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Just posted: Our group test of travel zoom compact cameras

By dpreview staff on Jul 20, 2011 at 00:29 GMT

Just Posted: our group test of travel zoom compact cameras. The travel zoom/compact super zoom category is one of the great success stories of recent years, with all the major manufacturers offering at least one small camera with at least a 10x zoom. And that success is understandable - few other camera types offer such a balance between size, price and flexibility. We've looked at fourteen of the latest models and narrowed these down to a shortlist of six for the full review treatment. Our 18-page grouptest shows how these six perform in a variety of situations, but all fourteen have both real-world samples and studio comparisons. Click here to find out what we thought and which cameras prevailed.

Click here to read our group test of travel zoom compact cameras

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Comments

Total comments: 133
elwaish
By elwaish (Aug 14, 2011)

I just read all the reviews of the Canon sx230hs, Sony hx9v and Nikon s9100. Based on them I decided to buy the Canon. I went to the store to check them out. I did not like the Canon. The wheel without labels, having to slightly press it to find out what it does, ergonomically bad (could not find a comfortable way to hold it when the flash was open). How can you be holding up the camera, with the flash open and trying to adjust the zoom? Since these 3 cameras have the pop-up flash on the top left area, I decided that none of these three cameras are ergonomically good. So I am back to reading more reviews, looking for other ergonomically good cameras with zoom and good image quality.

0 upvotes
spitsi
By spitsi (Aug 4, 2011)

i agree, you should tested also olympus sz30mr, with the others compact superzoom cameras

1 upvote
avi greif
By avi greif (Jul 27, 2011)

why isn't The Olimpus SZ30MR included in this group test ? it belongs here. The test is not full without it. The Olimpus might win this test.

2 upvotes
Chaemmes
By Chaemmes (Jul 26, 2011)

I just have to say that I appreciate the posts on this site. Most of the time comments on virtually every site are full of boors and trolls, but I have to say I learned just as much useful stuff here as in the original article.

1 upvote
JohnWho
By JohnWho (Jul 24, 2011)

Dpreview -

Please read my post in the Sony Talk thread, here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1009&message=38971820

Don't know if it will make any difference to your evaluation, but I would appreciate any comments you might add to the discussion.

1 upvote
snapshot09
By snapshot09 (Jul 26, 2011)

Take a look at the following thread which has a good discussion on the cameras reviewed and it might answer your questions:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1009&message=38938196

0 upvotes
JohnWho
By JohnWho (Jul 26, 2011)

No, snapshot, it does not and you knew that per our posts last night.

That thread is a general discussion of the "comparison/review" while this thread

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1009&message=38971820

is specifically pointing out some possible discrepancies regarding the operational speeds of the Sony DSC-HX9V showing that the camera is very responsive in the most important aspects of Start-up time, Auto Focus time, Shot to shot time, or Mode change times.

0 upvotes
pixel_colorado
By pixel_colorado (Jul 23, 2011)

Went to the store to check out the Sony, Nikon and Canon and to be honest I'll stick with my Panasonic DMC-ZS3 (DMC-TZ7) until something better comes along.

I reallt wanted to ge the Sony but it really felt slow compared to my Panasonic.

Hopefully the manufacturers read the CONS and imporve things.

0 upvotes
thubleau3
By thubleau3 (Jul 23, 2011)

Oh boy the Canon wins easy the Nikon only gets it award because of the Bias shown in reviews to the Nikon..they must be paying the bills.

0 upvotes
JohnWho
By JohnWho (Jul 23, 2011)

Ah, maybe that is the rationale I was searching for in my previous post.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 27, 2011)

No, it's because the Nikon S9100 is fast, responsive, has the most versatile zoom, a lovely LCD screen and very good image quality.

0 upvotes
CoLi
By CoLi (Jul 23, 2011)

I like the review, but cannot see how the Nikon can get a recommendation award taking into consideration that the whole point of these cameras is having long zooms, and according to the image stabilization test of the Nikon, only 20% of the shots at full telephoto are sharp. If the cameras in this article require long zoom, but the Nikon cannot take sharp pictures with its zoom, why would you recommend it and why would people who need to use the zoom buy it?

1 upvote
EricoftheNorth
By EricoftheNorth (Jul 22, 2011)

I find it quite interesting that the Nikon got good marks on video. I sell these cameras every day and there is one horrifying detail not mentioned about the Nikon: It *disables* optical stabilization during the video. This is compounded by the fact that this is a CMOS and therefor has a rolling shutter. At wide angle, it is not to big of a deal, but at telephoto (which is the point of these cameras after all), it is ABYSMAL. It looks like bad Flip video. The Nikon P500 suffers the same effect to an even greater degree as it hits ~800mm. The digital stabilizer has essentially no effect on the rolling shutter.

The Sony and Canon both are amazingly stable at long zoom.

I feel that this should seriously be reconsidered as many customers will forgo a video camera in favor of one of these, and at the soccer (football) game or graduation, this is simply unacceptable.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 22, 2011)

In video mode, the S9100's sensor-shift VR is disabled, and you're quite right that stability suffers, especially towards the long end of the zoom. This was noted in the review but I've just made a couple of changes to the video page to make it clearer.

0 upvotes
farnsbarns
By farnsbarns (Jul 23, 2011)

yes, this is noticeable in every sample of the Nikon I have seen online. The HX9V has outstanding video but awful still quality - terrible shame, it would have been an easy pick. It leaves the Canon which unfortunately only has a moderate wide at 28mm, which is frustrating for many uses of a compact. The Panasonic doesn't score it for me either way. It brings up the question - given the computing storage and editing power now available to deliver really first quality video, which is becoming more relevant for compact use - shooting stills or video? A renaissance in home videos on the horizon perhaps?

