Features & Controls

Like the SX30 from last year, Canon has equipped the SX40 HS with their extremely versatile 35x optical zoom lens. This unit covers a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 24 - 840mm! Meaning, you can capture the action in almost any situation, whether in close quarters indoors, or while at the local high school football game. This range is matched by very few cameras on the market, putting the SX40 in a class of its own in the mega-zoom category. On top of this lens being super long, it's pretty darn fast too. At wide angle, this lens boasts a maximum aperture of F/2.7, narrowing down to f/5.8 at full telephoto. Both numbers are impressive, with the wide end spec helping you capture better handheld low-light photos thanks to letting more light in.

When you power down the camera, the lens retracts into the large lens barrel that protrudes from the body, which protects it from minor bumps. Canon also includes a nice lens cap. The lens does not have filter threads, however there is a bayonet mount at the end for a lens shade. Canon also offers a Filter Adapter (FA-DC67A - $25 or less), which allows you to attach 67mm filters to the SX40 (and SX30).

Like all of Canon's PowerShot models, the SX40 HS offers their true lens-shift, optical image stabilization system built into this impressive lens. This unit helps increase the likelihood that you will capture sharp handheld images when using the telephoto capabilities of this lens.

The SX40 uses a 9-point TTL Autofocus system (Contrast Detect type). You have three modes to choose from (Normal, Macro, Manual), along with options for Flexizone, Face Detect, and Tracking AF frames. The camera also offers Servo and Continuous AF options.

Effective Focus Range:
  • Auto: 0 in. (0 cm) - infinity (W), 4.6 ft. - infinity (T)
  • Normal: 2 in. (5 cm) - infinity (W), 4.6 ft. (1.4 m) - infinity (T)
  • Macro: 0 in. (0 cm) -1.6 ft. (50 cm) (W)
All specs as provided by Canon.

Flash photography is handled by the SX40's powerful flash unit. This is a manual pop-up unit that boasts an effective range of 1.6 - 23 ft. Wide, 4.6 - 9.8 ft. Telephoto (50 cm - 7.0 m Wide, 1.4 - 3.0m Telephoto). Flash modes y include Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Auto Red-eye correction, Flash On, Flash Off; FE lock, Slow Synchro and Smart Flash. Canon notes a flash recharge time of 10 seconds or less. Flash exposure compensation is also available from +/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments.

For those who need even more flash power, the SX40 offers a hot shoe hidden under a cover on the top of the camera for using external speedlites like the 580EX II, 430EX II, or the 270EX.

Like its predecessor, all of your framing and viewing needs can be handled by using the camera's 2.7-inch Vari-Angle LCD screen (or its EVF). The LCD offers 230,000 pixels, and 5 levels of brightness adjustment; along with a great deal of onscreen information. The screen rotates and swivels, giving you versatility in framing.

The LCD can also be turned around an closed, to keep it protected while you use the EVF instead.


Controls on the grip: on the left is the Mode dial with positions for Auto, Program, Shutter priority (Tv), Aperture priority (Av), Manual, Custom 1-2, Movie, Special Scene modes (Digital Filters), SCN, and Sports. Next is the shutter release with the zoom lens control mounted around it. In playback mode the zoom lever functions as the index and magnified image control. Lastly we have the power button. You can also see one of the neck strap attachment points.

Controls on Back: Starting on the top left you can see the Video Record button which allows you to capture HD video no matter what shooting mode the camera is currently in. Looking to the right you can see the Framing assist button. This allows the camera to zoom out so you can find and follow your subject and the camera will automatically zoom back in when you let go. Under that are the playback button, to enter playback mode, and the AF frame selector so the camera can be set to focus exactly where you want it to; delete in playback. The 4-way controller lets you navigate menus and select images during playback, the FUNC/SET button accepts menu selections. It also gives you access to the Function shortcut menu, which has many settings (white balance, Color effects, Bracketing, Flash output compensation, Metering, Movie/Still Image quality and Image size, etc.) In record mode you press 'Up' to toggle Exposure Compensation, 'Right' to set the sensitivity, 'Down' to change the Drive mode, and 'Left' to enable Macro or Manual focus mode. Mounted around the 4-way controller is the Control dial. This handy dial allows you to quickly navigate the menu, set aperture and shutter speed values, etc. The DISPlay toggles the amount of information displayed on the LCD and EVF as well as switches between the two. The MENU button calls up and dismisses the menu screens.


I/O ports are located on the right hand side of the camera, protected by a port door. On top is the HDMI output for sharing your images and video on HDTV; cable is optional. Under that is the combination USB 2.0 Hi-Speed data and the A/V Output port, video is selectable for NTSC or PAL formats. It also handles direct printing. Canon no loner supplies a standard definition AV cable.

The SX40 uses a SD card slot, which accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC type cards, and is also Eye-Fi compliant. With the camera's ability to capture full HD video, we highly recommend using a 4GB or larger card with at least a class 4 rating to handle the data needed to capture these files. Here you can see the camera with an Eye-Fi Connect X2 4GB Class 6 SDHC card.

Power is supplied by a NB-10L, 7.4V, 920mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery. Canon claims that this battery is more than enough to allow you to capture up to 400 images when shooting with the EVF or 380 shots when using the LCD screen. It's charged in the included AC charger, which has fold-away prongs for easy storage in your camera bag. This setup also allows you to easily keep a spare pack with your, charged and ready in case you need it.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.