Review of the SX40 and FZ150

Started Oct 2, 2011 | Discussions thread
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snapshot09 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,512
Review of the SX40 and FZ150

Vince Doran - here is the info you were interested in I posted in the Panasonic forum....

For those trying to decide between the FZ150 and SX40, ExpertReviews have reviewed both.

Highlighted in the FZ150 Review:

"There's plenty to justify the FZ150's higher price, though. Its 3in screen is articulated, there's a hotshoe for an external flash or microphone, and photos can be captured in RAW mode for extensive tinkering on a PC. Panasonic tells us that auto focus speed has been improved, and it certainly seemed to be extremely quick. We measured a shot-to-shot time of 0.65 seconds, shaving a quarter of a second off the FZ48's performance and making this the most responsive compact camera we've ever seen. It also managed just 0.9 seconds between shots in RAW mode, slowing to two seconds after 15 shots.

Continuous performance was at 12fps for 12 frames – up from 11fps on its predecessor, the FZ100 and much faster than the FZ48's 3.7fps. It can also shoot at 5.5fps while updating auto focus between each shot – a crucial feature for following moving subjects. It can't quite match a fast SLR, which is able to update its auto focus even more quickly and accurately, and also benefits from a largely uninterrupted view through its optical viewfinder. However, this is the best continuous mode we've seen from a compact camera.

The FZ100's weakest area was its photo quality, with its 14-megapixel sensor displaying significantly higher noise than its 12-megapixel predecessor. The FZ150 drops the resolution back down to 12 megapixels, and is all the better for it. There was still a suggestion of noise reduction suppressing subtle details such as grass and skin textures in bright light, but much less so than on the FZ100 and not to any significant degree.

The FZ150 won't be cheap, but compared to dedicated video cameras of similar quality and capabilities, it's far from overpriced. Throw in the fastest performance we've ever seen from a compact camera, superb quality photos and great controls, and the FZ150 has comfortably earned itself five stars and an Ultimate award.

Highlighted in the SX40 Review:

"The SX40 HS arrives with all its vital statistics in order: a 35x zoom stretching from an ultra-wide-angle 24mm all the way to 840mm, 1080p AVC videos and 10.3fps burst shooting. There's a hotshoe underneath a plastic protective cover, an electronic viewfinder and an articulated LCD screen. Both screens are on the small side. We're used to these viewfinders being small, but the screen's 2.7in size and 230,000-dot resolution are disappointing for the price. It didn't impact too heavily in normal use but manual focus was tricky to judge, despite the assistance of a digital magnify function while adjusting.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 recently raised the bar for performance, and the SX40 IS can't match it. Its 10fps burst mode lasts for eight frames, which isn't far off the FZ150's 12fps for 12 frames, but it's only available as a scene preset that prohibits control to virtually every other setting. For full control – or for burst shooting that lasted longer than a second – we had to settle for 2.1fps with fixed focus or 0.8fps with continuous auto focus. By contrast, the FZ150 managed 5.4fps with continuous auto focus, slowing to 2.7fps after 22 shots.

Another concern is over auto focus performance and general shot-to-shot times, with the latter averaging 2.8 seconds in our tests. That's four times slower than the FZ150, which came in at 0.7 seconds. Not everyone feels the urge to fire off a shot every second, but it's a useful technique for ensuring that fleeting moments aren't missed. Meanwhile, the FZ150's quicker auto focus could make the difference between catching the perfect shot and missing it.

It's a close call choosing between the SX40 IS with its superior image quality and the FZ150 with its faster performance, bigger, sharper screen, raw capture and full control over video exposures. The FZ150 is only a little behind for image quality, though, and much further ahead for performance, so it retains its place as our favorite ultra-zoom camera. The SX40 IS comes a very close second, though."

NOTE: It's important to note be sure to compare the FZ150 Firmware .2 to 1.0 given the noticeable increase in JPEG IQ in the Firmware 1.0 which can be noticed here (seems and were using .2 firmware). Hopefully DCRP's upcoming review of the FZ150 will be using Firmware 1.0.

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