Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Review: 40x travel zoom camera – Now with 4K video function
With the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Canon presents the successor model of the travel zoom camera SX730 HS. The proven technical key data remain largely identical: the 24-960mm-40x zoom is accommodated in the four centimeters flat and almost 300-gram heavy housing, and the selfie display, which can be folded up by 180 degrees, has also remained the same. The small 1/2.3″ sensor still has a resolution of 20 megapixels, but can now also record 4K videos.
Pros And Cons Of The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
- Impressive focal length range in a nevertheless compact housing
- Image processing very well-coordinated
- Foldable display
- Wide dynamic range and precise colors
- Missing touchscreen
- Loss of detail already from ISO 400
- No panorama and HDR function
- Low light intensity
Introduced in June 2018, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is the successor of the PowerShot SX730 HS we tested. On paper, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS looks like a pure product care and, unlike its predecessor, offers hardly anything new. But what about image quality? Has Canon managed to improve this or does the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS suffer from the same problems as its predecessor? We found that out in this test report and I would like to share the outcome with you.
While photos have to make do with an optical image stabilizer effective up to 3.5 EV, an additional electronic 5-axis image stabilizer is active for videos. The video is stored in H.264 compressed MP4 format, the sound is recorded in stereo.
In photo mode, the automatic recognizes up to 29 subjects, plus some creative filter effects that the photographer can activate if desired. He also has the option of manual control over aperture, exposure time, ISO sensitivity, and white balance to give free rein to his photographic creativity.
Manual focusing is also possible, and even a magnifying glass function and focus peaking for optical highlighting of the sharp areas are available as aids.
The rear 7.5-centimeter screen has a resolution of 922,000 pixels and can be folded upwards by up to 180 degrees. This not only allows for shots from the frog’s eye view but also the popular selfies. To prevent them from acidifying on the SD memory card, the PowerShot can send them to a smartphone or tablet via WLAN. Remote control of the camera is also possible via an app.
In addition, the Canon has Bluetooth for a permanent connection to the smartphone. This allows the position data to be transferred for automatic geotagging of the photos.
The fast image processor Digic 8 not only allows 4K video recording, but the continuous shooting function has also been increased to ten frames per second compared to the previous model.
If the autofocus is to be tracked, the continuous shooting rate drops to about 7.4 frames per second. In addition, the battery life benefits from the energy-saving processor, as 265 shots per battery charge are now possible. Fresh energy can be replenished via USB, so if necessary you can also use a Powerbank on the road.
Since August 2018, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is available in silver and black colors.
Ergonomics and Workmanship
The PowerShot Canon PowerShot SX740 HS clearly belongs to the so-called travel zoom cameras. This camera class is defined 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 just under 300 grams, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS fulfills the first criterion superbly.
The camera also meets the second requirement thanks to the 40x zoom lens. This ranges from 24 mm to 960 mm focal length (corresponding to 35 mm). The physical focal length of the built-in lens is 4.3 to 172 mm with an expected average speed of F3.3 to 6.9. From the physical focal length, camera experts can draw conclusions about the size of the built-in sensor.
In the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS, a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor is used, which has an effective resolution of 20.3 megapixels. The focal length adjustment, i.e. the zoom, is operated by a ring rocker. This can be found on the shutter release and has two zoom speeds. In addition to the shutter release, the bulging mode dial, the dedicated video shutter release, and the on/off switch can be found.
The HDMI and USB ports are located on the right side under a cheap-looking plastic cover, just like the previous one. Both interfaces are connectors of the respective micro type. The USB interface can also be used to charge the battery in the camera even if an external charger for the lithium-ion battery (NB-13L) is supplied with the camera. According to the CIPA standard, one battery charge should be sufficient for about 265 photographs. However, charging the battery via the USB interface may take longer if the charging device does not have enough power.
The 1/4″ tripod thread can be found on the bottom of the camera and is not located in the optical axis, like its predecessor. But since the camera does not have a panorama mode, this is relatively irrelevant. The flap for the battery and memory card compartment is also located on the underside. As a memory card, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS accepts the popular cards with the SD form factor, also with SDHC and SDXC technology.
On the left side of the camera is a small mechanical switch. This makes sure that the flash folds out on the top of the camera. With this simple solution, the risk of accidentally covering the flash with the photographer’s hand is significantly reduced, and the distance from the flash to the lens also slightly reduces the risk of red-eye. The flash output can be adjusted manually in three steps. The guide number of the built-in flash is a reasonable 8 (ISO 100/1 meter).
On the back of the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS, the 3″ TFT monitor dominates. It has a resolution of around 920,000 pixels and can be adjusted in brightness over five levels. The maximum brightness is almost 580 cd/m².
Unfortunately, Canon has also renounced a touch operation via the monitor in the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS and thus, all adjustments are made via the rotary wheel combined with the omniselector and via the four function keys on the backside. Quick-select buttons on the omni selector help the photographer to quickly and easily access various functions.
As usual with Canon, the menu navigation is comprehensible and therefore easy to internalize. The camera fits well in the hand despite the angular-looking housing. The reason for this is the non-slip rubber elements that are attached to the strategically important points. Both the mode dial and the other controls can be easily reached and operated. The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS does not have an electronic viewfinder and the photographer also has to do without a flash connection.
