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What the difference between a Canon SX40HS and a Canon SX40? and also the what does 'HS' mean?

Thank you.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is no difference. There is only one SX40 and its official name is Canon Powershot SX40 HS.

HS stands for High-Speed because it uses a CMOS sensor so it is capable of shooting at 10 FPS. Other manufacturers do not use the same naming scheme but this is quite common lately. Almost all cameras which can shoot video at 1080p use CMOS sensors and are capable of high-speed shooting (where high-speed varies between models).

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