Canon PowerShot SX730 HS Review: Canon SX730 HS travel camera with 40x zoom
Canon PowerShot SX730 HS Pros And Cons
- Impressive focal length
- Foldable LC-Display
- Handy housing, good grip
- Good dynamic range and precise colors
- Missing 4K video function
- No touchscreen
- Low signal to noise ratio with significant loss of detail from ISO 400
- A decrease in resolution towards the image edge and diffraction (open aperture) with increasing focal length also in the center of the image
The small 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor works with backward exposure and has a resolution of about 20 megapixels. Image processing is handled by the Digic-6 image processor, which enables the PowerShot SX730 HS to achieve up to 5.9 continuous frames per second.
However, if you want to use the live image and/or focus tracking, the frame rate drops to 4.6 continuous frames per second.
The focusing should be completed within 0.12 seconds. The smart automatic recognizes 58 different scenes and adjusts the camera accordingly, but Canon also offers semi-automatic and manual exposure control. The maximum exposure time is 15 seconds, the shortest is 1/3,200 seconds. ISO sensitivity can be set between ISO 80 and 3,200.
In addition, various filter functions are available. If desired, the SX730 HS can save five differently filtered versions of each image.
The Canon records videos in Full HD resolution at up to 60 frames per second. The Dynamic-IS combines optical and electronic image stabilization so that a total of five axes of motion can be compensated.
Instagram users have the ability to record 4-5 seconds of short clips and apply various effects such as slow motion. The rear LCD monitor (no touchscreen) has a diagonal of 7.5 centimeters and a resolution of 922,000 pixels. It can be folded upwards by up to 180 degrees, which makes it easier to take pictures close to the ground and selfies. Bluetooth and WLAN provide connectivity.
Thanks to Bluetooth, a permanent connection to the smartphone can be established in an energy-saving manner, so that not only can the smartphone GPS be used for geotagging photos, but the pictures are also available directly on the smartphone and the camera can be triggered remotely.
If required, the free Canon Camera Connect App WLAN can be used to add WLAN for faster transfer of photos or a live image to the camera remote control.
Since May 2017, the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS travel zoom camera, which weighs around 300 grams, is available at a price of just under 400 dollars. By the way, the included lithium-ion battery can be changed and is sufficient for 250 pictures. It can be charged via micro-USB.
Ergonomics and Workmanship
The Canon PowerShot SX730 HS is the direct successor of the SX720 HS and belongs to the cameras that can be categorized as travel zoom cameras. This camera class is characterized by small housings and a very large zoom range.
With dimensions of 110 x 64 x 40 mm (W x H x D) and an operational weight of 296 grams, as well as an optical 40x zoom, which in the wide-angle range has the image angle of a 24 mm lens in 35 mm format and in the telephoto range, reaches up to 960 mm corresponding to 35 mm, the camera not only clearly belongs to this class, it is also the zoom strongest.
The physical focal length of the built-in lens is 4.3 to 172 mm. The expert can see from these values that the recording sensor must be correspondingly small in order to achieve the 40x zoom already mentioned. That’s why Canon also uses a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor in the SX730 HS that delivers an effective 20.3 megapixels.
The lens has a speed from F3.3 to F6.9. The focal length is adjusted by a ring rocker on the shutter release and has two zoom speeds. Like the ring rocker and the convenient shutter release, the dedicated video shutter release and the on/off switch are located on the top.
The well-filled mode dial can also be found on the top. On the right side, the connections are located under a flexible flap, where the photographer can find the HDMI and USB interfaces.
The underside of the camera accommodates only the 1/4″ tripod connector, which is not located in the optical axis, and the flap for the battery and memory card compartment. The SX730 accepts HS cards with the SD form factor as memory cards, also with SDHC and SDXC technology.
On the left side of the camera there is a small mechanical switch. This ensures that the flash pops out on the top of the camera. This simple solution significantly reduces the risk of unintentionally covering the flash, and the distance from the flash to the lens reduces the risk of red-eye.
The back of the SX730 HS is dominated by the 3-inch TFT monitor, which can be folded up 180 degrees, is quite high-resolution with 922,000 pixels, and can be adjusted in brightness over five levels.
Unfortunately, Canon did without a touch control and so all settings are made via the rotary wheel combined with the Omnis selector as well as the four function keys.
Speed buttons on the Omnis selector help the photographer to quickly and easily access various functions. The camera lies surprisingly well in the hand thanks to the pleasing contours and the grippy rubber elements.
