Canon SX60 vs Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72 Comparison

October 26, 2014

Canon SX60 and Panasonic FZ70 comparison

In this article I will compare the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS vs Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72. Both are popular ultrazoom bridge cameras. The SX60 HS is Canon’s latest superzoom flagship model as of the time of writing, replacing the SX50 HS. Both the FZ70 and SX60 are among the finest superzoom cameras you can find on the market, both are compact and equipped with a wide arsenal of advanced features.  The FZ70costs around $200 more than the SX60, so it’s interesting to see how it compares in terms of features and performance. In this article we’ll cover just that, and give you an in-depth insight of the differences between those two excellent cameras.

For What Type of Photographers the SX60 HS and FZ72 / FZ70 are for?

Before we start with a short introduction to the two cameras and learn about the differences, I first want to answer a question? — What are the benefits of cameras like the FZ70 and the SX60?

Both the SX60 and FZ70 are compact long-zoom cameras. Superzoom cameras still remain popular in the mobile photography era because non of the mobile phones available on the market offer such a big zoom. This makes the SX60 and FZ70 (And other cameras of this type) great cameras for general photography and travelers. The price is affordable, the size and weight is just right and of course the big selling point is the lens. Those two cameras are advanced multimedia machines, enjoying advanced stills and video capabilities, high-quality optics, manual control over the exposure and high-performance as you can expect from a flaship superzoom camera.

There are many times that people find out that mobile phone cameras don’t offer the flexibility that you get with a conventional superzoom camera. Having features like manual controls over exposure, physical buttons that offers fast access to change frequently used camera settings, electronic viewfinder, articulating screen, hot-shoe connector to attach an external flash, high-quality optics, huge optical zoom with optical image stabilization — all these and others give these cameras an advantage of what you can achieve even with the most advanced mobile phone camera available on the market at the moment. This of course can change tomorrow, but this is the reality right now. Planning a trip to Nepal and want to capture great photos and videos? — you probably be better carrying a superzoom camera with you, because it’s portable, have big zoom and therefore not a burden to carry.

If you also plan to have only one camera for you or/and your family, the SX60 HS and the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 is a great choice due to its ease of use and versatility. You can put it on fully automatic and just let the camera do all the rest, or use manual mode to gain more control over the final results. So your kids can used it to, and they don’t need to know anything about photography to capture gorgeous photos.

So let’s get back to our comparison and talk more about each camera in more details, we’ll start with the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS.

Canon SX60 SH Key Features

Canon SX60 HS

Canon SX60 HS ultrazoom

The Canon SX60 was announced on September 15, 2014. There was a great anticipation for a camera that will replace the aging SX50 HS, although it was one of the most popular and still is a very popular superzoom. The SX50 HS was known for its relatively very impressive image quality and high ISO performance because Canon stayed with a 12MP, to promote better low-light performance with its 1/2.3″ sensor. With the SX60 HS Canon has decided to elevate the resolutino from 12 megapixels to 16 megapixels (effective resolution).

The SX60 HS was negatively criticized for that decision, but also some people think that Canon didn’t do enough with this update, especially when considering the competition from the large-sensor superzooms and other cameras in the same category. For example, the  FZ200 from Panasonic has a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture across the focal length range and there is not built-in GPS.

That being saide, I think that the SX60 HS enjoy a wide range of useful features. The first most interesting features is obviously related to its lens. The SX60 HS has a 21-1365mm (35mm equivalent) 65x optical zoom lens and f/3.4-6.5 variable aperture. Starting at 21mm, this means that the SX60 will give you a very wide-angle field of view, great for snapping landscape and interior shots, but also for group shots, wildlife, birds and architectural photography, etc. The good news that this doesn’t compromise the tele-end, although it might have a negative effect on the general optical performance of the lens, as longer zoom lenses usually suffer from inferior optical performance compared to smaller zoom lenses.

So what 65x optical zoom looks like in practive — Take a look at this video and find out!

Mind blowing zoom isn’t it? — this is one of the Biggest advantages of superzooms, and a very good reason why you should consider buying one for yourself.

At the tele-end, the SX60 HS is indeed slow, and f/3.4 at the wide-end isn’t fast as some other competitive models. For comparison, the FZ70 that we compare here has a 20mm f/2.8 at the wide-end, so it’s wider and also faster in comparison. The lens uses Canon’s well-regarded Image stabilization (IS) mechanism and of course uses Canon fine optics.

