Canon SX40HS vs. Nikon P500. Feature fight and IQ.

Okay, it is way too soon for a new camera. I seriously try to limit myself to one new camera every two years. My first real “super-zoom” or “bridge” camera was the Sony H9, and I fell in love with the articulated LCD, the macro capability, and the zoom range…the flexibility of the camera…and how much fun it was to use. On the other hand the image quality (IQ) was only so so…aggressive noise reduction and jpeg compression resulted in images with a heavy water color effect. Fine details were too often smeared together into blocks of stippled color…especially grass, tree foliage, and skin tones…and there was a general lack of sharpness in architectural details like shingle roofs and brickwork. In normal viewing and smaller prints the defects were not obvious, but I knew they were there. The color was great, the features were second to none, and I had a lot of fun with the camera, but I knew I was giving up IQ in exchange.

While I, like practically everyone who owned one, really hoped Sony would upgrade the firmware to address the IQ issue, they never did. Eventually I replaced the Sony H9 with the Sony H50. While still not great IQ, it was a definite improvement over the H9…kinda what the H9 should have been…and the zoom had grown significantly…which made the camera even more flexible and more fun to use.

Still, IQ! After a lot of research on review sites, on flickr, etc., I replaced the Sony H50 with the Canon SX20IS. Now that was a camera. IQ was a clear step above the Sony’s and the camera itself felt solid and business-like by comparison. And, again, longer zoom, more flexibility, more fun.

However, along the way there, I bought a Canon SD4000is as a digiscoping camera (to use behind the eyepiece of a spotting scope for long distance imaging). It is just a little P&S…pocket sized…but it has a 10mp Back-illuminated CMOS sensor. It has decent IQ, great continuous shooting mode (4 frames per second), and amazing high ISO performance for a P&S. I began to think it might be worth looking at one of the long-zoom cameras coming on the market with BiCMOS sensors, and significantly longer zooms. I was thinking of flight and grab shots of birds, for one thing. Not something the Canon did well. Then too the BiCMOS sensors make possible full HD video capture and all kinds of multiple shot image processing effects. Again, research mode, but as the cameras were very new there was not much out on them. Three looked possible. The Fuji HS20 with a 16mp BiCMOS sensor and a maximum reach of 720mm, the Sony HX100v, with a similar 16mp sensor and 810mm reach, and the Nikon Coolpix P500 with a 12mp BiCMOS sensor and a 36x reach: 23mm-810mm.

At the time, I eliminated the Canon SX30is, despite its 30x zoom, since its 14mp CCD sensor limited the continuous shooting mode to less than a frame per second, and early reports indicated that its IQ was actually not quite as good as the SX20is.

I bought the Fuji HS20 and really tried to like it. However the IQ was such a disappointment, compared to the Canon SX20is, that I returned it. It was, at least in my sample, as bad as the Sony H9. Water colors? We got water colors! (They say, on the Fuji forums, that shooting at half resolution and tweaking the settings gives much better results, but I was not up for that kind of messing about.) The Sony was not yet available anywhere…so, since I had a workshop on Point & Shoot for Wildlife coming right up, I bought the Nikon P500 the day before I left for Florida.

I really like the Coolpix P500 (see my various reviews and appreciations via the links below).

Review vs Fuji HS20 and Canon SX20is.

Acadia From under and Umbrella (low light)

Shooting the Clouds

In-Camera Processing on the P500

P500 does the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens: practicing macro

P&S for Wildlife: Superzooms

P&S for Wildlife: Wicked Warblers.

P&S for Wildlife does Bugs.

It is, again, just a lot of fun to use, and the feature set is pretty amazing. 36x zoom starting at super wide (23mm), great macro mode (Close-UP), night landscape that stacks exposures for less noise and greater dynamic range, a really useful daylight dynamic range extension (Active-D Lighting), auto HDR that works sometimes, 7 fps continuous (maybe 5 fps at full resolution), and very good high ISO performance for a compact. Great camera. Great for macro, great for landscape, great for wildlife on the move and at reasonable distances. I have taken some of my favorite images with it…and though I am aware of its limitations by now…it is a camera I planned to live with for at least its 2 year term.

