Best superzoom?

Started Feb 15, 2014 | Questions
Charles Laigo
Charles Laigo Contributing Member • Posts: 606
Best superzoom?

Asked a bazillion times I know, but there have been new releases the last month or so.

So, what do you folks think? Which superzoom would you recommend? It would be silly to ask this question in the various brand forums so I thought it would be a good idea to ask it here on neutral ground. I don't believe in "brand loyalty" so it could be anything.

 Charles Laigo's gear list:Charles Laigo's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Olympus E-500 Samsung NX3000 Google Nexus 6P +1 more
ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 22,665
Re: Best superzoom?

Charles Laigo wrote:

Asked a bazillion times I know, but there have been new releases the last month or so.

So, what do you folks think? Which superzoom would you recommend? It would be silly to ask this question in the various brand forums so I thought it would be a good idea to ask it here on neutral ground. I don't believe in "brand loyalty" so it could be anything.

I've been happily surprised with the Canon SX50.  Mind you, no superzoom will be good in low light and will be very challenging to use for fast moving subjects.  In good light however, it's great for travel.  I'm a regular DSLR user by the way.

Mark

Charles Laigo
OP Charles Laigo Contributing Member • Posts: 606
Re: Best superzoom?

Mark B. wrote:

I've been happily surprised with the Canon SX50. Mind you, no superzoom will be good in low light and will be very challenging to use for fast moving subjects. In good light however, it's great for travel. I'm a regular DSLR user by the way.

Mark

I am kinda leaning towards the SX50 but was wondering if the new pretenders to the throne:

Sony DSC H-400, DSC HX400V

Nikon Coolpix P600

Olympus SP-100

Fuji S1, S9400W, S9200

are also worhy of consideration.

 Charles Laigo's gear list:Charles Laigo's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Olympus E-500 Samsung NX3000 Google Nexus 6P +1 more
mgd43 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,322
Re: Best superzoom?
3

As of now the Panasonic FZ200 is unique in that it has a lens that has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at all focal lengths. This allows it to shoot in lower light and at lower iso's than other superzooms. On the other hand it is more expensive and it has a maximum focal length (zoom) of 600mm where others have 1000-1200mm. Whether you need more than 600mm is questionable. If you shoot sports or wildlife, especially small birds, you might.

A feature that I consider very important is the ability to take an accessory flash. An accessory flash can be used for bounce flash which gives a much nicer and more natural light than direct flash. Bounce flash is a technique where you bounce the light from the flash off of a white ceiling or wall. For this you need a flash that tilts and swivels.

If the FZ200 is more than you want to spend or you want the longer telephoto of other superzooms consider the Canon SX50HS, and Panasonic FZ70. I left out the Nikon P520 because it doesn't take an accessory flash.

Another one worth considering is the Olympus Stylus 1. It also has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at all focal lengths and it has a little bigger sensor that can help in low light. On the negative side it costs $700 and the lens only goes to 300mm.

My first choice would be the FZ200 with the FZ70 second and the SX50HS third.

 mgd43's gear list:mgd43's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7800 Nikon D5500 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR +3 more
mgd43 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,322
Re: Best superzoom?

I checked out the new cameras. The Sony HX400V looks good and takes the accessory flash. So does the Fujifilm S-1. The P600, S9400W, and Olympus SP-100 don't accept an accessory flash. IMO the S-1 and HX400V are worth considering, but I don't see any advantage to them over the three I recommended in my last post.

In general, within a given price range the major brands are more or less equal in quality. They differ in features and ergonomics. The FZ200 is unique with its f/2.8 maximum aperture at all focal lengths. The others are more or less equal in quality. It would be good if you could handle them to see how they feel in your hands and how you like their controls. That's more important than any small differences in quality.

 mgd43's gear list:mgd43's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7800 Nikon D5500 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR +3 more
Donald Chin
Donald Chin Veteran Member • Posts: 5,757
Re: Best superzoom?

Charles Laigo wrote:

Asked a bazillion times I know, but there have been new releases the last month or so.

So, what do you folks think? Which superzoom would you recommend? It would be silly to ask this question in the various brand forums so I thought it would be a good idea to ask it here on neutral ground. I don't believe in "brand loyalty" so it could be anything.

I think Canon SX50HS is still in the top of the list in term of IQ, most recent announce superzoom don't even support raw.

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 27,210
what kind of "super zoom"?

What is your definition of a "super zoom"?  That used to be a camera/lens of 10x zoom range. Now there's cameras of 30x or probably more and Canon has a patent for a 100x zoom lens on a P&S camera.

noflashplease Senior Member • Posts: 2,310
Fujifilm X-S1 at $349, Olympus Stylus 1 If You Need Something Smaller
2

Speaking from personal experience, I've had my fill of cheap, all plastic, motorized super zoom cameras. The prices keep falling but so does the perceived build quality.

