In this article I will compare three popular superzoom cameras, the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS versus Sony Cyber-shot HX400 (HX400V) and Panasonic Lumix FZ200. The SX60 is the newest among the two, followed by the HX400 which was announced around eight months before, and the FZ200 which is the oldest of the three announced two years and two months before the SX60 HS. Still, the FZ200 is a very popular superzoom, mainly for its f/2.8 constant aperture across the entire focal length range. It’s interesting to see how it copes against some of the newer superzooms.
We’ll start with a a short introduction to the SX60 and move the see how the SX60 compared to the other models. Let’s get started!
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
It’s being two years since Canon released the SX50 HS, and it usually updated its SX range every year. The SX50 is Canon’s finest ultra-zoom cameras, a camera that is well known for its excellent image quality in its category. There are certainly a few things that people expected to be improved, and although the SX50 HS was a leader in the IQ section ,it still left something to be desired. The SX60 HS is suppose to do just that, and make the SX60 among the finest superzoom one the market nowadays.
The SX60 HS design has gone a few changes. The overall camera design line was kept relatively the same, but there are some differences. The camera is now slightly larger, features a new shortcut button and front-dial at the top, a rubber grip for the thumb at the back instead of the textured plastic one and the thumb wheel at the back was removed. There is also a Mobile Device Connection button that makes which makes it easy to register a mobile an NFC-enabled mobile device and once registered, viewing and saving camera image on previously connected devices. The hand grip was also revised to better handling and it’s larger in size. a Good overall design changes from its predecessor.
At the heart of the SX60 HS is a 16.1-megapixels High Sensitivity 1/2.3-inc CMOS sensor. We can see that Canon has decided to buff the resolution up a from 12MP, although the sensor size stayed the same. Canon is very strict about how it won’t the SX50/SX60 to perform. One of the SX50 main selling point was its impressive high ISO performance compared to the competition, and I’m sure Canon wants it to stay that way. I assume that the newly developed sensor is improved, allowing same or better results than the SX50, and we’ll check that later on in our comparison.
On of the most interesting parts of any superzoom camera is the lens. The SX60 HS now features a bigger zoom, 65x optical zoom compared to 50x of the SX50 HS. The aperture range stayed the same, but the you now get to enjoy a 21mm wide-angle (compared to 24mm) and a slightly longer reach of 1365mm equivalent compared to 1200mm. The 21mm wide angle is probably the most interesting features, giving you much wider field of view compared to 24mm, great for landscapes, group shots, interiors and allow more creative shots to be made. Canon was criticized for not choosing to go with faster apertures, which is a new trend in superzoom cameras from quite some time now. The HX400V for example features a F2.8 at the wide-end and some cameras, although featuring lesser zoom like the FZ200 feature a F2.8 fixed aperture. This might put the SX60 HS in a difficult position compared to the HX400, but obviously there are many other things that you should consider other than that specific spec value.
So what 65x optical zoom looks like? — the next video by amSeehafen demonstrated the 65x zoom in video – Amazing reach!
He also showed the difference between 50x vs 65x optical zoom at the tele-end. Very nice copmarison.
The SX60 HS enjoys a new-gen image processor, the DIGIC 6,a larger 3.0-inch display with much higher resolution (922K vs 461K) but still not touch-sensitive one. The EVF was also buffed to 922K-dots resolution, you get 6.4 fps burst (compared to 2.2 fps on the SX50 HS), 1080p60 video recording (progressive frames, not interlaced), Wi-Fi / NFC wireless networking, improved AF performance, Multi-aspect RAW and inherits the same zoom framing assist feature from the SX50, with the two buttons (framing assist lock / seek) at the side of the lens, which are easy to access with your thumb.
It’s not a dramatic update over the SX50, but certainly improved in areas that many photographers wanted it to be improved. It doesn’t get any easier for superzooms nowadays, as those cameras suffer from fierce competition from large sensor compacts, as people might don’t mind giving up the zoom in favor of a camera with a larger sensor, faster aperture (better defocused background and low-light performance) and other goodies that come with premium compact cameras.Still, super-zooms have their place in the market. They superb choice for travel cameras and the huge zoom certainly helps get certain type of shots that you won’t be able to get with any other camera in this price range.
