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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:24 AM   #1
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Default Direct Comparison of Compact Zoom Camera

I am starting this thread in response to the many folks who have asked for a photo by photo comparison of the images created by the leading contenders in the Compact Zoom Class of Cameras.

Initially we will begin with comparison photos from the Sony HX5 and the Panasonic ZS3, two of the most popular cameras in this class of cameras. The on Wednesday, April 28th after I receive my new Panasonic ZS7 that will be added to the comparison photos as well.

This initial selection of photos were all taken by using the built-in flash units on the HX5 and the ZS3 cameras. These are reduced size images, 100% crop images are also available on request.

We will begin with a wide angle shot from the ZS3:



Here is a 100% crop of the ZS3 wide angle shot:



Here is the same photo done with the Sony HX5:




Here is a 100% crop of the HX5 wide angle shot:



So there is our first comparison. In each comparison we will show a single photo made with each of our two initial cameras. Then on 4/28 I will go back to these initial posts and add in a Panasonic ZS7 photo as well.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Apr 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM. Reason: add 100% crops
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:42 AM   #2
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OK, here is the second comparison photo. The first is a telephoto portrait of my ever patient husband of 53 years taken with the Panasonic ZS3:



Here is a 100% crop of the ZS3 Tele-Portrait:



Now here is a similar photo taken with the Sony HX5:



Here is a 100% crop of the HX5 Tele-Portrait:



Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Apr 25, 2010 at 4:56 PM. Reason: Insert 100% crop photos
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:47 AM   #3
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And finally, for today, here is a macro photo taken with the Panasonic ZS3:



Here is a 100% crop of the ZS3 Camera Macro:



And here is a similar macro photo taken with the Sony HX5 camera:



Here is a 100% crop of the HX5 Camera Macro:





So there are the first three photo comparisons. Next we will do a discussion post on each camera.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Apr 25, 2010 at 4:58 PM. Reason: Insert 100% crop photos
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 10:25 AM   #4
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The Panasonic ZS3 was introduced in the Spring of 2009. Calling it the ZS Series was an entirely new step for Panasonic. Thje "ZS" designation was only applied in the USA. Overseas, the camera we know as the ZS3 is known as the TZ7.

The ZS3 is a continuation of a very successful line of TZ cameras that Panasonic began in late 2005 with the TZ1. The designation TZ was to define the camera's design objective as a small, pocket-able, travel zoom camera.

The ZS3 model kept to the TZ format, offering a LCD screen with 460,000 pixels, a basic point and shoot camera, (no Programed Auto, Shutter Preference, Aperture Preference, or Manual Modes). All that could be adjusted were the ISO setting, the Exposure Compensation, and the zoom.

For the first time in the TZ history, Panasonic introduced the "IA" or Intelligent Automatic Mode. The concept was a good one. However, you have to watch the ZS3 carefully as it sets: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed.

A slow shutter speed almost guarantees blurred photos if the ZS3 camera is not on a tripod and the subject remains almost or actually motionless.

A numerically high ISO setting almost guarantees the visual presence of electronic noise, that appears as graininess in the image captured, based on the ISO that the camera selected automatically.

A wide or numerically low aperture setting degrades the depth of field and the apparent sharpness of the captured image.

By late January and into February 2010 the prices of the Panasonic ZS3 camera fell to a low mark in the USA of around $225.00. Then when production of the ZS3 was stopped by Panasonic, and the ZS7 with new features was announced, the selling price of the ZS3 camera began to climb steadily, because it was a bargain at it February low price of around $225.00 when compared to the new ZS7 model which was slated to begin selling at around $350.00.

As the remaining inventory of ZS3 models began to dwindle on dealer's shelves, the ZS3 camera price began to climb again. Now in late April 2010 those few remaining ZS3 models from 2009 are selling for around $280.00! That is still below the ZS7 price which is now hovering between $340.00 to $355.00. However, at the rate the zs3 cameras are still selling quickly, and because there is no new ZS3 inventory being received by the dealers, two things will happen: (1) the selling price of the ZS3 will probably continue to climb until the ZS3 inventory has been completely sold, or (2) As the selling price of the ZS3 nears the selling price of the new ZS7 camera model, more users will switch to the new ZS7 model to get the new tech gadgets on the ZS7 like the GPS, the Compass and Geo Tagging.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Apr 25, 2010 at 8:17 PM.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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The Sony HX5 was announced in the late Fall of 2009 with a huge public relations barrage. The HX5 was to be Sony's first travel zoom model. Sony stressed that the use of a CMOS imager made the HX5 unique, and high ISO capable.