This is exactly why I went for the huge, all metal body, manual zoom, Fujifilm X-S1. It actually feels like the $700-800 camera it was supposed to be when it premiered in North America in 2012. For $350, it's an absolute best value, not just a relative bargain. The intermediate size 2/3" sensor gets the job done in poor ambient lighting but it means that it's a seriously large camera. It's good at macro, the lens on my late production example is very sharp, so far, so good. I'm convinced by the Fujifilm X-series line.

If I wanted something compact, at least in comparison, I might consider the Olympus Stylus 1, although it's twice the price ($700), has a plastic body and only a 300mm equivalent lens. But at least it's almost pocketable and doesn't have a conventional lens cap.

The Sony RX10 is a shocking $1,300 and only has a 200mm equivalent lens, which is the only reason I don't own one. That and the insane price.

Sadly, there aren't many other good options at the moment. The Panasonic FZ200 has a brilliant concept, but it still has a small sensor and I wouldn't buy one personally. There are lots of other choices, but none of them are very good in an absolute sense. The concept of a small sensor 1,200-1,500mm super zoom is a terrible idea and there currently is a competitive race to bottom, both in terms of price and slower, dimmer lenses.

It's a sad day when the best super zoom of early 2014 actually is a 2012 vintage model which as reintroduced into production.

Henry Falkner
Henry Falkner Forum Pro • Posts: 13,936
Re: Best superzoom?

Charles Laigo wrote:

Asked a bazillion times I know, but there have been new releases the last month or so.

So, what do you folks think? Which superzoom would you recommend? It would be silly to ask this question in the various brand forums so I thought it would be a good idea to ask it here on neutral ground. I don't believe in "brand loyalty" so it could be anything.

The Fujifilm S1 strikes a cord for its 5-axis IS, articulated screen and hot shoe (I have 3-axis IS for stills and 5-axis IS for video on my 24x zoom Olympus SH-50 P&S, with faster and more reliable focussing for that reason).

The Olympus SP100EE appeals with its red dot sight, because I loose gannets in flight on LCDs and EVFs. But it has a 2-axis IS in the lens which I regard as a compromise between 5-axis and 2-axis IS on the sensor. It has no hot shoe, but it will be 20% cheaper than the Fujifilm S1. I have bought Olympus for the last 13 years, because I hate major re-programming of my autopilot in the wetware.

I do not consider the SONY H400 since it has a CCD (limited dynamic range compared to BSI-CMOS).

The SONY HX400 does have a BSI-CMOS sensor, but there is no picture yet in the DPReview camera listings, and the specs seem to have more than one mistake in them.

With massive discounts, last year's super zooms from all brands might be worth considering, if you can live with the fact that 2-axis IS is severely limiting even at 20x zoom.

Henry

-- hide signature --
 Henry Falkner's gear list:Henry Falkner's gear list
Olympus SP-570 UZ Olympus SH-50 Olympus Stylus SH-1
KJaay Veteran Member • Posts: 6,176
Re: Best superzoom?

The Fuji S1 with starting 2.8 lens and weather sealing; Sony hx400v lens starting 2.8 and new processor (should make it fast) are looking good (waiting for IQ reviews) , but the Fuji XS1 and 2/3 sensor is tempting at $349. Still have some hope Canon will introduce there SX big gun!

-- hide signature --

KJ

 KJaay's gear list:KJaay's gear list
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Fujifilm X-S1 Nikon Coolpix P600 Nikon Coolpix P900 Canon EOS 450D
Charles Laigo
OP Charles Laigo Contributing Member • Posts: 606
Re: Best superzoom?

Henry Falkner wrote:

With massive discounts, last year's super zooms from all brands might be worth considering, if you can live with the fact that 2-axis IS is severely limiting even at 20x zoom.

Henry

-- hide signature --

I think I'll go down this route. I understand the appeal of a premium camera like the Fuji XS-1 and the like, but all I'm after is a fair weather, bright sunshine, monster zoom which I'll use to photograph birds, deer and the like.

 Charles Laigo's gear list:Charles Laigo's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Olympus E-500 Samsung NX3000 Google Nexus 6P +1 more
Lumixdude Senior Member • Posts: 2,782
Re: Best superzoom?

Having zoom that goes beyond 600mm is really a race to the bottom of the barrel... Just like megapixels you can't convince certain people more isn't better. Having anything more than about 300mm is mostly entering into the territory of silliness.

