Canon Sx40 HS - how good it is ? - General Chat - CHDK Forum

Canon Sx40 HS - how good it is ?

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Canon Sx40 HS - how good it is ?
« on: 22 / April / 2012, 17:46:13 »
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Hello guys and gals,

I'm not new to the forum, been around since 2010 when I helped with Canon SX20 chdk porting.
I still own the Canon Sx20 and even if I bought a high end DSLR from Canon too,  is too bulky and heavy with the lenses. I decided I want to upgrade the Sx20 since this is what I use in holidays where I don't really need to power of a DSLR.

Now, the reasons to upgrade the Sx20 are:
a) an autofocus problem - on which the camera says the focus is locked - but the picture ends up a bit blurry if the background is very colorful. I described it better here: http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=4348.450 and back in the days there were issues with the Sx20 autofocus also mentioned here on the forum. Having owned an S50, the focus was always perfect - no misses (I mean if the green rectangle was there, photo was crisp).
b) I want bigger zoom for holidays.

Now, the Sx40 has one big drawback for me: they decided to be smart and go with custom battery instead of AA. I won't pay Canon more money for them - maybe they'll get the idea 'vendor lock-in' for cheap things is NOT acceptable. I will find 2 more batteries on ebay and that's it. With AA I could shoot all day (if not 2 days) - and probably now I have to carry at least 1 spare battery to have the same autonomy.

Anyway.

I would like to know, from the owners of Sx40 HS, if the auto focus issue from Sx20 is fixed or not.
 
I do not care about the clarity of the image at maximum zoom; on Sx20 was the same - because of the lens (what can they do in such a small package / price) and the amount of light - the maxed out zoom photos look washed out and not crisp. But I don't really care - resized at desktop resolution they look OK.

The trouble I have is making group photos with colorful backgrounds; with Sx20 is hit and miss; and I always do 2-3 photos just to make sure I get one right. Auto focus indicator is green, no hand shake, but photo somehow looked washed out. Another photo is visibly crispier.

Given that Sx40 supports Chdk I would gladly buy it knowing that focus locked means crisp photo - not hit and miss.

Thank you!

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Offline d4005

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Re: Canon Sx40 HS - how good it is ?
« Reply #1 on: 07 / May / 2012, 03:51:39 »
Now, the Sx40 has one big drawback for me: they decided to be smart and go with custom battery instead of AA. I won't pay Canon more money for them - maybe they'll get the idea 'vendor lock-in' for cheap things is NOT acceptable. I will find 2 more batteries on ebay and that's it. With AA I could shoot all day (if not 2 days) - and probably now I have to carry at least 1 spare battery to have the same autonomy.
Seems like you've got a bit of a problem with Canon there. For me, not using AA is the best thing Canon could have done with this camera. The AA batteries are bulky and the NiCad or NiMH ones suffer from memory-effect and they don't hold their charge long (a fully charged one will be flat in a month even when not in use).

The custom battery (NB10-L) is way way smaller and is Lithium so holds a charge for 10x as long. Not only that, they can be bought on ebay/amazon for chump change (< $15). I got myself two spares, and so far haven't needed them. Battery life on the SX40HS is better than I expected.

I don't know about the issues you're referring to with the SX20 so I don't know if they're resolved, but I'm loving my SX40 so far. The 35x zoom was really useful in the last few days for the supermoon.

Two things I don't like about it:

- No HDR feature. I've got it in my Canon S100, but it's not in the SX40. Shame.
- When in "M" manual mode, you have to choose whether you want to adjust the exposure/aperture settings, or adjust manual focus. You can't do both, or I haven't figured out how to. So when trying to get a range of exposures recently with the moon (for which I wanted focus to be infinity), I had to keep switching back and forth between manual focus and normal, just so I could change exposure settings. A focus lock or the ability to still adjust manual focus would have been useful.
- A customizable ring on the front, like on the S100, would have been nice too.

It's certainly not a perfect camera, but it has it's uses. I've found that there is no perfect camera. Such a camera would fit in your shirt pocket without bulging, but would allow interchangeable lenses like a DSLR, would have infinite battery life despite being compact. The only way to achieve this is several cameras. For the price of one DSLR, I'm running about 5 different cameras. Combined, they only take up the same amount of space as one DSLR+lenses in a camera bag too.

