Canon PowerShot SX720 HS Review

April 25, 2016 | Amy Davies | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20.3 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

Colours directly from the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS are bright and punchy, with a lovely degree of saturation when you’re shooting in good light. Blues are well represented, being accurate and not displaying a cyan tinge.

The overall impression of detail is very good, especially at low ISOs. If you step up to ISO 1600, the impression of detail at A4 is pretty good, but you will see some reasonably severe image smoothing if you examine at 100%. On the plus side, noise is pretty well controlled because of the image smoothing, and unless you like to print out your shots at very large sizes - reasonably unlikely for a camera like this - you should be pleased with how images look.

At ISO 3200, image smoothing is a little more problematic in A4 shots, but again it’s fine if you’re sharing at much smaller sizes - such as online.

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS’s all-purpose metering system struggles a little with high contrast situations, but it’s what we would expect from a sensor of this size, and in normal shooting scenarios, exposures are pleasantly rendered.

Automatic white balance copes well with a variety of different lighting conditions, erring ever so slightly towards yellower tones under artificial lighting. If this isn’t to your liking, it’s worth switching to an appropriate white balance preset, such as Tungsten or Fluorescent. Remember that you can’t shoot in raw format, so getting things right in camera is a little more important.

The amount of detail displayed in images taken at the full stretch of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS’s 40x optical zoom is great and roughly matches the detail displayed in images taken at the wide angle end of the zoom. You can use the whole zoom range with confidence. Optical image stabilisation also does a great job of keeping images blur free at the telephoto end of that massive zoom, too.

If you need to go even further than 40x, there’s two digital zooms you can use. This is basically a crop of your image, so naturally there’s a loss in quality. The first digital zoom (80x) is OK if you really need it, and are sharing at reasonably small sizes, while the second digital zoom (120x) is best avoided unless you’re really desperate.

Noise

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS has seven sensitivity settings at full resolution. Auto mode uses a range between ISO 80 and ISO 3200, or you can switch to one of the creative shooting modes to manually select these settings.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
iso3200.jpg  

Sharpening

We found that the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS images are already sharp, but do benefit from a little touch-up in post processing.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS' 40x zoom lens achieves a maximum wide-angle focal length equivalent to 24mm, and is capable of a telephoto reach of 960mm (in 35mm-camera terms).

24mm

960mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with purple and green fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The close focusing of the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS at wide-angle is a mere 1cm. It does mean that there's little light getting in when you do that and the edge definition drops off leaving around 50% of the image in focus.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS' flash can only manage a relatively weak 4m range and hence there's some fairly obvious vignetting in our wide-angle test shot taken at a distance of 1.5m. The flash has four modes: Auto, On, Off and Slow Synchro, plus a separate setting to enable or disable red-eye reduction. Whether this is active or not, the camera successfully avoids any trace of red-eye.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (750mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (750mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots.

Flash Off

Flash Off (100% Crop)
flash_off.jpg flash_off1.jpg
   

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Night

The Canon Powershot SX720 HS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 80.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Special Effects

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS offers several special effects modes, accessible via the dedicated shooting mode.

Fisheye

Miniature

effects_01.jpg effects_02.jpg
   

Toy Camera

Soft Focus

effects_03.jpg effects_04.jpg
   

Monochrome

Super Vivid

effects_05.jpg effects_06.jpg
   

Poster

 
effects_06.jpg