The SX700HS sits at the top of Canon's range of travel compact cameras, the better zoom-endowed brother of the SX600HS and the replacement for the SX280HS – Canon has decided to skip quite a few numbers in this series.
What these kinds of cameras offers over the much more ubiquitous smartphone, and cheaper compact cameras, is a high zoom ratio – with the SX700HS having a whopping 30x optical zoom offer. In 35mm terms, that's the equivalent of 25mm to 750mm. ZoomPlus – Canon's term for its digital zoom technology – boosts that reach to 60x, or an incredible 1500mm in 35mm terms.
That lens boasts a maximum aperture of f/3.2 at the widest point of the lens, rising to f/6.9 at the far end of the telephoto optic. It's slightly better than the SX600HS, which can only manage f/3.5 at the widest point of the lens, but those looking for a wide aperture lens for shallow depth of field effects would do better to look at something like the Canon PowerShot S120.
As well as that 30x optical zoom, there's also a 16.1 million pixel CMOS sensor that is joined by a Digic 6 processor. Canon is known for testing out its latest processors in its compact cameras, and it is here in the SX700HS that the latest can be found – this should mean that low light shooting is significantly improved from the SX280.
The camera also has five-axis dynamic image stabilisation, which should be particularly useful when shooting movies, which the SX700HS is capable of recording in full HD (1080p).
As is starting to become more commonplace these days, the SX700HS features inbuilt Wi-Fi. GPS is not included, but you can add location data when the camera is hooked up to your smartphone if that's your thing. Canon has recently introduced a new smartphone app which means that you can now remotely control the camera from your smartphone or tablet – previously all you could do was share images between the two devices.
On the back of the camera is a three-inch (7.5cm), 922k dot, PureColor II LCD screen – unfortunately it's not touch sensitive though as you might find on some of Canon's IXUS products, or the PowerShot G1X Mark II.
This is a camera designed to appeal to both those looking for the huge zoom range and for enthusiast photographers – as such, it has a full complement of shooting modes including manual and semi-automatic modes such as aperture priority and shutter priority. Naturally, there are also fully automatic, scene and creative modes available too for those who just want to concentrate on composition.
There are a few fun modes to be found on the SX700HS too. One that we've seen on several other Canon compacts is the Hybrid Auto mode. This films a two-second video before every shot is taken, then merges them together at the end of the day to give you a video recap of your day – it's particularly nice for parties, holidays and other special occasions.
Other creative modes include Creative Shot, which takes a shot and then creates another five images with digital filters at random. Separately there's a Creative Mode which gives you more control over which effect to apply. When shooting in manual or semi-automatic modes you can also apply different film-simulation modes, such as Positive Film or Black and White.
In terms of the competition, there are actually quite a few cameras currently on the market which feature a 30x optical zoom, most notably the Panasonic TZ60 and the Sony HX60V. All of which feature similar specifications, although the TZ60 has a viewfinder.