Canon PowerShot SX70 HS Review

December 7, 2018 | Mark Goldstein |

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb for JPEGs.

The move to a 20 megapixel snesor hasn't done the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS any favours in the noise department. Its predecessor, the SX60, suffered from a small amount of noise at even the lowest sensor sensitivity, and unfortunately this is accentuated on the SX70. As ISO sensitivities increase, the high-end DIGIC 8 processor struggles to restrain image noise without sacrificing fine detail. Even by ISO 400, grain is prevalent and fine detail in the image appears smudged.ISO 800 is worse still, and we wouldn't recommended using ISO 1600 or 3200 if you can avoid it. All of which makes the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS a camera that you can only really use in good light.

On the plus side, the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS’s lens performs very well, with excellent corner sharpness and minimal distortion. Chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) can be spotted in high-contrast areas when viewing images at 100% size, but it’s not too distracting. Macro performance is also impressive as the camera can focus whilst touching your subject.

However, image quality can be prone to some deterioration when shooting at extreme telephoto zoom lengths. Unless you’re in very bright conditions, the image stabilisation system alone isn’t enough to compensate for camera shake and the relatively narrow f/6.5 maximum telephoto aperture doesn’t let enough light through for fast shutter speeds. Consequently higher ISO sensitivities are required, which in turn can make images taken at long focal lengths look very soft indeed.

Noise

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS has sixteen sensitivity settings available at full resolution, ranging between ISO100 and ISO3200 in 1/3 EV steps. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with the JPEG version on the left and the RAW on the right.

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are sharp enough at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

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

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS’s 65x optical zoom lens gives you a focal range of 21-1365mm (in 35mm-camera terms). Canon’s ZoomPlus feature can double this to 130x with a minimal reduction in image quality, whilst an additional 2x conventional digital zoom will give a combined maximum 260x zoom, albeit at the expense of image quality.

21mm

focal_range1.jpg

1365mm

focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS suffered quite badly from chromatic aberrations, with purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, particularly at the edges of the frame, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

File Quality

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS has two file quality options: Fine and Normal. File sizes average around 4-5MB and 7-8MB respectively.

Fine (7.03Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.76Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

RAW (25.1Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_raw.jpg

Macro

With a 0cm macro focusing distance, you can literally touch the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS to your subject and it’ll still focus. This is only the case at maximum wide angle; zoom in and you’ll need to start backing the camera away from your subject.

macro.jpg

Flash

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS’s built-in flash includes four modes: Auto, On, Slow Synchro and Off. Red-eye reduction needs to be activated via the camera’s main menu.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (21mm)

ISO 64

Flash On - Wide Angle (21mm)

ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (1365mm)

ISO 64

Flash On - Telephoto (1365mm)

ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

flash_on.jpg

Red-eye Reduction

flash_redeye.jpg

Night

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS longest shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is just about long enough for most night scenes when mounting the camera on a tripod or other support.

night.jpg

Anti-Shake

Canon’s Intelligent IS optical image stabilisation system does a great job at ironing out the effects of camera shake and is essential when using the full range of the SX70 HS’ focal length.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length Anti-Shake Off (100% Crop) Anti-Shake On (100% Crop)
1/5th sec / 24mm antishake1a.jpg antishake1.jpg
1/200th sec / 1365mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Creative Filters

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS offers a smaller range range of creative filters than its predecessor did, now numbering seven in total.

Off

creative_filter_01.jpg

Grainy B/W

creative_filter_02.jpg

Soft Focus

creative_filter_03.jpg

Fisheye

creative_filter_04.jpg

Art Bold

creative_filter_05.jpg

Water Painting

creative_filter_06.jpg

Toy Camera

creative_filter_07.jpg

Miniature

creative_filter_08.jpg