposure dial at the top of the camera that uses the same styling as Canon's DSLR range. In addition, to Av (Aperture Priority), Tv (Shutter Priority) and Manual this has icons to set the standard Auto options, scene modes and video recording.

Unlike a DSLR, however, the lens is zoomed via a switch around the shutter release button. Zooming is quick and smooth, and those ultrasonic motors do a good job of keeping it near on silent as well.

On the rear of the camera, you'll find a good array of buttons sensibly arranged in easy to reach places. The Zoom Framing Assist button, used to zoom briefly zoom out of a scene when the lens is fully extended is a handy addition and comes in useful when trying to compose a faraway scene. Changing the focus point can also be done via a button on the back of the camera, though it's somewhat disappointing to note that this only works in manual modes (Av, Tv, P and M). In Auto mode, the button is used instead to toggle between Face Detection On and Off.

The menu is again something that will already be familiar to Canon users. Handily, the Function button in the centre of the jog dial can be pressed for quick access to commonly used settings, allowing for rapid adjustments to be made on the fly.

As with the SX30, a dedicated movie record button can be found to the right of the viewfinder, which is useful for capturing quick movies without having to change the mode dial.

After spending a while trying to figure out how to make the inbuilt flash pop-up, we realised that it's a simple matter of flipping it up by hand, the flash button to the side of it instead acting to change flash settings.

Articulating screens have proven to be popular additions to Canon's DSLR range, such as the EOS 60D, and is something that can also found on board the SX40. Although the 2.7inch screen does feel a little on the small side, the fact that it articulates is a great bonus, especially when trying to shoot from awkward angles.

The screen also coped well in bright sunlight and overall is an impressive feature of the camera. Unfortunately however, the same can't be said about the electronic viewfinder. Unlike many other cameras, the SX40 can't detect when you bring your eye to the viewfinder, so annoyingly you have to manually switch it on and off.

Composing images through the viewfinder is difficult, as it is small and the image does not appear particularly sharp within it. We'd really only recommend using it if you find you cannot live with using the LCD screen.

In good light, the SX40 does a good job of locking onto a subject for focus, even when using the camera at its maximum focal distance. It does start to struggle in lower lighting conditions though, sometimes hunting around for a target and occasionally failing to find one. But, to be fair, that is something to be expected from a camera of this calibre.

Tech Specs

Product TypeBridge Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
Product FamilyPowerShot SX
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom35x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesBlink Detection, Wink Detection, External Flash Shoe, Face Detection, Orientation Sensor, Continuous Shooting Mode, Smart Capture, Smile Detection, Self-timer
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV, MPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)557 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH, RoHS, WEEE, ENERGY STAR
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height92.4 mm
Width122.9 mm
Depth107.7 mm
Product SeriesSX
Focal Length4.30 mm to 150.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelSX40 HS
Product NamePowerShot SX40 HS Bridge Camera
Product LinePowerShot
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number5251B011
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Get closer with the PowerShot SX40 HS. An ultra-wide 35x optical zoom, great low light results of the HS System, Full HD and high-speed shooting make this the travel powerhouse for those who want it all.

Package Contents
  • PowerShot SX40 HS Bridge Camera
  • Battery Pack NB-10L (with Terminal Cover)
  • Battery Charger CB-2LC/CB-2LCE
  • Lens Cap
  • Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
  • Neck Strap NS-DC11
  • Case for Hot Shoe Cap
  • Getting Started
  • Software Disk
  • Warranty System Booklet
  • Digital Camera Manuals Disk
Limited Warranty1 Year