Canon PowerShot SX30 vs. SX40 High Iso Comparison

I had both PowerShot SX40 and SX30 for a few days, so I thought – why not take them head to head?

When first holding both cameras, I couldn’t believe how similar they looked. There’s almost no telling them apart, expect for the name label, the ‘ultrasonic’ label which is golden on the SX30 and the number of megapixels, which is, fortunately, lower on the SX40.

After a day’s worth of testing both cameras, I couldn’t believe how different they are. The SX30 once seemed like a decent, if not excellent camera. But it turns pale when compared to the SX40.

Before plunging into the pixels and noise of high ISO output from these two zoom monsters, I must emphasize how much faster the SX40 is in terms of menu operation and focusing speed. It’s much like tasting wine – you take a sip from one and it tastes fine. But only when you taste a much better one adjacently, you understand how bad the first one really was.

The menus on the SX30 are no less than sluggish compared to the much quicker responses of the SX40, including each and every menu animation and help tip appearing on the screen. More importantly, shot to shot times of the SX40 are about half (!) of the SX30’s – that’s all due to the newer, faster Digic V processor in the heart of the SX40.

And now, for what we are all gathered for – showing how better Canon’s new CMOS sensor and HS system really are. Without further ado, here are the results:

ISO 400 (f/4.5, 1/4 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30
Canon PowerShot SX40

ISO 800 (f/4.5, 1/8 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30
Canon PowerShot SX40

ISO 1600 (f/4.5, 1/8 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30
Canon PowerShot SX40

ISO 3200 (f/4.5, 1/30 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30 – no 3200 –

Canon PowerShot SX40

 

Here are 100% Crops of the images above:

ISO 400 (f/4.5, 1/4 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30
Canon PowerShot SX40

ISO 800 (f/4.5, 1/15 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30
Canon PowerShot SX40

ISO 1600 (f/4.5, 1/15 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30
Canon PowerShot SX40

ISO 3200 (f/4.5, 1/30 sec):

Canon PowerShot SX30 – no 3200 –
Canon PowerShot SX40

All images were taken with custom white balance setting, to avoid color shifts and exposure biases. Auto white balance in both cameras produced much warmer images in the incandescent lighting used for this test.

The output shows a much more aggressive approach to noise removal by the SX40, but one cannot ignore the plain fact that the output at ISO 1600 of the SX40 is better than at ISO 800 of the SX30.

Verdict – the SX40 has about a stop and a half advantage over the SX30 in terms of noise performance in high ISO levels. The new CMOS sensor and Digic V processor deliver as promised and to all you SX30 owners out there – I understand your pain of having to go back to using it, instead of replacing it with the newer, better, faster, cleaner SX40.

-eyalg

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