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bezu61 Jul 13, 2012 9:54 AM

Best Super Zoom
I am trying to decide between the following:

Sony DSC HX200V
Canon SX40
Panasonic FZ-150

I have an old Canon so I am leaning towards it simply because of the learning curve but I don't want to pass up the best camera out of laziness:) there one that is better than one of these?

I love to use the zoom outdoors and I am not ready for a DSLR...actually may never be. I am small and find them heavy and too much to lug around. Not to mention the price.

But I also shoot some in low light and I know these are not good for that. But that is also not my priority.

Any advice would be extremely welcome!


Ozzie_Traveller Jul 13, 2012 2:54 PM

G'day Beth

Firstly - welcome to Steve's - there's lots of collective wisdom on board here...
The Best of the three cameras..... well that's asking a lot but we'll try to help

The most important clue in your request is
" I am not ready for a DSLR...actually may never be. I am small and find them heavy and too much to lug around."

The size & weight [ie- ergonomics] is an issue forgotten about by most 'helpful' people when they race off to recommend a camera to another person

Cameras-wise > I have owned a canon superzoom and did not enjoy it, and I have owned a panasonic superzoom and did enjoy it. Again it was ergonomics and the lens

I found the canon's rotary control device on the back panel awkward to use to the point I gave the camera away. It seemed that every time I was rotating it to adjust some value or another, I would press it ever-so-slightly and it would activate the underlying menu. I would then have to go thru that menu to cancel it, before going back to the rotary device to finish adjusting whatever it was that I was trying to do. So I gave up with the canon

I got the panny FZ35 to replace the canon - and loved it, went SLR and replaced it with a pentax + a bevy of different lenses. My missus has the FZ100 and we often 'fight' over it as it is such a pleasure to use. Light weight, excellent lens - goes out to 600mm in film-camera terms, excellent feature set and so it goes on.

We were doing a whale-watching boat cruise some time back and I, using my fancy pentax and shooting at its max of 3fps got a whale breaching and splashing down again. 5 images and it was over ...
My missus looked at me with a smile from ear to ear and says "I am using the new hi-speed burst mode of 15fps and I just got 40 images of that breach - just like a movie only they're all sharp pictures"

Bugga - the SLR missed out again
The pentax has now gone also, and I am back to the superzooms - this time a fuji X-s1 and I am loving it. However, it is a big heavy camera. I would keep with the FZ150 and fall in love with it

Regards, Phil

SIMON40 Jul 13, 2012 3:05 PM

I haven't owned the Sony but I have owned the Canon and the Panny...

They both have their pro's and con's...
The Panasonic focuses faster,has faster burst modes and seems quicker shot to shot also.
You can shoot RAW allowing more latitude for editing,the layout is far better in my opinion- even a simple thing as an "on-off" switch is great compared to one you could accidentally press by mistake..! The lens on the Panny is excellent- and you can add filters directly onto it also.
If video is your thing,the Panny' excels here also- with various shooting modes,full manual control and the option to add external mic's if you so wish.

If simple out of the camera jpeg photo's are your requirement then the Canon has the slight edge in my opinion,with slightly cleaner images- and also has the edge at higher iso settings/in lower light.
Then there's the LONG lens- and it's a good one too- and an image stabiliser that copes with it very well indeed.

I prefer the Panny' simply because it's very versatile and fast.
If you're in no hurry and like simplicity- you might prefer the Canon.

Here's a review of the Sony....


bezu61 Jul 15, 2012 8:47 AM


What did you think of the criticism about the Canon rotary control? I played with it a bit and had a similar reaction. Does one get used to it fairly quickly?

SIMON40 Jul 15, 2012 11:48 AM

Much like any camera- you get used to it- well I did anyway..!
The one thing I was prone to doing at first was switching the camera into "playback" mode- as the playback button is close to where your thumb rests... but again,I got used to avoiding it.
The rotary dial can be confusing- as the way it functions differs relative to the said action at the time. If you use a camera every day (as I do) then I don't think you'll have a problem.
One area the rotary dial was poor was when using manual focus- it was quite vague at times..!

