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Old Feb 15, 2012, 11:09 AM   #1
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Default Canon Powershot SX40 HS questions (and an introduction)

Hello all. I have joined this forum of photo enthusiasts after lurking here for days to try and find answers to my questions. You guys really know how to take pictures! Anyone here do photography full time? I'm not a photographer myself, just a guy who takes pictures and video to capture irreplaceable memories.

With the introduction out the way, I have been searching for three main queries on the Canon Powershot SX40 HS. I have actually been long sold on the Canon Rebel T3i and REALLY want that camera (and the 18-135 lens). However, its $1200 price tag (currently on Newegg.com including the camera, 18-135 lens, three year protection plan, and free shipping), while not exactly out of my budget, would take months, maybe a year to save up for. I was doing some research on cheaper solutions and found another Canon camera with mixed, mostly positive reviews: the aforementioned Canon Powershot SX40. I realize it isn't a DSLR like the T3i, but I love it for the superzoom and the 1080p/24fps video mode. I am close to actually being sold on the SX40 HS, but three things are really what's clouding my mind on buying it (three things that are no problem with the T3i). Without further blabbering, here they are:

1. In the camera's video mode, can you manually focus or is it all automatic focus? I'm very confused on this - some say no manual focus and some say yes manual focus. But if there isn't any manual focus in video mode, is there some sort of workaround or does the autofocus actually work pretty well?

2. Just how good is it in low light conditions, like in a room with just a single light with darkness around it and in a night time theme park setting (with lots of lights around obviously)? I realize that it won't be as good as a true DSLR, but if I can take decent pictures and video at night, I can deal with it.

3. In movie mode, I see that the limit for videos is up to 4GB or approximately 30 minutes, whichever comes first. However, once I reach one of those limits on one video, can I immediately start up another video provided I have enough battery power and SD card space? I was going to get a 32GB card (class 6 or higher) with the camera.

Thank you all in advance. I'm going to explore this forum more now that I am a member. I hope that isn't frowned upon in this establishment (bonus points if you know where that quote is from, but it's elementary haha).
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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Since you are on it do a little more research and take a look at the Panasonic FZ150 superzoom as well.Don't just go by the wiiiiiiide angle and looooong zoom numbers on the spec sheet.Read comparison reviews,focussing on the AF speed and accuracy,accessory options such as tele-converters and close-up lenses,if RAW is supported or not.Don't go by the name Canon or Nikon etc.alone
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 1:23 PM   #3
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The wide angle and long zoom really aren't too much of a concern for me, actually. They would simply be nice bonuses. I did look at that Panasonic camera, and it only does 1080p/60fps, which is a bit of a dealbreaker for me. I am mainly looking for the movie look. Thanks for your reply, however. If there is a way to "downgrade" 60fps to 24fps, I'd be very delighted to hear it.

Last edited by Perro; Feb 15, 2012 at 1:37 PM.
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 3:22 PM   #4
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Hi Perro- the SX40HS can be manually focused in movie mode- whichever type you select.
I tend to use the basic VGA mode- as I find it gathers more light and helps the autofocus speed- though in good outdoor light all modes are just fine.
The only time I would use manual focus on the video is if the subject was at a consistent distance- enabling a constant sharpness.
In low light(photo taking) it's pretty decent by "bridge" standards- especially if the subject is static and you use the "Handheld Night Scene" mode. Of course you do have the option of using a longer exposure,on a tripod- up to 15 seconds- though you can only use iso 100 on long exposures- which suits me just fine anyway..!!

With regards the FZ-150- it also has a variety of movie modes- and the ability to add a stereo mic. Here's the FZ-150 movie specs-
[HD Video] 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50p (PSH: 28Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 50p) / 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50i (FSH: 17Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 50p) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 50p (SH: 13Mbps / AVCHD) (Sensor output is 50p) / 1920 x 1080 pixels, 25 fps (FHD: 20Mbps / MP4) (Sensor output is 25p) / 1280 x 720 pixels, 25 fps (HD: 10Mbps / MP4) (Sensor output is 25p) / [STD Video] VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 25 fps (4Mbps / MP4) / [High Speed Video] QVGA: 320 x 240 pixels, 220 fps (Motion JPEG)

As you can see- it also has 24fps modes.... and the autofocus is the quickest of all bridge cameras- though I cannot comment on Manual focus on the video side of things- you'll have to journey over to the Panny' section for that..!

I believe the restriction of 30 mins on the video side of things is due to export issues/tax etc- as recording times over 30 mins means it's a camcorder..!! Though I'm sure it just gets stored as one file and I'm guessing you just press record again after 30 mins- assuming you have space on your card..(though I haven't tried this...).

Here's some pics taken at iso 1600 with my SX40hs at an indoor gig...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4197640...7628112681238/
And some taken in Bangor Cathedral using the said low light mode- all between iso 1250 and 3200...
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ar...cathedral.html
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 5:37 PM   #5
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Appreciate the answer, Simon! So you say it CAN be manually focused in movie mode? There's a plus. However, is that in all of the video modes, including 1080p/24fps? Low light is also a plus for me. I see it's decent in photo mode, but what about low light in video mode, the 1080p/24fps specifically?

I was actually hoping that Panasonic camera would have 1080p/24fps, but it seems it doesn't. The Nikon Coolpix P500 has only 1080p/30fps.
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 6:03 PM   #6
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The manual focus can be used in ALL video modes- though to be fair,the autofocus does a decent job. In low light I prefer to use the basic 640/480 mode- as it seems to gather more light- besides,I think the quality is pretty good in this mode anyway.. and this format uses far less memory and can be viewed with pretty much any basic media player.
Exposure can also be adjusted in video mode- during recording.
You can also select manual or auto audio record level.
If video is important though- I really wouldn't discount the FZ-150 just yet....
Here's a full explanation of its various modes and some video samples...
http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Pa...mix_DMC_FZ150/

Last edited by SIMON40; Feb 15, 2012 at 6:15 PM.
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 7:41 PM   #7
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Appreciate the clarification there, Simon. I am just about sold on this camera now. I am sure I can live with the whole 30 minute limit before hitting record again, as I will be buying many 32GB cards. I was just afraid that the whole camera would be able to record 30 minutes then be done until I transfer the video over to my computer and free up the card (automatic dealbreaker there). I think 32GB cards are supposed to hold up roughly two hours of 1080p video? Not sure on that.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 4:55 AM   #8
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An in depth review of the Canon....
http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Ca...rShot_SX40_HS/
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 5:10 AM   #9
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hi if i was you i would re visit the t3i but look at with a 18-55 lens which is a better lens you could buy a 55-250 lens which punches well above its weight in image quality and still come in cheaper
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:45 AM   #10
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I actually saw the t3i for the first time in person at Sears and again at Best Buy. A friend actually recommended I go for the 18-135 lens, and no wonder why - 55 just doesn't zoom in far enough. I suppose I can get that 55-250 lens, but it would just make sense if I can have a good wide angle and far zoom on one lens.
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