0 upvotes
farnsbarns
By farnsbarns (Jul 22, 2011)

I found this to be an interesting of four cameras that all have great merits, but none perfect. If the test is about a balance between video and still quality I think I agree with the results. I recently had my Panasonic ZS7 stolen - which I loved - but have decided against the new Panasonic because of Stills IQ. The HX9V seems to have brilliant video - WAY above anyone else's - but smeared stills. The SX230 has good video and good still IQ. same with the S9100. The ability to take good, printable pictures is still fundamental. Its not that I want a compact to be as brilliant as a DSLR ( I shoot professionally with Nikon D700 and D7000), but I do want a portable, unobtrusive, instant and competent device for personal use. If the Canon had a wider lens, The Sony had better Still image IQ, the Nikon more manual control and better VR the choice would have been much harder, but I probably would have gone towards the Sony. As it is I am in agreement and limbo with the judges' verdict.

0 upvotes
JohnWho
By JohnWho (Jul 21, 2011)

The Canon SX 230 HS gets an overall score of 77%.

The Nikon S9100 and the Sony HX9V got overall scores of 75%.

Why isn't the Canon the "winner" with the Nikon and Sony "co-runners up"?

Just trying to understand the rationale.

0 upvotes
Frank B
By Frank B (Jul 21, 2011)

I really wish DPR had included the FujiF550EXR. I will not buy a travel camera unless it includes RAW. I would truly like to know if the RAW files from the Fuji offer more potential image quality than the JPEG files of these other travel zooms. I have a Nikon P7000 which has excellent JPGs, but the final results from the RAW files are to me sufficiently improved so that I only use RAW.

1 upvote
superstar905
By superstar905 (Jul 22, 2011)

It would have failed miserably.

0 upvotes
Frank B
By Frank B (Jul 23, 2011)

Do you have any links to reviews of the 550EXR which include comparisons of RAW vs. JPEG? Thanks.

0 upvotes
leafinsectman
By leafinsectman (Jul 21, 2011)

The group test says that the Sony HX7V doesn't have GPS:

"Depending on your priorities the loss of GPS mode in the HX7V might be a disappointment"

But the product page says that it has GPS:

"The GPS and compass enabled DSC-HX7V features Sony's newly-developed 16.1MP back-illuminated Exmor-R CMOS sensor..."

Can I get some clarification on this? Thanks in advance :)

0 upvotes
Jinwons
By Jinwons (Jul 21, 2011)

Yes, it has GPS. They make mistakes like this their statements often.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 21, 2011)

The text has been fixed now - the HX7 does, of course, have GPS.

0 upvotes
leafinsectman
By leafinsectman (Jul 22, 2011)

Thanks, much appreciated!

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Jul 21, 2011)

All of them have over 12 MP, but all give ugly pictures with huge amount of noise reduction and sharpening. I would better buy a 6MP.
Everything >10MP on a P&S just slowes the picture rate, discharges the battery and wastes PC memory.

10 upvotes
eddie_cam
By eddie_cam (Jul 21, 2011)

Whatever happened to the Olympus SZ-30MR? Why hasn't it be included?

2 upvotes
superstar905
By superstar905 (Jul 21, 2011)

No kidding...this cam had potential to best all these models.

1 upvote
dark goob
By dark goob (Jul 21, 2011)

Because dpreview is a highly biased farce

0 upvotes
L Bradford
By L Bradford (Jul 21, 2011)

If you feel that way, why read it, or for that matter even bother with the site.

3 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Jul 20, 2011)

Why did you not include a Casio?

Casio won the last roundup, you would think they would be one of the first vendors you look at for this roundup?

I would have loved to see dpreviews take on the ZR100 and how it stacks up against the others

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1101/11010522casioexzr100.asp

And nikon = fail for making you do four or five key presses just to set the ISO. Frustrating as heck since the "AUTO" mode = DUMB

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 20, 2011)

In which case, you're in luck: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q311travelzoomgrouptest/page16.asp#exzr100

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Jul 21, 2011)

Thanks. I missed that.

However you gave us Mostly stuff I can get from a spec sheet, not your "take on the ZR100 and how it stacks up"

How did it compare to last years winner the FH100 and the rest of the bunch?

Looking at your image comparameter my take is it's a step back in IQ from the FH100 with IQ some place between the ZS10 and SX230 but how "snappy was it?" (casio claimes dual CPU FTW) what's the build quality like?

I'd be so happy even if you just gave them a score without anything to back it up.

0 upvotes
GrandArcher
By GrandArcher (Jul 20, 2011)

Honestly in Image Quality category they all are totally crap ! So giving gold award to something that is little bit less crap than other is absolutely a mistake !
The only camera in this review that is worth something is HX9V. Oh yes, its image quality for Pixel Peeping purpose is horrendous (though colors and overall picture much more pleasant then Canons), BUT its video is incredible.
Its so good in producing video that is outweigh everything else. It is *that* good ! And since video in here is also part of the review - then HX9v should've received Gold Award too.

3 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

The biggest problems I have with the S9100 (which I own) are the bad pixel smearing even in good light, due to heavy-handed noise reduction. I guess Nikon couldn't afford to add a setting for optional amounts of noise reduction? And of course the extreme dumbing down in other areas, such as no spot metering and other hard to get to settings.