Both the mode dial and the other controls are easy to operate. However, the photographer has to do without an electronic viewfinder, as Canon has not used a flash connection with the SX730 HS.
In addition to the HDMI and USB ports already mentioned, the SX730 HS can be connected via WLAN to a wide variety of devices and cloud services. Thanks to good user guidance, the connection settings are comfortable to use and the camera control via the app is also flawless.
We have written a photo tip on this topic which can be found under the links below. In addition to WLAN, the PowerShot SX730 HS also has the option of pairing the camera with a smartphone via Bluetooth. This permanent connection allows the camera to access the location data of the smart device and store it in the metadata of the images.
Equipment And Features
The mode dial is quite packed, besides the “usual suspects” like program and semi-automatic machines also the manual, as well as the film mode, can be found here.
The Creative Effects mode has also been assigned a dedicated place on the mode dial. In it, the photographer can select the basic category of effects. The camera then takes several consecutive shots when the shutter is released. Each of these shots is styled differently, but the photographer has no way of directly selecting a style, so each bet is a bit of creative gambling.
The photographer can work with the so-called “MyColor” effects in the program automatic, the semi-automatic, and the manual mode in a slightly more controlled way. One of these “MyColor” effects can also be adjusted to your own taste with various parameters.
Real special effects such as fisheye or thumbnail views can only be selected in Scene mode. However, this mode must not be confused with the automatic scene mode, which is only active in “Auto mode”.
Unfortunately, Canon also refrained from implementing a bracketing function and an HDR function for the camera. Unfortunately, the photographer also has to do without a panorama function with the SX730 HS.
Recording in raw format is also not possible. The photographer could counter-image noise much better with raw data and powerful noise reduction tools, such as the DxO Optics Pro “Prime” noise reducer, than only with the camera-internal noise reduction function.
In addition to the rather fast autofocus in the wide-angle range, the photographer can also focus manually. A focus peaking function as well as a 4x focus magnifier help here. In addition, a bar graph shows the distance at which the focus is currently located.
While this function works very quickly in the wide-angle and mid-telephoto range, the photographer “cranks” much longer in the telephoto range to focus on the correct spot. In dark situations, a green autofocus auxiliary light ensures that the camera can find the right focus.
The shutter release delay in the wide-angle and telephoto range is extremely short 0.03 seconds. Together with the autofocus, the shutter release delay is extended to a still fast 0.16 seconds in the wide-angle range. At the maximum focal length, however, this time increases to a significantly longer 0.63 seconds.
Video recording is recorded in maximum Full HD (1080p) at 60 frames per second when the photographer sets the mode dial to the pictogram with the video camera. Even in this mode, the configuration of the two triggers remains the same, i.e. video recordings are started and stopped with the smaller of the two triggers.
In all other operating modes, it is also possible to film, but then the maximum frame rate is only 30 frames per second. During video recording, the photographer has no other special effects available except for My Color effects.
Also, in our analysis during video recording, the optical zoom works visibly slower and, above all, quieter than usual. This makes zoom driving less hectic and reduces the background noise. The SX730 HS reacts quite quickly to changes in brightness during video recording, and in most situations, the autofocus does not require a lot of “pumping”. The photographer should only use manual focusing in poor lighting conditions and static shooting situations.
The sound of a recording is recorded with a built-in stereo microphone on top of the camera. The stereo effect is proportional to the distance between the microphones and produces a plausible directional effect.
Two sound functions are activated on delivery to improve the sound recording of videos. The first function electronically suppresses wind noise, which also works well to a certain extent. In strong winds, however, this function also reaches its limits. The second function limits extremely loud noises so that there are no distortions.
The camera takes over the control of the sound, the photographer has no possibility to intervene. The zoom noise of the SX730 HS is quite low, but not inaudible. Especially when filming in quiet environments, the zoom noise can be heard more clearly, as the automatic gain increases the audio level of the recording. Unfortunately, the automatic sound level control cannot be deactivated.
The photographer not only takes a picture by pressing the shutter button, but the camera also creates a two to four-second video. The camera combines the videos and photos created during the day into a “diary” that can be played back as a whole unit in one piece. Unfortunately, the SX730 HS does not offer a 4K video function.
The playback features of the PowerShot SX730 HS include interesting features such as an internal search function. This search function can find images based on various criteria, such as faces, favorite markers, or shooting dates. You can also select an image for which the camera selects four similar images. But the album function is really interesting: It allows the photographer to combine images into albums, store them with music and optionally apply filter effects to the recordings.
