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Old Mar 21, 2011, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default Canon sx130is and the Panasonic ZS7- Accuracy

This is my first time posting here. Iím doing so as my situation seems a bit different from other posts Iíve read on the same topic.

Iím an architect. I need a camera to take photos of ďexisting conditionsĒ, aka the way things are. I will probably not use it for travel (I tend to take a single-use point and shoot). Photos of people are also not a priority. Itís for buildings, rooms, things. I want to decide between the Canon sx130is and the Panasonic ZS7. I like the zoom on each. Iím not interested in the video or in creative options. Enlargements are also not important.

I donít know much about photography, but reading many posts, I realize I will have to learn. Apologies if my questions seem redundant; I am trying to make myself understood as to what I need in a camera.
My Questions:

1. Which has more accurate color for outdoor photos? [Outdoor is probably more important than indoor] Which settings do you recommend?

2. Which has more accurate color for indoor photos? Which settings do you recommend?

Re: Color Accuracy: descriptions I have read speak of ďacceptableĒ, ďstrongĒ, ďvividĒ color. I donít know if this includes color accuracy. (I donít need strong, etc...I need accurate.) And side by side descriptions do not use the same words in comparing the two.

3. Which has less pincushioning/ aberration? Which settings do you recommend?

4. Which is better in low light conditions?

5. Which is better in no light conditions? (I sometimes need to take a photo of the underside of a roof, in an attic with no light. From what Iíve read, the Canon seems to have the more powerful flash; is that correct?)


I know neither camera would be best in all the qualities I am seeking, but knowing which is best for which function would help me choose. I thank you in advance for all your help to this novice.
Sol
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 11:11 PM   #2
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I don't have any experience with the Canon. My pocket camera is a Panasonic ZS6 (ZS7 without a GPS).

I work construction. And take photos to send to the fab shop. Shooting outdoors the Panasonic takes excellent shots in the auto mode. So far all of my job site pics. have been crystal clear. And the colors have been very accurate.
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Old Mar 21, 2011, 11:46 PM   #3
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Thanks. That's good to know. I will assume that 'excellent' means very accurate. (I can't help but tell you that I know that your job is a lot more difficult than mine!)
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 1:25 AM   #4
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1. Both are quite accurate, though all Panasonic cameras (with the odd exception of the FZ100 perhaps), tend to present a color cast under certain circumstances. e.g. a scene that is 75% green will tend to throw a green cast over the image. This is not to say this never happens on Canon cameras, but it is less frequent and less noticeable.

2. I don't have any experience with the SX130 indoors. The ZS7 color is surprisingly accurate indoors, with a slight adjustment in the red/blue WB menu (you can adjust it and save it to 1 of 3 custom slots so you don't have to change it every time)

3. Settings won't affect this. Virtually all of the major review sites have images where you can view the lens distortions. In any case, there isn't any issue of concern with the lens of either camera. Canon P&S cams always have a bit of a soft focus but that's due more to how Canon wants to present the image I think than the lens itself.

4. Neither. Both are awful in low light. (low light typically defined as 'no flash') If you need to shoot in low light, check out the LX5, S95, XZ-1, etc., which have brighter lenses and larger sensors. That said, the SX130 has a more powerful flash so if flash is acceptable, that will do better than the ZS7.

5. Same answer as above.


I have really enjoyed my ZS7 and have no plans of replacing it any time soon. If size wasn't an issue though, I would likely choose the SX130 over the Panasonic due to my preference for Canon color (warmer colors) and the fact that the SX130 does a little better at high ISO. That said, my everyday camera is actually an S95 as I determined the low light improvements were a worthy trade over zoom.
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 9:08 AM   #5
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I appreciate all the information. The other cameras you mention (LX5, S95, XZ-1) are out of my price range. The ZS7 is about my max.

1. Good to know. My main concern was close ups of a brick wall. A cast would not be good.

2. The one [live] indoor shot I've seen on an ZS7 was not that good, but I realize now that my friend didn't know about your slight adjustment. The custom slots are one of the things that brought me to the ZS7.

3. I did find a site which shows the distortion of one of the cameras via a grey grid (Can't remember which camera; have to go find it again), but not the other.

4. By low light, I mean outdoors, not a bright day, or at dusk or close to dusk.

Other:
a- What do you mean by "warmer" colors. Can I assume these look better in the photo but may not be as accurate as I need them to be?

b-Not to confuse too much, but is the ZS5 exactly the same as the ZS7 as far as the type of photos I want to take? (GPS and video unimportant) Does it have the custom slots?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 9:54 AM   #6
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I own both the SX130 from Canon, as well as the Panasonic ZS5. The color accuracy on the Canon SX130 is measurably better on the indoor and outdoor photos. As already mentioned, there is small underlying green color cast found in the Panasonic ZS series, that works well outdoors, but does indeed affect indoor photos.

Both cameras will do pretty much equally well outdoors. It is in the indoor photos that the ZS7 will provide problems. The built-in flash unit on the ZS7 has only 40 to 50% of the power of the built-in flash unit on the SX130. That means that whole room shots, or anything over 8 feet are out for the ZS7. The SX130 will provide good flash coverage out to 12 to 13 feet. If you want a greater Flash Range (the distance between camera and the farthest portion of your subject material) you will have to add a Slave Flash. So the Flash Range on these cameras should figure into your choice.

Yes, the ZS5 is exactly the same as the ZS7, but the ZS5 has a different video configuration and no GPS. As mentioned previously, neither of these cameras are really adept in dealing with "low light" conditions.

Sarah Joyce
A registered Mechanical Engineer
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 10:44 AM   #7
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Sarah:
Thank you! Your post clarifies a lot for me.

When you state (in your last sentence) "neither of these cameras" I take it you mean neither the Canon nor the ZS series, correct? (Your statement could be taken to mean neither the ZS5 nor ZS7.) Are there things I can do, settings I can use, to improve photos in low light conditions, or (to save you writing out a full fledged course in photography) subjects I should read up about?
Thanks.
Sol
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 12:12 PM   #8
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Sol-

'Neither of these two cameras" was referring to the Canon SX130 and the ZS7. "By low light, I mean outdoors, not a bright day, or at dusk or close to dusk." represents your statement regarding low light. Under those conditions the SX130, which performs well at ISO 800 will probably cover your needs, but shutter speeds will get quite low and you might consider adding an inexpensive tripod just for those shots.

The Canon HF1 Slave Flash could also be a valuable tool for adding greater fast range (up to 30 feet) for those long indoor shots.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 12:26 PM   #9
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Canon it is then. Thanks Sarah (and to stumprat and FiveO)! I should have joined this blog long ago instead of spending hours trying to find answers to these specific questions 'somewhere' on the internet. Much appreciated.
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Old Mar 22, 2011, 2:29 PM   #10
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Sol-

I had one further thought. If you are not budget and camera size limited. The Canon G-11or G12 would be a more quality choice that would cinch those "low light" shots for you, albeit at a somewhat higher price. In as much as you are directly using this with your occupation, the cost of the camera would be a tax deduction for you.

Sarah Joyce
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