But then Canon released the SX40HS. I read a few early posts on the forums, and one glowing comparison review with included both the Nikon P500 and the Sony HX100V. The reviewers hailed the Canon as breakthrough in IQ…but their tests were lab based, using resolution targets and color real world comparisons. Still, 24-840mm equivalent zoom. 12mp BiCMOS sensor with lots of Canon innovations. Fastest image processing on the planet. A few less features than the Nikon, but a similar feature set. 10 fps. Even though it is too early by 1.5 years, I was sorely tempted.

It is that IQ thing. While I am generally satisfied with the IQ on the Nikon, I am becoming more critical in my old age, and I am aware of some softness and lack of fine detail in the Nikon images. Not fatal. But there. Then too, the colors in the Nikon images are just a bit off…for one thing, the sky blue is not quite right, and since I shoot a lot of landscapes with sky, that matters. A camera like the Coolpix P500 but with slightly better IQ would be my dream camera.

Then too, I realized the limitations of the Nikon’s Image Stabilization system early on. Even though the SX20is only reached 560mm equivalent, it gave a much more stable image than the Nikon at the same reach. And the Nikon at 810mm was marginal at best. It was especially obvious in movie mode. And, according to some critics, the moving sensor IS in the Nikon degrades the image more than the Canon’s lens based optical stabilization does. 840mm with Canon optical image stabilization. That could be awesome.

I held out for the better part of a week…but, you know, photography is a big part of who I am…not what I do for a living…but who I am as a person. And I was, at that point, in over 3000 people’s circles on Google+, largely on the strength of my images (over 5000 at the moment, a very modest achievement since there are photographers on there with 30,000 plus…but still my own…as they say). I finally figured, well, why not. I can order an SX40HS from Amazon and give it try against the Nikon P500, and see for myself. At least I will get a review out of it.

So…to it!

Once more, the Canon SX40HS feels like a real camera when compared to the more lightly constructed Coolpix. It fills the hand and has a solid weight. There is a downside of course. It is significantly heavier to carry than the Nikon. The controls feel polished and durable as well, which is also a change from the Coolpix. The feature set is slightly more limited than the Coolpix (more on specific lacks as you read on), but in general it has everything I need, and much that I will never use (just as the Nikon did).

But the real tale is in the IQ. Careful real world comparison shots with the Nikon P500 and the Canon SX40HS under good daylight shooting conditions show that the reviewers were right. The SX40HS has, hands down, better IQ than the Nikon…in most situations considerably better IQ. And the image stabilization, while still not magic, is everything I had hoped it would be. You can shoot hand held HD video at 840mm…and that is impressive!

Comparison shots follow. All are straight from the camera or comparison crops straight from the camera. iContrast turned on for the Canon, and Active D-Lighting turned on for the Nikon (dynamic range enhancement). Canon always on the left, Nikon on the right. Most images are linked to the original file, so you can view it as large as you like. You might want to download.


Just your general scenic (and, no, I would not have put my shadow in…but these are just for comparison.) Note the slight difference in sky color…with the Nikon leaning toward Robin’s Egg, and the Canon just slightly bluer, and more finely graduated. Look a the detail in the far tree line. Look at the grasses in the marsh. It is easy to see in the bar that separates the two bodies of water. Both cameras show the effects of the small sensor, but the Canon pushes the boundaries of what is possible, showing acceptable (imho) detail even at distance, while the Nikon smears over much.

Here are crops from the originals. I was, honestly, surprised that there was this much difference.


And here you have some architectural detail. Both shots are at maximum zoom: 840mm equivalent field of view on the Canon, and 810mm equivalent on the Nikon. You can view them at full resolution by clicking the images, or I have provided some crops.



The Nikon has, hands down, one of the best macro modes I have ever used. Close-Up mode auto sets the zoom to 32mm equivalent, which provides maximum image scale and a comfortable working distance (2 cm). The Canon, on the other hand, can focus to zero centimeters at 24mm equivalent, but jumps to 11.8 inches at any longer focal length. You can reach the same image scale with the Canon as the Nikon, but you have to get much closer, which can be a problem when the camera gets in the way of the light. Still, the Canon shows a clear, if not as obvious, advantage in IQ…sharper, with more detail.

I also enjoy using what might be called telephoto macro. With a small sensor camera the long end of the zoom, from its closest focus distance, can provide a bokeh similar to a larger sensor camera and a conventional macro lens.


