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Canon Powershot SX70 HS review (2 Viewers)

RichardHoeg

Boreal Forest Birder
SX70 Digital vs Optical Zoom Test

In my previous reviews I had noted I never used the digital zoom with my SX60. Today I found another cooperative Snowy Owl and tried turning of digital zoom. I was very impressed in sunny / very bright cloud conditions, and not so impressed when the clouds were thick (lower light)

My photos / test may be found upon my blog ...

https://www.365daysofbirds.com/2019/01/21/sax-zim-bog-sunrise-owls-snowy-and-gray/
 

HermitIbis

Well-known member
In my previous reviews I had noted I never used the digital zoom with my SX60. Today I found another cooperative Snowy Owl and tried turning of digital zoom. I was very impressed in sunny / very bright cloud conditions, and not so impressed when the clouds were thick (lower light)

My photos / test may be found upon my blog ...

https://www.365daysofbirds.com/2019/01/21/sax-zim-bog-sunrise-owls-snowy-and-gray/

Thanks for the link to your blog. I particularly liked your piece "The Well Dressed Birder at -13F (-25C)". ;)
 

RichardHoeg

Boreal Forest Birder
SX70 Auto Focus Issue in Highly Reflective Light Situation

I am the user who has been posting periodic reviews of the new Canon SX70 of photographs taken of birds in the Boreal forest. Up until this point, I have been very pleased with my new camera, particularly how it now performs in low light compared to the SX60 it replaced.

However, two days ago I discovered an auto focusing issue which appears to happen in very bright light situations. In my case, while photographing a Snowy Owl, even though I had good light (extremely light clouds with reflective light off newly fallen snow). I was using Aperture Priority with the sun pretty much behind me. My ISO was set at 100, and the camera picked a 1/1500 shutter speed. I noticed that I was having difficulty getting a focus lock. At first I thought the issue was white on white (Snowy Owl on fresh snow). I did manage to get some good photos, but also a lot of garbage shots.

Later in the afternoon I visited a Bobcat den I have been watching. Once again I started to have focus lock issues (aperture priority once again). The combination of new snow, and a reflective shed wall was fooling my camera. This time I wondered if that was the case, switched to full manual ... halved the shutter speed and kept the ISO at 100 and the aperture as low as possible. Immediately my auto focus problem was solved.

I now suspect that in any highly reflective high light situation I will need to make certain I am in full manual mode ... no big deal for me, but for the more casual user it could ruin a lot of images (i.e. they will rarely use, if ever, manual mode). I expect in the summer while out on any of Minnesota's 15,000 lakes the problem will reoccur. One again, for me it will be a non issue as I am now prepared.

If you want to see my Snowy Owl and Bobcat photographs, follow this link:
https://www.365daysofbirds.com/2019/01/24/rabbits-beware-snowy-and-fluffy-are-looking-for-you/

If you want to see all my SX70 reviews, follow this link:
https://www.365daysofbirds.com/2018/12/19/canon-sx70-review-snowy-owls-spruce-grouse/
 

Owen Krout

Registered User
Supporter
Richard, Given where you are birding and that the auto focus problems just started, is it possible that the extreme cold temperatures are affecting the camera? Just a thought as you are way below the Canon specified operating range. Occasionally, I start seeing issues with my 7D when the battery gets too cold. I have been out birding at -20C here but usually call it quits at about -15C.
 

RichardHoeg

Boreal Forest Birder
Temperature Issues

Richard, Given where you are birding and that the auto focus problems just started, is it possible that the extreme cold temperatures are affecting the camera? Just a thought as you are way below the Canon specified operating range. Occasionally, I start seeing issues with my 7D when the battery gets too cold. I have been out birding at -20C here but usually call it quits at about -15C.

Actually Imdoubt that -15C (5F) are causing any issues. This temperature is so common in the winter where I live, that I don't really even consider it cold. For the past 4 years I used my SX60 on every birding outing innthe winter and it was extremely unusual when the mornind does not start out this cold. I have had my SX70 since early December. We are now experiencing sever cold with a great fresh snow cover. Crisp, cold days of this nature meas almost zero moisture in the air ... in other words the amazing clear blue skies. This light reflects off the snow and creates huge reflections.

While Canon says the operating range is down to 32F, I've never had any issues when it is much, much colder. As noted, making the adjustments solved the problem.
 

RichardHoeg

Boreal Forest Birder
SX70 Continuous Mode and Video

I am the person who has occasionally been posting reviews of the SX70 I purchased. This morning I had the opportunity to photograph two different osprey nests in northern Minnesota in "almost perfect photography conditions". Folks may be interested to view some videos I took, and my discussion of using JPG vs RAW mode ... and the post processing edits I made. Here is the link to my blog: (images & videos taken at full zoom using a monopod)

The Osprey Challenge
 

RichardHoeg

Boreal Forest Birder
A number of folks have asked why I don't use RAW when taking photos with my SX70 (I am the person who has posted the reviews on my blog). While I recognize the value of RAW, I feel that the jpg algorithms are now so good combined with the fact that turning on RAW slows down by a factor or 2 the continuous mode, I always turn RAW off.

Yesterday I was up in Sax-Zim Bog, and photographed some recently fledged Barn Swallows. If I had had RAW enabled instead of obtaining my sequence of 15 images, my yield would have been only 7 or 8 photos. The entire set of pictures only took 1.5 seconds. I really liked having the greater number of images from which to choose. Browse to my blog and check out the entire set of pictures. A lot happens in 1.5 seconds. Who knows which photographs would have been missed.

