sony hx5v or canon sx210is? Which one to buy? I had been leaning towards the Sony, but have been getting scared off by reviews saying that the Sony has soft image quality (aggressive noise reduction eliminates fine details). Is the Canon a better alternative? Does it have better image quality than the Sony? And even if the Sony does have softer image quality, would I really notice it, as I don't pixel peep and would only be printing out photos in size 4 x 6"? Thanks for any help!
If you're not planning on enlarging photos beyond 4 x 6 I doubt you'd notice much difference. The Sony has some fancy sensors and image processing that the Canon doesn't: With the HX5V most people are after the new back-illuminated 'Exmor R' CMOS sensor, its supposed to have a 200% increase in sensitivity over other cameras in low light, though some users don't believe it works like it should. (Sony's WX1 and TX1 also have this sensor). Anti Motion Blur (takes up to 6 shots at high speed & iso and then picks the sharpest version of moving objects and copies it to the final image). iSweep Panorama. Allows you to sweep the camera horizontally to capture a 256 degree panoramic! A lot of fun and excellent results. Ok, so there are some other fancy features that make taking good pictures easier but if you like to play around with all the settings manually you might feel a bit limited. As far as picture quality, I don't think you'll have to worry about any blur, in fact, some complained about pictures being over sharpened. Compare these two test images to make your own opinion: Canon: http://126.96.36.199/PRODS/SX210IS/FULLRES/SX210IShSLI0080.jpg Sony: http://188.8.131.52/PRODS/HX5V/FULLRES/HX5VhSLI0125.JPG There are two other features that stand out to me about the Sony: It has a higher resolution of movie shooting 1080p vs. 720p. You'll only notice the difference if watching on a large TV though. Secondly, it has a GPS feature that allows for geotagging photos.
The advantages that the Canon has over the Sony: 14x zoom (28mm-392mm) vs 10x zoom (25-250mm). 9 different flash modes vs 4 on the Sony. The Canon takes much better (brighter) video than the Sony indoors only.
Overall I'd say the Sony has more features that make it fun and easy to use but the Canon probably outperforms the Sony if we're talking about image quality. Again, if you aren't really viewing your images at high resolutions than I might go with the HX5v or even go with the Sony WX1, you'll only be sacrificing the 10x zoom and full 1080p video resolution. If you want to research more, lookup comparisons between the two sensors: CMOS (Sony's) vs CCD (Canon's).