Canon PowerShot SX720 HS Digital Camera Review
Canon's PowerShot SX720 HS is long on zoom, but short on value
By the Numbers
This isn't a great camera by any stretch. Any way you slice it, this is a bargain-bin point and shoot dressed up with some advanced options, but no real tangible benefit over competing models.
Color and White Balance
Color performance on the SX720 HS isn't all that bad. Though the ∆C 00 (saturation corrected) error of 2.42 is fairly low for a point and shoot, the camera wildly oversaturates shots—to the tune of a 123.2% overall saturation. You'll notice this most in blues, and reds.
White balance performance is shockingly all over the place. While the camera handles fluorescent light and daylight nearly perfectly, it simply cannot handle incandescent lighting, with errors to the tune of 2000 kelvin. That's appallingly bad, and I had to retest several times before I gave up trying to give this camera a shot.
The worst part is, sometimes it actually did handle it well, but then after three seconds of decently balanced colors: the camera decided the orange pall was better.
As is the case with most extended zoom cameras, the SX720 HS has a lens that will let you down. By constricting the aperture beyond its diffraction limit very early on, you can bank on your photos losing sharpness starting from zooming in 25% of the way. Not even kidding.
Because of the way that the zoom works, you really can't get good results from far away. In fact, the camera started losing sharpness considerably when I took the middle reading: from about 6 feet away from the chart. That's nothing.
I didn't actually zoom out all the way in the lab, A) because I couldn't fit the chart in the frame, but B) because sharpness fell to about 1000 line widths per picture height, and that's wretched.
Taken at full wide, video is decent, but zooming in murders sharpness. In ideal conditions, the camera can resolve about 575 line pairs per picture height. In low light (60 lux), that number drops to 400.
In order to reproduce a usable image (50 IRE), you need to have at least 9 lux of ambient lighting, as well as use the camera at full wide, with the maximum aperture setting, and auto ISO. That's a fairly common result, so not much to gripe about there.
Video motion is fairly well rendered, with minimal artifacting, and well-managed frequency interference. The camera's other problems show their heads here too, but the processor and sensor aren't to fault for them.
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