Sony RX10 vs Olympus Stylus 1,Canon SX50 HS, Fujifilm SL1000, Nikon P520 – Comparison

November 8, 2013

Sony RX10, Olympus Stylus 1, Canon SX50, Fuji SL100 and Nikon P520 cameras side by side

In this article I will compare Olympus Stylus 1 versus Canon SX50 HS, Sony RX10, Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 and Nikon P520.  We’ll take a look at the lens, sensor build quality and feature of each one and see which one comes on top in each category. Bot the Sony cyber-shot RX10 and Olympus Stylus 1 are the latest to be announced and represent a new breed of high-end premium superzooms — But how they stand against other popular superzooms, including those with much bigger zoom range? — Should you buy a superzoom with a bigger zoom or one with bigger sensor or faster lens? — Let’s find out.

As the point and shoot camera’s market continues to shrink, many camera manufacturers focusing on releasing new cameras to a market that still live and breath, and the superzoom camera’s market is one of them.  Let’s admit it, there aren’t many options to enjoy a high zoom camera on mobile devices. You need to use an attachment in order to enjoy a relatively high optical zoom. So as for right now, there isn’t any good alternative to a long-range superzoom camera. This is why superzooms will continue to sell well for an audience that is looking for a versatile travel camera.

The relatively large zoom range of superzooms allows photographers to become more creative and get unique shots that most people won’t be able to get without this type of high-zoom camera.  When I am talking about super-zoom cameras, I mostly refer to a camera with at least 10x optical zoom and above.

Lens Comparison

Unlike other comparison articles, I will start this comparison talking about the camera lens. I think that the camera lens is a very significant factor and plays a critical role in the decision making. So without further ado, let’s start our comparison and first let’s take a look at the differences in the lenses between those five cameras.

  • Olympus Stylus 1 — i.ZUIKO DIGITAL 28-300mm (equiv.) f2.8
    12 elements in 10 groups (including Dual Super Aspherical lens element / 9 aspherical lenses) with ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating to reduce flare and ghosting
    10.7x optical zoom
    Lens-shift image stabilization and automatic lens cap attached. Left and right selectable zoom levers
    Macro: 5cm
  • Canon Powershot SX50 HS — Canon 24-1200mm (equiv.) f3.4-6.5
    13 elements in 10 groups (including three UD lens elements and one double-sided aspherical lens elements)
    50x optical zoom
    Lens-shift image stabilization (Canon Intelligent IS)
    Macro: 0cm
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX10 —  Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-200mm (equiv.) f/2.8
    14 elements in 11 groups (including 7 Aspheric elements)
    8.3x optical zoom
    Lens-shift image stabilization for stills, Active Mode (Anti-rolling) for video
    Macro: 3cm
  • Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 — Fujinon 24-1200mm (equiv.) f2.9-6.5
    17 elements in 12 groups
    50x optical zoom
    Lens-shift image stabilization
    Macro: 1cm (Super Macro mode)
  • Nikon Coolpix P520 — Nikon 24-1000mm (equiv.) f3-5.9
    14 elements in 10 groups
    42x optical zoom
    Lens-shift image stabilization (Nikon VR)
    Macro: 1cm

We can clearly see that the Olympus Stylus 1 and Sony Cyber-shot RX10 features the least impressive zoom range, but on the other hand, they both feature a f/2.8 constant-aperture lens.  This means both cameras offer a very wide aperture opening for the wide-angle — BUT (and it’s a bug but), unlike the other cameras that have pretty fast aperture two for the wide-angle, with the Stylus 1 and RX10 you can shoot with half/2.8 across all the focal length. So for example, you can shoot at f/2.8 at 300mm focal length!

What is means is that you enjoy and outstanding low-light capability regardless of the focal length you shoot with. With the other cameras, the longer you zoom in, the less light passes through the lens to reach the sensor. This leads to much better low-light capabilities, allowing you to maintain outstanding brightness and get well-exposed shots while stills being able to maintain relatively fast shutter speed and lower ISO sensitivity. You have better flexibility as a photographer. For example, you can shoot at very fast shutter speed in relatively dim light, while still maintaining good exposure (e.g. Indoor shot of a basketball game).

