Comparing Zoom Cameras via Amazon Reviews
Comparing Zoom Cameras via Amazon Reviews
Sep 10, 2011
Like many posters in this forum, I long to read DPReview’s formal evaluation of my new treasure, i.e., the Sony HX100v. I have been super impressed with this camera since I first read online user reviews of it in late June, both in this forum, as well as online reviews at Best Buy, Sony, Amazon, and Buzzillions. [By the way, Best Buy has ceased offering this camera online, as of the past week; I guess that it is “moving onto the next new thing.” When I decided to buy the HX100v, it was primarily because of the Amazon reviews as of July 1, and that virtually all of the U.S. buyers had bought them at Best Buy. I was fortunate enough to buy the only available HX100v in seven Portland, Oregon BB stores that weekend, let alone for $50 less than the standard price.]
Regardless of how DPR evaluates and rates the HX100v, I know that I got SUPER lucky when I read online user comments…and quickly exchanged my (one week old) Canon SX30is for this Sony zoom. While awaiting the DPR review for what seems like forever now, I got curious and compared the Amazon USER ratings of 6 zoom cameras. Keep in mind that these ratings comprise users who may strongly emphasize a single feature that they like/dislike, as well as those who give weight to the overall value of ALL features of a camera. [I think that far too many Amazon raters illogically rate products based on 1 or 2 strong dislikes, rather than give weight to the overall value of an item.]
I compared the HX100v with four other long zoomers: Nikon P500, Canon SX30is, Fuji HS20, and Fuji S4000. In addition, I added in the Sony HX9, even though the zoom is shorter than the others. Although the actual totals of User Reviews vary greatly (Canon has more than twice as many reviews than the other cameras), I have focused on the PERCENTAGES of ratings, to form comparisons. I have chosen to summarize here the percentages of Users who rate the cameras in Amazon’s highest category ( = 5 stars), as well as those who rated them as 5 or 4 stars; further, I also offer the percentages for those rating each camera in the very worst category (= 1 star).
In regards to just the five cameras with 30x or greater long zoom, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the HX100v rates the highest in the 5 star category, as well as the combined 5/4 star category. Also impressive is that the HX100v has the lowest percentage of 1 star ratings. The Nikon is the next most well regarded “long zoomer,” with just barely lower percentages than the HX100v. The Canon came in just slightly lower still, while both of the Fuji’s scored significantly lower than the highest Sony and Nikon ratings. I find it notable that the Fujis drew 10% and 12.5% ratings at the 1 star level, whereas only 4 – 4.5% of Sony and Nikon Users felt that way.
Interestingly, the Sony HX9 scored better than any of the above five cameras, with just a bit superior percentages than even the HX100v (although the HX100v scores higher in the combined category of 5/4 stars: 70% versus 50%). I chose to evaluate on the basis of the very highest rating (just 5 stars), as well as the combined totals of 5 and 4 stars, as measures of High Satisfaction. Conversely, I also chose the very lowest satisfaction level of 1 star, as an indication of the Greatest Dislike.
Here are the percentage comparisons of the six cameras, based on Amazon User Reviews:
Percentage Ratings of:
5 Stars 5/4 Stars 1 Star
HX100v 83 70 4.5
Nikon 81 50 4
Canon 78 57 7.5
F. HS20 73 42.5 10.5
F. S4000 33 60 12
Sony HX9 86.5 50 3.5
I realize that my comparisons don’t prove anything in regard to technical features, image quality, or any other specific element of the cameras. However, I do think that they show the relative satisfaction levels that Amazon USERS have with the respective cameras (including everything that goes with technical features, image quality, ease of use, etc.). Thus, both Sonys and the Nikon have earned higher ratings for User Satisfaction than the other cameras. Certainly, both Fujis have earned much less regard than their competitors.
Regardless of whatever the DPR review may eventually say, I KNOW that the HX100v is a Super point-and-shoot for me. Of course, I am hoping that the HX100v will be very highly rated, mostly to validate my own opinion, i.e., that professional camera evaluators agree that this is among the very best cameras in its long zoom class. More important, however, is that a high rating might draw many other persons to buy and enjoy this camera. I would love it if the rest of the world of zoom buyers were drawn to the HX100v.
I really surprised myself that I bought the HX100v when it was still virtually new to the U.S. market, and had so few User Reviews, let alone absolutely NO formal reviews from the major websites that I respect. Who knows how long I would have had to wait, if I wanted to depend on those professional reviews? Instead, through the availability of Amazon reviews (about 25 when I bought), I have gotten great pleasure throughout the past two plus months…and expect to enjoy this camera for a long time into the future.
I apologize for the terrible way that my Table ended up in the above display: It looked great in my preliminary review, before posting. [Note: I did not see the display in the "Preview Window" below, until I started composing THIS afterthought.]
I hope that the following explanation will help others to understand the TABLE.
For example, the Sony HX100v drew 83% in the 5 star category, and 70% in the combined 5 and 4 star category; it was rated 1 star by only 4.5% of Users.
Similarly, the Nikon P500 drew 81% in the 5 star category, but only 50.5% in the combined 5 and 4 star category; it was rated 1 star by only 4% of the Users.
By comparisons, the Fuji S4000 had 60% of its Amazon Users giving it 5 stars, but only 33% in the combined 5 and 4 star category; it drew a high 12% in the awful 1 star category.
I hope that the above helps everyone to sort out my Table percentages.
Thanks for your statistical analysis. I think Amazon's user reviews can give
insights that formal reviews may miss. One thing to be cautious about is
the biased reviewer, and I'm thinking of someone who is promoting a product,
or slamming a competitor's product on behalf of his employer. With that
in mind I still wait patiently for reviews by trusted professionals such as
DC Resource and DP Review. Thanks again for compiling your statistics which
I think are very helpful.
You made a statement that pretty much summarizes me as well - I'm happy with the camera, and I really don't care if it gets bad comments from a reviewer.
I love the basic feature of the camera, and the additional things I chose this camera for (GPS / 3D / etc.) are much more than gimmicks.
I'm hoping the next cool thing I'm trying will work as well - IR photography.
[By the way, Best Buy has ceased offering this camera online, as of the past week; I guess that it is “moving onto the next new thing.”
I purchased mine less than a week ago from Best Buy, using a 10% off coupon I found online. I've been having a blast with the camera - sounds like I purchased it just in time!
Your statistics were interesting. Thanks for pulling those together.
I too would like to see a positive DPR review, but even if they were to deem it "worst camera ever", I won't regret my purchase. It's not a perfect camera, but it has helped me capture lots of shots I'm very pleased with, in a much more compact form-factor than my DSLR with an equivalent zoom. I'm really enjoying this camera!