In terms of new features, there aren’t any significantly new technologies to speak of. Both cameras use Canon’s Digic 4+ image processor instead of the newer and better Digic 6 (hence the smaller ISO range of 100-3,200 and slower continuous shooting). The SX520 uses a 16-megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, and the 42x zoom offers a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 24-1008mm, with optical image stabilization. There’s Full HD 1080 video recording (at 30 frames per second), fast autofocusing, improved grip design, and Zoom Framing Assist, which is a very handy feature that let’s you briefly and quickly zoom out to relocate a lost subject or object, before zooming back in. Other features include Canon’s Creative Shot shooting mode (which takes several unique exposures of the same shot), a Smart Auto that chooses the appropriate scene modes, and a Hybrid Auto that creates a highlight video from the shots you made.
What has been eliminated, which its predecessor (PowerShot SX510 HS) has, is built-in Wi-Fi. With nearly every new camera now offering some sort of wireless connectivity, especially at this price, it seems strange that the feature has been omitted. We’re not sure what Canon’s thinking is here, other than to keep the price down, considering the importance of camera makers having to become more “mobile.” Not to mention, the SX520 costs more than the SX510
The SX400 also shares the same sensor and processor, but has the shorter lens (30x, which is 24-720mm in 35mm terms), an even smaller ISO range (100-1,600) and slower continuous speed, and records video only up to 720p. Otherwise, it’s a similar camera that costs less, but with slightly lesser features. Again, no Wi-Fi here.
The SX520 goes on sale in September for $400, and comes in black, while the SX400 will be available in August for $250, in black and red. We know Canon makes great cameras, like the compact, Wi-Fi-equipped PowerShot SX700 HS, but these two new models leave more to be desired. We understand there is a consumer demand for long-zoom cameras like these, but we wished Canon had included some cool specs that make them stand out from the competition.