Canon SX60 HS vs Sony HX400 vs Panasonic FZ200

October 5, 2014

Canon SX60, Sony HX400 and Panasonic FZ200 side by side

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

Canon SX60 HS

Canon SX60 HS ultrazoom

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.

SX60 vs HX400 vs FZ200 size comparison

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Conclusion

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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