The RX10 has the least impressive zoom among the five cameras, but the Sony does feature the well-regards and an optical-excellent Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens—not something that should be taken for granted.  Many professional photographers use Carl Zeiss lenses for their optical superiority compare to other brands, and it’s great that Sony implemented those superb optics in this superzoom camera.

Fujifilm SL100 and Canon Sx50 HS lead the pack with their 50x optical zoom lens, featuring the same focal length, but the SL1000 is faster in its wide-angle. The SX50 HS is however features the closest macro range in the group (0cm).

If you intend to shoot many photos and videos in low-light, the RX10 and the Stylus 1 are the preferred cameras for this job. Having said that, it doesn’t make the other cameras bad for low-light shooting, you still get to enjoy an optical image stabilization and can elevate the ISO sensitivity to get a well exposed shot — but again, not at the same degree as the Stylus 1 and RX10.

The Nikon P520 doesn’t feature the same powerful zoom range as the SX50 and SL1000, but it’s not far behind either. The difference between 42x and 50x optical zoom shouldn’t affect your buying decision that much (considering the same wide-angle) — it’s really a relatively small difference.  So if you are torn between the SX50 HS and the P520, don’t buy it just due to this slight difference and read my Nikon P520 vs Canon SX50 comparison to learn more about the differences between those two cameras.

Another thing worth mentioning is that in many cases, a lower zoom camera will perform better optically compare to a high-zoom camera due to the lens complexity. This is why some photographers prefer to buy a camera with 20x zoom then one with 40x or higher zoom.  It’s not a fixed equation, but if you do care about the optical performance, you should certainly take that into consideration. The thing is that if the camera can shoot at 1200mm, you might find out that the image looks soft at that focal length and you will eventually decide to shoot at 1000mm to get a sharp image.  In many cases, using a larger aperture f-number can help improve sharpness, but it comes at the cost of less light passing through the lens and reducing the effectiveness of the camera when shooting in low-light situations and when shooting far subjects with long focal lengths and at times when you need fast shutter speeds to get a sharp image.

If you are choosing the Rx10 or the Stylus 1 just know that there you are making that compromise, giving away zoom range in favor of better image quality (depends on the lens performance), better low-light capabilities and also faster AF speed, but that also depends on the lens construction, imaging processor and other factors.

If you want my opinion, I personally prefer going with a camera that has a lower-zoom and faster aperture, even as my main travel camera. I can tell you from experience that some of you might find the Rx100′ 200mm to be too short. It really depends on your shooting habits, but that’s something that you need to consider before making your final decision.

One feature that I liked about the RX10 lens is the de-clickable aperture ring. You have a switch on the lens that switch between smooth stepless movement and more rigid stepless operation as you can see in the videos below by imaging resource. The RX10 also features a built-in ND filter as well. The ND filter is great for Videographers who want to shoot at f/2.8 to get that beautiful creamy shallow depth of field effect but still being able to shoot at that aperture in bright daylight, the ND filter can help maintain optimal exposure and still being able to enjoy this effect. There is not need to thread an external ND filter on the lens.

Sensor Comparison

We talked about the lens and although the zoom lens plays a significant role in the customer’s decision, many people tend to pay attention to the sensor.  I personally think that the sensor is the among the most important hardware components in the camera, if not the most important one. The sensor has a direct impact on the image quality. The larger the photo-diodes (pixels) on the sensor the better the light gathering capabilities of the sensor. This leads to better color accuracy,  less image noise and higher dynamic range.

Having a large sensor can also help you enjoy a more pronounced shallow depth of field (background blur) along with a relatively fast lens. This Bokeh effect is used to separate the subject from a distracting background and it gives some photos a distinct and professional look that many professional photographers are after. With a small sensor, it’s almost impossible to achieve that effect in a visible degree, and that’s why some photographers are looking into cameras with larger sensors, like DSLR and Mirrorless cameras.

