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(Pocket-lint) - This year looks to be a bumper one for cameras. But it's not just about the bigger, pricier releases, as the accessible and versatile Canon SX740 HS goes to show.

The SX740 is a compact camera with a big zoom lens within. Its 40x optical lens means it can capture from an equivalent 24mm wide-angle (wide enough for shots of groups, say, or landscapes), through to a massive 960mm equivalent (long enough to pick out far-away subjects and make them appear close-up within the frame).

In addition to the lens' versatile reach, the 20-megapixel sensor on board means high-resolution images, plus the ability to shoot up to 4K Ultra-HD video.

Ultimately, the SX740 is Canon returning to its compact travel zoom series, at a time when phone cameras seem to be all but taking over. And it's really the zoom that ought to help this camera. Although it's also the zoom that's not quite perfect: its f/3.3-6.9 maximum aperture means not much light can enter it as the zoom extends, which can mean the signal needs to be boosted and the quality dwindles.

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Still, with so few competitors, and Canon well known for its mighty compact camera image quality, the SX740 HS certainly has the smarts to outshine smartphones where it matters.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 31 July 2018.