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Old May 18, 2011, 2:45 PM   #1
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Default Help! Canon SX230 HS or Panasonic Lumix TZ20 (ZS10)

Hi
I am hoping someone will be able to give me some information to help me make up my mind. Having read tons of reviews, I finally settled on the SX230 or the TZ20 (ZS10 I think is the model in the US). I wanted a camera with a long zoom, preferably with GPS, capable of HD video, with a quick start-up time, with some scope for manual adjustment to settings and compact enough to fit in a pocket. The only downside I can find with the Lumix is that picture quality may not be fantastic above 400iso. On the SX230 the downside seems to be too much background noise on video and poor indoor picture quality. Cost wise here in the UK the SX230 is only slightly more expensive than the Lumix. I am leaning towards the Lumix though so any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 18, 2011, 4:05 PM   #2
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Any cam with a sensor this small and a non-bright lens is going to do poorly indoors without flash. Panasonic's sensors are noisier than the ones Canon uses (which are often Sony sensors). Generally speaking, I think Panasonic makes a better P&S overall, but Canon generally does a better job with color/white balance, overall tone, and handling of noise. Both cams will do poorly above ISO 400, but the Panasonic will likely do worse since the sensors tend to be noisier. Panasonic always does a better job with video, but again, there will be more noise in the Panasonic videos as well as stills.

I actually just picked up the SX230 yesterday so I can't comment on it much as I haven't even dumped a set of pics to my PC yet. It is definitely not as comfortable to use or as quick as my Panasonic ZS7, but I am really partial to Canon color so I wanted to give it a try.
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Old May 18, 2011, 7:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for responding so quickly. I thought I was almost there but it looks like I'm back to sitting on the fence again.

I did test the SX230 briefly in a shop but it felt chunky and I almost broke the flash trying to pull it open after closing it! I would be interested to know what you think of it once you've had a play around with it.
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Old May 18, 2011, 11:25 PM   #4
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I was a little confused by the flash also. Due to the lip on it, I thought it was manual as well. The flash is actually controlled via the control dial on the camera though ... or so I thought. I looked in the manual and it states it can be done either way. it doesn't really feel right doing manually though. I agree w/ you that it feels like it would break. What's agitating is that the flash seems to popup whether it's enabled or not, unlike my Canon S95 where the flash only pops up when in use.

The SX230 doesn't feel as nice as my ZS7, but that's generally true of Canon vs Panasonic imho. The Canon cameras all seem to have very awkward styling. The SX230 is also not as quick as my ZS7. The color and WB seem good as they typically are on Canons.

Unfortunately, you'll have to compromise somewhere. The S95 and other enthusiast models trounce the other compacts due to their larger sensors and brighter lenses. Of course, all of those cameras use CCD sensors which aren't capable of shooting 1080 video or providing fast burst modes. However, the CMOS sensors needed for 1080 video are noticeably noisier than their CCD counterparts. Canon and Olympus usually have the best OOC (out of camera) color, but Panasonic has ranked above both of them in terms of build quality for several years running. Panasonic's cams are also a little quicker and they handle CA (chromatic aberration) far better than Canon.

The Nikon S9100 might be worth consideration also, but with a few important things to note. The S9100 does not have spot metering. It also lacks shutter and aperture priority modes. The absence of a shutter priority mode was a deal breaker for me as auto modes typically do a poor job of selecting a fast enough shutter for moving subjects (resulting in blurred photos). Finally, the S9100's video quality has consistently been ranked below the Canon and Panasonic cams in pro reviews. Finally, it has NR (noise reduction) that is bit too aggressive. Now if you can live with all of that, I think it the picture quality is very good, the LCD is excellent and it seems to have a nice feel to it as well.
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Last edited by FiveO; May 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM.
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Old May 19, 2011, 9:25 PM   #5
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You are right about the flash being irritating which is why I closed it. The salesperson actually told me to pull the flash back up! Clearly she didn't know enough about the camera. However I suspect you could eventually learn to live with that slight annoyance.
I've never had a Canon so totally green about them except what I've read in reviews, my conclusion however is that picture quality is excellent.