365DaysOfBirds (my blog)
 

John In Ireland

Well-known member
Ireland
Is it me??? .... I can't see anything wrong with these images. In fact I think they are quite good from a bridge camera. I expect this sort of quality from a bridge and cannot really say that my SX50 is any better on the quality front. I am seriously looking at a SX70 after this. Plus the videos look eye popping.
 

RichardHoeg

Boreal Forest Birder
Canon Sx70 Digital Zoom at Max

I am the person / birder who posted reviews of the Sx70. While not strictly a test, two days ago I took some photographs with digital zoom turned of for some very distant Snowy Owls (three of them!). While conditions were not ideal as I had to photograph obliquely i to the sun, the camera performed well. I used either a monopod or tripod for all the photographs and video.

https://www.365daysofbirds.com/2019/11/25/snowy-owl-trifecta/
 

crazyfingers

Well-known member
My SX50's are getting really old now so for my birthday I ordered one of the last few New (not refurb or used) SX70's I could find on Amazon. I chose the SX70 over competitive Sony and Panasonic because I don't think I could live without the snap-back seek feature that I think that only Canon has. I also like the digital teleconveter that works at any zoom range.

I once tried the NikonP900 and hated it because of a many of reasons but it's also just too huge for my lifestyle. I also didn't like the SX60 due to the obviously inferior image quality vs the SX50.

So I guess I'll see. If I don't like the 70SX I have 30 days to return it and will keep hunting. It will be here in a week or a bit more. If anyone still cares I'll post my observations. One thing I will be sure to do is to take side by side photos from the SX50 and SX70 and post them.
 

crazyfingers

Well-known member
The SX70 arrived yesterday evening and I spent some time in the menus trying to set it up similarly to how I have the SX50 set up. Specifically turn-on settings on C1 optimized for no-fiddle center focusing and metering on a thing at the the very far end of zoom, like a bird on the post 50 feet away.

This morning before I had to sit down at the computer for work I was able to get some shots at static objects with both cameras and I'm very happy to report that the SX70 appears to produce quality photos equal to or frequently better than the SX50!

Finally! I tried two SX60's and hated them. Very poor photos next to the SX50 on simple static objects that I sent them both back. And I tried the Nikon P900 and despised it.

I still have fiddling to do with the SX70 settings. The IS is still jumping around more than with the SX50 as I have it set. But finally a keeper!
 

crazyfingers

Well-known member
Well now I'm becoming discouraged. This morning under ideal lighting conditions is the sx-70 out performed the SX 50 for image quality for static objects in the Sunshine. But I've gone out every now and then with both cameras over the day and as the day is gone on the differences become closer and most recently taking photos of birds and chipmunks in the grass or in the shade the SX 50 is significantly superior. I'm becoming very discouraged unless I can find some setting that needs to be changed. But I have compared settings for both and they appear to be as close as the somewhat different menus allow. The sx-70 is producing much fuzzier photos than the 50.
 

MalR

Well-known member
I wonder if the increased resolution of the sensor might have something to do with this. Presumably, in good light it can resolve more detail than the SX50, but raising the ISO in poor light or when photographing in shade is likely to introduce more noise, given that the SX70 has 20 megapixels crammed on to its small sensor, compared with just 12 megapixels for the SX50.

Malcolm
 

crazyfingers

Well-known member
I think that I've decided that the SX70 and SX50 can take equal quality photos. After fiddling more with the settings on the SX70 and taking about 500 side by side shots with the two cameras I'm getting about an equal number of better or worse shots from both cameras. However, it's a LOT MORE EFFORT getting a good shot on the SX70 because the Image Stabilization is so poor when compared to the SX50. The SX60 also had very poor image stabilization. And it's not just the slightly increased zoom that the SX70 provides. It's the same if I set the zoom and teleconverter such that both have about equal reach. The SX70 like the SX60 just does not do Image Stabilization very well at all next to the SX50. It's no effort to keep the SX50 right on top of the bird at 50-75 feet. The SX70 is all over the place.

The SX70 has other issues that I don't like. For example Frame-Assist Seek does not pull back the zoom as much as the SX50 does. This makes it a lot harder to reacquire the bird when it has hopped around a bit. The button also requires a lot more force to press than the SX50.

At least the SX70 did away with a very annoying feature that the SX60 had. When using Frame-Assist Seek, the SX60 darkened significantly the area outside of the original frame. This made it almost useless finding the hopped bird in the darkened area. The SX70 also appears to darken the frame outside the original frame but not so much that it's difficult to re-acquire the bird, so long as it hasn't jumped outside as I mentioned above.

I will probably keep the SX70 mainly because my SX50's are so old that I do fear being without a good superzoom camera. The market for these kinds of cameras appear to have been saturated an I'm unconvinced that the manufacturers are putting much if any new research into improving the basics of getting a good quality photo. It's all about fluff features and I fear that quality imaging will be going down as time goes on. Also mentioned previously, finding new SX70's out there is not easy. I got one of the last two NEW (not used/reconditioned) SX70's I could find. And for expensive stuff like this I do prefer Amazon just because returns are so easy.

So I'll likely keep the SX70 mainly because I fear that if I wait too much longer my choices will be ever worse than they are now. However, if Canon was still making new SX50's I'd jump on it in a second. It's still a better camera the the SX70. Canon really should consider bringing back the SX50 lens and attaching it too updated electronics. They'd have a perfect camera.

I know that there are still cameras by Canon out there may still may use the 50X lens that the SX50 uses but the SX5XX line lacks an EVF and I can't imagine trying to hold the camera steady in bright sunlight without the EVF. The flip out screen is not OK for holding the camera steady and in bright sunlight. And I'd have to put my reading glasses on to use it.
 

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