Canon SX40 versus Canon SX50

Started Oct 14, 2012 | Questions thread
Stephen Ingraham Senior Member • Posts: 1,948
Re: Canon SX40 versus Canon SX50

FishyPix wrote:


The differences of interest between these two cameras seems to be that the new model has RAW, a higher resolution screen, a few more ISO options, much slower shots per second and a slower lens of 3.7 versus 2.8 (or something like that).

But I have read people's reviews about AF speed and the failure of the SX40 to have long exposures.

So can the SX50 do long exposures of more than 15 seconds ?

Does high ISO options compensate sufficiently for the slower lens in the SX50 ?

Is the AF speed in the SX40 still an issue over the SX30 and how is AF speed in the SX50 ?

So in my mind, apart from RAW, I think Id rather go for the SX40 as it has faster frames-per-second, good low light ability and an insignificantly shorter zoom range.

Any thoughts ?


I am about done comparing my SX40 to my new SX50. I want to shoot some cooperative birds, but then the 40 is going on the self as my back up camera.

Addressing your issues above.

Frames per second: If you look at the SX40 data on the Canon web site, the 40 is rated at 2.4 fps (if memory servers me right). This is different than the 3.x it was rated when if first came out. The 50 is rated at 2.2 fps. (I suspect the way fps is measured has changed between models and the change is now reflected in the 40s specs.) In practical use, both appear to give something closer to 3-3.5 (in bright light), with fps dropping as light levels fall and more processing is needed. I actually saw no difference in apparent fps between the two cameras in normal shooting in my testing, and I was paying attention. Both give me a satisfying fps for the kind of work I do.

On the other hand, the Burst mode on the 50 is much improved. You can take less than the 10 shot burst by letting up on the shutter release and you can get 4 fps with focus between shots.

Lens speed and exposure. The 40 was actually a 2.7 and the 50 is actually a 3.4 at the wide end. In real world shooting, at least outdoors, you will rarely use the wide angle at its widest aperture anyway. The potentially more important difference is between the 5.8 and 6.5 at the telephoto end. However, in my testing I got identical exposures with both cameras under a wide range of conditions. And remember that f6.5 is on a 1200mm equivalent. The 5.8 was only on an 840mm equivalent. I don't expect much trouble from the "slower" lens.

Focus speed. The 50 is significantly faster to focus than the 40. I never owned the 30. It is also much more positive than the 40. Much less seeking. Press the shutter button half way and it snaps to focus on whatever is in the focus square. Done. I would have difficulty returning to the focus on the 40 now that I have experienced the focus on the 50.

Long exposures are not an issue for me, either way.

Besides raw, the 50 has added another option to iContrast to open shadows more...and it has a true auto HDR mode (right on the control dial), that works, so far, very well. It produces a nicely balanced image with slightly extended range...not the over the top HDR effects you sometimes see...and certainly way better than the HDR function on the Nikon P series...which produced a very flat unnatural looking image. Some have had trouble with camera movement during HDR exposure, but so far I have had excellent results hand held.

Then too, you have the Superfine recording mode in addition to the 40s Fine. Jury still out here...but I am thinking Superfine retains more detail in difficult situations.

Also, in my testing the lens on the 50 is sharper overall, and noticeably sharper in the corners and at the edges.

Finally, for me the longer zoom is important. I do a lot of bugs and birds which require all the reach I can get. The longer zoom on the 50 means that I can shoot the same image scale on the 50 at 1x digital zoom that I did on the 40 with the 1.5x digital tel-converter, and have significantly more magnification with the 1.5x digital tel-converter than I did with the 40 at full zoom and 2x digital tel-converter. That means higher image quality where I need it for bugs and birds.

Certainly, in my opinion, but the 40 and the 50 are fine cameras. You would be happy, I think, with either, and prices on the 40 right now are certainly an attraction. However, in my testing, the 50 is the better camera in many significant (to me) ways. Like I said, the 40 will be my back up from here on out.

 Stephen Ingraham's gear list:Stephen Ingraham's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P900 Sony RX10 III Sony RX10 IV Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Sony Alpha NEX-3N +4 more
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