The difference between the two cameras here is that the Canon reaches 4.5 feet in normal program or auto without turning on macro (in fact it gets no closer than that in macro at the long end of the zoom). In order to reach tele-macro distances with the Nikon you do have to set it to Close-Up mode and over-ride the auto zoom setting.

One final comparison. Since grab and flight shot of birds was a primary interest in my purchase decisions, here is a very cooperative Song Sparrow with both cameras at maximum zoom. No sharpening. Straight from the camera and cropped from full frame.

While, as I say, I have not been really dissatisfied with the IQ of the Nikon, these, and other, tests have convinced me that the Canon SX40HS does indeed set a new standard for IQ in its class.

In addition, I like the overall color rendering better in the Canon than the Nikon. The images just look more natural to me.

I thought I might really miss the Active D-Lighting on the Nikon, especially since past experience with Canon’s iContrast has left me underwhelmed…however the new processor in the SX40HS, along with the new sensor, seems to have improved iContrast as well. The Canon handles full range landscapes with sky with ease, producing very natural results even where there is deep shade in the foreground. And, as with D-Lighting in the Nikon, iContrast can be applied as in-camera processing after the image has been saved to the card…especially useful for opening shadows, and perhaps a bit more effective than D-Lighting in the Nikon in that it leaves the sky tones alone.

Low light, high ISO performance is one of the features of the BiCMOS sensors. Both the Nikon P500 and the Canon SX40HS provide what only a year ago would have been amazing high ISO performance for a small sensor camera. In comparison testing, the Canon again has the edge, at most ISOs, but only by a small margin. I actually prefer the 3200 ISO performance of the Nikon but either is acceptable. The days when you had to keep your superzoom locked on ISO 100 to guarantee good results are gone. Either of these cameras is safe on auto ISO, and you will excellent results right up through 1600.

The Canon SX40HS in particular makes use of this fact to keep apertures considerably smaller in Program mode than they were in the SX20is. I had to use Landscape mode a lot in the SX20, since the default f-stop in Program was in wide open (it was f4 in Landscape). In the SX40HS ISO is shifted up at need to give more reasonable f-stops. I like this!

ISO 800


ISO 1600


Besides a better Macro mode, the Nikon’s implementation of rapid continuous shooting is also superior. On the P500, when you select Continuous via the button on the top of the camera you have several useful options. You can shoot at about 7 frames per second in Medium resolution (9mp…maybe 5 fps in full resolution) for up to 5 frames, or you can shoot in at about 2.5 fps for as long as you want to (and there are several additional high speed modes). On the Canon the most obvious Continuous mode gives you 2.4 frames per second for as long as you want. To access the true high speed burst you have to set it in the Scene modes and there is, as far as I can tell, no way to set a shortcut. Once set, you have 8 full resolution shots at 10 fps, with very limited control over any other settings. On the plus side, recovery time is much more rapid than with the P500, so you are ready for your next burst.

The Canon does have a Sports mode right on the dial that focuses continuously and tracks moving subjects, but is not much use, as it is limited to about 1 fps.

Both cameras, as I already mentioned, have a wealth of features beyond this outline. I have not yet experimented with Night Landscape on the Canon, or most of the Scene modes, or most of the effects, etc. Many of them I never will get to. :)

Finally, one more word about image stabilization. This is the SX40HS, not the SX40IS as it would have been if it had been a direct descendent of the SX20IS and the SX30IS. The H stands for Hybrid, and Canon points out that the image stabilization works automatically to adjust for your shooting style and the subject matter. All I can say is that it works, and works well. There is simply no comparison between the P500’s IS and the Canon’s HS. And it works while shooting video. Here is a short clip at 840mm equivalent field of view. I wandered a bit at the start, but even so, there is none of the uncontrolled jitter and bounce that you associate with high magnification video. Very, very impressive. And, of course, it also makes hand held shots possible at much lower shutter speeds and longer zooms than you have any right to expect. Win!

