Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?

Started May 6, 2012 | Discussions
Arkie
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Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
May 6, 2012

I just ordered an SX40 as a birthday gift for a family member to use mostly for wildlife and scenery. But it's a "bag" camera and, for myself, I am considering a travel camera the size of my SD850 that I can carry on my belt.

A few years ago, 4x was conidered a long zoom for a belt camera. Now there are many belt sized up to 20x, most all using the small Compact camera sensor. Most of my travel usage will be snapshots using AUTO settings.

Can today's 20x (ie Canon SX260) cameras achieve the same or better image quality as their predecessors 10-14x (ie Canon SX230) cameras? Or have we just switched from marketing Megapixels to marketing Zoom levels?

Dale Buhanan
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Arkie, May 6, 2012

I'd really like to know the same thing, Arkie. I have both an SX40 and an SX230 and find them both quite satisfactory for my needs for this type camera. I have wondered whether the SX260 is genuinely an upgrade from the SX230 as well. It has DIGIC5 as opposed to DIGIC4 for the SX230... which will of course help the focus and processing pipeline, and the same sensor. But what is unknown is how the lens redesign from a 14X to 20X zoom will affect the limage quality. It will be very interesting to see some comparisons. On paper, it sounds great.

Arkie wrote:

I just ordered an SX40 as a birthday gift for a family member to use mostly for wildlife and scenery. But it's a "bag" camera and, for myself, I am considering a travel camera the size of my SD850 that I can carry on my belt.

A few years ago, 4x was conidered a long zoom for a belt camera. Now there are many belt sized up to 20x, most all using the small Compact camera sensor. Most of my travel usage will be snapshots using AUTO settings.

Can today's 20x (ie Canon SX260) cameras achieve the same or better image quality as their predecessors 10-14x (ie Canon SX230) cameras? Or have we just switched from marketing Megapixels to marketing Zoom levels?

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kind regards
Dale

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Arkie
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Dale Buhanan, May 7, 2012

I guess you and I are the only ones wondering if we'll give up IQ for the high zoom. The Aperture numbers at both ends of the SX260 zoom look pretty bad compared to the SX230, but I don't know if newer lens and processor can make up the difference. Wish this site would do a review on the 260.

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Bruce Dunkle
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Arkie, May 8, 2012

There's a review of the SX260 on http://www.dcresource.com . Also have you
looked at the Sony HX20v? It's got a magnetic compass to go along
with its GPS. That will give you orientation to go along with location.
I don't understand why Canon left GPS off the SX40.

Bruce
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GeraldW
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Arkie, May 8, 2012

I bought an SX230HS in stead of the SX260HS because of the slower lens on the SX260HS. It's about 2/3 of a stop slower over the range that the SX230HS covers. It does go longer and wider; but on a Caribbean cruise, I really didn't miss the extra range.

The SX260HS corrects for chromatic aberration in-camera; but I didn't find CA to be a problem with the shots I took with the SX230HS. I also feel the SX230HS has a really good lens and one that is better than the SX260HS.

There are a few things I like better about the 260HS: it looks better with the darked aluminum band around the middle, it has a little bit of a finger grip on the front, the LCD is a 4:3 aspect ratio, so it's a real 3"; and the flash is motorized, so it rises only when wanted. And if you don't get black, the SX260HS's body colors are richer; as compared to the pink light blue on the SX230HS. (my SX230HS is black and I made my own finger grip for the front) The SX230HS's pop-up at turn on flash is easily handled by simply holding a finger on it at turn on. The reviews all mention it; but to me it's a non-issue.

I have compared the SX230HS to my G9, S90, and Panasonic FZ150. The G9 is easily the best at ISO 100 and still has a little edge in detail and sharpness at ISO 400. The SX230HS is a strong second to the G9, and better at ISO 800 and higher. I was impressed.
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Derek Oregon
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to GeraldW, May 8, 2012

I agree the SX230HS is a great choice. Love mine.

You might watch amazon very closely as the price is very volatile and was down to $215 US just a week ago. Changes almost daily right now.

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yooperguy
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Arkie, May 8, 2012

Arkie wrote:

I guess you and I are the only ones wondering if we'll give up IQ for the high zoom. The Aperture numbers at both ends of the SX260 zoom look pretty bad compared to the SX230, but I don't know if newer lens and processor can make up the difference. Wish this site would do a review on the 260.

Here's an SX260 review on Photography Blog;

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/canon_powershot_sx260_hs_review/

And, you can compare SX230 and SX260 shots using the Comparometer on the I-R site;

http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

Dennis

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Arkie
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Arkie, May 8, 2012

Thanks for the review sites and feedback. Current prices seem to be about $100 difference between the SX230 and SX260. Anyone had both and think saving 1/3 for the 230 is not a good choice?

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Bruce Dunkle
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Arkie, May 8, 2012

Arkie wrote:
Anyone had both and think saving 1/3 for the 230 is not a good choice?

I don't have the 260, but how can you decide against the 230 when
you see a sample like this?

Good luck in your choice!

Bruce
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Derek Oregon
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Bruce Dunkle, May 8, 2012

I find it telling that the SX260 started at $349 just a couple months ago and its already down to $299 and dropping fast, meanwhile the SX230 is still in the $230-$250 range after a year and selling well, I might add. But, that's me just rambling.

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Edlolim
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Bruce Dunkle, May 8, 2012

That's a nice capture Mr. Dunkle.

Cheers,
Ed

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Arkie
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Decision Made---SX230
In reply to Arkie, May 8, 2012

Arkie wrote:

Thanks for the review sites and feedback. Current prices seem to be about $100 difference between the SX230 and SX260. Anyone had both and think saving 1/3 for the 230 is not a good choice?

Positive feedback and a 20% coupon made it easy! $160 at Staples that had the camera on Clearance. Thanks again for everyone's comments.

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Bruce Dunkle
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Edlolim, May 8, 2012

Edlolim wrote:

That's a nice capture Mr. Dunkle.

Cheers,
Ed

Thanks, Ed. I took about 70 photos that day, and that one won my heart.
Glad to see our OP got a good deal at Staples!

Bruce

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Cyril Catt
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Re: Travel Cam---Are the Small Sensor Superzooms Worth it?
In reply to Arkie, May 9, 2012

Arkie wrote:

Wish this site would do a review on the 260.

Try the review at http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sx260hs-review
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