Canon PowerShot SX700 HS review: 30x travel zoom overflows with features

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Joshua Goldman/CNET

The camera's Wi-Fi is relatively easy to set up and use, but I recommend reading the manual first. Canon gives you a good selection of wireless features, but there's a chance you may only want to use one or two of them.

For example, it allows you to share straight from the camera over Wi-Fi to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Drive, and Flickr. However, Canon requires you to sign up and register all the social-networking accounts you plan to share to with its Canon Image Gateway service. You might just be better off sending shots straight to an iOS or Android device via Canon's CameraWindow app and sharing from one of those instead.

Canon's Mobile Device Connect button lets you specify a smartphone or computer in advance that you'll connect to at the push of a button. Press it and it turns on the camera's Wi-Fi, at which point you have to open your mobile device's wireless settings and select the camera. Opening the Camera Window app completes the process.

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Joshua Goldman/CNET

Along with sending photos and movies directly to mobile devices for viewing, editing, and uploading, you can use the Wi-Fi to sync your mobile's GPS to geotag your photos, which is nice because this camera does not have built-in GPS. You can also wirelessly send images directly to a photo printer or back them up to a PC on the same network that the camera is connected to.

Lastly, the app can be used as a remote viewfinder and shutter release. It doesn't give you much control -- just zoom, self-timer, shutter release, and flash (assuming you've popped it up) -- but it's nice to have for shooting wildlife and group portraits. It can't be used to start and stop video, however.

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Joshua Goldman/CNET

Canon includes NFC on the SX700 HS for use with supported Android devices, but it isn't used for much. If you haven't installed the CameraWindow app, you can tap your smartphone against the camera and it will launch the Google Play store so you can download it. After that, it's only used to launch the app. You'll still have to turn on the camera's Wi-Fi and connect your device to the camera by selecting it in your wireless settings.

Other cameras featuring NFC from Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung will launch the app and handle the connection process, making shooting and sharing that much easier. They also use NFC to quickly send single photos to your phone with a simple tap between the camera and device.

General shooting options Canon PowerShot SX700 HS
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Multi-area, Custom
Recording modes Auto, Program, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Scene, Live View Control, Movie Digest, Creative Filters, Sports, Movie
Focus modes Face AF, Center AF, Macro, Normal, Infinity, Manual
Macro 0.4 inch to 1.6 feet (1 to 50 cm) (Wide)
Metering modes Multi, Center-weighted average, Spot
Color effects Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom (adjustment of contrast, sharpness, saturation, red, green, blue and skin tone are available)
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

There's certainly no shortage of shooting options on the SX700 HS. For snapshots there's Smart Auto, which recognizes 58 predefined shooting situations. Canon's Face ID feature allows you to program the camera to recognize up to 12 faces that it will then prioritize for focus and exposure.

Also included is the Live View Control mode, which enables you to adjust brightness, color, and tone with onscreen sliders and see what the photo will look like as you make the changes. Canon updated its Hybrid Auto mode as well; this captures a few seconds of video before each picture you take. At the end of a day of shooting, the camera automatically gathers up all the little clips and your photos -- taken with Canon's scene-recognition Smart Auto -- and puts them into a 720p HD movie, creating a highlight reel for your day.

Another addition is Canon's Creative Shot mode, which automatically creates five different versions of a single shot using different color and tone settings, crops, and styles in addition to saving the original photo. You get some control over the results, however, as you can choose a category of filters -- Retro, Monochrome, Special, or Natural -- for the camera to use, with a total of 46 filters available.

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Joshua Goldman/CNET

There are Creative Filters, too, such as Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Fish-Eye Effect, and Miniature Effect. Also available for movies is a high-speed option for capturing 30-second slow-motion clips at 120fps or 240fps at resolutions of 640x480 pixels and 320x240 pixels, respectively.

To top it off, there are semimanual and manual shooting modes for control over shutter speed and aperture. Shutter speeds range from 15 seconds to 1/3,200 of a second, though sensitivity is limited to ISO 100 for anything longer than 1 second. Apertures range from f3.2 to f8.0 at the wide end, but in telephoto you only get f6.9 and f8.0.

That's a lot to pick from and experiment with, but there are a couple of modes you'll find on just about every other high-end point-and-shoot and smartphone that you won't find here. There is no high-dynamic-range (HDR) option or even exposure bracketing, for that matter, and no easy panorama option.

Conclusion

Canon packed a lot of features into the PowerShot SX700 HS and its daylight photo and video quality and shooting performance are excellent, making it one of the best travel zooms available. The low-light photo quality could be better, though, as could its battery life. And really, if you're going to go through the trouble of adding NFC, it should do more than just open an app.

Shooting speed (in seconds)

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS
0.2
0.4
1.5
1.5
Samsung WB350F
0.3
0.5
1.1
1.7
Nikon Coolpix S9700
0.3
0.6
0.9
2.2
Canon PowerShot SX700 HS
0.1
0.4
0.8
1.7

Legend:

Shutter lag (typical)
Shutter lag (dim)
Typical shot-to-shot time
Time to first shot

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Typical continuous shooting speed (in fps)

Nikon Coolpix S9700
7
Samsung WB350F
8.5
Canon PowerShot SX700 HS
8.5
Canon PowerShot SX280 HS
14

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Zoom 30 x
  • Optical Sensor Type BSI-CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 16.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical (Intelligent IS with 5-axis Enhanced Dynamic Mode)
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"
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