Hand held at 840mm. Carolina Wren, Chester VA

Like I say…oh rats…I am going to have to keep the Canon SX40HS. I have not tested every superzoom bridge camera currently out there, but I feel confident in saying that the Canon SX40HS sets the standard for the class. I have collected some sample images, fully processed in Lightroom for presentation, on my WideEyedInWonder site here. It is as much fun as any bridge camera, and offers image quality and high ISO performance that is nothing short of amazing in a small sensor camera.

Now if I can just figure out what to do with a perfectly fine Nikon P500?

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44 Responses to Canon SX40HS vs. Nikon P500. Feature fight and IQ.

  1. many many thanks for your generous is my great hobby since t80 was my first camera
    first digital camera was powershoot s2is.
    That camera given me enough through photography.superfine comparison was excellent to shoot fine details semi pro quality photo.unfortunately within six month lense error.reparing cost more then
    300 us dollar.untill with me without prepar.
    Again s5is within seven month lense error.again i bought sx20is,quality of photo not looking more then 3.5 mega pixcell .again latest g12 i bought.i am so sorry expensive camera could not use for five month.lense error.try my best to fix that,nothing happen.repaering cost enough to by more advance request to all digital camera manufacturing company pls,pls,let the user to your camera at list one year.lense error means throw the camera in the dust bin.warrenty is useless,service centers is the only money making centere.we not stay with the camera all the time.only weekly holiday get little time to use the camera.why an expensive camera we can not use at list one doubt canon camera picture quality.really for me no other camera picture quality like canon.
    Again i decided to by canon sx40hs camera.
    If this one also happen same lense more any digital camera.again film camera.many years can use.oh yes,sx20is more then one year six month with me without؛ any trouble.only picture quality not good.mostly wide landscape picture bad quality.close and macro shoot excellent.
    Again my special thanks to you for your unique review.
    Sx40hs not available in wanted to take this camera with me next month in my home country.may be not coming in jeddah
    this year.
    Mohammed shahidullah.

  2. Wow Steve…that was thorough…but I read most of it. My wife has the SX20 and the few times that I’ve shot with it, I’ve always been impressed by the color rendition and sharpness of the jpegs that the CCD produces. I actually will miss CCD’s, it’s seems like there going away, but I really like the IQ they produce. (Leica M9 is a CCD, for example). I don’t mind so much there slowness because I use my 7d for things that move.

    It’s good to know that these new super-ultra-crazy zooms (800+ equivalent just seems crazy!) have pretty good image quality.


  3. Alan Birnbaum says:

    THANK YOU, for a very interesting comparison. I have been considering getting the Sigma 150-500/5-6.3 OS lens for my Nikon D300, to do wildlife work, BUT, that combination would be about six pounds to carry around, versus the Canon SX40HS at about 1.3 lbs, a major difference particularly for any sort of travel, and at less than half the price (even after including a spare battery.) My only reservation in getting one would be that Fujifilm has an XS-1 pending, with a larger sensor; I do appreciate the comments about the HS20 from that maker.

  4. deb neyer says:

    Thanks so much for this review! Looking to step up from a more mediocre point and shoot and this helped me decide between Nikon and Canon!

  5. Steve, one thing that seems pretty consistent across all of the comparison images is that the Nikon images seem overexposed. I’d like to see the tests with the exposure normalized between the two cameras. While I don’t expect that to help the water color effect, I think it may resolve your issue with the color rendition of the sky by adding saturation. Even the fence on which the Song Sparrow is perched shows exposure differences. As the Canon shots all look natural, it would appear that the Nikon’s meter is off by as much as 2/3 to 1 f/stop.

    • admin says:

      Hi Steve, The Nikon had my usual settings…Program with Active D-Lighting set to normal. The Canon SX40HD was set to Program with iContrast on (which is similar to Nikon’s Active D). I am not sure it is an exposure issue, as past experience showed that even adjusting exposure left the Nikon’s sky blue closer to robin’s egg than to royal…just darker robin’s egg. Anyway, the differences in IQ are enough to make me a Canon believer again. Has anyone tried the s100 for digiscoping? It has the same sensor as the SX40HS.

  6. Sas says:

    Many thanks for your valuable and unique review. I already ordered a Canon SX 40 HS. My previous experiences are with S3 IS and SX 20 IS. All these gave me the best picture quality at the time we can expect with P&S camera. I also used three pocket size cameras Kodak, Sony, and canon, none made me happy.