Ozzie_Traveller Jul 15, 2012 5:00 PM

G'day Beth

Very good Q back to Simon - keep asking Qs
The Canon I had was the SX-1 > top of the line unit at that time
The rotary dial was wobbly at best and had no firmness or click-click-click motion as it was rotated
Many was the time when I wanted to alter 'something' needing the rotary button > let's say it was to change the EV settings to go from zero to +1EV > ie- 3 small units on the scale. I would rotate the dial, 1-unit okay: rotate some more, nothing: rotate some more, 1 more unit: rotate some more, damn- the bloody menu was opened up so I had to go thru & kill off the menu: back to the rotary dial, rotate some more - 2 units this time, bugga > now I've got to go back again: back 1 unit, finally got there

What an effort > and this model was the top-of-the-range at the time
If you get a canon, I hope yours is better than my experiences
Regards, Phil

bezu61 Jul 16, 2012 7:25 AM

I am told that the Panasonic has a tendency to blow out highlights.

One other camera I am looking at is the Sony HX200. It doesn't seem to rate as well but someone recommended it. And it has the very cool feature of panoramic sweep mode. Does anyone have any thoughts on that one?


SIMON40 Jul 16, 2012 8:14 AM

Interestingly- with the Panny- if you check your images via the cameras LCD then you could be forgiven for thinking that. I was caught out initially by that- dialling in some negative exposure comp- only to find on my computer that it wasn't necessary..!!
Generally,I would say the Panny's exposure is pretty decent- and dynamic range is comparable to most bridge camera's.
Of course,the Panny has the option for shooting RAW- and despite it's small sensor,you can actually retrieve some blown highlights if you overcook things.

I haven't had the pleasure of shooting with the Sony- though some like it- some don't.
It has a decent feature set and performance/speed/AF speed seems pretty good- as does movie capture.
If you don't mind the omission of the flash hotshoe,RAW shooting- and don't plan to add filters to it- the Sony might be worth looking into. I did get my hands on one briefly once- and it actually felt quite nice- not a deal breaker,but how a camera feels/handles is a big deal to me- and why I would suggest,where possible,to "try before you buy".

To sum up,however,I would add that ALL bridge cameras are inevitably compromised to some degree by their "swiss army knife" aspirations.
They won't have the speed of a DSLR,or the dynamic range,neither the high iso noise control or colour depth.
However- they do offer one heck of a zoom range,decent IQ in a variety of conditions,all manner of shooting options and movie modes,image stabilisers...etc,etc... and if you consider their price and what they can do- they all offer great value- provided you accept that they're kind of an 7.5/10 across the board...ish... :)

bezu61 Jul 18, 2012 1:34 PM

Sony Won
Thanks for all your advice guys! I ended up buying the Sony for the following reasons:

1. I spent an hour in the Sony store with a really knowledgeable guy and he basically taught me a ton about how to use it (I didn't buy it there)

2. Panoramic Sweep Mode

3. The controls felt better than the other two cameras. I actually found the Panny very difficult to figure out and the Canon a little clumsy. And I really don't care about RAW.

4. 18 MP- A professional photographer I know pointed out that though generally this is more than one needs it helps when you crop a small portion and blow it up.

I bought it from Beach Camera this morning for an amazing price and free one day shipping and I am supposed to receive it tomorrow. The customer service so far has been wonderful! When there was a problem with my credit card they called me immediately, connected me to billing and we straightened it out in minutes. (It was just an address glitch...Ave instead of Avenue)

Again thanks... your help was very valuable. I especially liked the whale story:) It made me feel much better about not investing in an SLR.

SIMON40 Jul 18, 2012 4:24 PM

Have fun with your new cam' bezu61... :)

SammyKhalifa Jul 19, 2012 10:28 AM

For what it's worth, the just-announced Panasonic FZ-200 looks like it's going to be REALLY nice . . .

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