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Canon PowerShot SX700 HS review

Ben Pitt
16 Jul 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
269
inc VAT

A solid all-rounder, but we'll stick with last year's model for now

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Specifications

Sensor resolution: 16 megapixels, Focal length multiplier: 5.56x, Viewfinder: no, LCD screen: 3in (922,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 30x (25-750mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/18-38, Weight: 265g, Size (HxWxD): 66x113x35mm

The Canon SX700 HS is the successor to the Canon SX280 HS, one of our favourite cameras of 2013. We like cameras that pack big zooms into slim bodies, and the SX280 HS delivered the highest photo and video quality we had seen from such a camera.

The SX700 HS ups the ante with a 30x zoom – a big jump from the SX280 HS's 20x zoom and the joint biggest ever to grace a compact-shaped camera. It also benefits from a cosmetic makeover and looks much more glamorous than its predecessor, especially in the metallic red finish we were sent for review.

CANON SX700 HS CONTROLS

The layout of controls hasn't changed much, but that's no bad thing. There's a sturdy mode dial with priority and manual exposure modes plus various scene presets and creative filters. The rear wheel makes it quick to navigate the menus and adjust settings, and there's a 4x magnify function for accurate manual focus. The menus are neatly organised, with the Func Set button revealing commonly used photographic settings and the Menu button for everything else. There's still no option to position the autofocus point manually – it's a choice of wide with face detect, centre or tracking.

Canon PowerShot SX700 rear

There are two new buttons. Holding down the one to the left of the 3in screen zooms out to show a wide-angle view, but overlays a rectangle to show the previous zoomed-in frame. Release the button and the camera zooms back in again. This is extremely useful when shooting at the long end of the zoom when you're struggling to locate a subject in the frame.

The other new button launches the Wi-Fi function. It supports wireless transfers to Android and Apple iOS devices and, unlike the SX280 HS, also offers a remote viewfinder mode. Control is limited to shutter release, flash and self-timer functions, but it's enough for group self-portraits. The SX280 HS's GPS radio has disappeared but it's still possible to geo-tag photos with the help of the Android and iOS app.

Canon PowerShot SX700 top

NFC makes an appearance for easier configuration with Android devices, but it's not that much easier. Holding the camera and our Nexus 4 smartphone together made the phone visit the Play Store to download the Canon CW app. Once installed, holding them together again launched the app but didn't configure the Wi-Fi settings, and it had no effect on the camera. It's not much of a chore to press the new Wi-Fi button on the camera, but it can only store a profile for one connected to device, so we had to delete the profile each time we wanted to switch between our Nexus phone and iPad.

CANON SX700 HS VIDEO QUALITY

The SX280 HS excelled for video quality, and so does the SX700 HS. Details in its 1080p clips were pin sharp, and significantly better than videos from the Panasonic TZ60. There was quite a lot of noise in the shadows of low-light videos, but indoor clips in ambient sunlight were fine. The soundtrack was clear and full-bodied, and the digital stabilisation smoothed out motion. There's no manual exposure control for videos but we doubt that'll put many users off. A bigger issue might be the 16-minute maximum clip length for 60fps videos, although switching to 30fps increases the time to 24 minutes. We also found that shooting videos depleted the battery very quickly.

CANON SX700 HS SHOOTING SPEED

Canon PowerShot cameras are rarely the fastest on the block, but the SX700 HS is surprisingly nippy. It switched on and captured a photo in 1.6 seconds, and took just 0.8 seconds between subsequent shots. Autofocus was reliably fast, even at the long end of the zoom. Flash photography wasn't so impressive, though, taking 7.5 seconds between shots at full flash power, and keeping us waiting for a few seconds before the first shot. The 2.5fps continuous mode isn't much to get excited about, but we appreciate that it maintained this speed indefinitely. The SX280 HS was faster in continuous mode at 3fps, but slower in normal use at 1.6 seconds between shots.

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