I dont know about other bridge cameras but the SX40 promises so much and delivers on everything it promises, only, like a wish from a genie it grants the wishes in ways you don't expect. Pretty much anything you want this camera to do, it can do. Just badly.
It has a great zoom... but a terrible autofocus
It has 20 megapixels... but noisy jpeg compression
It has manual focus... on a painfully slow camera back mounted scrolly wheel thing.
It has user controlled white balance... that it always gets wrong at the first attempt.
It has flash fill in... that is over bright
You can correct most of these things with manual effort, but they will all be lost again if you go to automatic mode and then back out to manual again.
One thing you cannot fix is that the chromatic aberration filter (hides errors caused by the number of lenses in the "lens" and colour de-fringes high contrast edges) works by removing certain colours from the image, so purples either tend towards or actually become, blue. Not good for flower photography...
Here is a perfect example of how awful this camera is. The helicopter is static. I am static, the exposure is 1/250th and the zoom is 150mm. Camera shake correction is always on. This shot should be perfect. Judge for yourself (click on the image to enlarge).
Here is another example where the auto focus defaulted to a mid setting when the subject was at "infinity"
I have had some good shots out of this camera, but they take real effort.
On the good side, the results of the shoot were so poor I gave up on the photography about half way through the show and watched the rest with the Mk1 Human Eyeball. A much more rewarding experience :-)