Lesieli - Take a look around this and other Forums, at the threads/posts about the current crop of long-zoom Bridge Cameras.
Canon SX30, Panasonic FZ100, Fuji HS10, Pentax X90, so on - they're all getting quite similar "complaints" from new users about not being easy to get immediate good results with.
None of them do "instant perfect snapshots" in Auto mode - some not in Program mode, either (can assure you that the HS10 doesn't!)
Some of the users are coming from the quite good and very simple/easy to use midrange P&S cameras all of the makers now do very well.
The "comments" from users of Canon SX10/SX20 users who upgraded to the SX30 - maybe because of the 35x zoom, or its excellent Std-HD video - seem to indicate some "ultra-zoom shock".
I went from the extremely easy to use Canon SX10, to the Fuji HS10. But I waited (while saving for it) several months before buying the HS10, so by then I had "some idea" of what to expect.
Rather, I "thought I did". With the SX10 I'd gone from mostly using Program, to mostly using Shutter or Aperture Priority, seldom full Manual. The HS10 was a steep learning-curve into using Shutter Priority as the "turn camera on / walkaround" preset mode - and fast-learn to use Manual hand-held - with MF essential at anything past 3/4 zoom, other than in very bright light... Otherwise, the AF "hunts like a terrier on steroids..."
It certainly isn't an "easy" camera to use - and it couldn't be called a Point-&-Shoot... You do have to "learn the camera's habits-and-customs" - then be able to - very firmly - "tell it what to do!" Then results are pretty good, including with the fast-continuous function.
However - from what I've been seeing on Forums these past few months - all of the new long-zoom Bridge Cameras do have a pretty steep learning curve to get good results.
As Gordon says, makers sometimes do a "most used" set of "defaults" to suit Auto and Program. At least to get new owners achieving reasonable results from "Day 1'. That would certainly apply to Canon's SX30 (excellent Review on the SX30, here on this Forum) - and Nikon's P100.
Some others - including the Fuji HS10 (Fuji didn't send Gordon one to Review - which would have been very interesting) - seem not to do that. It does have a lot of "Scenes Modes" - most of which don't apply to any conditions under which I've used the camera.
You could perhaps try using the FZ40's "Still Image Scenes" and "Advanced Scenes" modes - noting what settings the camera selects for lighting and types of situations - then using those as User Settings you can then adjust and improve on for better results.
From the Spec-sheet the FZ40 has a very comprehensive settings/adjustments range, and looks to be a very good camera, once you get used to it and can tell it what to do - and how!
You might be able to find a Panasonic Forum where the functions of the FZ40 are discussed in detail by a lot of users. The FZ40 could well be yet another of the current Bridge Zooms that has a steep, trial-and-error by experience, learning curve.