  • Olympus Stylus 1 — BSI-CMOS 1/1.7″ (7.44 x 5.58 mm)  | 12MP | ISO 100 – 12800
  • Canon PowerShot SX50 HS — BSI-CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm) | 12MP | ISO 80 – 6400
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 — BSI-CMOS 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm) | 20MP | ISO 125-12800
  • Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 — BSI-CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm) | 16MP | ISO 64-12800
  • Nikon Coolpix P520 — BSI-CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm) | 18.1MP | ISO 80 – 3200

*effective pixels

Both the Olympus Stylus 1 and Sony Cybershot RX10 use larger sensors compare to the other cameras. The RX10 in fact utilizes a much larger sensor then all the other four cameras. This is the same large sensor that you find on cameras like the Nikon J2 compact system camera and Sony’s RX100 II large-sensor compact camera.

As I said earlier, the pixel size plays a significant role in the image quality department. Let’s take a look at those figures as well.

  • Olympus Stylus 1: ~1.87 micron pixel size
  • Canon Sx50 HS:  ~1.54 micron pixel size
  • Sony RX10: ~2.41 micron pixel size
  • Fuji SL1000: ~1.34 micron pixel size
  • Nikon P520: ~1.26 micron pixel size

We can see that the Sony RX10, even considering its higher resolution, has the largest pixel size, much larger than all the other four cameras. The Nikon P520 has the smallest pixels in the group. The Sony RX10 should, theoretically, result in much better image quality. There are already many high ISO sample images taken with the RX10 that proves just that. Even the Bokeh is very pleasing with this camera. You can take a look at some sample images on fotopolis.pl and see exactly what I mean — the image quality is really impressive!

The background blur effect that you get when shooting at f/2.8 is really impressive on the RX10 (a very nice example here). The RX10 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor is the same one that was used in the excellent and well-regarded RX100 Mark II and the image quality will certainly satisfy any pixel-peeper out there who is searching for a superzoom camera that is capable of delivering very good low-light performance and being able to capture images with shallow depth of field.

The Canon SX50 HS doesn’t feature a sensor as large as the RX10, but it’s high ISO performance also impressed me as well. Canon did smart going with 12MP instead of 16MP or 18MP, and I’m sure that those of you who hate seeing noise in images, will find the SX50 HS a good choice as well.

The Olympus Stylus 1 didn’t impress as the RX10 in early reviews, but wasn’t far behind either. Both cameras will certainly prevail when it comes to image quality compare to the SX50, P520 and SL1000 but will be less adequate as a travel camera due to the tele end reach. If you care about high image quality and you want to buy a superzoom camera capable of achieving satisfying blurry background, the Sony RX10 will be your best bet. The Nikon P520 and SL1000 offer much less impressive high ISO performance. I was impressed with the SX50 HS high ISO performance, but again, less impressive than the RX10, obviously due to the sensor size differences.

Camera Design

five cameras comparison side by side

The camera design might not play a significant role as the lens and sensor, but there are features that you should certainly remember to look at when buying a new camera. The fist thing that I look in a camera after the lens and sensor is whether the camera has an eye-level viewfinder. You might be happy to know that all five have a viewfinder. Having said that, there are some significant differences between the viewfinders.

  • Olympus Stylus 1 — Electronic Viewfinder | 1.15x magnification  | 1.44M-dots resolution | 100% coverage (same viewfinder as the E-M5)
  • Canon SX50 HS  — Electronic Viewfinder | 202K-dots resolution | 100% coverage
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX10 — OLED Electronic Viewfinder | 0.7x magnification | 1.44M-dots resolution | 100% coverage (same viewfinder as the NEX-6)
  • Fujifilm SL1000 — Electronic Viewfinder | 920K-dots resolution | 97% coverage
  • Nikon P520 — Electronic Viewfinder | 201K-dots resolution | 100% coverage

Both the Olympus Stylus 1 and Sony Cybershot RX10 features a large high-res viewfinder, much better than the Canon, Fuji and Nikon ones. I love shooting through the eye-level viewfinder for a few reasons. First, it gives me a more intimate connection with the subject that I am shooting, it feels like it’s me and the subject and nothing else matters. Second, it provides much better visibility when shooting in bright daylight. Both the Sx50 HS, SL1000 and P520 have a relatively very small EVF. I find it a bit irritating and very uncomfortable composing my shots with those cameras and turn to the LCD to compose my shot.