  7. Tarun says:

    I was so confused between Nikon and Canon…..thanks…….this article gave me confidence and i bought my SX40 today :-)

    took some shots and now i feel that I did the right investment :-)

    thanks again….

  8. Gianmarco says:

    Sorry mate, but The Nikon’s photos are like not really focused and the colour not properly set up as you already made in the other your reviews, and also it’s seems that there is more zoom in the Nikon’s photos…are you sure your little baby is still working good ? 😀

  9. Joe says:

    Very very nice review on those cameras. I am impressed with what you did here. You did a good service for many folks. Thanks as I have been looking for a good camera.

  10. Troy Edson-Smith says:

    Appreciate the thorough review. I have been enjoying a lot of bird photography with my SX10IS, and have one whinge. I really need an effective autofocus override. The manual focus seems virtually unusable on my SX, as it does not change smoothly, and the wheel is clumsy, changing modes with a little forward pressure. Often the method of autofocusing on something else and moving to the subject just doesn’t cut it. The SX40HS looks great, but have they improved the manual focus? I can’t locate a camera locally to check this out. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • admin says:

      I rarely use manual focus, and don’t own the SX30, so I can’t say for sure. However, the manual focus works well on the SX40HS. Just checked. It is easy to focus with the wheel without activating any of the wheel choices on my particular unit. The wheels, according to chatter on the forums, seem to vary a bit.

  11. Hi
    And thanx for the comp. between the 2 cams – I am allready set for the SX40, but it´s good to read somebody elses evaluation of the “beast” I use to own the SX30 – amazing piece of a cam, but with an IQ worse than that of a blind mouse :)
    So I sold it again, and bought a Sony HX100V – very good, but a lot of useless modes, and a lot of “water color” in the pics due to JPEG rendition.
    So now Im looking forward to buy my Canon as soon I have sold the Sony ….
    Have a nice life, wishing you all the best from Denmark, Claus

  12. Joshua says:

    First off let me state that I never write reviews, but I’m so happy my doorman had this waiting for me yesterday evening. After getting acquainted with my new camera a bit, I have to say it’s truly a big step up from the sx30 (which I also own). The camera seems more responsive overall. The auto definitely works better. Pictures are crystal clear. And low light pictures are simply amazing. I even tested ISO 3200 with a nightlight and it produced a usable image with very little noise. Also, since the camera is more responsive to low light the zoom seems to work much better because low light zoom pics are very clear and have negligible noise.. This camera is simply a wonderful value for the money. Buy it.

  13. Karen says:

    I am a mom simply looking for a good camera for taking sports shots of my kids. They are into everything – soccer, football, baseball, basketball, etc. and I don’t want to lug around a DSLR. Do you think this would have the speed to stop action on the field/ court? I try to take a lot of shots over the season then make collage prints for all the parents, so I crop a lot of shots to get the action. I tried a lot of cameras and currently use a Nikon 8100 but am not entirely satisfied. Thanks!!

  14. Karen says:

    PS- I know sports photos are not your area, but so far there are very few reviews on this camera, and moving wildlife is just as challenging as moving kids so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Thanks!!

  15. Blockhead says:

    I was just back from a 40 day Africa safari trip, Nov 2011, we have 11 people in the group, 2 used a Nikon DSLR with 18-200 lens(me included), two had Nikon Coolpix 500p, one had the 35x Canon, the Canon has a slight edge at the extreme magnification compared with Coolpix. While I was unable to see leopards or cheetah even with the 10x binoculars,let along taking photo with 200mm lens, however, both Coolpix (36x) and Canon (35x) were able to get good shots, but Canon has a slight edge. Canon has better resolution, the leopard spots are more defined. However, for closer views and large animals, my 18-200 Nikon took far superior photos, and 80 % of photos are within this range, the advantage for me (I am just thinking about getting one) to choose a Coolpix is that I would then not have to re-learn all the button on the camera, but for someone who do not have Nikon, Canon is the better choice. As for Africa safari, one of these two extreme reach cameras are a must, for shooting birds, and distant animal. I wasn’t aware of their existence before the trip. However, I would still highly recommend to get a DSLD also for the trip if you have both at home.

