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Canon SX1 vs SX40

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2008 and September 2011. Both the SX1 and the SX40 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The SX1 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the SX40 provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX1 versus Canon SX40
Canon SX1 Canon SX40
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8
10 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-3,200
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
2.8 LCD, 230k dots 2.7 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 10.3 shutter flaps per second
128 x 88 x 88 mm, 615 g 123 x 92 x 108 mm, 600 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon SX1 and the Canon SX40 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX1 vs Canon SX40
Compare SX1 versus SX40 top
Comparison SX1 or SX40 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX1 and the Canon SX40 are of equal size. However, the SX40 is slightly lighter (2 percent) than the SX1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX1 nor the SX40 are weather-sealed.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX1 5.0 in 3.5 in 3.5 in 21.7 oz .. n Sep 2008 599i
 
Canon SX40 4.8 in 3.6 in 4.3 in 21.2 oz 380 n Sep 2011 429i
 
Canon SX70 5.0 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 21.4 oz 325 n Sep 2018 549 i
 
Canon SX60 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon G16 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon SX50 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon SX30 4.8 in 3.6 in 4.3 in 21.2 oz 370 n Sep 2010 429i
 
Canon SX20 4.8 in 3.5 in 3.4 in 21.2 oz .. n Aug 2009 399i
 
Canon SX10 4.8 in 3.5 in 3.4 in 21.2 oz .. n Sep 2008 399i
 
Panasonic FZ300 5.2 in 3.6 in 4.6 in 24.4 oz 380 Y Jul 2015 599 i
 
Panasonic FZ200 4.9 in 3.4 in 4.3 in 20.7 oz 540 n Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic FZ150 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 18.6 oz 410 n Aug 2011 499i
 
Panasonic FZ100 4.9 in 3.2 in 3.6 in 19.0 oz 410 n Jul 2010 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX40 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the SX1, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX1 and Canon SX40 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX40 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the SX1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 10 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX40 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.53μm versus 1.67μm for the SX1). However, it should be noted that the SX40 is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the SX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX40 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX40 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX1 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

SX1 versus SX40 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon SX1 1/2.3 10.0 3648 27361080/30p........
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
 
Canon SX70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p........
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
 
Canon SX30 1/2.3 14.0 4320 3240720/30p........
 
Canon SX20 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000720/30p........
 
Canon SX10 1/2.3 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........
 
Panasonic FZ300 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p19.311.09738
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
 
Panasonic FZ100 1/2.3 14.0 4320 32401080/60i........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the SX1 provides a higher frame rate than the SX40. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the SX40 is limited to 1080/24p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX1 and the SX40 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 202k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon SX1 and Canon SX40 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon SX1202 n 2.8 230 swivel n 1/3200s 4.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
 
Canon SX702360 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon SX30202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.6 Y Y
 
Canon SX20202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
 
Canon SX10202 n 2.5 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ3001440 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
 
Panasonic FZ100202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 11.0 Y Y

Both the SX1 and the SX40 have zoom lenses built in. The SX1 has a 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 optic and the SX40 offers a 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX40 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the SX1. The SX40 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the SX40 uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and Canon PowerShot SX40 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon SX1Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX70-stereomonoY-micro2.0Y-Y
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX30Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX20Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX10Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Panasonic FZ200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the SX1 and the SX40 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX40 was replaced by the Canon SX50, while the SX1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX1 or the Canon SX40 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.8" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10.3 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.7 vs f/2.8).
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the SX1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX40 is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX1 03:07 SX40

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX1 and the Canon SX40 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX1 and the SX40 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon SX1+ ++..o3.5/5 Sep 2008 599i
 
Canon SX40+..4.5/55/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
 
Canon SX70+ +..3.5/5..3.5/5 Sep 2018 549 i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon G16+..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
 
Canon SX50+ +72/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon SX30+ +..3.5/54.5/54/5 Sep 2010 429i
 
Canon SX20+ +73/100..4/54/5 Aug 2009 399i
 
Canon SX10+ +....4.5/54/5 Sep 2008 399i
 
Panasonic FZ300+ +..4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 599 i
 
Panasonic FZ200+ +80/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599i
 
Panasonic FZ150+ +76/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
 
Panasonic FZ100+..4.5/5..4.5/5 Jul 2010 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX1:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX40:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX1 vs Canon SX40

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX1 Canon SX40
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8
    Launch Date September 2008 September 2011
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX40
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.67 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 35.55 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX40
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 2.7inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX40
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 10.3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX40
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port YES HDMI YES HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX40
    Battery Type 4xAA NB-10L
    Body Dimensions 128 x 88 x 88 mm
    (5.0 x 3.5 x 3.5 in)
    123 x 92 x 108 mm
    (4.8 x 3.6 x 4.3 in)
    Camera Weight 615 g (21.7 oz) 600 g (21.2 oz)

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