1. Good luck focusing it in most conditions.

2. Good luck getting an image of any decent quality that hasn't been destroyed by atmospheric haze.

In terms of direct IQ:

1. Sony RX10

2. Olympus Stylus 1

3. Panasonic FZ200

The FZ200 is unique with a constant aperture lens.... In terms of photographing wildlife, you're never going to get a great picture until you learn how to interact with the animals you're shooting. You're better off spending money on learning this skill rather than getting a camera with a longer zoom lens.

Take a wildlife handling course rather than spending more money on ridiculous zoom cameras.

 Lumixdude's gear list:Lumixdude's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Apple iPhone 4 +2 more
Charles Laigo
OP Charles Laigo Contributing Member • Posts: 606
Re: Best superzoom?

Lumixdude wrote:

Take a wildlife handling course rather than spending more money on ridiculous zoom cameras.

Condescend much? Dude get over yourself.

 Charles Laigo's gear list:Charles Laigo's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Olympus E-500 Samsung NX3000 Google Nexus 6P +1 more
Donald Chin
Donald Chin Veteran Member • Posts: 5,757
Re: Best superzoom?

Lumixdude wrote:

Having zoom that goes beyond 600mm is really a race to the bottom of the barrel... Just like megapixels you can't convince certain people more isn't better. Having anything more than about 300mm is mostly entering into the territory of silliness.

1. Good luck focusing it in most conditions.

2. Good luck getting an image of any decent quality that hasn't been destroyed by atmospheric haze.

In terms of direct IQ:

1. Sony RX10

2. Olympus Stylus 1

3. Panasonic FZ200

The FZ200 is unique with a constant aperture lens.... In terms of photographing wildlife, you're never going to get a great picture until you learn how to interact with the animals you're shooting. You're better off spending money on learning this skill rather than getting a camera with a longer zoom lens.

Take a wildlife handling course rather than spending more money on ridiculous zoom cameras.

Territory of silliness? I don't see that in my real world test. 

Water birds (SX50HS)

City Snaps (SX50HS)

Snaps in the park (SX50HS)

SX50HS Harbor Snaps

Harbor lights - SX50HS

Red Bull Dragon Roar 2013 with SX50HS

Stanley Dragon Boat Short Course 2013 - SX50HS

HK International Dragon Boat Carnival 2013 (SX50HS)

Stanley Dragon Boat Carnival 2013

Dragon Boat Races from the orient - SX50HS

Birds in the park - SX50HS

North American Wood Duck - Another SX50HS Collection

SX50HS @ 215mm F6.5, 1/20s ISO 1250 handheld

SX50HS Snaps form today

SX50HS Snaps

Dr JLW Senior Member • Posts: 1,019
Re: Best superzoom?
1

I think the Fujifilm X-S1 at its close out price is a strong contender.

My view is that under most conditions the image quality if more than adequate and teh differences are usually too small for any but the most avid pixel peeper to discern.

The real issues are features.

I think any that have:

1) Hot shoe and dedicated flash

2) Raw imagery (with decent post processing support)

3) Sweep panorama modes

would be fine.

I have had some good experience with the Fujifilm low light pro mode which takes four shots and merges them for low light work.  I am sure other cameras also do that.

Another nice-to-have feature is panorama assist in which the camera displays the last shot so you can alight the next for later stitching.  It seems yu get either in camera sweep of assist but both would be nice.  There are times when the in-camera sweep won't get enough or makes too many stitching errors. On the other hand if you don't expect to shoot panoramas these features are useless to you.

I would also take a look at the tripod socket.  Is it strong enough for long usage and does it let you change batteries while mounted on a tripod?  Is it under the lens, this helps for sweep panoramas.  If yu don;t use a tripod or take panoramas this is less important.

If you already have one another by the same maker is a good default because so much of your experience carries over directly to the new camera.

The best camera is the one that has the most features you expect to use and performs them capably. It depends on what you are going to do and that is a lot more important than barely discernible IQ differences.

mgd43 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,322
Re: Best superzoom?

Charles Laigo wrote:

Lumixdude wrote:

Take a wildlife handling course rather than spending more money on ridiculous zoom cameras.

Condescend much? Dude get over yourself.

The above statement does lack tact and gear does matter, but it makes a good point in that photographing animals requires an understanding of their behavior. It allows you to anticipate what they will do and be ready for it.

I also feel that while superzooms may not be the best way to shoot wildlife, they are a practical  and cost effective way to do it, and under the right conditions they can produce beautiful wildlife photos. I've seen enough on this and other sites to know that.

 mgd43's gear list:mgd43's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7800 Nikon D5500 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR +3 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads