Unveiled: Two New Canon Super-Zooms, the PowerShot SX520 HS and SX400 IS


Canon has just added two new super-zoom point-and-shoots to their expansive line of PowerShot digital cameras; the SX520 HS and SX400 IS. As part of the esteemed SX-series of cameras, these two new offerings are contextualized by their high degree of imaging capabilities, versatile zoom lenses, and convenient form factors.

Succeeding last year's PowerShot SX510 HS, the new SX520 HS improves upon its predecessor in a variety of ways, including increased resolution and increased zoom magnification, among other welcomed refinements throughout the camera system. This new model features a 16MP 1/2.3" High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor, up from 12.1MP, and a faster DIGIC 4+ image processor to realize improved still and full HD 1080p video recording capabilities, increased noise reduction, and expanded sensitivity to ISO 6400 in low-light mode. These two technologies—the sensor and processor—also combine to form the Canon HS SYSTEM, which is designed to garner greater clarity and detail when working in difficult lighting conditions.

The new zoom lens now features a 42x magnification, compared to the 30x lens of the SX510, which provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-1008mm. An Optical Image Stabilizer offsets this tremendous reach by compensating for the effects of camera shake that become increasingly prevalent at longer focal lengths and in lower light. Additionally, Intelligent IS image stabilization is a unique function that automatically chooses from one of eight recognized camera shake types in order to optimize stabilization for different types of conditions, such as when panning, working from a tripod, photographing close-up subjects, or even walking while shooting.

Also benefitting the use of the long-reaching lens is Zoom Framing Assist; a unique function that aids in maintaining your composition when working with distant subjects. This tool can be applied by holding the dedicated button, which allows you to briefly zoom out and take in more of the overall scene. When the button is released, the lens quickly zooms back to its original position, with maintained High Speed AF, to allow you to keep shooting.

To complement the enhanced imaging capabilities of the SX520, there are also a slew of creative shooting and auto exposure modes available to benefit both stills and movies. Creative Shot mode utilizes elements of your original image to create a new, unique, and artistically enhanced composition; Hybrid Auto mode automatically records short video clips just before and after shooting a still image, and then automatically combines the images into a single multimedia file; and Smart AUTO mode can be used to intelligently adjust exposure settings based on detected scene types.

Coming in with a smaller form factor than the SX520, the SX400 IS is a slightly stripped-down model that is designed to offer ample imaging capabilities with a more convenient size and feature-set. Utilizing a 16MP 1/2.3" CCD sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor, sensitivity to ISO 6400 in low-light mode is possible as well as the ability to record HD 720p movies.

A long, 30x optical zoom lens is incorporated into the body and provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-720mm. Like the SX520's design, an Optical Image Stabilizer can be used to minimize the appearance of camera shake to better support working in difficult lighting conditions. Intelligent IS can also be used to base the image stabilizer's performance on specific types of motion to better serve working in fast-paced, moving conditions or in more controlled, still environments.

Also like the SX520, the SX400 features the Smart AUTO shooting mode, which intelligently chooses between 32 predefined shooting situations to optimize exposure settings for both stills and movies.

The SX400 IS is available in both black and red colors.

