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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Apr 29, 2010, 6:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,130
Default ZS7 vs HX5V - Unprofessional Comparison :)

I have been shooting with both cameras for a few days and tried to gather up a variety of shots for real world, non-pixel-peeping comparisons. Images are untouched aside from a resize to 1920x1080. I'm just some guy looking for a new cam just like you so don't expect professional comparisons, etc. When I get time today, I will be adding comments to the photos regarding mode used (where I can recall) and general observations I have made with each photo.

On paper and throughout reviews, you are often given the impression that these two cameras are very similar. I assure you that they are not. I'll stop there for the moment and reserve my other observations for a little later, once you've had a chance to review the photos. Note that I bumped up the saturation, contrast and sharpness by +1 on a number of the ZS7 photos. I actually forgot that I had been playing with the settings. The photos taken today have everything set back to default so the difference should be apparent.

I know some are very interested in the video also and I may post it if I get time but I will make a few key points in the meantime.

Video
  • ZS7 streaking is very hard to avoid. Don't think you can simply avoid shooting into direct light to avoid the issue. If bright lights, the sun, bright reflections, etc. are anywhere even remotely close to you, you will get streaking.
  • The video on both is excellent during the day. 720p still looks great on my 50" 1080p TV. The Sony video is however better.
  • Night video looks awful on both and I consider it completely unusable. I wasn't surprised though as even $1000+ dedicated consumer camcorders struggle with low-light.
  • IS is much better on the ZS7.
  • Sound is much fuller and richer on the ZS7. I did a video from my car with the stereo on. When played back on my PC, the music on the ZS7 sounded as if I was still sitting in the car. The music on the HX5V video sounded as if I was standing next to someone with their iPod cranked up too loud.
  • The mics on the HX5V really are located in a terrible place. When I read this in reviews, I usually think "oh stop being nitpicky and just move your hands." Well the reviewers were not exaggerating this time.
  • Both companies made the poor decision of putting the video record button on the back of the camera instead of on the top. Hitting stop makes the camera jerk. I suggest hitting stop with the intention of editing out that last few seconds of video in post.
Display
  1. The ZS7 display is much nicer. The difference has proven to be more important than I originally thought it would be.
  2. The ZS7 gridline view does not display any other information. I find it annoying to have to switch between views constantly.
  3. The HX5V forces you to view the screen on "Bright" rather than "Normal" if you wish to use the live histogram feature.
  4. The HX5V display takes on a bit of a psychadelic hue when viewed while wearing UV sunglasses. The ZS7 displays normally. The HX5V is by no means unusable in this state but it does make it harder to tell what the photo will look like.


Miscellaneous
  1. The HX5V's PC cable connection is on the bottom of the camera, requiring that you lay the camera down on the LCD when transferring files to your PC. The ZS7's connector is wisely located on the side.
  2. When utilizing bracketing, the 2 cameras take the photos in a different order. For example, with -0.3/0/+0.3, the ZS7 would take them in the following order: 0/-0.3/+0.3. The HX5V would take them in the following order: -0.3/0/+0.3.
  3. The HX5V 10fps burst mode is a lot of fun. It takes a little practice to get the hang of focusing but once you get it down, the pics come out great.
  4. Both cameras have a panorama feature. The HX5V's Sweep Panorama feature is easy to use and the stitching is well done. The one caveat hwoever is that barrel distortion is extremely noticable if you are doing a panorama of anything with straight lines. (i.e. buildings, roads, etc) Actually, it is quite noticeable even when doing landscapes but only at the time when you take the photo. Once you are away from the actual scene, the barrel distortion is no longer so obvious. The ZS7's panamora assist feature is tedious to use and virtually impossible if you are trying to do a landscape of trees and such. Good luck trying to line up branches and leaves on a 3" display.
  5. The HX5V is very simplified. There are virtually no options to do anything. The ZS7 is loaded with options. It has an intelligent Auto mode, but there are loads of options as well.
  6. The HX5V is only slightly smaller and lighter but it is enough to feel the difference. The ZS7 however feels more sturdy and robust. Both cameras seem to have solid build quality.
  7. The ZS7 has direct access to EC; the HX5V does not.


The photos

Here are 2 untouched audio samples. They were recorded within minutes of each other while sitting in my driveway in my car. I simply exported the soundtracks from the respective AVCHD files to MP3. Just click the button that reads: "Download Now with File Factory Basic." There is no need to join anything.

HX5V audio test
ZS7 audio test

* Added 2 more action photos from the HX5V 10fps mode and will be adding a few more images tonight and tomorrow.
__________________
Disclaimer: I take photos of life rather than live to take photos and my opinions of cameras are reflected accordingly.