  16. rddavis says:

    I purchased a Nikon P500 from a great retailer; in preparation for our trip this coming summer up the Al Can highway to Alaska and back; but I was immediately unimpressed with the color I was getting in my pictures considering it was a Nikon. I then started reseaching and comparing on the internet and came across your’s and other reviews comparing various cameras. I returned the Nikon to the great retailer, and though I had to pay a little more for the Canon sx40 the difference in picture quality has already been well worth it. I am looking forward to some great picture taking on our trip next summer. Not to brag, but the first little makeshift slide show I downloaded from this camera and showed on our 150″ projector screen got some great reviews from my guests. Plus, the mini hdmi capability of these new cameras is a great way to preview or “show off” your latest pic’s. Thanks for a great, candid, comparison, and indeed Canon has won this round.

  17. Michael says:

    I am always impressed with th reviews and sample photos of the canon sx40hs. I also had the chance to do test shots while at the mall. i prefer the canon esp in full zoom having a very good image stabilization mode. canon also feels more durable.

    PS. can you please post portrait pictures of people taken from the sx40hs. i guess this will help a lot for some (like me) who’s interested in buying this camera as well :)

    many thanks!

  18. Paul Churchward says:

    Really enjoyed the Canon SX40HS review. I currently own a Canon S5IS and have been impressed with he image quality. Decided to buy a new camera for traveling overseas, maybe something with better specs and a bit smaller. Somehow ended up buying a Panasonic TZ20. All the specs on this camera are better than the S5is.

    I find the Panasonic has really good metering and a bit quicker than my Canon. The photos come out good on the camera’s LCD, but on the computer there is just too much noise, especially if viewed at 100%. Very disappointed. After a lot more research, a lot of people have said the same thing. Spoke to Panasonic, they said no-one had complained. But one thing it does do well is the video quality, and it has excellent stability. But apart from that I feel like chucking it in the bin.

    I really did not want to carry about a heavy DSLR but it looks like I should have bought the SX40HS.
    I mostly use the camera for scenery, bird and animal photos and a little bit of movies.

  19. John Quart says:

    Thanks for the extensive review comparing Nikon P500 to Cannon SX40HS. I have both Nikon D60 and the Cannon SX20is the Cannon really does have better color quality than Nikon, I just don’t like the small controls on compact cameras. I will Definitely go with the Cannon SX40HS for the superior IQ after seeing your photo comparisons.

    I have a couple of question is there a pop up flash on the Cannon? Do you need a lens filter? Does the camera come with an SD Card or do you need to order with camera? I assume the camera comes with a rechargeable battery that can be plugged into a common household outlet, can you order 1 extra battery since already comes with charger?

    Thank You if you can answer these questions


    • Steve says:

      Yes there is a pop up flash. No you don’t need a filter. You should order an SD Card. You can order an extra battery…check for generics…they are much less expensive and work well.

  20. Pete says:

    Thanks. This helps me a lot, I think. I do lots of macros of wildflowers in the woods at low light conditions as well as long shots of wildlife. And I’m always looking for the best detail for printing. I had settled on the Nikon P500 as the best and easiest to carry. But your comparison has changed my order to the Canon unless you feel otherwise for my conditions. Of course, our grandkids get a lot of quick shots at various distances and my current Olympus SP-570UZ has served me well.

  21. andrew says:

    Awsome review would love to know about low light pictures on both these in middle of choosing between to

  22. Carol Singer says:

    I have been spending days painfully comparing my “old” Fuji HS10 to the Canon sx40 and the Nikon p510 (not much on that yet). Your extensive review of the Canon vs the Nikon p500 has absolutely helped convince me that it’s Canon all the way. Thanks so much!

  23. Pingback: Nikon P510 vs Canon SX40 HS vs Sony HX200V - Comparison Review

  24. says:

    Wow, Steve…what can I say. You’ve addressed EVERY question and concern I had and several more I had not even thought of. Now tell me, have you compared Canon sx40HS to Panasonic LUMIX® FZ150K 12.1? It’s the only alternative, as I understand, that compares against Canon SX40HS; however, I want your perspective before buying either.
    Many thanks!