Equipment And Features
The mode dial accommodates all the shooting modes the camera has available and is therefore quite packed. In addition to the “classics” such as program and semi-automatic machines, the manual and film modes can also be found here. The automatic function with subject recognition is available in two versions.
The default setting recognizes the subject and adjusts the shooting and image-processing settings. The second setting is called hybrid automatic and works similarly. However, the camera records a short video when the shutter is released. The video can be recorded in FullHD (1080p) at a maximum rate of 25 frames per second.
Real special effects can only be activated in the dedicated “Scene” mode. There, the photographer can use special effects such as fisheye or miniature view, blur, and painting effects. Detailed adjustments are also possible for some effects.
As with the SX730 HS, Canon’s PowerShot SX740 HS does not include bracketing, HDR, and panorama functions. Also not included are raw data recordings. This is annoying in so far as it deprives the photographer of the possibility to use powerful denoising tools that most raw data converters offer.
If the photographer does not want to rely on automatic subject control, he or she can use program, semi-automatic, and manual scene modes. There are no additional special effects in these modes, but you can still get creative with the so-called “MyColor” effects in these modes.
Five independent color effects such as sepia, black, and white as well as strong and neutral colors are available. An automatic system is also available. The fifth effect can be adjusted and saved by the photographer. Settings for sharpness, contrast, color saturation, and hue are available. In addition, the presets can be refined manually.
The focus functions of the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS include autofocus with face detection, continuous autofocus, and manual focus. For manual focusing, the photographer can switch on a peaking function that highlights the contrast transitions. The camera thus helps the photographer to set the correct focus distance via the small rotary wheel on the back. There is no focus magnifier, however.
An interesting function is the frame assistant. This can be used when zooming in far and losing sight of the subject. The corresponding button on the back of the camera is held down and the lens moves to the wide-angle setting. A white frame now shows the section of the image that the previously set zoom had. The photographer now points this box at the previously lost subject and then releases the button. The camera will then zoom back to the previous focal length.
In addition, the camera can track faces and automatically adjust the zoom so that the image detail remains the same. Unfortunately, this did not work so well in practice during my test review, only during a shot, the zoom moved automatically.
We measured the release delay in the laboratory test of the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS with 0.04 respectively 0.03 seconds. This camera hardly differs from its predecessor in the pure shutter release delay. With the delay including autofocus, the camera became slightly faster in the telephoto range at 0.29 seconds and slightly slower in the wide-angle range at 0.23 seconds.
Nevertheless, the values achieved are good. However, the photographer must not forget that the contrast autofocus system slows down when the illumination decreases.
Videos are now recorded in higher resolution than in the previous model. A maximum of 4K (3,840 x 2,160) is recorded at almost 30 frames per second. To take 4K pictures, however, the photographer must first set the mode dial to the pictogram with the video function, because in mixed photo/video mode only FullHD (1920 x 1080) can be recorded at just under 60 frames per second.
The zoom works visibly slower during video recording and especially quieter than in photo mode. This makes zooming seem less hectic and the noise level of the camera is noticeably reduced.
The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS reacts quite quickly to changes in the exposure situation during video recording, and the autofocus also manages without much “pumping” in most situations. During video recording, My-Color effects are available to the photographer at all video resolutions.
However, only up to a video resolution of FullHD and a maximum of 30 frames per second can the photographer record a miniature effect with 5x, 10x or 20x time-lapse.
Like its predecessor, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS has the option of being linked to a smart device via an app. Depending on which task the app is to perform, the connection is established via WLAN or Bluetooth. For example, if geodata is to be written to the pictures, the camera must be permanently connected to the smart device via Bluetooth using the app. If the smart device is to be used as a remote control with Live View, the WLAN connection is established.
In addition, images can be transferred to paired smart devices to find their way into social networks from there. Coupling the camera with a smart device is very easy and the camera or app guides the photographer through the process. The app is available free of charge for iOS and Android devices from the respective App Store.
Image Quality Of The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
In terms of image quality, a small 1/2.3″ sensor with the 20-megapixel resolution is usually the Achilles’ heel. The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is no exception. The DIGIC 8 image processor in the camera is very well matched to the sensor and lens.
The image processor compensates for vignetting, reduces lateral chromatic aberration, and denoising images to varying degrees depending on the ISO setting used. Vignetting is very low overall focal lengths and distortion is also negligible. The images are oversharpened in the wide-angle and in the medium focal length; only in the maximum telephoto range does the oversharpening decrease.
With increasing aperture, the resolution values decrease. The resolution is slightly lower than that of the predecessor, which is most likely due to a different default setting of the camera. This assumption is also supported by the low level of sharpness artifacts. If desired, the internal sharpening can also be increased or decreased. The maximum resolution of 41.5 line pairs per mm is achieved by the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS at aperture 3.3 in wide-angle.