So in those cases I might have preferred a smaller and lighter camera without a viewfinder then a cheap one. Nevertheless, the EVF is there is you need it. I assume that enthusiast photographers won’t skip this one and prefer to go with a camera that comes with a large and high-res EVF.  The Fujifilm SL1000 has the better EVF compare to the P520 and SX50 HS and therefore will provide you with better shooting experience when composing your shots via the EVF.

Let’s take a look at the back LCD displays of the five cameras and see which camera has the best LCD.

  • Olympus Stylus 1 – 3″ 1.040K-dots Tilting Touchscreen
  • Canon SX50 HS – 2.8″ 461K-dots Fully articulated screen
  • Sony RX10 – 3″ 1290K-dots Tilting screen
  • Fujifilm SL1000 – 3″ 920K-dots Tilting screen
  • Nikon P520 – 3.2″ 921K-dots Fully articulated screen

The larger the screen and the higher the resolution the better. The Canon SX50 HS offers the least impressive specs when it that matter, but does offer a fully articulated display that helps get those hard low and high-angle shots, and very useful when recording videos. The RX10 leads the pack in terms of resolution, but the Oly, Fuji and Nikon are not far behind. Stylus 1 is the only one with a touchscreen, whether the P520 provides a fully articulated screen, high resolution and big screen as well.

Olympus Stylus 1 vs Sony RX10 top view size comparison

Olympus Stylus 1 vs Sony RX10 top view size comparison (via camerasize.com)

When you look at those five cameras from the front, all five cameras are around the same size with the P520 being the shortest and SL100 being the tallest. Having said that , the Olympus Stylus 1 is much slimmer than the other four when the lens is retracted inside the camera body. You’ll still need a small bag to carry it around. It’s understandable considering the long zoom of the SL1000, P520 and SX50HS, but if we compare the RX10 to the Stylus 1, due to the RX10 larger sensor, a bigger lens had to be used. Olympus has chosen a smaller sensor (same sensor as the XZ-2).

All the five cameras are well equipped with buttons and dials allowing fast access to frequently used camera settings. The Olympus Stylus 1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 has the edge over the other cameras due to second dials and extra function button. The RX10 is the only camera that features a top LCD screen. Both the P520, Stylus 1 and RX10 have a rotating dial for stepping between the camera settings using your right hand, make it easier changing settings when shooting view the built-in viewfinder.

Ergonomic wise, the RX10 which is the largest camera in the group, also got more space for the thumb at the back, but all cameras except the Stylus 1 feature a large grip which makes it easier to hold and stabilize the camera when shooting without a tripod. This is important because you will be able to better stabilize the lens and get sharper images, especially if you plan to mount external accessories, like a flash or an external mic using the top hot-shoe.

What about build quality and weight (inc. Battery and card)?

  • Olympus Stylus 1 – Polycarbonate | 402 g
  • Canon SX50 HS – Polycarbonate | 595 g
  • Sony RX10 – Magnesium alloy front and top casings, others are Polycarbonate | dust and moisture resistant | 813 g
  • Fujifilm SL1000 – Polycarbonate | 659 g
  • Nikon P520 – Polycarbonate | 550 g

* Unlike the OM-D E-M5, the Stylus 1 has no weather sealing
The RX10 is the only camera in the group to feature a (partially) magnesium-alloy weather-sealed body. However, due to its large sensor and f/2.8 aperture, you gain extra weight for the extra glass. When you look at the camera from the top, you can see that it’s all about the lens. If you don’t mind the weight and larger size, you will gain a top LCD, improved ergonomics, more durable weather-sealed body.I also liked the front focus mode switch at the front right side, allowing you to switch between manual and autofocus (Single-shot AF, Continuous AF, Direct Manual Focus and Manual focus) No doubt, the RX10 shouts “Premium” no matter which way you look at it and it certainly looks like the perfect replacement for a DSLR if you don’t have a problem with the fixed focal length.