Last edited by FiveO; Apr 30, 2010 at 4:43 PM.
FiveO is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Apr 29, 2010, 7:19 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Five-O

Thanks for a very well thought out comparison of the ZS7 and the HX5.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 29, 2010, 9:51 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 18
Default

Wow. I'm not a pixel peeper and I don't print any photos larger than 4 x 6, so while I knew that a number of commenters have said that the ZS3/ZS7 has better image quality than the HX5V, I thought it wouldn't matter for my purposes and was leaning towards getting the HX5. But, in almost every shot in your photo comparison, the ZS7 photos looked noticeably better even to my untrained eye (the exception being those taken by the HX5V in the HHT mode).

The problem for me with the ZS3 and ZS7 is their size and weight. I had a Canon PowerShot A540 (3.6 x 2.5 x 1.7, 7.8 oz), and while it was capable of taking some very good photos, I never took it with me because I found it to be too big and heavy. I ended up replacing it with a Casio Exilim EX-Z75 (3.7 x 2.4 x 0.8, 5.6 oz) -- the images it took were not nearly as good, but it was so portable that I liked it much more and took many more pictures with it. Now, however, I'm ready to replace the Casio with something with better image quality and a much better/longer zoom.

I'm wondering if perhaps the Panasonic ZR1 or ZR3 would be the way to go for me. Does anyone know if the image quality of the ZR1 or ZR3 is comparable to that of the ZS3 or ZS7? And, is the image quality of the ZR1 or ZR3 better than the HX5V's?

Thanks to all for your patience, and for any help or insights!
opalmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 29, 2010, 11:23 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

opalmom-

While the Panasonic ZR1 has only 8X optical zoom (25mm to 200mm) it has the upgraded OIS system that is used on the ZS7, 12mp (versus the ZS3 at 10mp, and the ZS7 at 12mp) and the brand new imager that is installed on the ZS7. The ZR1 also has HD video and you can zoom while filming. The image quality is just as good as the ZS3. And the high ISO capability is a bit better than the ZS3.

The ZR-1 is much smaller than the ZS3 so it should easily meet your size requirements. And the best news is this: Amazon has it at $185.00 right now. But do not hesitate as remaining stocks are selling quickly and the ZR1 has been replaced by the 14mp ZX3 costing $269.00.

Sarah Joyce

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 29, 2010, 11:31 PM   #5
Super Moderator
 
Hards80's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 9,046
Default

this review is easy to recommend.

i like the format, i like the abundance of examples. and you didn't try to make any statements beyond what the data shows.
Hards80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 29, 2010, 11:34 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 11
Default

Thanks for this comparison! I actually ended up returning the HX5 and ordered the ZS7 (I actually bought it cheaper than the ZS3). As you mentioned, I didn't care for the colors of the HX5 and lack of manual controls. The pictures are a really helpful way to compare the two cameras.

opalmom-
my mother has the ZR1 and has been quite pleased with it; I would have went with that camera as well, but prefer a longer zoom. Also, one feature that I like in the Panasonic cameras (I don't know if HX5 or other cameras have it) is the burst mode while using a flash. If you're taking lots of pictures of kids, this might be a useful feature.
bbq797 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 29, 2010, 11:35 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 5
Default

What a great comparison - I love seeing the side by side shots!
navraster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 30, 2010, 1:16 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,130
Default

Glad you guys are finding this useful. I have now updated the original post with 2 audio samples as well.
__________________
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
Old Apr 30, 2010, 3:16 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,487
Default

Yes, big thanks to you 5-O I had already ordered the ZS7 as well so I will allow my wife to make a choice between them...she mainly takes inside shots with a Compact so the HX5 may well do her...but after studying the ZS7 closely I couldn't pass it up...I think I'll use it well...when the FZ35 and the 7D cannot be carried or used for certain functions....
LTZ470 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 30, 2010, 3:42 AM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 18
Default

Thanks so much for the photos. I actually received my Sony HX5 a few days ago.. still adjusting to the Sony interface (Most of my cameras have been Canon). Is it just me or is the HX5 very simple in that there are very few manual controls such as setting macro (does it automatically adjust to macro shots in P mode?). I was considering the ZS7 as well but read that the photo quality isn't as good as the HX5. I'm not sure which one of ur photos are from the Panasonic and which ones are Sony. I have a feeling I'll be returning the HX5 though.. most of the photos I took came out blurry even with the IS on.. It would turn out fine after a few more shots (perhaps its the way im taking the photos.. but I had no problem with the Canon s90).
I'm looking for a good point and shoot camera with good photo quality as well as zoom... the Sony's zoom looked promising with its review of good low light photos however, I didn't see it. I'm thinking of switching back to the Canon S90 because it doesn't come out blurry like the sony (when i take the photo) however it lacks the zoom I would like..... can anyone recommend another point and shoot camera with good zoom and image quality? (I heard the zs3 was good in terms of photo quality, zoom, and HD video and not so much the zs7) Thanks.
xsimplicity is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


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 12:03 PM.