The Canon SX40 HS is an interesting blend of features that could be compelling for both the consumer and video professionals looking for a fixed position camera to set up for wide shots.
The showcase feature is a 35x super-zoom with a range that starts at 24mm on the wide end of the scale and runs out to an amazing 840mm on the zoom, all riding on a combination of Ultrasonic and Voice Coil Motors for fast, silent zooming.
Behind the amazing zoom technology is a 12.1 megapixel 1/2.3 BSI-CMOS sensor with a stated ISO range of 100 to 3,200. Backing that up is Canon’s new Digic 5 image processor which promises more advanced noise reduction.
The only minor niggle is the burst mode is limited to 8 full-resolution shots which it clicks off at a respectable 10.3 shots per second.
Canon bumped the video features to support full 1080p HD at 24 fps (see this story for a discussion on video frame rates). For those using their Canon DSLRs primarily for video, this is an interesting feature. It would allow them to consider putting an SX40 on a high boom or jib and using it for covering wide angle shots. Video shooters will also appreciate the fully articulated 2.7 inch LCD on the back and full manual controls.
The only concern for video shooters will be the chip size, which may look a little soft next to footage from a Canon 5D or Canon 7D. But if the video sample below is any indication, that won’t be a problem. I could use that footage for a cut-away without any serious issues.
Overall, at a sub-$450 price point, Canon should have a winner in the SX40.