You but a camera like the SX60 HS if you don’t want to change lenses, you want a camera with a very big zoom, one camera that has advanced manual controls, very good stills and video capabilities and one that is easy to use and affordable at the same time. This is exactly what the SX60 HS is aimed for, and not doubt that it’s one of the most attractive superzooms on the market as of the time of writing.
So the SX60 HS key features are: large resolution, 21mm wide angle, 1080p 60 fps (progressive frames = higher quality than interlaced) video recording, new image processor, Wi-Fi + NFC, better viewfinder, larger LCD with higher resolution and multi-aspect raw shooting on most part. The camera utilizes USM and VCM technologies for fast and quiet focusing.
So all things to look pretty good, and it’s interesting to see how the SX60 HS compared against the Sony HX500 and Panasonic FZ200, both are also very popular cameras in the same category.
SX60 HS vs HX400 vs FZ200
In this section we’ll take a look and see how the PowerShot SX60 compared to the Sony Cyber-shot HX400V and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. Picking a superzoom camera might a bit hard because indeed, because each camera comes with its own unique features and advantages. This might make it a bit harder to make the right choice. However, I’m sure that after reading this comparison section, you’ll be better set up on the features that matters to you the most, and the camera that will better answer your specific shooting style. So without further ado, lets jump straight into the comparison itself.
|Announced||September 15, 2014||February 12, 2014||July 18, 2012|
|The FZ200 is the oldest over three, yet is still has its own unique appeal and still a very popular superzoom.|
|Camera Type||Bridge / Superzoom||Bridge / Superzoom||Bridge / Superzoom|
1/2.3-inch (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
1/2.3-inch (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Exmor R® CMOS (BSI)
1/2.3-inch (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
High Sensitivity MOS (BSI)
|Image Ratios||1:1, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|First of all, I was interested to know if the FZ200 has a back-illuminated sensor, and that question was raised by a few people. We know that the SX60 and HX400 both use a BSI technology.
According to article on panasonic.co.jp from 2011, the new MOD image sensors and I quote: "..lower the wiring layer profile, expand the opening area." -- so in my understanding, this process is the same as in BSI, with the wiring layer being below the photo diode layer, which helps to increase the photodiode size. So as far as I understand it, this is also a back-illuminated sensor.
All three cameras have the same sensor size. This is relatively very small sensor, and one that common of cameras of this type. That's why there is a significance to the sensor technology and pixel size.
SX60: ~1.34 microns
HX400: ~1.19 microns
FZ200: ~1.54 microns
We can see that the FZ200 has the largest pixels, followed by the SX60 and HX400. The sensor technology also plays a significant role in the image quality. We've seen that new-gen sensors outperform their equivalent old-gen ones, and even sensors that have larger pixels.
Having higher resolution allows more cropping freedom and open up those fine details, and also allows larger printing.
Of course it's all nice words, but at the end of the day it comes to actual performance.
I used imaging-resource.com comparometer tool to compare the high ISO performance of the SX60 versus the HX400 and FZ200, and here is my observation conclusions.
SX60 vs HX400 high ISO Performance:
At low ISO, the HX400 produces better sharpness and fine details. This is very significant if you look at 100% scaled photos. It's not just due only due the increase in resolution, but the HX400 was able to resolve fine details much better than the SX60 HS. That said, the SX60 HS reds look more detailed. No doubt that the HX400 applies higher in-camera sharpening by default
That being said, the HX400 suffers from noise even at ISO 100. This is certainly not encouraging, especially when you look at the SX60 HS ISO 100 samples that look much cleaner overall. I'm sure that those of you who really hate noise in image will find the HX400 to be quite a big cons.
At ISO 400 the HX400 start losing those fine details, whether the SX60 HS although seems to take a different direction with stronger NR, but the SX60 HS image is still much cleaner overall. The SX60 HS image gets a bit soft, which lead me to a conclusion that a stronger NR is used.
At ISO 800 it's certainly the end of the road for the HX400. Image has a water-paint like look, very noisy. The SX60 HS is also noisy but still much better than the HX400.
SX60 ISO 1600 looks pretty impressive, soft, but it just shows us the great capability of the SX60 HS sensor and advanced image processing, the HX400 looks.. well.. bad. I like the SX60 HS dotty noise patterns, because it's much easier to remove or reduce the noise in noise reduction software. Just run it through NeatImage and you'll be amazed how clean the image will turn out to be.