What are the limitations of a fixed lens compare to an interchangeable lens camera? —  The best advantage of having an interchangeable lens camera (e.g. DSLR, mirrorless) is that you will be able to buy a special lens that perfectly fits your shooting style. For example, you can buy a lens with much wider focal length (ultra-wide angle lens), a faster prime lens like a 50mm f/1.4 lens,a fisheye lens or a 1:1 macro lens. These specialties are not available for you with the RX10. However, the RX10 has a very popular focal length range of 24-200 mm. It’s like combining a 24-70 mm and 70-200 mm lens into one lens. The disadvantage is that you cannot use a faster lens—considering the fact that F2.8 with a 1″ sensor is equivalent to a F7.6 lens on a full frame camera and you won’t be able use any special lenses with it.

Some people just don’t want to change lenses and don’t like carrying a bag full of lenses. I remember myself shooting with my Nikon DSLR with two lenses, and I remember missing some shots because I needed to change lenses from tele to wide angle in order to capture some shots. There are some superzoom lenses for DSLRs and Compact System Cameras that cover a wide focal length range, but they are not Carl Zeiss ones and don’t have a fix aperture. One reason for that is that such a lens on a Micro Four Thirds or APS-C size sensor would be very large and heavy, and certainly very expensive due to the amount of glass that need to be utilized in such a lens.

Nikon 1 Compact System Cameras features a 1-inch sensor, but a superzoom lens with constant aperture like the one on the RX10 is still not available on the market, maybe Nikon will release one in the future.

Price

We saw that the Sony DSC-RX10 camera comes with pretty nice features compare to its peers here, but the biggest question is whether or not you can afford buying it. Let’s take a look at the prices.

  • Sony RX10 – ~$1300
  • Olympus Stylus 1 – ~$700
  • Canon SX50 HS – ~$360
  • Fuji SL1000 – ~$295
  • Nikon P520 – ~$380

Rounded price via Amazon.com as of 11/8/2013. Visit Amazon.com for latest prices.

If you are excited about the RX10, maybe the its price will ruin your excitement.  The Sony RX10 is an expensive camera, the most expensive camera in the group and by a large margin.  It will certainly drive out many photographers that want this camera, but can’t afford to pay for its premium price tag.
Sony made the RX10 to be the closest it can be for replacing a DSLR camera with two lenses. It was built from the ground up to get the upper hand over its competitors in almost every category and still being able to compete not only against other superzoom, but also against some entry-level DSLR cameras. If you planned to pay this price for a DSLR camera and one or two lenses, you are a good candidate and a customer that Sony aimed this camera for.

For example: You can buy an upper entry-level Nikon D5200 for $800 and Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens  for $400, a total of $1200. However you won’t get to enjoy the 24mm and 200mm tele-end. You can do other combinations with cheaper models and other lenses, but you’ll find out that getting a 24-200mm constant f/2.8 aperture Carl Zeiss lens is not something that should be taken for granted, and it’s a very good offer.

The RX10 is aimed towards the enthusiast photographer who might think about buying a DSLR camera, but will be satisfied with the RX10 because all of its great features and performance. Olympus Stylus 1 also falls into this category, but offer a more affordable entry-point. The RX10 can certainly serve as a replacement for an entry-level or mid-range DSLR camera for some people.

Both the RX1- and Stylus 1 built a new category that sits between a conventional bridge camera and an interchangeable lens camera. They were designed to offer the advantages of both worlds, but obviously they lack the advantages that both the other type of cameras offer (e.g. Big zooms, being able to change lenses).