0 upvotes
snapshot09
By snapshot09 (Jul 20, 2011)

Based on some of the comments, many seem to think that Sony should have also received a Gold Award for the HX9V, however if you look at the individual areas by which each camera was judged, it is obvious why only the SX230 and S9100 received the Gold Award:

Best Build Quality
1. SX230
2. S9100
3. HX9V

Ergonomics and Handling
1. SX230 and HX9V (tie)
2. S9100

Features
1. HX9V
2. SX230
3. S9100

Exposure and Focus Accuracy
1. SX230 and S9100 (tie)
2. HX9V

Image Quality
1. SX230 and S9100 (tie)
2. HX9V

Flash Performance
1. Sx230, HX9V, and S9100 (tie)

Low Light/High ISO Performance
1. SX230
2. S9100
3. HX9V

Optics
1. SX230 and S9100 (tie)
2. HX9V

Performance (Speed)
1. S9100
2. SX230
3. HX9V

Movie/Video Mode
1. HX9V
2. SX230 and S9100 (tie)

Value
1. Sx230, HX9V, and S9100 (tie)

1 upvote
Fabiano Barbosa Vilela
By Fabiano Barbosa Vilela (Jul 20, 2011)

I guess an important TZ was left out of the group: Olympus SZ-30MR. I would really like to see it compared to the group due to the good impressions owners talk about in the forum. The specs are amazing and the ability to take pictures while doing movies is unique. So why was it left out?

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 20, 2011)

It doesn't really count as a 'compact' camera in terms of its form-factor, so isn't really in this class. We define travel zoom compact cameras as those which have 10x or greater optical zoom lenses in a compact, pocketable (ish) form-factor.

0 upvotes
Fabiano Barbosa Vilela
By Fabiano Barbosa Vilela (Jul 20, 2011)

I´m sorry but the SZ-30MR is listed in this website as a compact camera which as a matter of fact it really is. Just check the specs and you´ll see the dimensions.

1 upvote
dark goob
By dark goob (Jul 21, 2011)

The olympus is smaller than the others. What a scam this omission is. Clear bias shown, don't act like it's anything else, Amazon.

0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Jul 21, 2011)

The Olympus is clearly *not* smaller than the others.

2 upvotes
superstar905
By superstar905 (Jul 22, 2011)

No, it is not smaller, but still a compact travel zoom that should have been in this review since its better than half the cameras

1 upvote
techmine
By techmine (Jul 20, 2011)

Surprisingly Nikon has come out with 2 winners (overall not just this review) this year. P300 and S9100. They are really going after the Point and Shoot charts. Sad to see Panasonic at 3. What is Sony's problem??

0 upvotes
BG_CX3_DPREVIEW
By BG_CX3_DPREVIEW (Jul 20, 2011)

Congrats to the winners, i never ever expected this outcome, no really never, really not.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 20, 2011)

Ah, sarcasm ;) well, if you look at the samples and read the review you'll see that both are deserving winners. After a disappointing showing in last year's TZ review, Canon and Nikon have both made meaningful improvements to their flagship travel zoom compacts.

2 upvotes
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Jul 20, 2011)

A Nikon compact in the top 2- no, I really wouldn't have expected this. This hasn't happened for a long, long time.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Yet another test of zoom without the most important test of all, and continued comments by people of extremely low perceptual ability who simply cannot comprehend what "zoom" means. To the point: I want to know how many pixels in my image are going to be occupied by the sparrow I'm photographing in the tree. The camera with the longest zoom will do that, if the pixel count for the sensor is the same as the other cameras, and if the quality per pixel is comparable. Do you understand that, people? I want a zoom camera with more zoom. If you want a camera with wide that sacrifices zoom, why don't you go somewhere else and get a wide angle camera and leave the rest of us who want priority on long zoom alone? Do you have to control everything in the world? I just want a long zoom that sacrifices wide angle, and what is wrong with that.

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

As you can see by the lack of your phone ringing from camera development teams, what you want is not all that's important. Go buy a dslr with an actual prime long lens if you think shooting sparrows in trees is an interesting way to spend your time.

1 upvote
nosnoop
By nosnoop (Jul 20, 2011)

dale thorn wrote:"continued comments by people of extremely low perceptual ability who simply cannot comprehend what "zoom" means."

Do *YOU* know what "Zoom" mean? Apparently, you DON'T.
Zoom simply means that the lens focal length can vary; be it wide angle or telephoto.

Most people prefer a wider lens, what is wrong with that?

Guess what, you should check out camcorders. Some of them has 30x zoom or even 70x zoom! Yeah you can get your pixels filled up by the eye of the sparrow.... LOL

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

So you two "experts" don't understand why Nikon chose to make a 450 mm zoom, and why DPReview continues to ignore the obvious. Now who is the person who lacks perception here? You two, obviously. Like DPReview, you ignore what's in front of your faces and continue to nag about "wide angle" on long zoom cameras, instead of going and buying a wide angle camera. What I'm doing is pointing out your inability to use reason and logic.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Chiane sounds very much like a troll for DPReview - he wants wide angle and less zoom, so where does he hang out and complain? In the long zoom section. Now that is the definition of crazy.

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

LOL at Dale. If you are going to drone on and on about zoom, you should know what it is first, so you don't look like you wear a helmet to your anger management classes. Good luck with those sparrow shots at 450mm. They're gonna be fantastic.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Chiane is still Trolling here. Why doesn't Chiane go to some other section where long zooms aren't the subject? And sparrows look good and make nice sounds. OTOH, all you do is grumble about your illogical fantasies. Sparrows are far more interesting and better creatures than you are.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Check out the S9100 photos at dalethorn.com.
Dale puts his money where his mouth is, unlike the trolls you see here.