HX400 vs FZ200 high ISO Performance:
Now let's see how the quite disappointing high ISO performance of the HX400 (compared to the SX60) copes against the FZ200.
The HX400 certainly have a resolution advantage, I have to say that I am really impressive with the optical performance of the FZ200 lens. IT doesn't need to oversharpen the details, this lens is amazingly tack sharp, no jaggies, just pure sharp image. No doubt that the FZ200 lens looks the most impressive optically among the three.
The FZ200 image is also significantly cleaner. I find the FZ200 to produce the best image quality at low-ISO of the three cameras. No doubt that the FZ200 lens eats the SX60 HS and HX400 for breakfast and the image is also cleaner than the SX60 HS.
At ISO 200 the FZ200 is still clean, at ISO 400 things look still very good ior the FZ200, slightly better noise performance than the SX60 HS.
The HX400 is obviously not a contender to the FZ200, but rather the SX60 is.
At ISO 800 the FZ200 does suffer from chroma noise but image overall looks better than the SX60 HS.
At ISO 1600 for some reason the SX60 takes the lead and it's a big negative step for the FZ200 that ends its way at ISO 1600. The SX60 HS outperform the FZ200 at this ISO sensitivity. It's not just image processing, I think it's related to the sensor design that is more consistent across the ISO range, as ISO 1600 is still a native speed for all those three cameras.
So to sum things up: the FZ200 has the best optical performance among the three in my observation. It's tack sharp and you get the best image when shot at low ISO. The FZ200 is better than the SX60 HS in terms of image noise up to ISO 800, from that point on the SX60 HS takes the lead, as the FZ200 ends its way. The HX400 is the worst of the three. I love how it resolved fine details, but noise is evident even at ISO 100, and it gets worse in each stop by quite a large margin. If I had to choose a winner I would probably giving my top score to the FZ200 for optical performance and high ISO performance up to ISO 800, and the SX60 HS for overall better consistent performance across the ISO speed range and very good optical performance overall.
The FZ200 image quality at low ISO is VERY IMPRESSIVE!
|ISO||100 - 3200|
|80 - 3200|
Extended: 12800 (Multi Frame NR)
|100 - 3200
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||Bionz X||Venus Engine VII FHD|
21-1365 mm (equiv.)
65x optical zoom
USM + VCM (fast and near-silent focusing)
Canon IS optical image stabilization
|Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens|
24-1200 mm (equiv.)
50x optical zoom
1 cm macro
Sony SteadShot optical image stabilization
|Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens
25-600 mm (equiv.)
24x optical zoom
f/2.8 (across the zoom range)
Panasonic Power O.I.S. optical image stabilization
|The FZ200 performed amazingly well and no doubt thanks to its superb Leica optics. Added to that amazing performance is a constant maximum aperture across the entire focal length (zoom range).
First of all, the HX400 is the only one to match the FZ200 f/2.8 at the wide-end, but the HX400 lens is a variable maximum aperture. This means that as you zoom in, the maximum aperture you can use or the camera can use in auto mode is getting smaller (larger f-number). On the FZ200 you can shoot at f/2.8 (which is very fast aperture = low of light) even at 600 mm (equiv.).
This is a huge advantage in favor of the FZ200. There are a few reasons for that. One reason is that because you can shoot at such a fast aperture, you are less to be needed to shoot at higher ISO sensitivities. We've see that up to ISO 800 the FZ200 performed very well, but falls from that point on. With f/2.8 aperture you might not even need to shoot above ISO 800 compared to a lens like the HX400 and SX60 that have f/6.3 and f/6.5 respectively which is much slower (=much less light).
To be more accurate, the difference between f/2.8 and f/6.5 is 2.43 stops, which translates to roughly 5.4x times more light (1 stop = twice the amount of light). This is a huge low-light advantage for the FZ200, especially when shooting at the tele-end.
You are no longer limited to zoom out when shooting in low-light situations only to enjoy a fast aperture -- one of the BIGGEST benefits of the FZ200 in my opinion, and one reason that this camera became so popular among enthusiasts.
The excellent new is that even at 108mm (600mm equivalent), the FZ200 is SUPER sharp as well (check this image and this one too).
The FZ200 lens performance is an enthusiast's dream come true.