Other Features Worth Mentioning

Other features that worth mentioning are as follows:

  • Sony RX10
    - JPEG + RAW capture
    - Full HD movies at 60p and 24p with full exposure control and stereo sound
    - 10 fps burst 
    - Lots of creative effects to apply to stills and videos
    - Sony’s latest BIONZ X image processor
    - 25 point contrast-detect AF system
    - NFC
    - Panorama images
    - PhotoTV HD
    - Wi-Fi
    - 3.5 mm mic input
    - 30 – 1/3200 sec shutter speed
    -  Powerful 10.2m  built-in flash
    - 420 shots battery life 
  • Canon SX50 HS
    - RAW capture (no RAW in manual mode)
    - Multi-area white balance
    - 0.19 seconds release time lag
    - Zoom assist function
    - 2.2 fps burst, up to 10fps in High-speed burst HQ
    - Full HD 24p video recording with stereo sound
    - 15 – 1/2000 sec shutter speed
    - 315 shots battery life
  • Olympus Stylus 1
    - Wi-Fi
    - RAW capture
    - 1080p30,  640×480 120 fps and 320×240 240fps video recording with stereo sound
    - 60 – 1/2000 sec shutter speed
    - 410 shots battery life
  • Fujifilm FinePix SL1000
    - 0.2 sec autofocus speed
    - 0.9 sec start-up time
    - 1080i60, 240×180 480 fps, 320×240 240 fps, 640×480 120 fps and video recording
    -  10 fps burst (max. 9 frames)
    - Side-level zoom control
    - Motion Panorama 360
    - 3D shooting
    - Built-in HDR
    - 30 – 1/1700 sec. shutter speed
    - 350 battery life
  • Nikon Coolpix P520
    - Built-in GPS
    - Compatible with the WU-1a wireless mobile adapter
    - 7 fps burst
    - 1080p25, 1080i60, 640×480 120 fps video recording
    - 1 – 1/4000 sec shutter speed (8 sec in ISO 80 or 100 in P/S/A/M modes)
    -  Auto HDR Mode
    - Easy Panorama  360°/180°
    - 3D shooting mode
    - 99-point AF system
    - 200 shots battery life

Sony RX10 Advantages / Who is it for? — Sony RX10 is the most feature rich and well-built camera in the group. It’s much more expensive than the other cameras in this comparison, but in return you get a partially magnesium-alloy weather sealed body, high-resolution OLED EVF, F2.8 Carl Zeiss lens with Direct Drive SSM for precise and fast autofocusing even at telephoto range, 1-inch Exmor R sensor, new BIONZ image processor, top LCD, tilting high-res back LCD, Wi-Fi + NFC and lots of built-in functionality.
The RX10 is aimed towards the enthusiast photographer who won’t can’t compromise on image quality and don’t want to mess with interchangeable lenses.  The RX10 is such a versatile camera, which means that you might find it a good backup camera for your DSLR. It is also aimed for those who want a camera that can achieve a shallow depth of field and can perform great in low-light. Above all that, the RX10 is durable and built to withstand harsh weather conditions, so you can feel confident shooting with it outdoors.

In my opinion, the Sony RX10 is a superb alternative for an entry-level or even a mid-range DSLR camera — but on the other hand you lose the ability to change and use special lenses. If you can leave without being able to change lenses, the RX10 is one of the most attractive superzoom cameras on the market, although it lacks the zoom range of other superzooms. Did I mention the great battery life?

Canon SX50 HS Advantages / Who is it for? — The SX50 HS got very high ratings in many camera review websites due to its superb image quality for both stills and videos. It got a humongous 50x optical zoom with Canon’s very effective image stabilization mechanism. It features a small low-res display, it’s made of plastic and has below average battery life.  For approx. $350, the SX50 is a real winner. It’s among the best, if not the best superzoom travel camera on the market right now.

The Canon SX50 HS is aimed towards photographers who are searching for a mega-zoom camera with very high image quality, yet small and lightweight and relatively cheap in price. At the end of the day we want to come home and enjoy beautiful images — with the SX50 HS you get just that. You will come home with extraordinary shots due to the big zoom and very high quality images to make larger prints if that’s what you are after. I love the SX50 HS and I shot with it for quite a long time. Highly recommended!