« Last Edit: 07 / May / 2012, 03:54:05 by d4005 »
In regular use: Canon S100, Canon SX40HS (*CHDK*), Ricoh R8
Still around but unused: Canon S3 iS (*CHDK*), Canon G11 (loaned out), Casio EX-FS10

Re: Canon Sx40 HS - how good it is ?
« Reply #2 on: 08 / May / 2012, 02:37:04 »
Thank you for the reply :) and very nice sharp photo of the moon!

In summary, you say that there are no apparent focusing issues with the Sx40 - meaning that it tells you the focus is locked (green rectangle) but some photos (photos maybe with colored / contrasted backgrounds) end up blurry ?

Seems like you've got a bit of a problem with Canon there. For me, not using AA is the best thing Canon could have done with this camera. The AA batteries are bulky and the NiCad or NiMH ones suffer from memory-effect and they don't hold their charge long (a fully charged one will be flat in a month even when not in use).

Well, yes and .... I owned Canon S50, Sx20 and 7D. I also bought the Ixus 105 and Sx230 for the family so I know them well. Of all these, the Sx20 is the only one with AA batteries and even if they are bulky, the other ones run out of juice much faster and you constantly have to recharge.
I think the only advantage of Canon's proprietary batteries are that they charge really fast (let's say around 2 hours on average) as opposed with the other ones where you need a fast charger and then maybe you could get it in 3-4 hours let's say (but I didn't watch the clock).The proprietary ones (being also half the mAh on average) charge twice as fast.

So they might have some advantage, but I hate the low battery sign kicking in that soon ... Have you got a chance to use two cameras at the same time, one with proprietary and another one with AA and compare ? To me is obvious the difference. The proprietary ones are around 1200mAh let's say (maybe a bit more, maybe less), but AA have 2500 mAh so theoretically for same voltage you get twice the shooting time.
But ok, I can get the cheap ones and let's say I go with it.

- When in "M" manual mode, you have to choose whether you want to adjust the exposure/aperture settings, or adjust manual focus. You can't do both, or I haven't figured out how to.

Same holds true for Sx20 I can either switch between shutter speed / exposure or I have to click a button to go to Manual focus and then the wheel only changes the focus. Then I have to click again to go back to exposure/app mode. I did few moon shots too (maybe they could have added a setting on the Macro button, instead of Super close, Macro and Normal, to also have an Infinity preset or something).

Thank you again for the reply,

Re: Canon Sx40 HS - how good it is ?
« Reply #3 on: 17 / July / 2012, 12:08:22 »
  I am experiencing back focus issues on high contrast subjects with colorful backrounds with my sx40. The green box indicates focus confirmed but I get a blurry subject and crisp backroundat medium to high zoom lengths with IS continuous on, servo focus off, cont focus off. I am at a high shutter speeds of over 500th of a sec sometimes even 1000th of a sec and still I get a lot of these shots. My only real grip out this wonderful camera. Would using the smaller focus box  help or will I get even more blurry subjects and crisp backrounds. I have been even more careful to keep the camera steady and subject in the center box and waiting for the focus confirmed box to indicate focus still lots of blurry shots.


Re: Canon Sx40 HS - how good it is ?
« Reply #4 on: 17 / July / 2012, 18:35:49 »
I'm sorry to hear that and thank you for confirming my suspicions.
I did not buy the Sx40 although I saw many photos from a colleague with a Fuji Pentax bridge camera and I recognized similar photos there. Maybe it is a flaw with these long compact zooms, who knows ...

I think manual focus worked for me, but I would pay for a smart point and shoot to do all the bells and whistles automatically, if I want to go manual, I go with the DSLR..

Girlfriend has a Ixus with 12x magnification and when lens are fully retracted the barrel distortion is extremely obvious.

Yeah, right now I'm annoyed by the QC at Canon. Seems the high range DSLR they do them properly, but the < 400 euros cameras... meh.

 

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