The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is the long-awaited successor to the hugely popular SX60 HS. An SLR-styled super-zoom, it retains the 65x 21-1365mm zoom lens of its predecessor, not the longest in its class, (that would be the 125x Nikon P1000) but long enough to cover everything from super-wide-angle landscapes to bird photography and everything in-between.
The SX70 HS sticks with the 3 inch 920k dot LCD vari-angle screen – which is side-hinged to fold out and face in any direction and is extremely useful when composing from awkward angles, and shooting still and video selfies. It also has a built-in electronic viewfinder, updated to a 2.36 million dot OLED panel that provides a big bright view that’s very welcome when shooting in bright conditions and helps keep the subject in the frame when zoomed in to long focal lengths. The new viewfinder also gets a proximity sensor, automatically switching between the screen and the viewfinder when you raise the camera to your eye. This is one area where the SX70 HS eclipses the COOLPIX B600 which not only lacks a viewfinder of any kind but has abandoned its predecessor’s flip-out screen for a fixed panel.
The SX70 HS gets a sensor and processor update, combining a 20 Megapixel CMOS sensor with Canon’s Digic 8 processor to deliver JPEG and RAW images (including Canon’s compressed RAW format), faster 10fps continuous shooting and 4K video. The latter uses a 1:1 crop from the centre of the SX70 HS’s sensor, so effectively extends the focal length of the lens, getting you even closer (at the expense of some wide-angle coverage). The SX70 HS further cements its credentials for video with a 3.5mm microphone input, although Canon’s somewhat hobbled it by removing the hotshoe of its predecessor, so if you want to mount a shotgun mic, you’ll need to employ a bracket. And speaking of connectivity, there’s still no USB charging in-camera.
With 20 Megapixels at your disposal, you can crop-in and make bigger prints than with the 16 Megapixel Nikon COOLPIX B600, but the SX70 HS doesn’t perform nearly as well in low light and at higher ISO sensitivities as the B600. However, the SX70’s autofocus is faster and more reliable and it outperforms the COOLPIX B600 for continuous shooting – it can shoot at 10fps for around 40 frames compared with a one second burst just shy of 8fps for the B600.
With 4K video, plus 1080p modes in addition to a quarter-speed HD slomo mode, the PowerShot SX70 HS comfortably out-performs the COOLPIX B600 with its best quality 1080/25/30p video mode and quarter speed slomo mode at 640×480 resolution. Bear in mind that you can also set exposure manually for movies on the SX70 HS, whereas on the B600 you’re limited to auto exposure. That also applies to still shooting of course with PASM modes on the SX70 HS as well as the option of manual focus where the COOLPIX B600 is more of a point and shoot camera.
That last difference provides a good way of summing up the approach of these two cameras. While there isn’t a great deal between them in terms of their respective lenses, the PowerShot SX70 HS is a more sophisticated camera with better handling and more control over exposure and other settings, while the COOLPIX B600 offers super-zoom photography in a SLR-style package with the simplicity of fully automatic shooting.
One final thing that might influence you if you’re still undecided is that the Nikon COOLPIX B600 is around 50 percent cheaper than the Powershot S70 HS. And while they’re few and far between now, it may be worth looking out for discounts on the older Canon SX60 HS. You’d be missing out on a better viewfinder, faster continuous shooting, 4K video,and Bluetooth, but would still have the same 65x zoom and all the other features that have made the SXxx series so popular and the SX70 HS a deserving recipient of a Cameralabs Highly Recommended award.Check prices on the Canon SX70 HS at B&H, Amazon, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!