Canon SX400 IS Review

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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon PowerShot SX400 IS
Resolution: 16.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
Lens: 30.00x zoom
(24-720mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
ISO: 100-1600
Shutter: 15-1/1600
Max Aperture: 3.4
Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.7 x 3.2 in.
(104 x 69 x 80 mm)
Weight: 11.0 oz (313 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $250
Availability: 08/2014
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon SX400 IS specifications
30.00x zoom
1/2.3 inch
size sensor
image of Canon PowerShot SX400 IS
Front side of Canon PowerShot SX400 IS digital camera Back side of Canon PowerShot SX400 IS digital camera Top side of Canon PowerShot SX400 IS digital camera Left side of Canon PowerShot SX400 IS digital camera  

Canon SX400 Review -- First Impressions

Preview posted

If you're looking for an affordable, long-zoom camera from Canon and you don't want last year's camera, you've got two choices as of this writing. The 16-megapixel Canon SX400 and SX520 were both announced in late-July 2014, and of the pair, the SX400 is the more affordable by quite some margin.

There's a reason for that: The Canon SX400 is based around a CCD image sensor. Some people still swear by the CCD, insisting that it yields better images, but be that as it may it brings with it clear disadvantages in terms of performance. Although both cameras have near-identical resolution, the SX400 trails its sibling with pedestrian performance. It also has a lower maximum sensitivity of just ISO 1,600 equivalent.

At full resolution, you'll have to wait 1.25 seconds between shots even before the buffer fills. Even if you drop the resolution to just 3.9 megapixels in low-light mode, the Canon SX400 will manage 3.2 frames per second, where its sibling is capable of almost triple that speed. And the SX400 lacks Full HD movie capture, as well. In fact, even at HD (1,280 x 720 pixel; 720p) resolution it's limited to just 24/25 frames per second..

That's the bad news. The good news, though, is that the Canon SX400 offers a lot of zoom reach for the money, sporting essentially the same zoom lens as last year's Canon SX510, and hitting the exact same price point. For US$250, you'll get a 30x optical zoom which covers everything from a generous 24mm-equivalent wide-angle to a powerful 720mm-equivalent telephoto. Maximum aperture will range from f/3.4 to f/5.8 across the zoom range, and image stabilization is included.

Still, it's a little tricky to see why you'd want to buy the SX400 instead of the SX510, because at the same list price, that camera offers a swifter-shooting 12-megapixel CMOS sensor, a higher-resolution LCD monitor, and built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking. By contrast, this year's SX400 lacks Wi-Fi, and its LCD monitor -- while the same size -- has only half the dot-count.

And there are other differences that might sway your purchase decision: The SX400 lacks priority or manual exposure modes or flash exposure compensation, switches to a mono mic instead of a stereo one, and drops both the USB and HDMI outputs.Combine that with its lower sensitivity and slow shooting, and it's pretty clear that last year's SX510 is the better deal, at least until its stock runs out.

Available from August 2014 in black or red, the Canon SX400 is priced at US$250. Available since September 2013, the Canon SX510 has the same price, but ships only in black -- and for the time being at least, it's still listed as a current model. If you're shopping for an SLR-styled long-zoom, fixed-lens camera, you might want to read our review of that model, and take a look at our sample photos. Then check to see if it's still available.

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