Canon SX40 HS, Sony DSC HX100V, or Panasonic DMC-FZ150?

Started Feb 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
wb2trf
Senior MemberPosts: 1,387
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Re: which superzoom for pictures of birds??
In reply to Edith Israel, Feb 18, 2012

I can only tell you about my experience with the HX-100V. When shooting birds, I am generally shooting water birds, often at great distance over deep water and in flight. This poses different problems from shooting perching birds that you can get close to.
You can see a few shots here, all taken at 810mm equiv.

810

If you want to see many perching birds with the HX-100V, go to the Sony forum and search for the posts of ASR45. His photos are better than mine anyway.

If you want to know if someone can get better IQ with an APS-C or Full frame and a long lens, yes, of course, but the weight, size and prices start at 10x, which constitute impediments to actually getting the shot, and which doesn't interest me.

Here are my observations about the HX-100V. Image stabilization is nothing short of magical and if you want to shoot long telephoto sometimes critical. Focus speed and spot focus acquisition is superb (the osprey with fish at 810mm is a good example). In my scant in-store testing autofocus seemed better than the Canon but don't take that as any final word. The zoom ring on the lens works very well and I couldn't live now with only the zoom switch that the Canon offers. Note that the swing out lcd of the Canon may look better at first, but having used both I prefer the tilt of the Sony, because only it allows you to get a view straight down that is aligned with the axis of the lens, which I find to be much better. For waterbirds however I mostly use the evf.

Burst speed at 10fps is great, see the Gannet photos. I could imagine faster refresh providing better ergonomics for burst, but anytime you want to shoot 10 pictures in 1 sec of bird that unpredictably plummets from great height, you're going to miss quite a few times no matter what your gear is.

My only beef with the HX-100V is that the shot to shot times in single shot mode are annoying, interrupted by an unavoidable review of the last photo. You can cut this short by half-pressing the shutter, but I wish you could turn it off. The context however is that any camera is going to have something that you wish were different.

The Canon HS-40 wasn't around when I bought my HX-100V and the Canon '30 was way subpar. If I had it to do now, I would be tempted to try them both if I was feeling fussy about the decision (as I think they are probably both very good so which you prefer will come down to personal preference details). You can't get that personal info any other way.

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