Canon demonstrates its skill in shoehorning great optics into small cameras
Canon’s Powershot SX700 HS sits amongst a range of its cameras made mostly for travellers who want a decent zoom lens. Compared with its cousins in the Canon stable, the Ixus models, the SX700 HS is modestly larger (112.7 x 65.8 x 34.8 mm), though it is made to the same high quality using an attractive mix of metal and plastic. This additional space allows for the mounting of at 30x optical assembly that provides the equivalent of 25-750mm zoom with f/3.2-6.9 on a old-school 35mm.
With the telephoto end of that equation being so big, Canon has thankfully put sophisticated lens-shift image stabilisation in place. Combined with the sensitivity of the back-illuminated high sensitivity CMOS sensor (16MP) and Canon’s very latest DIGIC 6 image processor, this makes for a very potent still and moving image capture platform.
Video can be shot at 1080p and 60fps and the SX700 also provides wi-fi, NFC, a pop-up flash, and a lightning-fast auto focus system.
In many respects its feature set is not unlike a bridge camera, though there are some significant differences if you’ve tempted to move from one of those ‘down’ to this. The best continuous shooting speed is only about 1fps, there is no internal GPS or a hot-shoe for attaching a ‘proper’ flash, and it doesn’t support RAW files. However, it’s certainly more pocket friendly than a bridge, easily shoots 250 images on a full battery charge, and the price is far from a deal breaker.
However, what really convinced me that this was worth a punt was the quality of the images. For a compact camera, they’re exceptional. At full zoom it produced sharp and well saturated images, even if the light levels weren’t optimal.
If I have a complaint it has to do with the very odd selection of creative shot modes, which seem borrowed from a much lower specification design. For example: why Canon might include such options as tilt-shift (called ‘miniature’ mode), while leaving out panoramic stitching is beyond this reviewer’s comprehension. I’d have also liked to see a proper HDR mode – rather than the watered down Hybrid shooting – and RAW file capture. If it had those things,
(and maybe a viewfinder) I think many professionals would consider this as an excellent travelling companion.
These issues aside, the Canon Powershot SX700 HS is remarkably effective. It allows you to get great still and moving images without a degree in photography, at a price suiting those who like a bargain. Browse at bit and it can even be had at a discount that would allow you to bundle SD cards and a case for the same amount as I’ve quoted.
The Canon Powershot SX700 HS is by far the best compact zoom I’ve seen in the past year, and well worth a look if you’re after a new holiday shooter. Mark Pickavance
A powerful zoom lens and sensitive sensor combined.
• Ultra-compact 30x optical zoom (25mm wide-angle lens, 750mm full zoom)
• 16.1 Megapixel CMOS, DIGIC 6 processor
• Intelligent IS plus five-axis dynamic image stabilisation for steady movies
• Connect, backup and share easily using wi-fi and NFC
• Remote shooting and GPS tracking via smartphone
• Full HD (1080p) movies at 60fps in stereo with optical zoom