Panasonic FZ47 vs Nikon P500, Sony HX100V, FujiFilm HS20 EXR, Canon SX30IS

July 24, 2011

Five super-zoom digital camera: Panasonic, Canon, Sony, FujiFim and Nikon
On July 21 2011, Panasonic has launched the DMC-FZ47, the successor of the popular FZ45 super-zoom digital camera. This new camera brings 1080i60 full HD video recording, improved 12.1-megapixel Hi-speed sensor and stronger image processing engine. Furthermore, FZ47/FZ48 includes the Creative Control picture effects, Photo style modes and a variety of enhancement that makes this camera a well worthy upgrade to the FZ40/FZ45. In this article I want to compare five super-zoom cameras one versus the other, including: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47, Canon PowerShot SX30IS, Nikon Coolpix P500 and Sony Cyber-shot HX100V.

FZ47, Not Without Its Rivals

Of course this digital camera still need to be testes against its tough rivals in the super-zoom market segment. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47 belongs to the SLR-like superzoom category (also refers to as’ bridge cameras’). With its 25-600 mm (24×) Some people might be tempted to compare it against super-zoom compact cameras like the Nikon Coolpix S9100 (25-450 mm. 18×). In fact, its direct competitors are cameras like the Sony Cyber-shot HX100V, Nikon Coolpix P500, Canon PowerShot SX30IS and FujiFilm FinePix HS20 EXR.

I think that the FZ47/FZ48 place is somewhere between the Nikon Coolpix S9100 (mega-zooms) and Canon Sx30IS (ultra-zooms). The think is that this camera, although compact, still resembles the design and manual/advanced functionality as other cameras in the SLR-like camera’s group.

This is the reason why I’ve decided to compare the Panasonic FZ47 versus Nikon P500, Canon SX30 IS, FujiFilm HS20EXR and Sony HX100V. I see the FZ47 as a traveling oriented super-zoom camera, that will certainly be compared against those cameras by many people worldwide.

It might look like a mind blowing comparison for a single article, but bare with me, I think that in the end of this comparison review, you will know the differences between those cameras and it will help you make a smarter buying decision. OK, time to start our camera debate, ready? – GO!

Camera’s Introduction

Before we jump to a side by side in-depth comparison, let me give you a short summary about each camera, so you’ll get to know each one of those camera a bit better. In fact, you might find that one of this cameras is not for you by just reading this introduction paragraph.

Canon PowerShot SX30IS

Canon SX30IS camera

Canon SX30 IS

The SX30  IS is Canon’s most advanced ultra-zoom advanced digital camera.  It was announced in September 14, 2010. This camera is known for its 35× (24 – 840 mm) zoom, which is actually the longest zoom (840 mm) we had to date. The only camera that matches this focal length is the Olympus SP-800 UZ which I didn’t include in this comparison. The SX30 has been criticized for its, arguably, mediocre image quality. It seems like the SX30 became an outdated camera, due to more advanced super-zoom cameras entering the market since the launch of this camera.

Key Specs:

  • 24 – 840 mm F2.7-5.8 (35× Zoom) – Optical Image Stabilization (IS)
  • 14.1 megapixels CCD 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • 230,000 dot 2.7″ Full Articulated LCD
  • 720p30 HD movie recording
  • 0.6 fps in continuous shooting
  • Announced: September 14, 2010
  • Amazon average customer rating: 4 stars (221 customer reviews)
  • Colors: Black

 

Nikon Coolpix P500

Nikon Coolpix P500 camera

Nikon Coolpix P500

The Nikon P500 announced in February 9, 2011.  The P500 replaced the highly-acclaimed P100 (26×). This high-end compact super-zoom features a wide-angle (22.5-810mm) 36× Zoom NIKKOR ED glass lens, Nikon’s faster EXPEED C2 dual image processor, 921,000 dot 3-inch LCD display and 1080p Full HD video recording.  The P500 has been criticized for its mediocre image quality (ie. by CNET), but was praised for its fast performance and a wide arsenal of useful features.

