HX20v - benefits vs its competitors - Olympus sz30, canon sx260

Started Nov 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
peter42y Senior Member • Posts: 2,201
Re: HX20v - benefits vs its competitors - Olympus sz30, canon sx260

OpticsEngineer wrote:

I have the HX20V, SX260 and SZ31. The SZ30 has a CCD while the SZ31 has a CMOS sensor which is noticeabley less noisy in low light, but slightly more noisy in bright light (or so I have read). I don't care about that so much because either way the noise level is extremely low in bright light, but to some people that matters.

The HX20V, SX260 and SZ31 all have very good image quality in bright light.

All three very effective image stabilization. I have done a lot of comparison shots at full zoom of that and in my hands all three are outstanding. Someone with less steady hands might find a difference, but I sure can't.

The main benefit of the HX20V is that it focuses very quickly and accurately. Even in low light it manages to find a perfect focus.

If the light level starts to get dim at all, like indoors, or outdoors ten minutes after sunset, the SX260 has trouble finding an accurate focus. You don't realize it when you are taking the pictures. The problem is later when you look at the pictures on a large monitor. The SX260 pictures are annoyingly fuzzy. Because the SX260 focusing is so dissappointing, I would not recommend it to someone as their only camera. That said, I do use the SX260 when it is sunny and I enjoy using it more than the Sony just because I like the feel and control layout. The SX260 does a slightly better job in making trees, plant, grass look natural. But the difference is very slight. More pronounced is that skin tone on my kids is more pleasing on the SX260. But for things like cars or buildings, I think the HX20 takes a slightly better picture.

The SZ31 is more serious competition to the HX20V. It focuses accurately in low light. It only starts to start having focusing difficulty when the light is so low that the picture would be no good anyway. The weird thing about the HX20V is in that same situation, it is still finding a good focus. It really puzzles me how they can manage that trick.

The HX20V and the SX260 both have PASM controls, which I prefer. The SZ31 does not have PASM, but instead has a wide selection of scene modes which if nearly as good. Actually sometimes better for a lot of travel situations with the family when you don't have time to think about PASM.

The easiest to get in and out of a jean pocket is the SX260. The HX20V is a little harder but still okay. The SZ31 is dang hard to get out of your jeans because the grip hooks on the top of the pocket. But for that, it is very secure feeling in your hands. On our last family vacation, my wife, 2 kids and I took a paddle boat out in the middle of a lake, and I got a real nice video of the kids laughing and paddling. And I zoomed in on our sleeping uncle on the beach. There is no way I would have felt secure enough with either the HX20V or SX260 to have taken those out of my pocket. But the SZ31 does not have quite as good of image quality as the HX20V. The SZ31 will sometimes give your pictures a slightly posterized look, not having as many graduations of color or brightness as it should. The HX20V is better there, but also not perfect.

So, overall, the HX20V is the best camera of the three. The SX260 still gets used, but only on bright sunny days. The SZ31 is the one I take on vacation, but I team it up with an Olympus XZ-1 to handle lower light situations. If I were not pairing the SZ31 up with an XZ-1 and was taking only one camera, I would take the HX20V because of its outstanding ability to always get the best focus even in poor light. Is it worth the price premium? I guess it depends on your budget, but I think it is.

Thanks a lot for this helpful  and informative post reviewing these  cameras .

Take Care.

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