Canon's Powershot series is one of the most go-to cameras for those who are not planning to get into DSLR-tier photography and would prefer something more straightforward. Powershots are best described as cameras that does its job as it was intended to be without requesting much effort from its user; hence the term "point and shoot".
The Powershot SX70 HS, on the other hand, attempts to cross that border by providing basic entry-level DSLR functions while maintaining the simplicity of a point-and-shoot. The only difference is that it lacks the ability to interchange lenses, but instead is equipped with built-in zoom lens that could go 65X optical zoom. That's also where the fun starts.
Sheep In Wolves' Clothing
At first glance, most will mistake the Canon SX70 HS to be a DSLR. It certainly does have the makings of one with its dials, hand grip with shutter button on top, protruded lens with a pop-up flash module hovering above it, centralised viewfinder, and flip-out LCD screen. Why yes, it does have a flip-out LCD screen but more on that later.
Visually it does look like it wants to be a DSLR, but if you could look past the facade, the design and ergonomics works really well when actually using the camera. Unlike its professional tiered cousins, the SX70 HS is very light and a tad smaller. This allows it to be stored nicely in bags without adding much heft to your baggage.
Packed Full Of Features
For its hardware it packs a small 20.3MP sensor, an ISO range of 100 - 3200, an Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) system, and a 65x optical zoom lens equivalent to 21 - 1365mm.
Capturing photos can be referred to either the electronic viewfinder (EVF) or by live view from its LCD screen. The EVF activates automatically when it detects your eye, and its quality is very decent. The same can be said for the LCD which also, as mentioned earlier, can flip out and rotated for angled shots and selfies. However, it's not touchscreen, which is actually baffling.
For those who are feeling brave to step out of their comfort zone, you can tinker around with the camera's manual controls. It's a great way to explore what you can do, especially for those who do plan to move on to DSLR territory. There's also the option to actually shoot in RAW format for a better scope at editing your shots externally.
The SX70 HS is able to shoot 4K videos, but it’s best to only do so in well-lit areas or in daylight. Speaking of…
In daylight, images appear bright and colourful but in some instances, the auto white balance (AWB) tend to produce a yellow-ish tint over the photos. Personally, I wouldn't mind as I usually post-edit my photos, but for a regular user, this may not be something they'd expect after capture. There are moments where the light sensor tends to rebalance lighting to image's background rather than the subject that I'm actually focusing on.
With such a small sensor, it's hard not to fault the SX70 HS' poor performance in low light. The images captured indoors (especially when moderately lit) are barely passable, and below par when in darker areas. There are some exceptions, but this involves using the 65X zoom lens and a very specific subject to capture: the moon.
The 65X optical zoom lens is the primary highlight, and my favourite feature from the Canon SX70 HS. It's able to capture the moon in remarkable detail, and this is even possible when shooting in Auto. I actually shot photos of the moon without the need of a tripod, and the aforementioned OIS performed exceptionally when focusing on it. In daylight, you can expect a lot more from the SX70 HS' zoom lens.
Looking Far, But Not Far Enough
The Canon SX70 HS is classified as a "bridge camera", since it borders between DSLR and point-and-shoot categories, and is a decent stepping stone for a user who are planning to step up their game. It's nowhere perfect, but it's not terrible either. If you're looking to photograph the moon at excellent detail without having to spend on a high-end camera, tripod, and tele lens, then this camera is definitely up there as one of my recommendations.