Canon SX40 HS autofocus & image stabilization issues

Started Jan 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Maudelia New Member • Posts: 2
Canon SX40 HS autofocus & image stabilization issues

This post pertains mostly to the VIDEO part of the camera (although I have many other issues with the rest of it.) I purchased a new Canon Powershot SX40 HS online from Sam's Club, which came very poorly packaged. Noticed several issues with this camera that made me think it was damaged. Exchanged it for same camera from Sam's Club store. New camera has same problems. I also know this is not supposed to be a VIDEO camera, so I should not expect too much out of it. It should, however, take a passable video. I used to enjoy videos I created with my Powershot S5 IS, for example, until I wore it out.

1. In video mode, using autofocus and very slowly panning along the horizon, the image consistently goes out of focus, and takes a long time to re-focus. It happens in full sunlight with the focus point being at the tops of trees (where top half of image is blue sky with clouds, and bottom half are pine trees.) Even if at a standstill, shooting at horizon, it will go out of focus for no reason. [Works fine with manual focus, btw]

2. In video mode, still autofocus, and still Image Stabilization "ON," I will pan very slowly and evenly - horizontally along the tree line. When I stop panning the image will start shaking all directions (as though I'm almost falling or losing my balance.) This is hand-held panning, but very, very smooth. [Also works fine with image stabilization turned OFF]

3. Also in video mode, with everything auto (if panning along the horizon, as mentioned above) will notice the video image jumping as though it is skipping five frames consistently. The jumpiness continues when playing it back on my computer (no matter what program I use) but it is gone when viewing it on my Youtube channel.

4. I thought I could hear audio when playing back videos on the first SX40, but when testing the second one - I cannot get sound to play. It is there, as I can hear audio on my computer, but just not on my camera. DOES it play back audio on videos?

5. The first SX40 camera had an extremely noisy zoom mechanism which was so noticeable in the videos that it ruined them. It seems that this second SX40 has a quieter mechanism (but still noticeable) when it is zooming in and out. Is it possible that some of these cameras are sent out with poor calibration? It sounds as though there is "friction" as the barrel is turning. This lens feels and sounds like a cheap "knock-off" to the normal Canon lens that I am used to.

6. Canon technical support told me that to get around the noisy zoom lens, to use an external microphone on my SX40. They must not have known that you cannot use an external mic with this camera. Does anyone else know a way around this?

7. When in auto mode and in autofocus - taking photos in distance, the camera will quickly focus on subject, but consistently step slightly out of focus the moment the shutter button is pushed all the way.

8. I want to know more about CHDK and whether it will fix many of the issues I have with this camera. I'm very upset at the "governor" put on the ISO when increasing my shutter speed. If I want to capture available moonlight on night photos, I should be allowed to increase my ISO beyond 100, if using a 15 second shutter speed. Why does Canon prevent me from doing so? I also greatly dislike the manual focus ring which I cannot quickly adjust. Can CHDK allow me to focus using a toggle instead of the ring on this model?

I desperately want to love this camera, as I cannot find any other model or make to equal the features that I want (that I can afford.) I take many still photos, but also enjoy capturing video when appropriate. Sometimes I switch back and forth from stills to video which would be impossible without a dual-purpose camera such as this one. I have just been greatly disappointed since early December when I've been fighting with these issues and also thinking that my camera is broken. Be kind as I just joined this forum, but please help me if you can?

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
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