Sony DSC HX-99 vs Nikon A1000 vs Panasonic ZS80

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hobsonp New Member • Posts: 16
Sony DSC HX-99 vs Nikon A1000 vs Panasonic ZS80

My teen son needs a camera to avoid borrowing his mom's late-model cell phone for that purpose.  He's not willing to pay $750-1000+ for a late-model phone himself, but has a budget <$500 for a camera.  As a photog, I rooted for a larger sensor, but he wants something compact and I can appreciate that because I don't keep my bigger camera on me as much as most people keep their phones on them.

We found the:

HX-99

A1000

ZS80

and they all have 1/2.3" sensors and similar specs.  He wants 4k video (cell phone equivalent, high frame rate or external audio not required), slow-mo (HD ok), time-lapse, panoramas and other stuff phone cameras do.

Compared to phone cameras, he should get better battery performance and better telephoto focal lengths.  I'm not sure anything else will be better.

The cameras I've listed have small sensors and it's not hard to get nearly 800mm equivalent focal lengths, but only with a tiny aperature and with such a small sensor, it's more a novelty than anything.

My son has used a Sony DSC RX100 version 1 a lot and we were all disappointed with the low-light performance.  It was poor except outdoors in bright light.  That was a 1" sensor.  It went up to ISO 6400 but didn't have what it takes to perform well, at least by today's standards.  My son admitted that cell phone images in low light do look kind of fake (highly processed).

Will one of these small sensor cameras match or best current cell phone cameras in a similarly easy-to-carry form factor?  My son does not do social media, not a youtuber, doesn't snapchat or instagram.  He uses a camera for travel (cities like San Francisco, Ontario, D.C., Hawaii, Yellowstone, Yosemite), backpacking, hiking, events like air shows (the static displays where you don't need a super tele), family-event photos like birthdays, holidays, and so on.

If these small sensor cameras are good, which one is recommended?

If something else will work better, what?

Sony RX100
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