Key Specs:

  • 23 – 810 mm F3.5-5.7 (36× Zoom) – Optical Image Stabilization (VR)
  • 12.0 megapixels BSI-CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • 921,000 dot 3″ Tilting LCD
  • 1080p30 Full HD movie recording
  • 0.8 fps in continuous shooting
  • Announced: February 9, 2011
  • Colors: Black, Red
  • Amazon average customer rating: 4 stars (75 customer reviews)

 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V

Sony Cyber-shot HX100V camera

Sony Cyber-shot HX100V

The HX100 is probably one of the most promising super-zoom camera in its category.  As other cameras in this group, it was criticized for its image quality, but if we consider the compromise between image quality and long zoom, the HX100V is an awesome camera.   It features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonar 27 – 810 mm (30×) lens, BIONZ image processor, 921,000 dot 3″ XtraFine LCD and 1080/60p Full HD videos. It utilizes a Back-illuminated “Exmore R” CMOS sensor for improved sensitivity, supports 3D still images and 3D sweep panorama capabilities, and a wide variety of options to play with.

Key Specs:

  • 27 – 810 mm (30× Zoom) – Optical Image Stabilization (SteadyShot)
  • 16.2 megapixels BSI-CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • 921,000 dot 3″ Tilting LCD
  • 1080p60 Full HD movie recording
  • 10 fps in continuous shooting
  • Announced:  February 1, 2011
  • Colors: Black
  • Amazon average customer rating: 4.5 stars (36 customer reviews)

 

FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

FujiFilm HS20 EXR camera

FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR

The FinePix HS20 replaces the very popular and award-winning HS10 belonging to the S-Series. With its unique EXR Back side Illuminated CMOS sensor, Dual capture technology and superb Fujinon optics, Fuji is aiming very high with this new camera. The camera features ISO up to 12800, 30× wide angle zoom lens, RAW support, 1080p30 Full HD video recording, high-speed AF and a lot of creative, fun and entertaining functions, including tagging technology. This camera really wants to conquer the world by storm with its amazing capabilities, Will it succeed?

Key Specs:

  • 24 – 720 mm (30× Zoom) – Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
  • 16.0 megapixels EXRCMOS 1/2″ (6.4 x 4.8 mm)
  • 460,000 dot 3″ Tilting LCD
  • 1080p30 Full HD movie recording
  • 8 fps in continuous shooting
  • Announced: January 5, 2011
  • Colors: Black
  • Amazon average customer rating: 4 stars (60 customer reviews)

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47 (FZ48)

Panasonic Lumix FZ47 camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47

The FZ47/FZ48 is the latest camera in Panasonic’s FZ-series (super-zooms). The FZ47 replaces the FZ40 (or FZ45).  It features the faster Venus Engine FHD, a 24× 24mm wide angle Leica DC Vario Elmarit lens, 1080i60 movie recording, 12.1MP CCD, vastly improved AF speed, iA (Intelligent Auto) for superb images every time, 3D still image capture and enough room for manual controlling your camera for those who are stepping up from point-and-shoot automatic/semi-automatic cameras. The zoom is not as high as the other cameras that I’ve presented here, but it seems that Panasonic wanted to win the customer’s hearts by bringing a super-zoom camera that can deliver exceptional image quality without compromises.

Key Specs:

  • 25 – 600 mm  (24× Zoom) – Optical Image Stabilization
  • 12.1 megapixels CCD 1/2.33″ (6.12 x 4.51 mm)
  • 460,000 dot 3″ Fixed LCD
  • 1080i60 Full HD movie recording
  • 3.7 fps in continuous shooting
  • Announced: July 21, 2011
  • Colors: Black
  • Amazon average customer rating: NA

 

Which Camera Should you Buy?

OK, five of the best superzoom bridge cameras are in-front of you. Now the question is which one to buy?

In order to answer this question, you should at least understand the key features of each camera, see how it compares to the other cameras and understand the cons and pros of each one. If you are an experienced photographer, you’ll match the offering of each camera against your photography habit needs and budget, and then you can narrow the selection and find the right camera for you.

