Great camera... when it works.
I got my SX700 HS camera in early April 2014, just in time for vacation. We went to the Anza Borrego desert, the Salton Sea, Las Vegas, San Francisco and back home to Oregon, taking photos all the way. Overall I took over 2500 stills and videos.
My first impression was that I LOVED this camera! It was fast, had no shortage of features including an amazing 30x optical zoom, and the resulting pictures were sharp and clear. Being on a trip, I took a lot of shots from a vehicle moving at about 55mph. My previous little camera, a Samsung Smart Camera, did not do well at this, but the SX700 HS did much better. No camera is going to produce blur-free photos under those conditions but this baby did as good a job as I could ask. Photos shot out the front windshield were very good. Even many shots taken out the side window where motion blur becomes most noticeable were still pretty decent so long as the subject wasn't too close. I did have a few shots where the camera apparently focused on a bird dropping on the windshield rather than on the desired subject but that's an unavoidable hazard.
As we neared home from our trip, however, a problem arose. When I turned the camera on, the lens would start to extrude then the camera would freeze. Power off/on and the lens would extend a bit more and freeze again. Repeating that process would eventually cause the lens to hit a stop, retract, and adjust itself until it was happy. Then the camera would work fine for a while. The occurrence of this became more frequent until it happened every time I tried to power on. I sent the camera back to Canon and they sent a replacement unit.
Once again, I was happy with the new unit and we went off on a nice day trip to Lincoln City. I took another roughly 350 photos (I take a lot of snapshots of daily life to share with my friend Jiří in the Czech Republic.) Things worked well for most of the day despite the fact that I'd forgotten to recharge the battery and it started out partly depleted. However near the end of the trip, I noticed that the little blades that cover the lens were not retracting completely upon power on nor completely closing at power off. If the camera were five years old, I'd probably just resign myself to poking it with my finger but this is a brand new camera so off it went to Canon again. I'm currently waiting for its return.
One thing Canon doesn't do when they repair/replace a camera is tell you what went wrong and what, if anything, might have caused it. The camera doesn't come with any kind of protective case so I can only assume Canon thinks it doesn't need one. Perhaps they are wrong. In hopes of avoiding any future issues, I've now got the recommended PSC-3300 case for when I get my camera back. I'd recommend getting one the same time you get your camera, just in case.
I mentioned features earlier. The 30x zoom is my favorite. It is impressive and the image stabilization does a great job. The camera has a lot of cutesy features such as smile detection and the ability to shoot a photo when you wink. Maybe someone will use some of these sometime. Maybe. It also has a raft of WiFi features which may be useful but I have yet to be able to figure out how to use any of them. The instruction manual is perhaps useful if you want to study languages and compare English, Spanish and French but it leaves a lot to be desired if you want simple, clear instructions in a type size large enough for an adult to read. One odd thing I noticed when I took a low-light photo in my living room. The camera picked up the IR lights on the Wii sensor bar. That could be interesting but I haven't had a chance to experiment with night shots using IR lighting.
Overall, I'm glad I bought it. I have confidence that I'll eventually have a working camera that really does take great photos and has some useful features (and a lot of useless ones.) I like it's size and convenience. Its just frustrating that I managed to find the lemon in the fruit salad.
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