I personally would have wanted Canon to use a larger sensor or a faster optics so I can enjoy better defocused background. That said, I think that if you do care about having the option to have prominent defocused background for better subject isolation, you should probably consider buying a large-sensor superzoom like the Sony RX10 for example. It has a much shorter zoom (24-200mm, 8.3x optical zoom), but has a constant f/2.8 aperture and utilized a 1″ (13.2×8.9 mm) sensor, which is significantly larger than the 1/2.3″ (6.17×4.55mm ) of the SX60. So this is a compromise there, and you need to ask yourself what’s more important to you, better image quality, better low-light performance and shallower depth of field effect, or you are willing to enjoy a much bigger zoom and a lower degree of the advantages mentioned.

*video by CNET

The SX60 HS inherits the Zoom Framing assist functionality that makes it easier to lock on a long-distance subject when zooming all in. The camera utilized Canon’s next-gen DIGIC 6 image processor, has multi-aspect RAW shooting mode, a rear 3.0-inch fully articulated LCD, 922K-dots EVF and 1080p60 Full HD video recording (other frame rates are also available, see comparison for more info).

The SX60 HS is also the first PowerShot camera to have an external mic input to improve video audio quality. The USM and VCM ensures quiet and fast focusing. The camera enjoys WiFi and NFC wireless connectivity, so it’s very easy to pair the SX60 HS with your mobile phone and share images to social networks or backup those online in the cloud.  The camera uses Canon High Speed AF with improved AF speed and can shoot at up to 6.4 frames per second in continuous shooting mode.  You get a Smart Auto mode that make it easier for beginners to operate the camera, in-camera editing functions like Creative Shot and HDR — all those features will help you become more creative with your camera and you don’t need to be a techie person to utilize those.

Canon also improved the camera’s ergonomic design with a front dial and larger more ergonomically designed grip.  I personally loved how the SX50 HS felt in the hands, and the SX60 HS improved upon that, so it’s great.

So in general, the SX60 HS might be the perfect camera for beginners, family photographers, for general photography, people on vacation and even enthusiasts on a right budget. It’s not a DSLR replacement per-se, but certainly a camera that brings lots of versatility all-in-one, and an excellent camera to have around and grab when you want to get out and take great pictures. It’s great that Canon added wireless connectivity, so it’s easier to share your great photos and videos with your friends on Facebook, Twiiter and other social networks.  Being able to backup those photos online also make it easier when shooting outdoors, because you can backup those photos and delete the ones on-board, making more room for more great shots.

The SX60 HS got very positive early reviews, but mixed opinions from the community. The competition doesn’t get any easier, especially when the conventional point-and-shoot market got very slim. Companies release few models and focus on advanced features.  Overall, well-packed superzoom with ultra wide angle lens, great video features, handling and performance.

Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Key Features

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 was announced on July 18, 2013 and it’s one of Panasonic finest superzooms which include the FZ1000 (25-400mm, 16x zoom, 1″ sensor) and FZ200 (26-500mm 19x zoom, 1/2.3″ sensor), thus the FZ70 has the longest zoom among the Lumix camera’s lineup.

The first thing you notice is that the FZ70 is much bigger than the FZ60 / FZ72, but that understandable considering its much bigger (60x vs 24x) optical zoom lens. The FZ70 is also considerbly larger than the SX60 HS. Although non of them are pocketable, some of you might find it more comfortable shooting with a smaller camera.

Panasonic FZ70, FZ60 and Canon SX60 HS side by side

Panasonic FZ70 (left), SX60 (middle) and FZ60 (right) - size comparison via

The Panasonic FZ70 is really an impressive camera. It all start with its 20-1200mm (equiv.) 60x optical zoom lens. It’s wide than the SX60 at the wide-end, but shorter at the tele. It’s an excellent range for a travel camera and you can even use the FZ70 Intelligent zoom (digital zoom) to get an digital enlargement but still enjoy a crisper image (compared to non-optimized digital zoom). Remember, you can always use photo editing software to enlarge the image and optimize it, but built-in software and algorithms are there to make it fast and convenient. I personally prefer shooting without digital zoom to have the original quality and play with it later if i want to in a photo editing software, preferably RAW,which is also applicable to this camera as well.

