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Travel Compact: Panasonic TZ70 vs Canon SX730 vs Nikon A900 ?

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Old Wednesday 14th February 2018, 18:12   #1
MICHAEL GILLETT
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Travel Compact: Panasonic TZ70 vs Canon SX730 vs Nikon A900 ?

I'm wanting to get a 'Travel Compact' for some half decent bird photos - I've decided against a bulkier bridge/superzoom camera. The choice seems to be between these three (I dismissed the Panasonic TZ80/90 as I read that the larger sensor pixel count is likely to lead to worse image quality in low light).

My knowledge of cameras is a bit limited so I've been reading reviews but am still unsure which to go for. The Canon has the advantage of a 40x optical zoom over the 30x with the Panasonic. An extra 33% zoom is appealing but does the Canons higher pixel count mean the image quality is likely to drop off more at the maximum zoom? I read that the image quality of the Canon isn't the best - though these comments weren't from birders. Also the canon has no viewfinder (which I understand helps stabilise the camera when zooming in a lot).

So has anyone compared the Panasonic against the Canon, or can advise anyway?

The Nikon A900 has a 35x zoom but again I read that the image quality isn't the best (because of the higher pixel count?)

Lastly, excuse my ignorance, but does having RAW format (Panasonic), allow you to improve image quality post processing (especially if you were cropping)? On the other hand, could the lower pixel count of the Panasonic create problems if you were cropping?

Looking forward to being educated!!
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Old Wednesday 14th February 2018, 19:00   #2
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I feel cameras without a viewfinder usually are more problems than they are worth.

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Old Thursday 15th February 2018, 02:58   #3
etudiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MICHAEL GILLETT View Post
I'm wanting to get a 'Travel Compact' for some half decent bird photos - I've decided against a bulkier bridge/superzoom camera. The choice seems to be between these three (I dismissed the Panasonic TZ80/90 as I read that the larger sensor pixel count is likely to lead to worse image quality in low light).

My knowledge of cameras is a bit limited so I've been reading reviews but am still unsure which to go for. The Canon has the advantage of a 40x optical zoom over the 30x with the Panasonic. An extra 33% zoom is appealing but does the Canons higher pixel count mean the image quality is likely to drop off more at the maximum zoom? I read that the image quality of the Canon isn't the best - though these comments weren't from birders. Also the canon has no viewfinder (which I understand helps stabilise the camera when zooming in a lot).

So has anyone compared the Panasonic against the Canon, or can advise anyway?

The Nikon A900 has a 35x zoom but again I read that the image quality isn't the best (because of the higher pixel count?)

Lastly, excuse my ignorance, but does having RAW format (Panasonic), allow you to improve image quality post processing (especially if you were cropping)? On the other hand, could the lower pixel count of the Panasonic create problems if you were cropping?

Looking forward to being educated!!
Welcome to a long and stony road.
I have exactly the same issue, seeking a compact camera that can also deliver a decent zoom. Thus far, nothing offered has been adequate imho.
Compact zoom cameras have little prestige, so they get treated as undeserving, the red haired stepchild of the big brands.
The second tier treatment starts with the lens,usually designed to hit a marketing spec number rather than some optimal engineering balance.
So the lens will give fuzzy images over a longer zoom range rather than sharp images over a shorter range.
Post processing is a non starter here; even if RAW is offered, there is so much optical adjustment taking place in the camera to smooth out the lens shortcomings that RAW post processing is an exercise in masochism rather than a useful improvement.
Weather sealing will not be provided, adjustments will require deep menu dives, manuals will not be intelligible or offered in hard copy and view finders, if offered, will be very small and dim.
Apart from these minor issues, color too will be idiosyncratic, more muted in Panasonic products, more fizzy in Canon offerings, different balances in Sony and Nikon, so picking the right supplier is critical to get photos that please.

To my mind, these cameras fall short because they have no focus.
Price, zoom range, compact size and image quality are conflicting attributes.
I'd love to see a camera that emphasized quality rather than price, but nothing small with good zoom is offered presently.
Sony has been the most adventuresome, expanding the price envelope with their big and well reviewed RX10IV bridge camera. While Canon has remained stuck in the sub $500 space with all the compromises that implies, Panasonic has begun to offer compact zooms with a bigger sensor at higher price points. Their TZ100 was however a dud imho, delivering unimpressive images, but hopefully the new TZ200 will be better.
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Old Thursday 15th February 2018, 19:39   #4
MICHAEL GILLETT
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Thanks for your advice.

Isn't a 'great' image quality with a compact camera at a long zoom range pushing the boundaries of what's technically possible because you can only get a small sensor in a true compact (as opposed to a bridge camera)?