In order to make this comparison more user-friendly, we need to look at a side-by-side comparison table that will emphasize the differences between those cameras. Then, we can highlight the differences and let you get a global overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each camera.

There are subjective features, like the design, ergonomics, size and weight that might convince you picking up one camera over another. I will try to do my best to help you understand the differences, although we won’t get into very deep specs analysis, because I am taking into consideration that you are beginners to photography, and you want to know the key differences without washing your brain with to many technical details.

OK, lets compare those 5 mega-zoom cameras side-by-side and we’ll continue from there.

 

Side By Side Comparison Table

In this table you can observe the differences between our top pick super-zoom high-end cameras from Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon and FujiFilm.

* Highlighted in green = The best specs for each feature among all cameras

FeaturePanasonic FZ47Sony HX100VCanon SX30ISNikon P500FujiFilm HS20
AnnouncedJuly 21, 2011February 1, 2011September 14, 2010February 9, 2011January 5, 2011
Sensor Resolution
(effective pixels)
12.1 megapixels16.2 megapixels14.1 megapixels12.0 megapixels16.0 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.33″ (6.12 x 4.51 mm)
CCD
1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
BSI-CMOS
1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
CCD
1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
BSI-CMOS
1/2″ (6.4 x 4.8 mm)
EXRCMOS
Image ProcessorVenus Engine FHDBIONZDIGIC 4EXPEED C2EXR
ISO100 – 1600
(Expandable up to ISO 6400)
100 – 320080 – 1600160 – 3200100 – 3200 (expandable up to ISO 12800)
Lens25 – 600 mm  F/2.8-5.2
(24× Zoom) Leica DC Vario Elmarit* Optical stabilization
27 – 810 mm F/2.8-5.6
(30× Zoom) Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar* Optical stabilization
24 – 840 mm F/2.7-5.8
(35× Zoom) Canon* Optical stabilization
23 – 810 mm
F/3.5-5.7
(36× Zoom) Zoom-NIKKOR® ED glass* Sensor-shift stabilization
24 – 720 mm F/2.8-5.6
(30× Zoom) Fujinon Optics* Sensor-shift stabilization
Macro minimum focus range1 cm1 cm0 cm1 cm1 cm
Focus points2399915
LCD3″ 460K-dots (fixed)3″ 921K-dots
(tilting)
2.7″ 230K-dots
(fully articulated)
3″ 921K-dots
(tilting)
3″ 460K-dots
(tilting)
Min. shutter speed60 sec30 sec15 sec8 sec30 sec
Max. shutter speed1/2000 sec1/4000 sec1/3200 sec1/1500 sec1/4000 sec
Pop-up Flash
(plus hot-shoe?)
Yes
9.5 m
Yes
12.7 m
Yes
6.8 m
+hot-shoe
Yes
8 m
Yes
3.2 m
+hot-shoe
Continuous shooting3.7 fps10 fps0.6 fps0.8 fps8 fps
Exposure compensation±3 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
Video Max. Resolution / fps1080i60 (full HD)1080i60 (full HD)720p30 (HD)1080p30 (full HD)1080p30 (full HD)
Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots410 shots370 shots220 shots300 shots
Size120 x 80 x 92 mm (4.72 x 3.15 x 3.62″)122 x 87 x 93 mm (4.8 x 3.43 x 3.66″)123 x 92 x 108 mm (4.84 x 3.62 x 4.25″)116 x 103 x 84 mm (4.57 x 4.06 x 3.31″)131 x 91 x 126 mm (5.16 x 3.58 x 4.96″)
Weight (w/ batteries)498 g (1.10 lb / 17.57 oz)577 g (1.27 lb / 20.35 oz)601 g (1.32 lb / 21.20 oz)494 g (1.09 lb / 17.43 oz)730 g (1.61 lb / 25.75 oz)
Price (buy from..)B&H PhotoB&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon
B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon
B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon
B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon

Popular Questions & Answers

As you can see  from the above comparison table, there are a few differences that indeed worth talking about. In order to talk about those differences without writing a long novel, let’s summarize those differences in a question/answer form.

