It should be no secret to the readers of this column that I base many of my stories around the things I find in the Camera Electronic storeroom. A weekly walk-through lets me see if anything new and interesting has arrived and made it through the receiving and cataloguing procedures. Some weeks are replete with goods - some are bare. And some are puzzling.
I find things. Single examples of odd equipment that need study - to see exactly what it might be good for. And large amounts of other things - nests of equipment, if you will. Bought in batches and sitting there ready for the shelves.
This is an example of a nest of Canon superzooms. Before you squawk about how big a zoom needs to be before it is considered super, just reflect that a few years ago a 3 X zoom was considered daring. And people could go out and go wild with it. How much wilder can they go with the modern digital - in this case, 65 X. I know there's bigger, but this is a pretty good working zoom.
Canon Powershot SX70 HS
. Powershot means it is a smaller sensor combined with the fixed zoom lens - but a direct descendent of a long line of consumer-friendly enthusiast cameras. I'm not going to say Mum and Dad cameras because that makes them sound dull - Canon Powershots are anything but that.
Okay - take a walk around it - useful stuff at every corner, but the provision of silent zoom controls on the side of the lens barrel meaning that the 4K video capability of this camera is not wasted in operational noise.
The only thing that makes me at all sad here is the economical decision to place the SD card slot in the same compartment as the battery. I have cameras that do this and one that uses a separate side door for he cards - and that one is much easier to work with when you want to download images while leaving the camera on a tripod.
Note the several methods of accessing a particular focal length. I would always tend to use the lever surrounding the shutter release button but video shooters who are supporting the camera with their left hand may prefer the T and W rocker on the left side. The In and Out buttons here let you go to and fro from selected focal lengths if you need to get a larger picture for targeting. Clever idea for the airshow or horse trials shooters.
The office is pretty standard and uncomplicated but depends upon an option button to make use of the control wheel. To be frank, designers, if you are not going to provide barrel-mounted aperture rings and dial-mounted shutter speed controls, please at least give us two control wheels. Thumb and forefinger are available for selection when in manual mode.
Kudos to the designers, however for the appearance of the menu on the flipping screen. Canon is pretty consistent in their design and wording for their menus - learn the language once and then you can navigate most of their products.
Here's the camera with the landing gear out, flaps down, and the weapons deployed.
The lens goes from the equivalent angle of view of 21mm to a 1365mm lens in the old 35mm film terms. Remember, though, that the sensor is small and there will be a little more noise in the images. You may be able to see some of this with the picture that was taken at dawn at Wet Dog Regional Airport.
It would yield to some extent to a noise-reduction program like Nik Dfine or something from Alien Skin. the fact that the camera can cope very well - on AWB - with the usages of the tabletop studio means that it could be useful on any trip that involved reasonably close focusing. And it would be perfect for safaris or sports carnivals.
This nest of Powershot SX70 HS
cameras is not going to supplant the mirror-less or DSLR offerings from Canon - it is intended for a slightly different user. But that user need have no fear - this is a camera that will be good to use for years to come.