Olympus Stylus 1 Advantages / Who is it for?  — Olympus Stylus 1 is quite comparable to the RX10 due to its 28-300 mm f/2.8 constant aperture lens.  It is much cheaper than the RX10, and that’s mainly due to its smaller sensor and less amount of glass in the optical lens. The Stylus 1, in my opinion, sits well between a superzoom “bridge” camera and an entry-level DSLR or CSC. Due to the lens properties and sensor size, this camera is smaller and much slimmer than the other cameras in this group– it also the lightest in the group.
The Stylus 1 comes with built-in Wi-Fi, high-quality EVG, constant f/2.8 aperture, superb optics and performance that exceed an entry-level DSLR camera. The Stylus 1 was built to be very responsive, with great image quality, ergonomics and handling to satisfy the advanced photographer. It’s also a great alternative to a DSLR, but for much cheaper price compare to the RX10.

The Stylus 1 is aimed towards the advanced photographer who want a versatile camera to replace his basic point-and-shoot and want to move to a more advanced camera, and for those who don’t want to mess around with changing lenses and thought about buying a DSLR camera, but still not sure whether this is the way to go. The extra 100mm range over the RX100 is useful and gives that extra range that you might miss on the RX10. All in all, superb camera for the price with lots of features and very good image quality.

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Advantages / Who is it for? — The SL1000 is a very popular superzoom camera.  It’s the cheapest in the group but not cheap in features.  It has a sharp lens and 50x optical zoom lens. Fujifilm is known for its very effective image stabilization in its superzooms and the SL1000 is no exception.  I personally a fan of Fujifilm’s superzooms ergonomics, you just need to hold it in your hand and feel it — feels like a glove in the hand, fits perfectly in the hands and very comfortable for people with large hands.

Having said that, it’s high-ISO performance is not the as good as the other cameras, and I personally prefer the SX50 HS when it comes to image quality.  The SL1000 will appeal to advanced photographers on a budget and those who want to buy a travel camera for a cheap price. Planning a vacation soon and don’t want to pay too much on a new camera? — The SL1000 might be your best bet. If you are a pixel peeper who can’t stand noise in your photos, I recommend viewing some sample images just to be sure that the amount of image noise, even at low ISO, doesn’t bother you. All in all, excellent camera for the price, as long that you don’t expect wonders to happen at the long telephoto end and at high ISO.

Nikon P520 Advantages / Who is it for? — The P520 falls between the chairs and it’s sometimes easy to ignore it with all the other superzooms out there.  The P520 got mixed reviews across camera review websites. It features a 24-1000 mm 42x optical zoom lens, and therefore some people might prefer getting a 50x zoom lens for that reason alone, just to have a camera with the biggest zoom on the market. If that doesn’t bother you that much, in return, you get a relatively compact superzoom with built-in GPS, fast shutter speed, plenty of features and very good image quality. However, the P520 lacks direct access to ISO and white balance, lacks built-in Wi-Fi, has poor battery life and has a sensor with the smallest pixels in the group.

 

I find it hard to recommend the P520 over the SX50 HS, even that in some aspects it’s better than the P520. However when it comes to image quality, the SX50 HS is just a better camera. I think that most people find the SX50 HS to provide them with the extra zoom range and better image quality, and will prefer buying the SX50 HS over the P520. It’s worth understanding the differences between the two, but if you want my recommendation, I would go with the SX50 HS.

If I had to buy a camera right now and had the budget for the RX10, I would buy it at this very moment. Otherwise, I will give my second top score to the Stylus 1, third spot to the Canon SX50 HS, forth to the Fujifilm SL1000 and last spot to the P520.

What’s your opinion, which camera do you like best? — Share your opinion in the comment section below.. Thanks!

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  • Sri

    Hi There
    Superb piece of work you’ve done and your descriptive review looks completely impartial and giving a genuine verdict as to what the best camera is.
    I am torn between the Canon SX50 and the Sony HX300 (being very loyal fan and now has the super HX20V). I need to upgrade to a super zoom and main concern is the image quality.
    Even though the Sony very stupidly cramped the tiny sensor, many say the Carl Zeiss lens did the trick when it comes to image quality. What do you think?
    If you had to choose between these two and main concern is the image quality what would you go for? What are the differences like between these two when it comes to image quality?
    Cheers