Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Review

A compact travel camera with advanced technical features

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3.2

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo

What We Like

  • Flip-up screen

  • In-camera stabilization

  • 4K video capabilities

  • DIGIC 8 processor

What We Don't Like

  • No RAW format

  • No microphone input

  • Fixed zoom lens

  • 60 fps max video frame rate

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is a simple camera with 4K video recording capabilities and decent image capture.

3.2

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo

In the age of advanced smartphone cameras, the point-and-shoot camera market has to work overtime to remain relevant. One strategy is to pack advanced new features into ever-smaller devices. The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is one of the latest compact digital cameras that produces high-quality images and 4K video, all in a remarkably small package. We were able to test this compact travel camera to see if the image and video quality is worth the price. 

Design: Small and pocketable

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is small point-and-shoot style camera with a great build. The all-black body has a soft rubber grip that helps with the handling of the camera. All of the right side dials are easily accessible to your thumb and the buttons are well crafted with a great response when pressed. 

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is something that can easily fit in a bag or backpack, or even a pocket. It can also be carried easily with a wrist strap. This will appeal to those looking for a small form factor with powerful features. 

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo 

Display: Selfie-friendly with a large screen

The Canon SX740 HS was designed with beginners in mind. The three-inch LCD has a full 180-degree articulating screen that’s perfect for self-recording or taking photographs of yourself and a group of friends. In our testing, the LDC was bright and excellent for composing shots and videos—this is especially important since the camera lacks an optical viewfinder. The Canon SX740 HS LCD screen is wonderful but lacks touch screen capabilities. When recording ourselves, we found it difficult to change settings and navigate through the menu. Menu navigation is controlled by the jog wheel on the back, making it difficult to adjust controls and features on the fly. 

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo 

Setup: Some features are easier to locate than others

Setting up the Canon SX740 HS is simple. Once the camera’s date, time, and location are set, you’re ready to shoot. 

If you want to customize more features, there is also a menu page with Shooting Settings, Playback Settings, Function Settings, and Display Level Settings. These three pages let you fine-tune the camera to optimize your video and photography output.

One major frustration we experienced in testing had to do with the 4K video recording—it took us a while to figure out how to enable this feature. In order to activate this option, the camera needs to be placed on Video mode (located on the top dial). 

Sensor: Small but capable

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS houses a 20.3 megapixel, 1/ 2.3-inch CMOS sensor with the new and improved DIGIC 8 image processor. These processors allow the camera to shoot stills up to 7.4 fps with continuous autofocusing and record video at 4K. The improved sensor and processor combination gives the camera the ability to render details in shadows and highlights when lighting situations are not favorable. 

Perfect for anyone that wants to experiment with 4K footage without breaking the bank.

While testing the camera, we discovered that we can control photo quality even further. The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS has picture modes that can produce different color, saturation, contrast, and color tone in your photos. Although the camera has an updated image processor and 20.3-megapixel sensor, the size of the sensor can only record so much detail before the quality of your of the footage begins to degrade.

This camera is also capable of shooting 4K video and is perfect for anyone that wants to experiment with 4K footage without breaking the bank. 4K resolution is the future, and it’s the highest quality that is available on the consumer market today. To really enjoy it, you need to have a 4K TV or monitor that can display these high-res images correctly.

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
 Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo

Lens: Impressive zoom range

The lens on this small point-and-shoot camera is a 35mm-equivalent focal range of about 24-960mm. It’s surprisingly versatile and can perform well with long-range shooting, group photography, and even macro photography. 

The 40x image stabilized zoom lens is impressive but the additional 4x digital zoom degrades the image severely. Although the 4x digital zoom is available on the camera, it is a feature that does not benefit the lens.

With a maximum aperture of f/3.3 and f/6.9 through the zoom range, this lens is not particularly fast. Testing this camera in the evening with normal household lights, we had to boost the ISO in order to achieve proper exposure without camera shake. Luckily this camera has image stabilization so longer shutter speeds will not severely affect the image. 

Video Quality: 4K on a point and shoot

We thought it was impressive that Canon now offers 4K capabilities on a compact point-and-shoot. The PowerShot SX740 HS can record 4K at 30fps, and the quality of this video is impressive. While testing the camera outdoors, we noticed that the colors, details, and tonality of the footage really popped and appeared sharper and more vibrant compared to standard HD video.

Considering this camera is geared for travelers, we were disappointed that the PowerShot SX740 HS lacks a panoramic feature—but the 4K capable time-lapse option makes up for it. You can control features like shot intervals and clip length, making this a valuable tool for filmmakers. 

While 4K is great, be prepared to spend extra money on a more powerful memory card to fully utilize 4K recording. 4K files are larger than the standard files from 1080p cameras and require faster memory cards that can record data at a rapid rate. Memory cards are becoming more affordable, but the reality is they are still an extra expense when considering 4K video recording.

If you’re invested in a high-res video, check out our picks for the best 4K video cameras on the market.

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo 

Photo Quality: Great social media and small prints

Reviewing our photographs on a computer, we determined that the quality of these images makes them best-suited to social media and other web sharing, or creating small prints to give to family and friends. It’s fine for snapping photos on vacation, at your kid’s birthday party, or anywhere else where you want to capture some memories. But don’t expect the same super high-res, high-quality images you’d get from a DSLR.  

The quality of these images makes them best-suited to social media and other web sharing, or creating small prints to give to family and friends.