The image noise is pleasingly fine-grained and consists mainly of the unproblematic brightness noise, which also only becomes annoying from around ISO 1.600. Also, the distance between the image and noise signal (signal-to-noise ratio) only falls below the critical limit of 35 dB at about ISO 1,600. Here, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS clearly beats its predecessor. So has Canon found a way to denoise images without affecting image quality in any way? The answer is no.
The texture sharpness, i.e. the reproduction of details, is good at ISO 100, but then drops off considerably, so that at ISO 200, there is already a slightly visible loss of detail. At ISO 400, the denoising is already so rigorous that fine details are simply “ironed out”.
The PowerShot’s input dynamic range is very high with more than 11.5 f-stops and also the output tonal range is remarkably high with almost 224 of 256 possible brightness levels. The color reproduction of the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS avoids “gaudy” magenta and slightly raises the red and orange tones. All in all the color fidelity is very good and the color deviation is small.
Unfortunately, the camera does not provide the photographer with a raw data format, so the creative editing process is denied the full potential of the shot. Nevertheless, it must be said that the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is overall a bit better tuned than the previous model.
Conclusion: Is The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Worth It?
Canon’s PowerShot SX740 HS takes the same line as its predecessor and is aimed primarily at photographers who want to take pictures quickly and easily. The display, which is suitable for selfies, appeals to the smartphone photographer, which makes it all the more annoying that no touchscreen operation is provided.
The image quality of the camera is okay, even though it shows the typical weaknesses of the small 1/2.3″ sensors. The fact that the images are so well corrected is due to Canon’s many years of experience in image processing.
Although Canon has implemented a 4K video function in the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS, the bracketing and HDR functions still fall by the wayside. At least one HDR function would have been interesting for the target group. It is to be hoped that Canon will integrate features such as a touch screen and HDR recording in subsequent generations of the camera. In the end, the impression remains that the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is a good product of the Canon Travelzoom series product portfolio.
Specifications For The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
|Model||Canon PowerShot SX740 HS|
|Sensor||CMOS 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6) 21.1 megapixel (physical) – 20.3 megapixel (effective)|
|Pixel pitch||1.2 µm|
|Resolution (max.)||5.184 x 3.888 (4:3)|
|Video (max.)||3.840 x 2,160 30p|
|Filter thread||No filter thread installed|
|Display||3.0″ (7.5 cm)|
|AV connector||HDMI output Micro (Type D)|
|Scene mode automatic||yes|
|Scene mode programs||29 scene modes available|
|Automatic aperture control||yes|
|Bulb Long Term Exposure||–|
|Exposure metering||Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot|
|fastest shutter speed||1/2.000 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||0.23 to 0.29 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||265 recordings according to CIPA standard|
|– = “not applicable” or “not available|
- Impressive focal length range in a nevertheless compact housing
- Image processing very well coordinated
- Foldable display
- Wide dynamic range and precise colours
- Missing touchscreen
- Loss of detail from ISO 400
- No panorama and HDR function
- Low light intensity
Canon PowerShot SX740 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|
|Filter thread||No filter thread|
Viewfinder and Display
|Display||3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 922,000 pixels, non-reflective, 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||1/2,000 to 1 s (Automatic) 1/2,000 to 15 s (Manual)|
|Exposure control||Fully Automatic, Program Automatic (with Program Shift), Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Motif Automatic|
|Exposure Compensation||-3.0 to +3.0 EV with a step size of 1/3 EV|
|Photosensitivity||ISO 100 to ISO 3,200 (automatic) ISO 100 to ISO 3,200 (manual)|
|Remote access||Remote control via smartphone/tablet, remote control from computer: no|
|Scene modes||Sports/action, and 28 additional scene mode programs|
|Picture effects||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, Fine Tuning, Shadow, Fluorescent Lamp with 1 preset, Incandescent Light, Manual 1 memory|
|Continuous shooting||10 fps at the highest resolution, approx. 7.4 fps with AF-C|
|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 SX740 HS
|Flash||built-in flash (hinged)|
|Flash range||0.5 to 5.0 m at wide-angle 2.0 to 2.5 m at telephoto flash range at ISO autoflash sync speed 1/2,000 s|
|Flash functions||Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, high-speed sync, long time sync, manual flash output (3 levels), red-eye reduction by lamp, flash exposure correction from -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV|
Equipment And Features
|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-13L 265 images according to CIPA standard|
|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 detection, blink detection|
|The 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-Speed WLAN: available (Type: B, G, N) NFC: available Audio output: no Audio input: no Video output: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))|
|Supported direct printing methods||PictBridge|
|Tripod thread||1/4″ not in the optical axis|
|Special features and miscellaneous||i-Contrast function Auto-shake function detects up to 29 different scenesDigic 8 image processor Image stabilizer up to 3.5 EV5-axis video image stabilization (electronic)|
Size and weight
|Weight||296 g (ready for operation)|
|Dimensions W x H x D||110 x 64 x 40 mm|
|standard accessory||Canon CA-DC30E Charger for Special BatteriesCanon
IFC-600U USB cableCanon
NB-13L Special BatteryCanon
WS-800 Storage AccessoriesInstruction Manual
|additional accessories||Canon CB-2LHE charger for special batteriesImitation leather case