Canon Powershot SX40 HS: My First Superzoom Camera

Photography is something that I’ve always loved. From a young age, I’ve watched my dad take photos with his analog SLR camera (I think it was a Nikon) - and wished I could do it too. I even signed up for photography club in school and tried to teach myself as best as I can. However, the budget of a young student didn’t really suit photography as a hobby back then. At least, not MY budget. Always kept my love for photography anyway, in some form.

Late in 2007, I finally owned my very first DSLR. I was finally in photography heaven. I took thousands of photos. Became really active on Flickr. Even found myself Explored a few times. I was learning about photography. And, enjoying it a lot.

However, late in April/early May 2008, I started receiving some really weird feedback about some aspects of my photography. Particularly, my practice of self-portaiture. I mean, yes, I had hundreds of fantastic feedback. But, I had a handful of naysayers that got me second guessing my approach. Shortly after that, a personal/family tragedy struck when my dad suddenly passed away.

Since I inevitably think of my dad when I think of photography, my initial excitement about my DSLR photography was set aside at the time. I still took photos, of course, but I wasn’t as excited. I don’t think I’ve ever really rekindled that excitement again.

When my beloved Nikon D40x broke down in May/June 2011, I never managed to get it working properly again. And, my laptop has started acting up too, so my media editing became painful.

Earlier that year in 2011, I got my first smartphone. And, I think that was the beginning of my laziness with photography. The same way I became lazy with videos when I got myself a Flip camera. I started depending on the easy option. Using my smartphone camera to fill all my photography needs at the time. And, the occasional time with the point-and-shoot.

But, I missed it – the whole thing about taking photos with a bit more thought and effort. I still miss it.

Since I wasn’t quite ready to invest in a new DSLR without knowing if I’d rekindle my love for photography or not, I decided to get a simpler camera (but a bit better than a smartphone or regular point-and-shoot). And, that’s my very first superzoom camera: the Canon Powershot SX40 HS


Picture of Canon Powershot SX40 HS camera

Being primarily a Nikon Girl (and the only one in my immediate family of photography enthusiasts too – as 3 of my siblings who all love their DSLR cameras carry around their own expensive Canon gear), it felt a bit odd getting a Canon for my superzoom. But, when I looked at the equivalent Nikon superzoom camera (I can’t remember the exact model now; I think it was the Nikon Coolpix P500), the Canon won me over based on comparisons and reviews. Here’s a sample review from the Photography Blog. It’s also called by CNET as one of the best superzoom cameras around.

Some great features that I liked about the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS  from the start:

  • The zoom. Oh the zoom. There is a reason they call this a superzoom camera. The lens goes from 24mm to 840mm. I don’t think I can ever afford buying a lens in a regular DSLR with a zoom lens that long.
  • Full HD video recording. Do you know what a good video recording camera that has a powerful zoom can do? Well, if you play with this camera, you’ll know. I’ve actually managed to take decent footage of my son playing soccer (football) at the Hindmarsh Stadium when he was invited to participate in Adelaide United’s mascot program during one of their games (with some of the other boys in the soccer club he’s part of). I was nowhere near the pitch, so with a normal camera, my son would’ve looked like a dot. With this camera, it looked like I was near the official photographers’ area. Sure, the footage was a little shaky but not painfully so.
  • The ability to take photos during filming. Not ideal, to be honest, as it does record that clicking sound and it cuts off the audio and video for a split second. But, when you’re trying to record family history with both video and photo, it’s not a terrible way of trying to capture both without having to change from one camera to another.

There are a few other things to love, but I feel I’m not in the position yet to rave about them until I fully test the camera’s functions.

I have some minor gripes, and a couple of major ones. And, the biggest issues I have are: 1) It’s a bit on the slow side when you turn it on (not great for split second photographic opportunities); and 2) the lag between taking shots.

Anyway, apart from my favourite features, one of the reasons that I ended up looking at this camera in the first place is because it was being offered through the Qantas Frequent Flyer shop. And, since I had racked up some points in 2010/2011, I decided to use some of those points toward getting this camera. As I said, I was trying hard not to spend any money on photography until I can get my enthusiasm back.

However, one proof that I haven’t quite made it that far is the fact that I got this camera on 1 March 2012. It’s now the end of November. I haven’t blogged about this until today. And, I haven’t even christened this camera yet. Some of you who know me might remember that I have developed a habit of naming my gadgets (yep, including cars, plants, etc). My DSLR – the Nikon D40x – was Nixie.

And yeah, I admit, I haven’t really played with this superzoom as much as I should just yet. In fact, I only recently discovered that it has a fish eye and toy camera modes. Amongst other things. I’ve pretty much kept it on auto mode over the last 8+ months.

But, I’m hoping to change that. For the first time in years, I actually want to take better pictures again. I want a DSLR replacement (yes, a Nikon!). I want to start creating my portable studio once more. I started one before – where I bought lots of different fabrics to use for my set-up. I’m planning to use them again, and perhaps, even start collecting new ones. I even have some ideas on what I’d like to make.

However, before I invest in a new DSLR, I want to make sure that I’m able to love photography again.

So yes, starting now, I’m going to pay attention to this Canon superzoom camera a bit more than I have done. I will
try to love it more.

Besides, with a new, speedy laptop (that I still need to blog about!) with external hard drives to match my media consumption and creation, I’m finding photo and video editing to be a bit more pleasurable again. Still takes time. But, at least not hair-tearing, when-is-this-ever-going-to-end time anymore.   

So, maybe the time is right to start loving photography again.

Maybe I’ll start by finally giving this camera a name.


Yep, that’s it.

Meet Casz, my first superzoom camera. 

I’ll try to share what I learn and discover with you as Casz and I explore my visual world again.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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