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

I don't think you have that much money.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Chiane is all talk, all Troll, contributing nothing except personal attacks.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

The bottom line here for the intelligent customer is that there are plenty of good quality wide angle pocket cameras available, where you don't have to pay for a long zoom or sacrifice wide angle quality to accomodate the long zoom. There is no logical reason to demand that all cameras have wide angle capability - some cameras should be allowed to forsake wide angle for longer and better zooms. Certainly some customers would want both on the same camera and accept the resulting compromises, but DPReview's continued nagging about "wide", "wide", "wide" is an insult to the intelligent customer.

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Jul 20, 2011)

One can only get frustrated reading Dale's comments. I'm forced to post.
@dale thorn
Man, you're clueless and ignorant. Seriously.
Make some research on the web on what it is that you're talking about (a hint: ZOOM doesn't mean TELE. Rings any bell?) and then come back here and post again. More politely this time, if you please.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Now Gully - why would you want to flaunt your ignorance so blatantly here? You, like the other troll, have just made a personal attack without posting ONE bit of fact. I posted many facts AND my website with photos, and you somehow "missed" that.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Note: Facts are things like this - when shooting anything with maximum zoom, the longest zoom will get closer and reveal more details. See how simple that is? But these trolls can't handle that because they have an agenda, so they avoid facts and post attacks.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

My credentials: I bought the SX-210 last year and the S9100 this year, which (the SX210 is the prior of the SX230) given that those are the top two picks I picked very well indeed. I have these two cameras and the Panasonic ZS7, and a Leica X1. I have also owned Leica M's, Panasonic G1, Leica R, Pana LX3, many others. I started with B&W lab work with the military, and have continued many years later with all kinds of digital equipment. So yes, I have a very good idea what "zoom" is, and I don't need Gully's dictionary, I can read all about it in pro photo books. And on the Web of course.

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Jul 20, 2011)

OK, fair enough. Facts.

A 10-40mm lens is a 4x ZOOM. Read carefully: ZOOM.
A 100-400mm lens is also a 4x ZOOM.
The first being a wide and the second being a tele.
This review is all about ZOOMS, NOT TELES. It measures the ability of the cameras to equally satisfy the one who wants both in a small form factor. A wide setting is arguably more useful, for several reasons. The tele end of a zoom MIGHT be quite useful for some BUT: it's easier to put in a compact, it's harder to stabilize, it's harder to focus and it's slower i.e in less than perfect lighting you have to increase ISO, which you don't want to, given the small sensors etc. So why rant about the 450mm of the Nikon? The TELE end ONLY. In the context of this review, your point is invalid from the start.
Yes, you're right about the TELE end, what one can do, the sparrows (for all I know) etc, BUT that is not the (only) concern of this test, is it? And why should it be?
And please stop calling everybody a troll because we're not.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

You pretend to miss the point, so here it is again: It is necessary to compare a photo of a small object at distance with each camera (or text if you insist) to see which camera resolves the best detail at maximum zoom. DPReview never does this, because, like you, they don't see the point of a "long zoom" on a camera that's designed for "long zoom". Now you could argue that the longest zoom will always win that test (like, duh), but it's not so simple because of the other factors. I buy these small long-zoom cameras on two points mainly, as do most consumers. How far is the zoom and how much distant detail can I capture, and how is the average image quality in average daylight? The point about trolls is they are illogical - opposing long zooms in long-zoom cameras, then attacking anyone who points that out. You did that BTW. The bottom line is that the 9100 and SX230 were designed primarily for the long zoom. You can't escape that since there's no other explanation for it.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Explaining further for the logic-challenged: The LX5 has wide but not long, ergo we don't need cameras that have long zoom (tele) to *always* have wide angle. Do you have an explanation for why some cameras can optimize for wide, but in your world cameras *cannot* optimize for long and forsake the wide? Why is that? Why can't we have medium-to-long in a small camera? Why not? Why does every long-zoom camera have to have wide?

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

You might also wonder why these important camera mfrs. are producing such extreme zoom lenses, going from 25 to 450 mm (135 effective). Not hard to figure out at all. The consumers are screaming for more zoom, and big-time sites like (mostly) DPReview are screaming for more wide angle, and so the mfrs. are caught between these demands, the actual demands from the consumers, and the ridiculous demands from the photo sites like DPReview. So what are the mfrs. to do? Compromise both ends of the zoom quality-wise to try to please both. Myself, I'm more reasonable - I would like to see more high quality pocket cameras with wide angle like the LX5, and also more high quality long-zoom pocket cameras that forsake the wide angle to optimize the long zoom quality.

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Jul 21, 2011)

I have never seen a good (or even a satisfactory) picture made by a compact on that immens zoom. If 2 cameras start from 24mm, and 1st have zoom x10, second zoom x15, then in 35mm equivalent they will give 240mm vs. 360. And though it seems immense, it is just a zoom factor x1.5, which means that your sparrow will be just sqrt(1.5)=> 20% bigger. BUT NOT 5 TIMES BIGGER!!!

