best of the new super-small big-zooms

Started Jun 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
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camera fan not photographer
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best of the new super-small big-zooms
Jun 14, 2012

"Travel zooms" as a category seems to be mostly cameras that are 30+mm thick, but these days there are an increasing number of much smaller 10x+ zooms. I'd love to see DPReview add a new roundup review that specifically looks at the less-than-25mm or less-than-30mm thick big zooms---ie, the big zooms that are really pocketable in even the smallest pockets. It's easy to compare specs, and a couple of these cams have some reviews on the web, but it's hard to compare their image quality or their operating speed using the few isolated reviews and forum comments.

The top choices seems to me currently to be:

  • Canon Elph 520 (or 530, but I default to 520 w/o the touchscreen interface DPReview didn't like in their 510 review)

  • Sony WX150

  • Samsung WB850f (or WB150f, or maybe even ST200f, but I default to WB850f because the zoom range is amazing for the size and I think only it of the 3 has 1080 video)

and if we're allowing 25-30mm wide then also:

  • Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30 (or ZS15 but it doesn't have quite the range)

Maybe the Olympus VR-340 is worth including too. (Only seems to have 720 video, but it is small.)

So this is mostly a request for DPReview to create a new roundup or switch to only the small cameras on their next travel zoom roundup. But opinions on these camera from everyone else welcomed too. What's the best zoom range for the size with good image quality and decent operation?

My sense right now is that the Elphs don't have quite as good IQ due to the sensor, but are really small with a pretty big range. The Samsung has operational issues but a really big range for its size too (slightly bigger size). The Sony seems to be the safe choice in terms of IQ and speed but with a less impressive zoom range for the size.

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