My Olympus debacle (insight needed)?

Started Jan 7, 2013 | Questions thread
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My Olympus debacle (insight needed)?
Jan 7, 2013

So I was in the market to purchase a compact with a super zoom, 1080p video, and dual recording capability, all key factors in my hunt. I came across the Olympus SZ-31mr, and after discovering it was a 16MP CMOS with wide angle lens, 24x optical zoom, 1080p capable, and not only did dual recording, but a ton of other neat stuff (like HDR, 3D images, 10fps burst shooting, and a ton of filters), I was sold on it.

I really loved everything about the SZ-31, that was until I played back my first video. Evidently, the auto-focus mechanism inside of the camera is so noisy as it works that it records straight into the microphone, so much so you cannot miss it, it sounds like a typewriter constantly pecking (can't be turned off?). I'm really disappointed to have to send my Olympus back, but apparently this is not a defect, it's just a reality across a lot of Olympus point and shoot models right now. The retail return policy isn't going to allow me time for Olympus to "pretend fix" it (don't think they could).

So now I'm debating some comparable cameras, yet I can't help but feel like I'll be downgrading no matter what I go with. It seems none of the competition is really as well rounded as the SZ-31mr. The Panasonic ZS20, Sony HX20v, and Fuji F770, are merely 20x optical zoom, which I realize is nothing to sneeze at. I don't know that the extra zoom in my Olympus makes all that much difference, but every little bit helps right?

It also seems that only Panasonic and the Sony offer dual recording (anyone know about the Fuji), though I'm not sure if either allows for programing two different results, such as two different video resolutions, or two stills with different filters applied? I've watched test videos of the Panasonic, Sony, and Fuji. No pecking sounds, but it seems like the Fuji struggles to keep focus in zoom.

These seem to range quite a bit in MP, the Sony boasting an 18, the Fuji a 16, and the Panasonic only 14. Also, does anyone know if these cameras have any sort of high speed frame rate resolutions for video?

Any insight into the above mentioned cameras will be appreciated. I guess in the end what I'm looking for is the best jack-of-all-trades super zoom compact I can get my hands on. If it weren't for the issue with my Olympus, I'd probably say I already have it because I really love the camera, just hate that design flaw. So I need to know, what's my next best choice here?

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V
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