Top critical review
82 people found this helpful
Returned it for a DSLR - now I'm happy
on October 31, 2011
My quest for the perfect camera began 1 year ago. I had a simple Canon SD750, which I thought was a good digital camera. I didn't know anything about DSLRs or super zooms - I thought those big cameras were 35mm. Anyway, I was at party where someone had a Panasonic FZ28. I really liked it. I didn't know there were cameras that had such high zoom. And so my camera education began....
After A LOT of research, I bought a Panasonic FZ35. I had this camera for 10 months. It took razor sharp pictures in daylight, the zoom was fun, but it lacked low light performance. After much more research, it appeared that the Sony HX100V had great low light performance, so I decided to sell my FZ35 for the HX100V. I justified the $$, and bought it. Here is what I liked and disliked....
Likes: The camera is solid, has great features, great picture quality with sunlight, good high ISO up to about 800, SD card compatible, great zoom, good portrait low light pictures, great burst shooting, excellent video.
Dislikes: SLOW shot to shot times, SLOW start up, SLOW zoom, poor low light action shooting (burst - no flash), slow movie starting. I ended up missing many photo opportunities while waiting for the camera to write the last set of pictures to the card. The slowness of even changing modes was very frustrating. This is my biggest complaint, and I even tried to rectify it and purchased a Scandisk Extreme Pro. The camera was quicker, but not quick enough for me. As for picture quality - indoor portraits with flash - very good. Outdoors - good, although my FZ35 was sharper outdoors (sucked indoors).
What I have come to realize is that there is no perfect camera for everyone, you must first define your priorities and make sacrifices. In the beginning of my quest for the perfect camera, I ranked cost and portability as my number (1) priority, followed by HD video, and than features. After almost a year of shooting with the FZ35, and 2 months with the HX100V, I realized that most of the pictures I am taking are of my son's TaeKwonDo tournaments. The FZ35 could not handle the indoor lighting, and the video was average. The HX100V did better if shooting with flash or using video, but not so good trying to capture action shots indoors (burst mode). I tried using it at a tournament, but ended up having to use video (which turned out great). The shutter lag and low shutter speeds needed caused missed shots or blurry pictures. I tried using it at an airshow, but the tracking focus had trouble keeping up even in good light. I tried using it to take pictures at a birthday party at an indoor roller skating rink - useless, I put it back in the car. I was left wanting more.
I determined that my priorities had changed to indoor action picture quality as number (1), with portability and video not as important anymore (as I rarely used the video on the HX100V, and I was already carrying a bag to hold the camera stuff). I decided to try a DSLR, and ordered the Pentax K-R.
I am a lot happier with the DSLR as it's low light action shot is amazing, gorgeous portraits, start up and shot to shot times are speedy. Yes, it cost me more money, but the picture quality is worth it for me. No, it's not as portable, but it is the smallest DSLR and lenses are cheap for this camera. It isn't much bigger than the Sony HX100V.
So, if you've gotten this far in my review, please know your camera priorities first so you don't end up going through what I did.
This is a great camera if your priorities are:
- portraits (indoor or outdoor)
- outdoor (action, stills, wildlife)
- HD movie making
This is not a camera for:
- Indoor action
- fast moving subjects (such as an F/A18 going 700 mph)
- needing to change settings quickly
I thought I would miss the zoom, but my 300mm lens gets me almost as close. Cropping the picture gives almost as good picture quality as the HX100V did without cropping. Now I understand all the fuss around larger sensor cameras (DSLRs). It makes a HUGE difference.
If you pan on taking pictures of landscapes, indoor stills, outdoor anything, movies, than this camera will do it beautifully. If you have kids with a lot of indoor sport activities - you'll need a DSLR, unless you are just making a video. Hope this helps. :)