Looks like the imminent Panasonic TZ200 will only have a 15x zoom which sounds too low for most birds unless you're happy with a distant rcord shot.

I'm tempted to go with the TZ70 partly because its so much cheaper at the moment, on offer at 219. I'm hoping it will produce 'good enough' photos for my needs.
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Old Thursday 15th February 2018, 20:01   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MICHAEL GILLETT View Post
Thanks for your advice.

Isn't a 'great' image quality with a compact camera at a long zoom range pushing the boundaries of what's technically possible because you can only get a small sensor in a true compact (as opposed to a bridge camera)?

Looks like the imminent Panasonic TZ200 will only have a 15x zoom which sounds too low for most birds unless you're happy with a distant rcord shot.

I'm tempted to go with the TZ70 partly because its so much cheaper at the moment, on offer at 219. I'm hoping it will produce 'good enough' photos for my needs.
Hi Michael,
I have the TZ70 and it does deliver 'good enough' photos.
It has served me faithfully for several years, endured some hard knocks but still works fine. I'd love to get something better, but have not found it yet. Certainly the TZ100 was a disappointment, less zoom and unimpressive image quality made for a quick return...
For your TZ70, add a charger plus a spare battery or two (the knock-offs work fine and are way cheaper) but only use top tier SD cards. I use the SanDisk Extreme Pro cards, 32 Gigs, they allow me to take a couple of thousand shots, enough for a full trip. The card then serves as the low cost archival backup copy of the download to the computer. It is not reused, even if it is only partly filled.
Note that the TZ70 is very capable, but really badly documented. The user manual is only available on line, is poorly formatted, very detailed and very hard to use effectively.

Note that I used a Canon SX260 before, a precursor to the 730, with only a 20x zoom rather than the 40x of the 730.
It gave much snappier colors than my Panasonic, but I thought the view finder on the Panasonic would help me with more distant birds. Sadly it does not in actual use, it is too small and too dim.
So the 730 may be a decent alternative to the TZ70 for basic record shots.

Last edited by etudiant : Thursday 15th February 2018 at 20:09.
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Old Friday 16th February 2018, 17:25   #6
MICHAEL GILLETT
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Thanks again etudiant (or whatever ypou name is!)

Think I'm still leaning towards the TZ70, partly because its about 100 cheaper than the Canon SX730, Sounds like the Canon has no digital zoom which may or may not be much of a disadvantage. My nagging doubt about the TX70 vs SX730 is several reviews mentioning colours being more muted or less snappy/zippy with the TZ70 - that doesn't mean less sharp though does it? And can these things be adjusted via Photoshop if I get a few pics I'd like to liven up?
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Old Friday 16th February 2018, 19:05   #7
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Originally Posted by MICHAEL GILLETT View Post
Thanks again etudiant (or whatever ypou name is!)

Think I'm still leaning towards the TZ70, partly because its about 100 cheaper than the Canon SX730, Sounds like the Canon has no digital zoom which may or may not be much of a disadvantage. My nagging doubt about the TX70 vs SX730 is several reviews mentioning colours being more muted or less snappy/zippy with the TZ70 - that doesn't mean less sharp though does it? And can these things be adjusted via Photoshop if I get a few pics I'd like to liven up?
Think that is correct, but have never bothered with Photoshop.
Panasonic color is very muted, sort of like a faded print. It's all still there, one just has to look for it. The camera does allow one to boost the colors if desired.
Really color is not a deal killer for me, but I would have very much liked the Panasonic to be a little sharper. That was also true of my SX260, so now think the problem is inherent, it is hard to make a good cheap big zoom lens. Panasonic/Leica could not even do it for the ZS100, even at only 10x zoom.
I plan to try again with the ZS200, they charge more for it, so perhaps is is better.

Last edited by etudiant : Saturday 17th February 2018 at 12:34.
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Old Sunday 18th February 2018, 08:14   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MICHAEL GILLETT View Post
Thanks again etudiant (or whatever ypou name is!)

Think I'm still leaning towards the TZ70, partly because its about 100 cheaper than the Canon SX730, Sounds like the Canon has no digital zoom which may or may not be much of a disadvantage. My nagging doubt about the TX70 vs SX730 is several reviews mentioning colours being more muted or less snappy/zippy with the TZ70 - that doesn't mean less sharp though does it? And can these things be adjusted via Photoshop if I get a few pics I'd like to liven up?
If small size and weight is very important the TZ70 is an alternative but don't expect to much of the image quality. Handling is a bit finicky and slow as well with a small viewfinder. Any fast moving birds will be quite hard to document.

As an alternative I would look at the FZ300 which is a larger but more usable camera with a faster (constant f2.8) and sharper lens (same sensor size though). IMO it's better value for money today (price has come down lately).
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