  25. Curt B. says:

    In my opinion a bench test must be done with both cameras on a tripod.You have to
    have exact framing for exposure comparison.Also for comparison for resolution,
    especially since one camera(canon) is larger.Alot depends on the person handling the
    camera etc etc.I see alot of people enjoyed your review, but this type of test has
    always been a poor way of testing, and a bad judger of what camera is superior. Id
    like to see another test of both on tripod,otherwise check out…

    • Steve says:

      You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. The review is what it is, and I think it provides a useful guideline for those considering either camera, while being fair to both.

  26. Roberto Herrera Lobo says:

    Gracias totales. Hoy voy por la SX40HS.

  27. Peng Abejero says:

    Very nice review…. I have a T2i for a year now, aside from the kit lens I also bought the
    50-250mm canon zoom lens and loved it for wild life and beach shots. However from what I read, looks like this sx40 is better all around camera and also have better IQ at max zoom as compared to non-L canon zoom DSLR lens. If I have known this camera ahead, I should have bought this instead of my 50-250mm. Can you comment on this?

    • Steve says:

      At the distances you can reach with your 50-250 I would expect results at least as good and probably better than the SX40HS…however as distance increases, there would be a cross over point where cropped images from the T2i would not equal uncropped images from the SX40HS. This is all theory. I am very happy with the telephoto results from the SX40HS.

  28. says:

    Panasonic LUMIX® FZ150K and similar competitors of the Canon SX40HS offer RAW, whereas Canon SX40HS only offers jpeg. How significant do you consider this inability of Canon SX40HS? Put another way, do you think the difference between high quality jpeg and RAW is significant enough to consider Canon SX40HS inadequate compared to Panasonic FZ150K and similar competitors, even if the unedited photos of Canon are marginally better?

    • Steve says:

      I have never used RAW on any camera, so I can’t comment from experience. However, I do have my doubts that, with the exception of HDR techniques, most people could do better processing RAW, that the camera does processing the same image to jpeg…most of the time. There are, I am sure, marginal situations where a RAW image with creative processing will look better than the camera processed jpeg…but I would guess they would be rare. For my use, I need a well presented jpeg, and the other advantages of the SX40HS over the Panasonic are just as important to me as the image quality difference. I use the Digital Tel-extender function all the time, and would not willingly surrender it for anything less than clearly obvious increase in overall image quality.

  29. Sean says:

    Thanks for the comparison. You did a great job. It helped me understand the differences. :)

  30. Kimo says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed comparison, I am not experienced photographer, however I am going to buy a bridge camera that can give decent zoom and features.

    I would appreciate your help in comparing the Canon SX40HS & Nikon CoolPix P510, the P510 has 42x zoom and many other features such as panoramic, I have seen many samples on Youtube for videos and I found out that the focus of Canon’s is much better than Nikon P510 as it blurs while zooming and takes 2-3 seconds to focus on objects which will basically make Full HD video ugly.

    I would appreciate your help in recommending which camera should I go with, I also came across this detailed comparison but I want your real life recommendation as you have tried many bridge cameras including P500 that’s almost like P510.

    I also wanted to know what would be next version of SX40HS and when may it be released?

    Thanks in Advance!

  31. Great article. Not only was your article informative but was written in a manner I couldn’t stop reading it. I wanted a P500 really bad until the P510 came out. After reading your article and reviewing all the evidence you have provided, Nikon just lost a customer and I am now looking for a Cannon SX40 HD. Thank you. I am a fan of your writting as of today.
    Mike C.

  32. Mark Rose says:

    There is also a filter adapter for the Canon that allows it to use 68mm filters. I bought the camera and ordered the filter adapter. Thanks for the great and thorough review.

  33. Sovan says:

    Thank you a trillion for a very good and descriptive article. I’ve planned to buy a camera. But to me, two choices are there. Either Canon SX40HS or the Nikon p510. Can you please compare the two and post some comments on that. I am really very confused. To me, IQ is main factor, but I would like to have some added features like GPS, TFT quality.

    – Sovan

  34. Mohan says:

    Very well written comparison.

    You’ve just made up my mind :)

    Thank you Steve.

  35. Manu says:

    Well, Nikon just lost one more future customer.
    Image quality
    Battery life
    Flexi movement of display

  36. Mohamed Salah says:

    many thx guys, u helped me soooo much to decide, i was really confused what to pick, but now i decided to buy Canon SX40 HS 😀

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