Large retailers like Amazon and Crutchfields began taking "Advance Orders" for Spring 2010 delivery of the new Sony HX5 camera. Prior to the announcement of the HX5, Sony had manufactured and markeedt first the HX-1, a super zoom CMOS based camera, The TX-1 a thin breast pocket kind of camera came out just after the HX-1, and it too used a CMOS imager. The the WX-1 a very small pocket sized CMOS imager camera, smaller than the Canon S-90, which had virtually no adjustments was introduced by Sony.

Therefore the HX5 is really the 4th generation CMOS based camera that Sony has marketed. The first three cameras: the HX-1, the TX-1, and the WX-1 all used a front illuminated CMOS imager. However, Sony engineers found that a back illuminated CMOS imager was more efficient and produced better image quality. Therefore the new HX5 would use the new back illuminated imager and the HX5 would also be the very first Sony camera ever to accept SD cards on which to store their captured images.

In addition the HX5 model would carry forward some of the very unique features first introduced on the HX-1 model. Among these, unique to Sony features, were the Hand Sweep Panorama. The Sony CMOS imager based cameras could very rapidly take a total of 10 photos in a single second, that they then merged into a single photo producing a long thin image that covered a bit more than 280 degrees. The panoramas could be taken horizontally from left to right, or right to left. The panoramas could be taken vertically from top to bottom, or bottom to top, and finally the panoramas could be taken with the camera oriented in either the landscape mode or the portrait mode.

Another unique feature of the Sony CMOS imager based cameras was the Twilight Mode. The Twilight Mode was especially good in low light photo environments. It quickly snapped 6 individual photos in a tiny bit more than 1/2 a second, and then merged them into a single final image that used the best elements of each of those 6 individual images in the final, single image.

As the Sony CMOS imager based cameras were developed and marketed, both the Hand Sweep Panorama and the Twilight Mode were progressively improved. To these unique features, Sony also equipped the HX5 camera with GPS, a Compass, and Geo Tagging.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Apr 25, 2010 at 8:22 PM.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 11:36 AM   #6
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Well, I am sure that a lot of folks wonder why I have not included the 14mp, 14X optical zoom, Canon SX-210 model or Sony's lower priced H-55 model..

Well first of all, I do not own a Canon SX-210 or the Sony H-55, and I maxed out the credit card buying the Panasonic ZS7 camera, just for this comparison. Secondly, the initial round of professional reviews of the Canon SX-210 have not been favorable at all. And there is no Sony H-55 professional review yet, and user comments on the H-55 model have been a mixed bag.

However, I do invite anyone who owns the Canon SX-210, the Sony H-55, or a comparable Casio camera to post their comments and photo samples in this thread. We welcome posts and photos, and feel that the more the information, technical date, and photo samples the better.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Apr 25, 2010 at 8:24 PM.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 12:18 PM   #7
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Please if you are going to spend the time doing this thread post the 100% crops as they will only be asked for shortly after the main photos working. Without them members and visitors will only be able to see colour/exposure differences but no detail, sharpness, noise etc.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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hi sara

nice comparison with my greetings to the nice person at photos,,, but

1- i still could not decide which one had the best results because im not living at the place u capture and i dont know which camera gave more realistic colors and sharp photos, so please tell us

2- another thing, which one do you advice for beginner want to progress from easy P&S camera to more advanced option.

3- if found, would you please suggest other choices.

thanx

Last edited by binzaqr; Apr 25, 2010 at 1:07 PM.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 1:33 PM   #9
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Mark-

This is the thread that initially failed and I am asking that it be deleted. If you read my other thread carefully, I offered 100% crops in the very first post.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 1:39 PM   #10
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binzaqr-

The issue here is that I am attempting to allow readers to choose which of the cameras they prefer. I will go back on make appropriate comments regarding color accuarcy, proper exposure, and the focus abilities.

Sarah Joyce
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