The photographer can call up the album thus created and display it on the camera display. If the camera is connected to a TV via HDMI, it can also be used to playback the album and, of course, individual pictures.
Picture Quality Of The Canon SX730 HS
The lens of the Canon SX730 HS has an enormous focal length range, and fortunately, the drop in sharpness to the edge of the image up to the medium focal length is small. Only in the upper focal length, a visible blur appears in the edge areas at 20 x 30 cm magnifications.
Edge shadowing through the lens is low and with just ⅓ EV in the wide-angle range at open aperture small. There is practically no distortion in any focal length range. Cross chromatic aberrations, also known as chromatic aberrations, manifest themselves in unattractive colored double contours at light/dark transitions. These errors are easily visible in long focal lengths on the SX730 HS.
Especially interesting is that the resolution of the lens is only limited by the diffraction in the center of the image and not by the lens construction. The loss of resolution is, therefore, strongest in the low-light telephoto range and is almost 50 percent compared to the wide-angle.
Interestingly enough, towards the edge of the picture, the resolution decreases the least in the wide-angle range with a maximum of 30 percent, in the medium focal length range it is already 40 percent and in the telephoto range even 60 percent. In the highest resolution range of the camera, visible artifacts appear in the center of the image, this is due to the image processing in the camera.
The signal-to-noise ratio indicates how much the picture actually stands out from the picture noise. The SX730 HS cannot score at all in this range since the value from ISO 80 decreases significantly with increasing ISO sensitivity and signal and noise are thus visibly approaching.
The image noise itself is OK at ISO 80 and not visible up to ISO 200. In addition, the photographer must reckon with visible loss of detail in the image due to the camera’s internal noise reduction. The color noise is low and plays rather no role. The luminance noise (brightness noise) increases linearly with increasing ISO setting and becomes visible from ISO 400. Unfortunately, as already mentioned, the camera does not offer a raw data function, so that the photographer can only fall back on the internal image processing.
The input dynamic, i.e. the brightness range that can be detected by the sensor, is good up to ISO 400 with ten f-stops.
Although the input dynamic decreases linearly with increasing ISO settings, it is still good at ISO 1,600. The tonal value transfer of the Canon is somewhat divided and clearly shows that the SX730 HS was designed as a shoot-to-print camera. The output range of the SX730 HS is basically not good. With ISO 200, for example, only about half of the possible tonal value levels are used.
The color deviation of the camera is small, with the yellow tones slightly pale and the red tones slightly more saturated. Cyan tones tend to be rendered in blue, which benefits the representation of landscapes and blue skies. The actual color depth is very good up to ISO 400 with over 4 million colors and can fall back to about 2 million colors up to ISO 1,600, which is still a good value.
Conclusions: Is The PowerShot SX730 HS Worth It?
The concept of the PowerShot SX730 HS is clearly aimed at photographers who want to take pictures quickly and easily and share their images without having to resort to a computer.
Unfortunately, the foldable LCD monitor has no touch function, and there is no need for an additional viewfinder.
It’s a bit surprising that, unlike the direct competition from Nikon and Panasonic, the camera has to do without a 4K video function. Despite the impressive zoom, the image quality is not very good overall, typical for a small size, high-resolution sensor. Canon’s PowerShot SX730 HS is the perfect balance between easy handling and a wide range of applications.
It’s a shame that functions such as 4K video recording and other interesting functions such as exposure bracketing or HDR recording are left behind, but these may not be the focus of the camera’s target group.