The Nikon S9100 made it onto my shortlist but I was put off by the auto mode and video quality.

Yeah I realize I will have to compromise - and my priorities are fast start up, good video, zoom, compact enough to fit in a pocket, gps and scope to override auto settings. Most of my pictures will be outside so I think I will run with the Panasonic and hope it doesn't give me an excuse to upgrade in a few months time! :-)
Thanks again.
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Old Jul 6, 2011, 9:47 AM   #6
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@Pabsim did you buy the TZ20 in the end? I'm contemplating buying it to. I currently have a TZ7, which I'm more than happy with, but fancy the GPS and better video as I use my TZ7 as an all-in-one stills and video.

I'm a total P&S auto guy so manual settings dont bother me. The TZ20 can be had for about 242 now and 30 cashback from Panasonic so seems decent deal?

Any comments you have? I'll be using in indoors and outdoors for stills and video for everything.

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Old Jul 6, 2011, 6:34 PM   #7
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@MrMister111

Hi
Yes I did buy the TZ20 and I am quite happy with it. The GPS is prone to the odd hissy fit when I try to re-locate. it probably didn't help that I kept turning it off when not in use (to preserve battery life). I used it in Africa and was very impressed with the accuracy of location. My intention was to use it mainly outdoors but I actually took quite a few pics indoors. Most of my indoor pics I took without the flash. The difference even on auto with/without flash is significant. I will upload some photos before the weekend just to show the difference and also picture quality.
I would say that sounds like a fantastic deal at that price - you could get the extra battery, a case (which it doesn't come with) and a memory card and still have change from what I paid for the camera only some 6 weeks ago.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 3:24 AM   #8
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So the indoor shots are bad with flash. That's bad as mine will be in this scenario. I already have a case (lowepro one) and 2 spare unofficial batteries which when I bought them says they work with any firmware version.

I have to say as I use my TZ7 for video a lot the battery life is rubbish, probably because of the zooming and video recording. I always carry a spare as don't want to be left short on a day out. I'm thinking now with GPS it's going to be really bad battery life though. I understand you can switch it to a mode whereby it only is "on" when you switch the camera on, but how long does it take to get a lock. I don't want to have to switch on, then wait 5mins to take my pic. Does the other "always on" mode really kill the battery?

It does look a good deal, and am tempted as I'll use the GPS with iPhoto places, just I'm still reading all the reviews and comments about how poor IQ is.

I would probably wait this year, but I'm off to Florida for a family trip of a lifetime and tempted to get the TZ20 for it's better functionality over my TZ7 (GPS, longer zoom, dull HD, faster burst) for this trip to capture everything, but not ultimately if the pics are poor IQ. Can the IQ be improved by firmware or is it a poor sensor?

btw how much did you pay can I ask and from where?
Cheers
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 6:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMister111 View Post
I have to say as I use my TZ7 for video a lot the battery life is rubbish, probably because of the zooming and video recording. I always carry a spare as don't want to be left short on a day out. I'm thinking now with GPS it's going to be really bad battery life though. I understand you can switch it to a mode whereby it only is "on" when you switch the camera on, but how long does it take to get a lock. I don't want to have to switch on, then wait 5mins to take my pic. Does the other "always on" mode really kill the battery?
I have the GPS in "always on" mode and find the battery life of the ZS7 (TZ10) to be quite good. I can easily get the 300+ shots it is rated for, along with about 15 minutes of video. Using any P&S camera for extended periods of time in video mode is going to eat the battery on any P&S camera tbh. I wouldn't worry about the GPS as battery consumption is minimal.
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Old Jul 7, 2011, 9:43 AM   #10
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Thanks, so GPS might not be so much of a drain in either the "always on" mode, or the "switch off when camera off" mode.

I have to say I'm always on/off, zoom in/out, video mode on/off all the time sonexpect this is a drain.

I've bought 2 spares now, 1 really as a backup to the backup!! The 2nd spare I bought was a larger capacity 1250 compared to 950 of official little wary as why don't Panasonic make this capacity though, and 3rd party ones do?
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