Something that's been missing from Canon's PowerShot lineup is a lower-cost full-size megazoom to compete with models like Nikon's Coolpix L810 and Fujifilm's FinePix S4500. The PowerShot SX500 IS -- for better or worse -- now fills that void.
The SX500 IS is a step down from the 35x zoom PowerShot SX40 HS. For $100 less, you get a 30x f3.4-5.8 24-720mm lens, a fixed 3-inch 460K-dot resolution, a 16-megapixel CCD sensor, and an older Digic 4 image processor. In comparison, the SX40 HS has a high-sensitivity 12-megapixel CMOS sensor, Digic 5 processor, 2.7-inch vari-angle LCD and electronic viewfinder, and an f2.7-5.8 24-840mm lens.
The one advantage that the SX500 IS has over the SX40 HS is an improved autofocus system, which Canon says reduces AF time 32 percent from 0.38 second to 0.26 second and shooting lag time 33 percent, 0.45 second to 0.3 second. Shooting performance is typically slow with these budget-minded models, so this is definitely a plus.
Look for the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS to hit stores in September for about $330.