Choosing a dSLR-like (megazoom) camera, disappointed by SX1 and SX30

Started Sep 11, 2011 | Discussions thread
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longtalker
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Choosing a dSLR-like (megazoom) camera, disappointed by SX1 and SX30
Sep 11, 2011

Hello everyone,

I want to buy a camera that has the following features, which my 6 year old Canon A610 does not have:

  • very large optical zoom (at least 20x)

  • high res video (at least 720p, ideally 1080p)

  • exposure bracketing

  • articulated LCD (the A610 does have that one)

I am posting this in the Canon talk section of the forum because I would prefer to stick with Canon, although the shortlisted models have disappointed me with regard to IQ (see below).

After a long comparison of bridge ("dSLR-like" compacts) and dSLR cameras, I eliminated the latter category because adding a long zoom lens to the price of a dSLR is something I cannot afford. After comparing the available bridge cameras, I decided that either the Canon SX1 or the SX30 meet my requirements the best.

However, before proceeding to decide between these two (essentially, a choice between the SX1's 1080p filming and higher fps in burst mode and the SX3's better optical zoom and higher pixel count), I could not get over how disappointing the image quality in both of these two cameras is. The samples that I've seen from both of them seem to almost always have a soft/watercolour aspect to them, regardless of the focal length used, and even at the lowest ISO and in bright sunlight. These samples are noisier, and the details at 100% crop are much less clear/crisp than those produced by my old Canon A610! It seems just silly to think that I would take pictures with my old camera when I want quality images and that I'd use the new one when I need lots of optical zoom and/or HD videos.

Could this difference in IQ be attributed just to sensor size? Surprisingly, the A610 has a larger sensor (1/1.8") than the SX1 or SX30 (1/2.3"), even though it has a much smaller resolution (5 MP).

I also expected there to be a large difference in IQ between the SX1 and the SX30 because the former has a CMOS sensor while the latter has a CCD one (I expected the CCD to be better, but either way, I expected one to be better than the other ) - but the images are just as disappointing for both of them.

I'd be willing to sacrifice the articulated LCD for a mega-zoom camera that has an image quality the same as my old A610, but after reading reviews and comparing samples, it seems the SX1/SX30 are really as good as it gets in their category.

My question is, therefore: I know that megazooms don't do well with poor lighting, but are they really unable to produce a good IQ even with enough light? Or is it because of the small sensor size? Would I have to get a dSLR if I wanted good IQ (if "good" is the standard set by a 6 year old point&shoot!!) and only gain the exposure bracketing and HD filming from my wish list of new features? Could people please recommend what cameras I should consider given all my criteria above?

Many thanks in advance for any help!

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