0 upvotes
Gully Foyle
By Gully Foyle (Jul 21, 2011)

If I'm not missing the point (again), in short what you say then is that mfrs should build a, say, 4x 25-100 for the ones who want wide, and 4x 100-400 for the ones who want tele. How is it you're being more reasonable, dale? In fact your argument tries to convince us all that having a longer reach is better (totally irrelevant to the review BTW, therefore invalid). In what way dale? And how do you know that "consumers scream for more zoom"? Post a poll, if you like, with the above example and see how many will prefer the 100-400. You're just not being sensible because, obviously, you're not in the target market for these cameras. And I bet the average buyer of these TZ cameras would hardly put in use the long end of the zoom. He might buy it for it (i.e the NUMBER=450) but rarely put it in good use. That's what marketing is for. One who would really appreciate tele would be far better served with a cheap DSLR body and a decent long tele. Will not post again. Good luck.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 21, 2011)

Wrong, Gully. You're out of touch with reality. Lesson #1 in reality is the cameras we see. That's reality. And contrary To what ZAnton says, I have excellent 450 mm photos from the S9100, and not only that, I can get excellent sharp photos at 450 mm on 3/4 of my shots. Lesson #2 in reality: People in the general public don't demand, and if they did they wouldn't get what they demand. A president of a country like the U.S. is far more important than the pocket camera, and they don't get a choice of who to vote for there, so why would you think anyone cares about their camera choices? The closest thing they get to what they want is the long zoom. I know people who work at Best Buy. Their customers can relate to 12x and 18x, but 24 mm? They don't know or care about that. And BTW, you can keep posting your ignorant tripe and denials about how 450 mm isn't useful, but my photos at my website prove my case.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 21, 2011)

ZAnton's math is bad. A zoom factor on a small image that does not fill the entire image works like this: If the total image is 12 mp at 240 mm, the total image will also be 12 mp at 360 mm. But if the bird occupies only 1 mp of that image at 240 mm, the bird will occupy 2.25 mp of that image at 360 mm. That is 2.25 times larger, which is an increase of 125 percent, not 20 percent.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 21, 2011)

For the benefit of those who just can't figure this out, the reason long zoom is so important is that it brings things within reach of the camera you couldn't photograph effectively before. Wide angle doesn't do that. Wide angle is for landscapes and group people shots, which are always within reach and always have been. But long zoom and the ability to capture wildlife (for example) is new for small cameras, and the suppressive people who argue against it are exactly that - suppressive and anti-freedom types.

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

Why does everyone love 'zoom' on these cameras so much? It's marketed and shoved down people's throats as if it's the end all be all feature in a camera. I'd rather have an ultra wide angle option any day than zooming in another 10 feet. Drives me crazy.

2 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Why get crazy? Buy a Canon S95 or a Panasonic LX5. Your comment does not make sense.

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

It does if you know what Ultra wide angle was.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 20, 2011)

Isn't 25mm equivalent wide enough? Anything wider is apt to be very fish-eyed and have barrel distortion.
There are plenty of compacts with modest 3X or 135mm equivalent zoom, but 250mm or higher is nice to have.

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

That's like saying "isn't 135mm enough? Anything longer is going to not be great quality or very fast".

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

You people continue to ignore what's right in front of your face. It's called "450 mm zoom". Now you can complain about "too much zoom" all you want, then go buy your 24-90 mm LX5 and stay out of here! Get a life.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

"Why does everyone love zoom on these cameras so much", to quote Chiane. Why? Because they're zoom cameras. If you don't like zoom so much, what are you doing trolling here in the zoom reviews?

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

Dale, are you seeing anyone about the anger issues, or are you trying to just manage it on your own?

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

While Chiane still Trolls on this site, dalethorn has S9100 photos on his website at dalethorn.com.
So you see, it isn't about anger, it's about blowing off trolls like Chiane.

0 upvotes
chiane
By chiane (Jul 20, 2011)

Dale Thorn talks to himself in the third person, and maybe to sparrows.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Chiane continues trolling. I think for the other members here, it is now clear that you have nothing to contribute except personal attacks.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

The bottom line here for the intelligent customer is that there are plenty of good quality wide angle pocket cameras available, where you don't have to pay for a long zoom or sacrifice wide angle quality to accomodate the long zoom. There is no logical reason to demand that all cameras have wide angle capability - some cameras should be allowed to forsake wide angle for longer and better zooms. Certainly some customers would want both on the same camera and accept the resulting compromises, but DPReview's continued nagging about "wide", "wide", "wide" is an insult to the intelligent customer's sensibilities.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Jul 20, 2011)

A travel zoom needs to do both things well.

And like every other camera, it will be a compromise of features, performance and capability in order to achieve a sensible price.

When people vacation, they might be shooting wildlife at long distances, but they also will be shooting large things in close quarters. Like landmarks, buildings, and large groups of people.

So they need a camera that can deliver wide as well as long shots. What is a reasonable compromise? I'd say 24mm is wide enough because anything wider would drive the cost up a lot.

How long should the zoom range go? I'd say 300mm is quite enough. Once you get much larger than that your camera is no longer small, and certainly not convenient to carry.

Besides.... have you ever seen how horrible the image quality is at the long end of a 18X zoom lens?