The downside is that you don't get to enjoy the same reach as the other two cameras, especially not the 21mm equivalent wide angle of the SX60 HS, which is much better for landscapes, interiors, etc. That said, this is a compromise that you need to make in order to enjoy better optics. You'll also enjoy more prominent shallow depth of field effect, much more prominent than the other cameras. It's still not like what you get with a large-sensor camera, but still better than the SX60 and the HX400V.
The SX60 has the two frame assist and frame seek buttons that make it easier to recompose your shot when shooting at the far tele-end.
The HX200 lens is relatively small and the HX400 is the largest mainly due to its f/2.8 at the wide-end and the large focal length range.
For traveling, the SX60 HS and HX400 might be a better fit due to their longer zoom, but I think that for many people, the FZ200 optical zoom might be all that they need. It's very versatile range and for some of you the FZ200 pros might overweigh its cons. I personally don't mind giving up on both 21mm and a bigger zoom just to enjoy that superb optical performance and constant f/2.8 - you might decide otherwise of course.
Also take into consideration that the lens extends as you zoom in.
|Nothing uber interesting here, despite the fact that the HX400 is the only model that has a limited tilting display compared to the fully articulating mechanism on the other models.
The FZ200 also has less resolution than the other two models. I don't find it a big disadvantage, overall the screen is sharp.
|Probably a big disappointment for the HX400, it doesn't shoot in Raw file format. For some enthusiasts this is already a deal breaker right here.
Raw (digital negative) allow photographers to process the image files later on in photo editing software without using the destructive in-camera image effects that are applied to the image and can't be removed. With RAW file you have the option to apply those settings later on, including white balance, sharpness and saturation among others.
Furthermore, in most cases, you'll be able to produce a more detailed image, as your home computer has much more powerful processing power, and better Bayer interpolation algorithms can be used to produce a better looking results, a more detailed image and better color reproduction.
|Another important advantage for the FZ200, having the highest resolution EVF among the three. Impressive for more than 2-years old camera. The FZ200 certainly has its appeal even two years after it was announced.
The HX400 start in some ways to look less attractive for enthusiast as it also behind the others with its viewfinder resolution. That said, the HX400 EVF is brighter than the SX60.
|Shutter Speed||15-1/2000 sec||30-1/4000 sec||60-1/4000 sec|
|The FZ200 has the most flexible shutter speed range among the three. The SX60 is the least impressive with only 1/2000 sec maximum shutter speed.|
|Built-in Flash||Yes (5.50m)||Yes (8.50m)||Yes (13.50m)|
|Hot-shoe||Yes||Yes (Multi interface shoe)|
*Can attach flashes, microphones and more
|Burst Speed||6.4 fps||10.0 fps||12.0 fps|
|The FZ200 has the fastest burst speed of the three, almost twice the speed of the SX60 HS. Another important advantage for the FZ200 for those who favor fast action shooting.|
|Video||1080 60p (progressive)|
Super Slow Motion:
640x480 120 fps
320x240 240 fps
Wind Noise Reduction
Intelligent Active SteadyShot
|1080 60p, 60i, 30p
720 60p, 30p
High Speed Video:
1280 x 720 / 30fps (sensor output 120 fps)
640 x 480 / 30 fps (sensor output is 240 fps)
Wind Noise Reduction
|Mic Input||Yes||Yes (via the multi interface shoe)||Yes|
|All three cameras can shoot 1080p60 progressive videos, but the SX60 and FZ200 lacks 24p (cinematic frame rate) and the HX400 lacks slow-motion video recording.
The SX60 also doesn't offer 60i (interlaced) which has lesser image quality but smaller video file size.
The HX400 also lacks mic input.
The HX400 has a nice feature called Lock-on AF which you can turned on and that tells the camera do track a subject to be focused on.
