Review: Canon PowerShot SX700 HS (Wi-Fi)

Canon PowerShot SX700
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Earlier this year, Canon pushed out the new PowerShot SX700 HS, a full-featured light and compact digital camera that manages to squeeze in a long lens for up to 30x zoom, a 60fps full HD video mode and integrated Wi-Fi for remote firing and browsing.

The suggested retail price for the SX700 is around the €399 which puts it just shy of the entry-level dSLR range. As it happens,you could pick up a Canon EOS 1100D with a basic 18-55mm lens for around the €320, but then you’d need to be comfortable in dealing with the bulk of a dSLR camera.

Canon PowerShot SX700

Shooting Over Wi-Fi Rocks

Before my Canon 6D made it into the hands of thieves on French soil, the one feature I loved about the camera was its ability to shoot over Wi-Fi. Grab the free Canon remote app for your iPhone or Android-powered handset, get a wireless link to the camera and away you go.

Unboxing the SX700, that’s exactly where I started. On the rear of the camera they’ve added a button to take you straight to the mobile feature which allows you to both shoot from your phone (as in, controlling the camera from your phone with a live view mode relayed over Wi-Fi) and to browse the memory card on the camera, via the phone app, and so transfer any shots you take remotely direct to your handset.

The bonus in this for food photographers is that given the physical build of the camera, the only way (without a Wi-Fi connection) to preview your shots is via the 3″ screen on the back of the camera. If you’ve got it hoisted up on a tripod, at a curious angle or in the light when you can’t see the screen on the back of the camera, you’re without a view.

Having become used to the hinged screen on the Canon 60D for some of my lighter commercial work, the Wi-Fi shooting option does make up for the lack of said hinged screen on the SX700.

And, if your phone is NFC capable, you’ll be able to tap your phone and camera together to trigger sharing.

Vibrant Red Peppers, shot close up

Vibrant Red Peppers, shot close up

Does It Fit In Your Pocket?

It does. But having had bad experiences with smaller Ixus models of Canon compact cameras, if you’re putting it in your pocket, at least put it in there without any keys or change going in on top for fear of wrecking the body or scratching the screen.

The Physical Build

When you power up the camera first, the lens pops out just over 40mm from the main body of the camera meaning your compact camera gets just a little bigger, the overall depth measuring in around 75mm from back to front (if my ruler is to be believed), and you go from there.

The controls on the top of the camera are quite simple: your power button, shutter release / zoom toggle, and a separate button for shooting video.

The back of the camera comes with your mode dial, play button to access the memory card, mobile button to trigger the Wi-Fi connection, your function wheel and two buttons for display and menu.

To the sides of the camera then you’ve got your AV out (digital), mini HDMI out (both on the right) while the left side has a manual switch to release the concealed flash and a second button to activate face tracking through shots.

Shooting over Wi-Fi comes in handy for those moments where you're angled directly over a dish and need to see what's going on...

Shooting over Wi-Fi comes in handy for those moments where you’re angled directly over a dish and need to see what’s going on…

Image and Video Quality

Having reviewed the Powershot G15 previously, the SX700 delivers as expected – crisp and clear in daylight but cool under pressure in low light. At 16.1 megapixels with Canon’s DIGIC 6 processor, producing a good quality image for blog use, press use and print use isn’t going to be a problem. Equally too, when used in two gig settings, the video performs extremely well with the on board mic processing the sound, in particular the lower frequencies (if you like your bass), better than anticipated, especially when in a loud setting with the audio level auto adjusting.

I’ve got some sample video to prepare from a dual test against the Canon 60D (with the SX700 hot-shoe mounted to the top of the 60D) to fire up later today for comparison.

Creative Shots & Hybrid Auto

One mode that I’m sure some will enjoy but was completely lost on me is the Creative Shots mode: take one photo and the camera automatically cycles through some of the additional modes (black and white, sepia, old style etc) and creates additional images at different crops to your original image.

For the travel shooters amongst you, the Hybrid Auto mode is a nice little feature that shoots a few seconds of video before taking a still image, ultimately bundling all of those seconds into a single HD video to give you a highlight reel of your day; nice if you’re heading out and about exploring, though not the most exciting if you’re shooting dishes and wines all the while swearing to yourself.

Overall Opinion

The Canon PowerShot SX700 is a compact digital camera for people who like quality from cameras. It’s got a huge feature set, crammed with some of the latest technologies in terms of image processing and handling and, as mentioned, it fits in your pocket. So too, does your phone and if you’re just after a device that takes handy photos and videos, then shelling out €350-399 on the SX700 might be a stretch too far.

However, if you’re looking to jump in at the higher end of the compact camera world and don’t fancy taking on an SLR camera, then the SX700 may be right up your street. Find out more here.

4/5

Written by Ken McGuire
Writes and talks a lot about food, spending way too much time in the kitchen or behind the lens taking photos. Digital Media Specialist by day, broadcaster by night, living in Kilkenny with Mrs. Any Given Food and two crazy rescue hounds.