  PowerShot SX520 HS Digital Camera  PowerShot SX400 IS Digital Camera
Image Sensor 1/2.3" High-Sensitivity CMOS 1/2.3" CCD
Effective Pixels 16 MP 16 MP
Total Pixels 16.8 MP 16.6 MP
Maximum Resolution 16 MP: 4608 x 3456 16 MP: 4608 x 3456
Aspect Ratio 4:3 4:3
Still Image File Format JPEG JPEG
Storage Media SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards (not included) SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards (not included)
Card Slot SD SD
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent) 24–1008 mm (35 mm equiv) 24-720 mm (35 mm equiv)
Optical Zoom 42x 30x
Aperture Range f/3.4 - 6.0 f/3.4 - 5.8
Minimum Focusing Distance Auto/Manual: 0" / 0 cm
Normal Wide: 2" / 5 cm
Normal Telephoto: 4.3' / 1.3 m
Macro AF: 0" / 0 cm
Auto/Manual: 0" / 0 cm
Normal Wide: 2" / 5 cm
Normal Telephoto: 4.6' / 1.4 m
Macro AF: 0" / 0 cm
Filter Thread Diameter 67 mm (requires Filter Adapter FA-DC67A) N/A
Digital Zoom 4x 4x
Image Stabilization Optical & Intelligent IS Optical & Intelligent IS
Viewfinder Type None None
Shutter Type Electronic Electronic
Shutter Speed 1 - 1/2000 sec
15 - 1/2000 sec in M and Tv modes
1 - 1/1600 sec
15 - 1 sec shooting long exposures
Top Continuous Shooting Rate 10 fps 3.2 fps
Self-Timer Off, 2 sec., 10 sec., Custom Off, 2 sec., 10 sec., Custom
Exposure Control Method Manual Exposure, Program Shift, Safety Shift, AE Lock AE Lock
Metering Method Evaluative, Center‐weighted average, Spot Evaluative, Center‐weighted average, Spot
Exposure Modes Hybrid Auto (records video clips before each still), Smart AUTO (32 pre-defined settings for stills, 21 for video), Creative Shot, AE lock, FE lock, Programmed AE, Program Shift, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Portrait, Low Light, Snow, Fireworks, Smart Shutter, High-Speed Burst Auto, Smart AUTO (32 pre-defined settings for stills, 21 for video), AE lock, FE lock, Program, Portrait, Low Light, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Burst
Exposure Compensation From -2 to +2 stops in 1/3‐stop increments From -2 to +2 stops in 1/3‐stop increments
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100–3200, extendable to 6400 Auto, 100–1600, extendable to 6400
Autofocus System TTL Autofocus, Manual Focus TTL Autofocus
Focus Modes High Speed AF, AF lock, Face Detection High Speed AF, AF lock, Face Detection
Built-In Flash Yes
Effective Range: 1.6-18' / 0.5-5.5 m (wide), 4.3-9.8' / 1.3-3.0 m (telephoto)
Effective Range: 1.6-16' / 0.5 - 4.9 m (wide), 4.6-9.8' / 1.4 - 3.0 m (telephoto)
Flash Modes Auto, On, Slow Synchro, Off  Auto, On, Slow Synchro, Off
Flash Compensation From -2 to +2 stops in 1/3‐stop increments No
External Flash Interface No No
White Balance Modes Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Movie Recording Full HD 1920 x 1080p
HD 1280 x 720p
File Format MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)   MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) 
Audio Recording Yes Yes
Audio File Format Linear PCM stereo Linear PCM mono
External Microphone Input No No
Headphone Jack No No
Monitor 3.0" LCD (461,000 dots) 3.0" LCD (230,000 dots)
Interface USB 2.0, A/V connector, HDMI mini, PictBridge USB 2.0, A/V connector, PictBridge
Wi-Fi No No
Power Source NB-6LH lithium-ion battery pack (3.7 V, 1060 mAh) (included)
CB-2LY battery charger (included)
NB-11LH lithium-ion battery pack (included)
CB-2LF battery charger (included)
Battery Life Approx. 210 shots
Approx. 290 shots in ECO mode
Video Recording Time: 50 min
Approx. 190 shots
Approx. 260 shots in ECO mode
Operating Environment 32-104°F / 0-40°C
10-90% humidity
32-104°F / 0-40°C
10-90% humidity
Dimensions 4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6" / 11.9 x 8.1 x 9.1 cm 4.1 x 2.7 x 3.1" / 10.4 x 6.9 x 7.9 cm
Weight 15.6 oz / 441 g 11 oz / 313 g

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does the canon sx520hs have a range finder? also canon sx400. want long optical zoom plus range finder at a decent price.

please respond

thank you

Neither of these models offer a optical viewfinder (which is what I understood you to ask by stating "rangefinder").  Unfortunately there are not any cameras of this sort which feature an optical viewfinder.  All models offer an the viewfinder on the camera's rear LCD display, and in a few instances there are models which offer an electronic viewfinder, but none with an optical version.

External Flash, "Hot Shoe".

All the camera's reports I have read say "No Hot Shoe" but Canon's Internet site say it does!! 


Please advise truth.

Unfortunately, the SX520 does not have a hot shoe.  I’m not seeing where on that Canon site it lists a hot shoe.  It shows that the camera is compatible with the Canon HF-DC2 external flash, but this would not connect via a hot shoe.  It would sit on a bracket to the side of the camera and be triggered by the camera’s built-in flash.

Do either the sx400 or the sx 520 HS have creative modes such as fish eye lens and toy mode?

Yes, both models include a variety of creative shooting modes, and both include a fish-eye effect mode as well as toy camera effect mode.