What the FZ70 zoom looks like in practive? — take a look in the video below..

The FZ70 / FZ72 lens is also faster than the SX60 one, with F2.8-5.9 aperture, it allows more light to be transmitted through the lens to the sensor, promoting better low-light performance. The camera uses Panasonic’s Power Optical Image Stabilization and an Active Mode promoting sharp and steady captures for both stills and video recording, especially when recording wide-angle video and shooting while walking.

The FZ70 focuses fast and can shoot at up to 9 fps in burst mode, 5 fps with AF and 2 fps with AF tracking, which continuously focuses on the subject as it moves across the frame. The FZ70 uses the same 1/2.3″ sensor as the SX60 HS and also employs 16MP resolution. According to Panasonic, the FZ70 uses a new generation sensor with 10-15% less noise compared to previous models.

Other options include Creative Panorama function, in-camera effects and filters, full manual control over the exposure, smart iA shooting mode, compatability with a wide range of optional accessories, including conversion lenses and external flashes. The camera can recording videos at 1080i60 Full HD with Dolby Digital Audio quality.

No doubt that the main selling point of this camera is its big zoom lens with the 20mm f/2.8 combination at the wide-end. This makes this camera ideal for indoor shooting and low-light  photography as well. Remember, as you zoom in, the aperture opening gets smaller, so to enjoy the best low-light capabilities, you should shoot at the widest angle and at f/2.8.

For a price around $350 (as of the time of writing via, the FZ70 is a certainly a bargain.  There is no 1080p60 (progressive), the camera is not as compact as other superzooms, but not doubt that the optional to add a 1.7x tele conversion lens or use a 3x close-up filter or even a polarizer filter will better appeal to enthusiasts and also for people looking for a companion to their interchangeable lens camera. For more of its features and how it compares to the SX60, continue reading…

SX60 vs FZ70 – Differences

Now let’s take a deeper dive into the specs and see how the two cameras differ.

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We can see what makes the SX60 HS more expensive camera: it has a vari-angle display with higher resolution, high-res EVF, bigger zoom range, more compact, 1080p60 and more advanced video shooting functions, 3.5mm mic input and wireless connectivity.  On the other hand, the Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 has a wider angle, faster optics, more advanced AF system, Dolby Digital Stereo recording in video mode, better battery life and you can attach optional filters and lens extenders to match the lens to your particular shooting style or for specific shooting scenarios.

I’ve compared high-ISO images from both cameras on imaging resource comparometer tool. I found that the FZ70 has a sharper lens (not by much though), it produced more natural colors in JPEG out of the box, and it has better high ISO performance than the SX60 up to ISO 400. I would say around 1 stop advantage in favor of the Panasonic Lumiz FZ70.  That being said, once you cross the ISO400 mark things change to the worse with the FZ70, and ISO800 image look much noisier than the Canon’s. I think it’s the combination of advanced image processing and a very good mid-range ISO performance that helped the FZ70 image look great up up to ISO 400. From that point on both cameras produces more prominent noise, but the SX60 looks cleaner but softer.

I personally prefer the SX60 noise patterns (dotty instead of smudgy), because it’s much easier to control and reduce the noise in noise reduction software. That said, with the faster aperture on the FZ70, you might find less need to shoot at higher ISO, but I wanted you to be aware of those.

With both cameras I recommend shooting up to ISO 400 in order to get an optimal image quality.

So each camera has its cons and pros. I personally find the SX60 HS to be more versatile overall, but it’s hard to ignore the FZ70 advantages and lower price tag. It’s up to you to decide what’s more important and make your final decision. If you want my opinion, I would have bought the SX60. I had a change to choose with both cameras, and I just love the ergonomics, front dial, fast focusing, EVF and rotating LCD of the SX60, something that I personally find useful for my personal shooting style. On the negative side, I was frustrated with the lag time (time between shots),  it has a relatively slow lens which limits me for shooting in good lighting conditions and the buttons are a bit small for my large hands, other than that I am satisfied.

At the same breath I think that the FZ70 offers a much better value for those who aren’t convinced by the SX60 advantages. The 20mm and faster lens is certainly a keeper, and it’s hard to bit the FZ70 price.

If you have questions or you want to share your opinion, please spare a few seconds and leave your opinion in the comment section below. Thanks for reading.