|Model||PowerShot SX730 HS|
|Sensor||CMOS 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6) 21.1 megapixel (physical) 20.3 megapixel (effective)|
|Resolution (max.)||5.184 x 3.888 (4:3)|
|Video (max.)||1.920 x 1,080 60p|
|Filter thread||No filter thread installed|
|Monitor||3.0″ (7.5 cm)|
|AV connector||HDMI output Micro (Type D)|
|Scene mode automatic||yes|
|Automatic aperture control||yes|
|Bulb Long Term Exposure||–|
|Exposure metering||Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot|
|fastest shutter speed||1/3.200 s|
|Synchronous time||1/2.000 s|
|GPS||external, permanent smartphone connection|
|Remote release||yes, remote control via smartphone/tablet|
SD (UHS I, SDXC, SDHC)
|Number of measuring fields||9 Contrast sensors|
|Speed||0,16 to 0,63 s|
|AF auxiliary light||LED|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||110 x 64 x 40 mm|
|Weight (ready for operation)||296 g|
|Tripod thread||off optical axis|
|Zoom adjustment||Ring rocker (motorized)|
|Battery life||250 recordings according to CIPA standard|
|– = “not applicable” or “not available|
- Impressive focal length
- Foldable LC-Display
- Handy housing, good grip
- Good dynamic range and precise colours
- Missing 4K video function
- No touchscreen
- Low signal to noise ratio with significant loss of detail from ISO 400
- Decrease in resolution towards the image edge and diffraction (open aperture) with increasing focal length also in the centre of the image
Canon PowerShot SX730 HS Datasheet
|Sensor||CMOS sensor 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6) 21.1 megapixels (physical), 20.3 megapixels (effective)|
|Color depth||24 bits (8 bits per color channel)|
|Metadata||Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard (version 2.0)|
|Maximum recording time||29 min 59 sec|
|Focal length||24 to 960 mm (35mm equivalent) 40x zoom 4.3 to 172 mm (physical) digital zoom 4x|
|Sharpness range||5 cm to infinity (wide angle) 200 cm to infinity (telephoto)|
|Macro area||1-50 cm (wide angle)|
|Aperture||F3.3 to F8 (wide angle) F6.9 to F8 (telephoto)|
|Autofocus mode||Contrast autofocus with 9 measuring fields|
|Autofocus functions||Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (4x)|
|Filter thread||No filter thread|
Viewfinder and monitor
|Monitor||3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 920,000 pixels, brightness adjustable, tilts 180° up to 0° down|
|Exposure metering||Center-weighted integral metering, matrix/multi-field metering, spot metering, AF-AE coupling|
|Exposure times||1/3,200 to 1 s (automatic) 1/3,200 to 15 s (manual)|
|Exposure control||Fully Automatic, Program Automatic (with Program Shift), Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Scene Automatic|
|Exposure Compensation||-2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV|
|Photosensitivity||ISO 80 to ISO 1,600 (automatic) ISO 80 to ISO 3,200 (manual)|
|Remote access||Remote control via smartphone/tablet, remote control from computer: no|
|Scene modes||Automatic, fireworks, portrait, sports/action, 55 more scene modes|
|Picture effects||Fisheye, Fisheye, skin blur, miniature effect, retro, black and white, sepia, toy camera, vivid, blur, color enhancement, monochrome, poster effect, 7 additional image effects|
|White balance||Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Flash, Fluorescent lamp with 2 presets, Incandescent light, Manual 1 Memory|
|Continuous shooting||5.9 fps at the highest resolution, approx. 4.6 fps with LiveView or AF|
|Self-timer||Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional). Also custom timer from 1-10 seconds and 1-10 pictures|
|Recording functions||AEL function, AFL function|
Flashgun Of The Canon PowerShot SX730 HS
|Flash||built-in flash (hinged)|
|Flash range||0.5 to 4.0 m at wide angle2
.0 to 2.0 m at teleflash range
at ISO autoflash sync speed
|Flash functions||Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, high-speed sync, slow sync, manual flash output (3 levels), red-eye reduction, flash exposure compensation from -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV|
|Image stabilizer||electronic image stabilizer, lens shift (optical)|
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
|GPS function||GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)|
|Power supply unit||no power supply connection USB charging function|
|Power supply||1 x Canon NB-13L250
images according to CIPA standard Canon
CA-DC30E Charger for special batteries
|Playback functions||Red-eye retouching, video editing, cropping, image rotation, image protection, playback histogram, playback magnifier with 10.0x magnification, image index, slide show function with music and transition effects, zoom out|
|Face recognition||Face recognition, face recognition, blink detection|
|Grille can be faded in during the recording||no, it cannot be faded|
|Special functions||Orientation sensor, Live View|
|Connections||Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USB USB type: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N) NFC: availableAudio output
: noAudio input
: noVideo output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
|Supported direct printing methods||PictBridge|
|Tripod thread||1/4″ not in optical axis|
|Special features and miscellaneous||i-Contrast
functionAuto-scene recognition for up to 58 different scenesHigh-sensitivity mode
with 5 megapixels
Size and weight
|Weight||296 g (ready for operation)|
|Dimensions W x H x D||110 x 64 x 40 mm|
|standard accessory||Canon CB-2LHE Charger for Special BatteriesCanon
IFC-600U USB CableCanon
NB-13L Special Battery Carrying Strap
, CD-ROM with software, User Manual
|additional accessories||Canon CA-DC30E charger for special batteries|