Looking for a great, high megapixel camera that will meet practically all of your everyday photography needs? Well, look no further than the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS. This camera looks great and you could mistake it for a D-SLR camera. What's really incredible about the SX40 HS is its long 35x zoom range, coupled with that 12-megapixel camera resolution. Yes, you read that right - a 35x zoom range - which translates to a very powerful camera with telephoto reach. Read on and find out more about it.
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1. Design and Construction
What does the SX40 HS look like? Well, as you can see from the picture, the unit itself is neither compact nor light. Its dimensions are 3.6 by 4.8 by 4.2 inches (HWD) and it weighs in at 1.3 pounds. It's competitor, the Nikon Coolpix P500 is slimmer and lighter by comparison.
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The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS comes with a metal body with a few plastic elements. I like the fact that there's a very deep handgrip which lets you hold the camera firmly. Throw in the SX40's optical stabilization system and it means you can get a sharp photo at the extreme end of its zoom range. I tried zooming almost 35x on the SX40 HS, without a tripod or monopod, and my pictures still came out pretty good and sharp.
2. Optics and Resolution
When it comes to long range zoom, very few non-digital SLR type cameras can match the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS. The 35x zoom range is better than many digital SLRs equipped with telephoto lenses and is certainly one of the selling points of the camera.
With its 12 megapixel resolution, you'd expect that photos taken with the SX40 HS to be exceptionally sharp. Incidentally, I got to know about the Imatest software suite - which can be used to measure cameras' performance in terms of image sharpness and noise. So here's what I did - to evaluate sharpness, I shot several photos of a test chart and analyzed them using a center-weighted algorithm. The SX40 HS averaged 1,836 lines per picture height, which surpasses the 1,800-line benchmark that qualifies an image as being acceptably sharp.
I've tried many cameras in the past, including the Kodak EasyShare Max Z990 which packs a 30x zoom lens, records a slightly higher 1,946 lines. So in terms of image sharpness, the SX40 HS is not the best - but I think its other features more than make up for that.
3. User Controls
Many cameras have very obscure or weird control placements. The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS doesn't have this problem. There are ample control buttons on the SX40's body - a top-mounted dial lets you change between shooting modes, and there's a neat rear four-way jog wheel to scroll through menus, adjust ISO, set exposure compensation, activate the self-timer, and so forth.
The Canon designers obviously got the design of the menu system correct. In fact, the Canon SX40 HS menu system is one of the best I've seen around - comparable even to the top end DSLR cameras. You can quickly access most of the common controls you'd encounter in a digital camera, without having to click all around menu after menu. I also like the fact that the SX40's pop-up flash is manually operated. All I need to do is flip it up when you'd like to use it. Enthusiasts who want a better flash can fit in units like the Canon Speedlite flash, using the dedicated hot shoe.
4. Battery Life
The Canon PowerShot SX40 boasts a very good and long lasting battery life. I could be outdoors shooting photos like no one's business and the battery would still be OK. This contrasts strongly to some of the older Canon cameras I have, where the battery just dies on you when you're lining up for a very important shot.
5. Storage and Transfer
OK, the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS supports all manner of media cards - Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity and Secure Digital Extended Capacity. The camera records 1080p24 QuickTime video - which in my opinion, looks quite good. To copy photos and video into your PC, you can plug the camera into your computer via mini USB to copy the files. Alternatively, you can connect the camera to an HDTV via mini HDMI. My family loves to do that - plug a digital camera to a huge TV and enjoy the photos and video.
I feel that the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is a great camera - but it falls short in a few areas. For one thing, the camera isn't cheap! And although it has a powerful 35x zoom lenses, I could tell that it's performance in low light is not so good - especially compared to its competitors like the Nikon Coolpix P500, which captures clean images in as little as one quarter the light as the SX40.
All in all, the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is a great camera with a powerful 35x zoom range. It has a host of innovative features which allow you to take picture after picture with ease. The quality of the photo shots are way above average and is certainly one of the better digital cameras in its class. Do check it out!
A Review Of The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
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