The photos from the PowerShot SX740 are usable up to 3200 ISO, but pushing them any higher made them too grainy. Also, the lack of RAW file capabilities puts a cap on the ability to edit images in post. For those that want to do art photography or print large images, you’re going to need a more high-end, full frame cameras that can produce high-quality images and RAW files. 

Sound Quality: Not great, but fine if you’re recording up close

The sound recording quality on the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is average at best. To fully maximize the audio quality of this device, we found it was best to use a small windscreen.  

Having the camera close to the subject helps reduce the ambient noise around the person you're shooting. So if you were to use this camera for vlogging and filming yourself up close, the audio would be usable.

When testing the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS’s audio quality we felt that the camera would benefit from having an audio input jack (though most point-and-shoot travel cameras like this don’t have them). We imagine the lack of audio jack helps keep the price down. 

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo

Connectivity: Easy to transfer images and share

Gone are the days when we had to physically connect our camera to a computer in order to download our photos. The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS can wirelessly connect to your smartphone and computer using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, giving you the option to share photos and videos on the fly. 

In order to use this feature, you need to download the Canon Camera Connect app on your phone, or the Canon Image Transfer Utility 2 on your computer. The camera generates a custom Wi-Fi network that connects to this software and lets you wirelessly transfer your images. It can also connect via Bluetooth.

Can wirelessly connect to your smartphone and computer using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, giving you the option to share photos and videos on the fly.

We downloaded the Canon app on our phone and were able to use it for remote shooting and playback. There’s also a Live View function that can be used for composing shots. It also gave us the ability to instantly transfer photos from the camera to our phone—from there we could text them to friends, upload them to Instagram, or simply save them on our device to look at later. 

In a world where most people take pictures with their phones for the sake of convenience, this feature allows the PowerShot SX740 HS to integrate with your existing tech so you can share your photos with ease right after you take them. 

There are several other point-and-shoot cameras that have adopted this technology. To see some recommendations, check out our list of the best Wi-Fi cameras.

Battery Life: A spare battery is wise to have

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS’s rechargeable battery pack is rated at 265 shots per charge, and in our testing, it depleted after just a few hours of shooting. When traveling on vacation, it would be wise to have a few battery backups so you don’t have to wait for it to recharge every time. 

Battery life drains especially fast due to the LCD screen being the only means of review, video composition, and menu navigation. Recording in 4K also puts a lot of stress on the processor and makes the camera work twice as hard. 

Price: Decent price for 4K

Retailing for $400, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is decently priced for a 4K-capable point-and-shoot camera. Although the camera has a smaller sensor, its image and video quality perform well for the price. Wi-Fi capabilities, a 180-degree articulating LCD screen, in-camera stabilization, and focus tracking warrant the asking price. 

Competition: A market full of compact travel cameras

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II: The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II usually sells for between $600 and $700 and is a direct competitor with the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS. It shoots 1080p video, has a 20.3-megapixel one-inch sensor, and a 180-degree articulating LCD touchscreen display. Although the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II utilizes the DIGIC 7 Image Processor, the larger sensor provides better details in the photographs and videos and the fast f/1.8 lens makes up for its lack of zoom.

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a little bigger and heavier but also has more features than the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS. The touchscreen is a luxury but is also really useful for choosing the camera’s point of focus. Even though the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II lacks 4K capabilities, it makes up for it in user experience. 

GoPro HERO7 Black: If you want a small camera with 4K video recording capabilities, the GoPro HERO7 Black should definitely be taken into consideration. Retailing for $399 but often selling for less than that, this popular action camera can record 4K video at 60 fps. It can also record 1080p at 240 fps to produce ultra slow motion video. 

The HERO7 Black also gives the users the ability to live stream events, which is perfect for social networking platforms. It also has voice control for hands-free operation (invaluable for athletes and adventurers) and a smartphone app that unlocks additional advanced features. And while both the Canon and the GoPro are compact cameras, the GoPro is designed for ruggedness and durability in a way that the Canon is not. 

Canon PowerShot SX620 HS: If 4K video is not a necessity, consider the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS. This camera retails for $280 but often sells for less. It’s a compact point-and-shoot that has almost all the same features as the PowerShot SX740 HS including the same-size sensor and resolution. The difference is that the SX620 HS captures 1080p video instead of 4K. It is also missing the articulating LCD screen and the amazing DIGIC 8 image processor that the PowerShot SX740 HS has.

But if you don’t mind these slightly pared-down features, you can save about $100 by going with the SX620 HS.

Final Verdict

A great compact travel camera with 4K video capabilities and powerful zoom. 

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is a great compact camera for vlogging and travel. The 4K feature and zoom capabilities make it perfect for someone on the go who wants to easily and instantly share their photos to their smartphone.

Specs

  • Product Name PowerShot SX740 HS
  • Product Brand Canon
  • SKU 2955C001AA
  • Price $399.00
  • Product Dimensions 4.33 x 2.51 x 1.57 in.
  • Zoom 40x optical, 4x digital
  • Monitor 3-inch TFT Color LCD
  • Maximum Aperture f/3.3 (W), f/6.9 (T)
  • Shutter Speed 1 - 1/3200 sec. 15 - 1/3200 sec. (in all shooting modes)
  • Sensitivity ISO 100-1600 (Auto), ISO 100-3200 (P)
  • Built-in Flash Yes
  • Continuous Shooting 4.0 shots/sec, 7.4 shots/sec, 10.0 shots/sec depending on mode
  • Video Quality Up to 4K 3840 x 2160 and 29.97 fps
  • Video Out HDMI (Type D)
  • Charging Time Approx. 5 hours
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