Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 10, 2011, 9:20 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 1
Default Help choosing a dSLR-like (megazoom) - disappointed by Canon's SX series!

Hello everyone,

I want to buy a camera that has the following features, which my 6 year old Canon A610 does not have:
- very large optical zoom (at least 20x)
- high res video (at least 720p, ideally 1080p)
- exposure bracketing
- articulated LCD (the A610 does have that one)

After a long comparison of bridge ("dSLR-like" compacts) and dSLR cameras, I eliminated the latter category because adding a long zoom lens to the price of a dSLR is something I cannot afford. After comparing the available bridge cameras, I decided that either the Canon SX1 or the SX30 meet my requirements the best.

However, before proceeding to decide between these two (essentially, a choice between the SX1's 1080p filming and higher fps in burst mode and the SX3's better optical zoom and higher pixel count), I could not get over how disappointing the image quality in both of these two cameras is. The samples that I've seen from both of them seem to almost always have a soft/watercolour aspect to them, regardless of the focal length used, and even at the lowest ISO and in bright sunlight. These samples are noisier, and the details at 100% crop are much less clear/crisp than those produced by my old Canon A610! It seems just silly to think that I would take pictures with my old camera when I want quality images and that I'd use the new one when I need lots of optical zoom and/or HD videos.

Could this difference in IQ be attributed just to sensor size? Surprisingly, the A610 has a larger sensor (1/1.8") than the SX1 or SX30 (1/2.3"), even though it has a much smaller resolution (5 MP).

I also expected there to be a large difference in IQ between the SX1 and the SX30 because the former has a CMOS sensor while the latter has a CCD one (I expected the CCD to be better, but either way, I expected *one* to be better than the *other*) - but the images are just as disappointing for both of them.

I'd be willing to sacrifice the articulated LCD for a mega-zoom camera that has an image quality the same as my old A610, but after reading reviews and comparing samples, it seems the SX1/SX30 are really as good as it gets in their category.

My question is, therefore: I know that megazooms don't do well with poor lighting, but are they really unable to produce a good IQ even with enough light? Should I just look for sensor size? Would I have to get a dSLR if I wanted good IQ (if "good" is the standard set by a 6 year old point&shoot!!) and only gain the exposure bracketing and HD filming from my wish list of new features? Could people please recommend what cameras I should consider given all my criteria above?

Many thanks in advance for any help!

Last edited by longtalker; Sep 11, 2011 at 5:04 AM.
longtalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Sep 11, 2011, 3:53 PM   #2
Super Moderator
peripatetic's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,598

Originally Posted by longtalker View Post
Hello everyone,

These samples are noisier, and the details at 100% crop are much less clear/crisp than those produced by my old Canon A610! It seems just silly to think that I would take pictures with my old camera when I want quality images and that I'd use the new one when I need lots of optical zoom and/or HD videos.
Comparing a 6mp P&S to a 14mp P&S @100% zoom is not a like-for-like comparison. The newer cameras have better IQ if you adjust for the change in resolution. Make some prints and you will see.

My gallery
My X100 blog

Last edited by peripatetic; Sep 11, 2011 at 3:56 PM.
peripatetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 11, 2011, 5:02 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Australia, New South Wales central coast
Posts: 2,808

G'day LT

Golly mate - good to hear from you & -great- to hear your Qs
About 18 months ago I got an SX-1 and dumped it after 6-weeks. While various aspects of its operation did not go down well with me, if you get one I hope you have better luck.

The whole business of superzoom cameras is a mixed-blessing ... we are given a wonderful and comprehensive lens system & a very small sensor, packed to the gunnels [as yachtie types say] with very small pixels that misbehave and create lots of noise. SLR cameras with sensors 10x larger in physical area don't suffer so much noise, but the lenses are big & heavy on an already big & heavy body ... bugga

OKay some thoughts for you -
My beef with the SX-1 was multi-sided ... the lens at 15x-20x was "less than exciting", the viewfinder was worse [more-pixellated] than the 5yr old fuji camera it was replacing, and worst of all, the rotary multi-function wheel/dial on the rear face drove me nuts with its imprecise rotation operation & if I very-slightly pressed it during rotation it would open up the underlying menu -which I then had to go thru & cancel- before I could continue with the rotary operation do do what I originally intended

I replaced it with a Panny FZ35 which has a damn good lens but [my model] is plagued with noise at & over ISO400]. My missus had an FZ28, no noise at all [but it went for an unintended swim], now just got an FZ100, no noise in it either & comparing shots of the moon at 40x zoom the other night, it has a better lens than my FZ35 [again bugga]

The "theory" about pixels is when printing at 200dots/inch, an image of say, 4000 x 3000 pixels will print to a 20inch print. What is ignored by the media is the "number of magnifications" the sensor has to do to achieve that print [ie: some small sensors need to do 50 magnifications], therefore lens quality & potential camera/subject movement become a huge factor in the success of the project

NB- while you might find 2 cameras of 12mpx, one an APS & the other a 'compact' with an 1/2,5" sensor ...
> a 33x times enlargement for an APS sensor = 20" x 30" print
> whereas a 33x enlargement for a 1/2,5inch sensor = 5" x 7" print

I would suggest you look further into camera comparisons [and keep asking lots of Qs here as well] and maybe cast your eye a bit wider than the brand mentioned in your OP

Regards, Phil
Has Fuji & Lumix superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Google me at Travelling School of Photography Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
Ozzie_Traveller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 14, 2011, 3:11 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,130

The FZ100 may have NR set more aggressively than the FZ35, but the IQ between these 2 isn't even close. The FZ35 trounces the FZ100. :/ The FZ150 on the other hand looks very promising.
Disclaimer: I take photos of life rather than live to take photos and my opinions of cameras are reflected accordingly.
FiveO is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:18 AM.