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Canon SX40 vs SX50

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2011 and September 2012. Both the SX40 and the SX50 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon SX40 versus Canon SX50
Canon SX40 Canon SX50
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-840mm f/2.7-5.8 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 80-6,400
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 461k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
10.3 shutter flaps per second 2.2 shutter flaps per second
380 shots per battery charge315 shots per battery charge
123 x 92 x 108 mm, 600 g 123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS and the Canon PowerShot SX50 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 SX40 and the Canon SX50 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX40 vs Canon SX50
Compare SX40 versus SX50 top
Comparison SX40 or SX50 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX50 is notably smaller (5 percent) than the Canon SX40. Moreover, the SX50 is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the SX40. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX40 nor the SX50 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 SX40 4.8 in 3.6 in 4.3 in 21.2 oz 380 n Sep 2011 429i
 
Canon SX50 4.8 in 3.4 in 4.2 in 21.0 oz 315 n Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon SX60 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon S120 3.9 in 2.3 in 1.1 in 7.7 oz 230 n Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon G1 X 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799i
 
Canon G15 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon T3 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 17.5 oz 700 n Feb 2011 449i
 
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 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.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon SX40 and Canon SX50 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 12 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the SX40 and the SX50 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the SX50 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the SX40, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX40 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

SX40 versus SX50 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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 SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
 
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 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 cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/24p).

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX40 and the SX50 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX40, the Canon SX50, and comparable 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 SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
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 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
The SX50 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the SX40 does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the SX40 and the SX50 have zoom lenses built in. The SX40 has a 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8 optic and the SX50 offers a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX40 and SX50 provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the SX50 has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The SX40 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX40 and the SX50 write their files to SDXC cards.

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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 SX40 HS and Canon PowerShot SX50 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 SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Canon SX30Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX20Ystereomono--YES2.0---
 
Canon SX10Ystereomono---2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---
 
Panasonic FZ100Ystereomono--mini2.0---

Both the SX40 and the SX50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX40 was replaced by the Canon SX50, while the SX50 was followed by the Canon SX60. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SX40 better than the Canon SX50 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10.3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.7 vs f/3.4).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (380 versus 315) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2011).


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (6 points each). 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX40 06:06 SX50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX40 and the Canon SX50 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 SX40 and the SX50 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 SX40+..4.5/55/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
 
Canon SX50+ +72/1004.5/5..4.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
 
Canon SX60+ +75/1004/5..4.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
 
Canon S120+ +..4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
 
Canon G1 X+76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
 
Canon G15+76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
 
Canon T380/10069/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
 
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 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.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon SX40:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX50:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon SX40 vs Canon SX50

    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 SX40 Canon SX50
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-840mm f/2.7-5.8 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date September 2011 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Canon SX40 Canon SX50
    Sensor Technology BSI-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 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 179
    Screen Specs Canon SX40 Canon SX50
    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 2.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX40 Canon SX50
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 10.3 shutter flaps/s 2.2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX40 Canon SX50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port YES HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX40 Canon SX50
    Battery Type NB-10L NB-10L
    Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots per charge315 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 123 x 92 x 108 mm
    (4.8 x 3.6 x 4.3 in)
    123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    Camera Weight 600 g (21.2 oz) 595 g (21.0 oz)

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