QuestionAnswer
Which camera has the longest zoom?Canon PowerShot SX30IS
840mm. Nikon and Sony second with 810mm
 
Which camera has more pixels?Sony HX100V has more megapixels, which means that it produces a larger image.
 
Which camera has the largest sensor?FujiFilm HS20 EXR. Panasonic FZ47 has the smallest one, although the differences are not huge.
 
I want a camera with long battery life, which one should I buy?Both Panasonic, Sony and Canon are great candidates.
 
Which camera has the widest angle lens?Nikon P500 with 23mm (35mm equivalent)
 
Which camera do you recommend for traveling?Considering the battery life, compactness, size and weight, I would probably recommend looking at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47/FZ48.  If you need a longer zoom, I would look at the Sony HX100V. I would recommend the Nikon P500 too, but personally, I was disappointed with its battery life. But hey, that’s just my personal recommendation – do you own math.
 
Best camera for sports photographyConsidering the performance and continuous shooting speed, I would recommend the Sony Cyber-shot HX100V (10 fps) or the Fuji FinePix HS20EXR (8 fps). The FujiFilm accepts external flashes via the hot-shoe, so it great for indoor sports too. The Fuji also have 15 focus points which gives the camera an edge for AF on fast moving subjects.
 
Which camera has the best LCD?Both Sony Cyber-shot DMC-HX100V and Nikon P500 has the best LCD displays. Both are 3-inch, can be tilted and have 921K-dots resolution.
 
Which ones has support for sweep panorama?FujiFilm HX20 EXR (Motion Panorama 360), Panasonic FZ47 (only Panorama assist),  Sony HX100 (Intelligent Sweep Panoramas), Canon SX30 IS (via software only), Nikon P500 (180-degree or 360-degree sweep panorama)
 
Which camera has support for the Raw file format?FujiFilm FinePix HS20EXR is the only camera that DOES support the Raw file format.
 
Which camera can record high-speed movies?FujiFilm HX20 EXR (480p/80fps, 112p/320fps, 240p/160fps)
 
Which cameras work on AA batteries?FujiFilm HX20 EXR
 
Which camera can capture 3D images?Panasonic FZ47/FZ48 (3D Photo Mode), Sony HX100V
 
Which camera has a built-in GPS for geo-tagging images?Sony Cyber-shot DMC-HX100V

Summary

I hope that this “short” comparison article helped you get a good overview of the differences between those five cameras. I didn’t get into the scene modes, in-camera editing functionality, etc. I know that many of you will based your buying decision on the key features that I explained above. Go over the article again, read it carefully and examine the differences closely. See if there is any feature that you really want or need, which doesn’t appear in other cameras. Cut out the cameras that doesn’t satisfy your needs and you’ll stay with fewer models. Than make the same observation again, this time only with the cameras you left with. I am sure that you will find the right answer in no time.

If I had to choose a camera between those five, I would probably look into the Sony HX100V, Nikon P500  and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47. I hope you enjoy reading this camera debate comparison article. If you like it, please share it with your fiends and have a great day!

Have your own opinion? – Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below. Thanks.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

susobhan August 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Sony HX100v is the best then comes canon SX30IS

Reply

vineet October 14, 2011 at 3:07 am

thanks. concise and relevant. useful review

Reply

Tezz January 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Been buying superzooms since Minolta Z1. In addition to comparisons you raised, I also take into account the start up time taken from from switching on, shutter lag and time taken before I can take another picture as its very important to me: poor performance stops opportunistic photos (ie Fuji 2800). Weight is also important as I carry the camera ready to shoot: the Canon SX20 + spare batteries, after an hour walking, is very heavy. I will avoid buying another “heavy” camera ie anything over 600g incl battery.

Have yet to find reviews that address camera reliability. Suggest a review be carried out say 6 months after launch. For example, the SX20 (and other Canon models) seems to suffer from lens error issues. Had this problem whilst overseas, after fixing on return, worked for 6 months, now getting lens error issues again. My previous Canon (EOS 500) broke down just outside of warranty period so it is unlikely I will consider another Canon. Other camera makes I have bought still work. Camera reliability to me is now a major consideration in my purchasing check list.

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