If you need a superzoom camera, then buy one. But this category is a different market niche. The allure of Travel Zoom cameras is maximum versatility, not longest reach.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

If a travel camera (and not all travel cameras are "travel zoom") can be like a LX5 with 24-90 mm lens, or a Leica X1 with fixed 36 mm equivalent lens, then why can't a similarly small camera be optimized the other way around, toward the long end? Why do all small cameras have to be either wide-to-medium or wide-to-long? Why not medium-to-long? The problem with DPReview and many of these naysayers here are that they specifically call for a prohibition on medium-to-long zoom cameras, which is easily discernable by hundreds of review comments on this site. There's nothing wrong with the "travel zoom" concept, if there is such an official designation, but it doesn't have to exlude cameras optimized for long zoom, except in the minds of DPReview unfortunately.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

Oh, and BTW, if you look at my 9100 section on dalethorn dot com, you will see a woman and dog shot at maximum zoom, plus a couple of birds at maximum zoom of 450 mm. And they are NOT horrible by a long shot.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

And BTW #2 - I can get two (count 'em) Nikon 9100's into a typical shirt pocket at the same time. Is that not small and convenient to carry?

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Jul 21, 2011)

Dale... if people wanted a medium to long range zoom lens, then someone would build it. And they would sell a ton of them.

But the market asked for just the opposite. This whole product niche started out with the Panasonic TZ1... which had a 10X zoom starting out at 35mm. The next wave of travel zooms started out at 28mm. The third wave took it down to 24mm and 25mm.

Clearly, people wanted wider lenses.

Compare the first Panasonic travel zoom to the latest one. The TZ1 was 35-350mm, and the ZS10 is 24-384mm. That looks like a much wider wide end, with just a marginally longer long end.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 21, 2011)

So what you're arguing, Marty, is that there is no such thing as advertising and marketing that creates an artificial demand for things that people really aren't demanding, and further, that DPReview and it's decade-long constant hammering on the mfrs. to add wide angle also has no influence. Is that right? Well, you can be proven wrong in an instant. Several people here have stated emphatically that 300 mm is more than enough, that the consumers aren't demanding more, and that DPReview is totally behind that. And yet we see the push to 450 mm (and it will go higher), despite the strain of having to satisfy the propaganda arms like DPReview. Why? Because I know the real consumers, and they want more zoom. They don't give a damn about wide angle. Know why? Because it's just a matter (to them mind you) of how far to stand back to get the family in the frame. Long zoom, to capture wildlife is another matter for consumers. Even they know they can't approach wild critters closely.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 21, 2011)

So let's explore some more, Marty. We dropped from 35 mm to 25 mm and up from 350 mm to 450 mm, comparing the Pana TZ1 to the lead camera today, the Nikon 9100. Now you're trying to suggest cleverly by steering the topic to a second-rate camera (the TZ10) that the difference on the long end is marginal, when in fact it's 350 to 450. I'm a little smarter than that. Now photos are 2-dimensional, so that 450 mm lens puts 65.3 percent more pixels on my sparrow than what the 350 mm lens does. And you are suggesting that my non-pro family members can't tell the difference? Well, they can tell, and they don't read DPReview.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 21, 2011)

For the benefit of those who just can't figure this out, the reason long zoom is so important is that it brings things within reach of the camera you couldn't photograph effectively before. Wide angle doesn't do that. Wide angle is for landscapes and group people shots, which are always within reach and always have been. But long zoom and the ability to capture wildlife (for example) is new for small cameras, and the suppressive people who argue against it are exactly that - suppressive and anti-freedom types. And BTW, the pocket camera is a poor tool for wide angle photos, since it will badly smear landscape detail, and also the faces in a group shot of many people.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 21, 2011)

And to refute another classic bit of disinformation: Just because DPReview declared that my Nikon S9100 is a "travel zoom" camera does not make it so. It works very well as an all-the-time available camera for capturing things that lesser cameras (with less than 450 mm zoom) simply cannot image well because of their limited zoom.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Jul 20, 2011)

I think the Hx9v should have gotten gold as well.

I'm hoping sony is looking at your critique (slow switching between modes is annoying and zoom sometimes too, and noise reduction should be adaptable) and brings out a new and improved firmware.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 20, 2011)

Inflate the "gold" class to three winners? When in doubt, it is less fractious to praise the most popular brands.

Sony's HX series does have some bothersome traits, and the strong points don't get much weight in the usual score scheme.

If it takes 9 seconds to engage the video, 5 seconds to stop it, even when using the dedicated button, that is a problem. If it takes 10 seconds to go from shoot mode to review and then back, that too is a problem. If Sony crams too many pixels on the sensor, that doesn't help.

Finally, if the comparison gives most weight to high ISO or flash results, and only token consideration to HHT or HDR tools, then the outcome could not possibly favor the Sony model. As for video, image stabilization does not get scored, further jynxing the Sony.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Jul 20, 2011)

Don't agree. Ultimately a picture is not going to be viewed at 1:1 level. So that's getting too much weight. I'm not impressed by the flash test. Just too random.

It takes me 3 seconds to engage video by the way.

I actually would have given gold to the Canon and the Sony, and not the Nikon.

0 upvotes
Prognathous
By Prognathous (Jul 20, 2011)

It's good to see a review of small-sensor cameras (there hasn't been many of those on the site), though personally I'm disappointed that the cameras that interest me personally "got away" - Ricoh CX5 and Fuji F550.

Prog.

1 upvote
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Jul 20, 2011)

It's unfortunate the Fuji F550 exhibits serious lens de-centering issues which prevent the camera from being reviewed in greater detail.

From http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q311travelzoomgrouptest/page16.asp:

"Apart from its innovative sensor, the 550EXR is a solid, well-specified compact camera... Our main concern with this camera is that we have used two samples, both of which exhibited unacceptable lens decentering issues, which seriously degraded image quality especially at wide angles of view."

1 upvote
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Jul 20, 2011)

Same conclusion that Jeff Keller at dcresource.com had. Seems Fuji is getting worse with every new generation. I have a F20 and F100fd and they had some of the best optics in a compact.

0 upvotes
pixel_colorado
By pixel_colorado (Jul 20, 2011)

What timing...I was just saying to myself the other day that I wished DP Review would do another compact shootout!

0 upvotes
Adriano76
By Adriano76 (Jul 20, 2011)

The Lumix sz10 (tz20) has a MOS sensor... not a CCD!

0 upvotes
Adriano76
By Adriano76 (Jul 20, 2011)

wooops... sorry.... my mistake! ;)

0 upvotes
Alberto6674
By Alberto6674 (Jul 20, 2011)

About the ZS8:

"Essentially a ZS10 but without the GPS, touchscreen and stereo microphone, the ZS8 offers the same core features at a lower price."

I think you forget here the main difference: The ZS8 has a CCD sensor instead of the MOS sensor on the ZS10. This makes the ZS8 have a much better image quality, at a lower price. The ZS10 uses this MOS sensor for being able to record Full HD video, but sacrificing IQ (Unlike Sony, Panasonic still didn't learn how to make MOS sensors that produce the same or less noise than CCD, and this is even more noticeable in these small ones than in 4/3 ones).

2 upvotes
Alberto6674
By Alberto6674 (Jul 20, 2011)

Maybe I spoke too fast. Now I saw that in the studio set you can also choose the ZS8 and the IQ is about the same as the ZS10. Very strange. I seem to recall seeing a noticeable difference between both at the time of launch (which is normal having different sensors with different technologies). Hhmm...

0 upvotes
Adriano76
By Adriano76 (Jul 20, 2011)

If you try iso 400 of a more centered preset zone (for example the face on the banknote) you 'll see that sz8 has a lot more details...

0 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Jul 20, 2011)

Yet to most P&S buyers, that won't matter one bit to them. It still has an image sensor and records video. They are targeting the prospective buyers with these compact reviews not SLR enthusiasts.

0 upvotes
snapshot09
By snapshot09 (Jul 20, 2011)

A very impressive comparison. Amazing how Canon and Nikon with the SX230 and S9100 are the current winners in the Travel Zoom Compact class. Not too long ago, everyone was trying to catch up to Panasonic as they were at the forefront of the class.

Congrats on the SX230 and S9100!

Between the S9100 and HX9V, the review highlights for those deciding between these two, the S9100 surpasses for IQ/Low Light/Optics while the HX9V would be the better selection for those users want more emphasis on Video/Movie.

Great selections. All comes down to the individual needs of the buyer.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

The reason Canon and Nikon won is quite simple. They have the longest zooms and good quality lenses. Longest zooms get more details at distance, and people can posture all they want to about megapixels and low light etc., but those details at long zoom are the facts and everything else is pretense. See how much long zoom costs in the DSLR world, and you understand why it's so valuable.

0 upvotes
Almeida
By Almeida (Jul 20, 2011)

Long live the zoom! Canon SX30 FTW!!

1 upvote
jgh64
By jgh64 (Jul 20, 2011)

Rather odd action by DPReview by excluding Fuji F550.Don't you think ?

2 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Jul 20, 2011)

From http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q311travelzoomgrouptest/page16.asp:

"Apart from its innovative sensor, the 550EXR is a solid, well-specified compact camera... Our main concern with this camera is that we have used two samples, both of which exhibited unacceptable lens decentering issues, which seriously degraded image quality especially at wide angles of view."

2 upvotes
jgh64
By jgh64 (Jul 21, 2011)

Thanx for the information.

0 upvotes
Dirk Jan
By Dirk Jan (Jul 20, 2011)

Looking at jpg's at the lowest ISO the Canon clearly takes the lead with a solid margin. What a blurry, overly processed mess at 100% in most of the others ...

Can't really see how Nikon would also get a gold medal in this case but I understand IQ isn't such a prime factor in travel zoom compacts so that might explain it.

Anyway, not so impressed with either of them. If I wanted to buy a compact now I'd trade in some optical zoom and feather-weigh for a much more capable Olympus XZ1, personally.

p.s. I chuckled a little at the Pentax Q reference.

2 upvotes
caissam
By caissam (Jul 20, 2011)

Whar aboubt the last years winner, the ZS7 / TZ10 in this competition? I checked the pics.
It is still available and cheap and seems to my mind at low iso better than the sx230, on par at iso200 and a little behind at iso400.
At iso800 + the canon wins clearly but i wouldn´t use it ayway, so its no point for me.
But the tz20 has 25mm and native 3:2/16:9!

0 upvotes
jaja_m
By jaja_m (Jul 20, 2011)

Well honestly all of these camera's IQ are... horrible... noise reduction is everywhere even at base ISO... and for sensor above 12MP it seems the lens can't keep up with sensor resolution hence the blur.

I am very SAD with unending MP war in 1/2.33" cameras. Cramming 16MP is pure marketing BS... can't someone make a nice compact 1/2.33" camera with 6MP and good high ISO???

6 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 20, 2011)

There are good pocket cameras with decent high ISO performance, but they have very limited long zooms. So you do get a choice, but your complaint seems to be against the laws of physics rather than against the camera makers. But then, DPReview has the same problem. They keep insisting that pocket camera makers do what even the expensive DSLR's can't do - optimize lenses for extreme wide and telephoto at the same time. Pure nonsense. Give me the long telephoto in the pocket camera form factor - forget the wide angle, and if I need better image quality I'll use my Leica X1 compact camera.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 20, 2011)

A given: the 2012 models will all have 20 megapixels or more.

0 upvotes
Jinwons
By Jinwons (Jul 20, 2011)

I don't get why they didn't include HX9V in final comparison rating for low light when it got high low light score in individual camera test. Also lens quality, image stabilization in HX9V is better than S9100. So I don't think S9100 is better than HX9V overall.

Like last year, DPreview did pretty thorough comparison review. But they make a lot controversy for final winner. They picked samsung HZ35, which a lot of people disagreed.

1 upvote
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Jul 20, 2011)

Assuming you are talking about a Sony camera, well they included only one camera per brand.

0 upvotes
Jinwons
By Jinwons (Jul 20, 2011)

You don't get what I'm saying. Look at the final conclusion page and low light rating part there. There is no HX9V there. How so?

0 upvotes
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jul 20, 2011)

"Power O.I.S does a great job of stabilizing images taken in our test environment but out in the 'real world' performance depends on a number of factors, including camera panning. Although it is an obvious point, we also found that in especially cold and/or windy shooting environments, where the degree of camera shake is increased"

This is non-sensical. A breeze causes you to shake the camera more? Are you experiencing hurricanes in Seattle?

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 20, 2011)

At the long end of a 450mm (equivalent) zoom you'd be amazed at how much difference even a moderate breeze makes to stability with such a light camera.

2 upvotes
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jul 20, 2011)

No, that still doesn't make sense from a physics standpoint.

Does the extended lens at 450mm equiv. catch the wind more versus 24mm equiv. :P?

The camera's mass (and thus inertia) doesn't change when zooming. So what are you talking about? Forces (such as winds) should affect the camera equally at any focal length.

0 upvotes
Izu
By Izu (Jul 20, 2011)

TechOutsider, a small movement on 24mm is less visible than at 450mm. Do you remember the 1/fl rule? Barney statement make much sense, but is a general one and should not be linked to Power O.I.S.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 20, 2011)

Anyone who sails or ascends peaks knows that wind, in conjunction with cold hands and awkward footing, make it darn hard to hold a tiny camera steadily. A one-hand shot may be necessary if the other is needed to brace or to hold a "sheet" or tiller. Zoom increases the impact of each degree of hand jitter relative to picture frame. OIS is extremely important for pocket zooms, and ought to get greater weight than results with exagerated ISO.

The oddball thing about the high ISO tests is that the studio tests don't represent conditions where high ISO might be used with a pocket zoom. Very likely, it would be a zoom shot of a sports event in poor off-white light, a narrowed aperture, and a combination of hand shake and subject motion. An anti-shake or HHT mode would be almost mandatory to avoid blur and noise.

0 upvotes
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jul 20, 2011)

And uh, where's the Fuji F550?

1 upvote
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jul 20, 2011)

"we've picked out six models which represent a broad cross-section of the available products"

You'd think that DPR would include the F550. Doesn't it supposedly represent the higher-IQ portion of the market?

0 upvotes
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jul 20, 2011)

Whoops - jumped the gun - I missed the perfunctory review towards the end. Sorry :).

0 upvotes
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jul 20, 2011)

Whoops - jumped the gun - I missed the perfunctory review towards the end. Sorry :).

0 upvotes
TechOutsider
By TechOutsider (Jul 20, 2011)

DPReview, always one step behind DCResource.

The one upside to DPReview is that its reviews are more through. I'll grant DPR that. Other than that, it doesn't help to be 6 months behind the competition.

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 20, 2011)

It's a holiday travel zoom test in the middle of the summer vacation season.

4 upvotes
perry rhodan
By perry rhodan (Jul 20, 2011)

Exactly right dear Barney. You would like to be able to digest the review and if you like one of the camera's, even buy one for the holiday! Nigh well impossible with this timing. But a well done review. Very correct by all standards. The conclusion and awards are sadly a whole different thing. But that's not new, since a few years most of the conclusions better be left alone. Again some remarkable statements and conclusions here. Peculiar preferences. IQ, range, speed, functions. It's to much to indulge for everyone concentrating on one cam, let alone a set of them.

2 upvotes
perry rhodan
By perry rhodan (Jul 20, 2011)

Ah, I see now. After reading all parts of the review I could not get it. But now it is clear. DPR FORGOT to include the sony scoring in the conclusions set Lowlight! When reading all the seperate review parts its clear to me what the winners are. The end conclusion was totally out of sinc and appears to be incorrect. The two winners are the canon and the sony. Oh well ?!

2 upvotes
Jim_H_
By Jim_H_ (Jul 20, 2011)

This review is about a month too late for me, I purchased a ZS8 in June. Oh well. Maybe this review will come in handy for next year's vacation purchase.

My ZS8 review and gallery are available here if anyone is interested:

http://forums.dpreview.com/...mpacts/panasonic_dmczs8/user-reviews/1159749978

2 upvotes
SM7
By SM7 (Jul 20, 2011)

I have already purchased an SX220 (which the article should have mentioned -- same as 230 but with no battery-killing GPS; even though its battery runs out way too fast anyways). I had to do my research using other sites, as DPReview seems too busy posting articles about iPads and iPhones instead of doing _reviews_.

2 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Jul 21, 2011)

According to dprivew the SX220 is " Europe-only non-GPS version, the SX220 HS."

If you want a brit review there are plenty of other photo review web sites on the other side of the pond.....

0 upvotes
Total comments: 133