|Wireless||Wi-Fi / NFC||Wi-Fi / NFC||via Eye-Fi card|
|Both the SX60 HS and the HX400 have built-in Wi-Fi and NFC support, whether the FZ200 lacks this feature. Quite unfortunately, as this makes sharing images much easier when coupled with a smartphone device. You also enjoy features like remote-shooting and easy sharing that I'm sure many will find useful. A deal breaker? -- no, but I would like to see this feature in the next model.|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots|
|Another important advantage in favor of the FZ200. Shoot more on a single battery charge.|
|Dimensions||128 x 93 x 114 mm (5.04 x 3.66 x 4.49″)||130 x 93 x 103 mm (5.1 x 3.67 x 4.06″)||125 x 87 x 110 mm (4.92 x 3.43 x 4.33″)|
|Weight||650 g (1.43 lb / 22.93 oz)||660 g (1.46 lb / 23.28 oz)||588 g (1.30 lb / 20.74 oz)|
|I wouldn't bother myself with the size and weight. Non of them are pocketable and are pretty much close in terms of size and weight.|
|Panorama||No||Yes (Sweep Panorama)||Yes (Panorama shot creative mode)|
|Installable Apps||No||Yes (PlayMemories camera apps)||No|
(as of time of writing
As you can see from the SX60 HS vs HX400 vs FZ200 specs comparison table, this is a very interesting comparison indeed. I’m sure that there are many people that find one camera that better fits their needs. Each camera has its cons and pros as you can see. I personally find the FZ200 to be an extraordinary camera overall. It has an superb image quality at low ISO, good high ISO performance, f/2.8 constant aperture, versatile zoom range, RAW support, fast focusing, lots of in-camera special effects, sharp viewfinder, best burst speed in the group (5.5 fps with continuous AF, 12 fps with single AF), very good battery life, good video features and manual controls.
I personally was very impressed with the FZ200 image quality and find the FZ200 to be a very good alternative to an interchangeable lens camera. Between the FZ200 and the SX60, I find the SX60 toe be a a better for those who’ll take advantage of its big zoom and want a built-in Wireless capability. The SX60 HS high ISO performance is very good, although as I said, the f/2.8 constant aperture on the FZ200 will give you the option to shoot at lower ISO for a given seen, due to the faster aperture.
Comparing the depth of field between those three cameras, we can see that the FZ200 can produce an image with much shallower depth of field and therefore better subject separation. Let’s look at the numbers.
30 meter subject distance / 5.2 crop factor aperture multiplication / equivalent focal length. Tested for the far tele-end and maximum aperture at the tele-end.
- SX60: 1365mm + f/33.8 = 93.472 cm total depth of field
- HX400: 1200mm + f/32.76 =90.678 cm total depth of field
- FZ200: 600mm + f/14.56 = 40.386 cm total depth of field
The FZ200 therefore will give you shallower depth of field effect at the tele-end and maximum aperture.
When we consider the price difference, the FZ200 certainly looks like a better deal for those who don’t mind settling down for less zoom and don’t mind using an Eye-fi card instead of a built-in WiFi/NFC. Even thought the FZ200 is getting a bit old in digital camera’s terms, it certainly didn’t lose its magic, on the contrary, it’s still one of the best superzooms on the market and it sells for a very good price.
The HX400 has the least impressive high ISO performance among the three, and I didn’t like seeing noise in ISO 100 as much as I saw on the HX400V samples. That said, it still offers a good competition to the SX60 HS and I think that the features are the one to look at. The HX400 advantages are: higher resolution (more detailed image), f/2.8 aperture at the wide-end, Zeiss optics, 1/4000 sec max shutter speed and 24p video recording in Full HD in most part — but the HX400 lacks RAW, has low-res EVF and no mic input.
So the SX60 HS enjoys the biggest zoom and 21mm, best high ISO performance among the three, but it has the slowest lens among the three and the slowest burst. I find the FZ200 to be the best choice for enthusiasts and those who want an alternative to an interchangeable-lens camera . If I had to choose a new camera for my next vacation I probably wouldn’t mind getting the SX60 HS for its very wide-angle and better reach. That said, I cannot ignore all the benefits that th FZ200 comes with, it’s really an all around winner for me. It has such a high image quality that you can even digitally enlarged it and still get a very good quality photo.
My top pick is the Panasonic Lumix FZ200, followed by the Canon PowerShot SX60 and Sony HX400. Of course some of you might make a different decision based on your particular needs. I highly recommend giving the FZ200 a good look, it’s really a magnificent camera and one that certainly deserves to be at the top of your list. The SX60 HS is still an excellent choice if you find the 21mm and long range to be better suited for your particular shooting habits otherwise, I would recommend getting the FZ200 instead.
Have a different opinion? — Please spare a minute and share your opinion in the comment section below. Don’t forget to LIKE this article and out Facebook page and thanks for reading.
but no raw, low-res evf, no mic input
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