Huge optical zoom range with a 35mm equivalent of 28-504mm! Has an electronic viewfinder as well as a 3-inch LCD screen. Multi battery support. Camera will not use flash unless you pop it up.
Can only shoot 19-minutes or so of HD video at a time. No Camera RAW support. Lens cap falls off constantly, enough to drive you crazy!
One wonders why you even need a DSLR when you have this camera! The optics are sharp and the zoom range is INCREDIBLE, being equivalent in a 35mm camera to a range of 28mm wide angle to a 504mm telephoto. All the way in images retain adequate sharpness but I ... Read full review
One wonders why you even need a DSLR when you have this camera! The optics are sharp and the zoom range is INCREDIBLE, being equivalent in a 35mm camera to a range of 28mm wide angle to a 504mm telephoto. All the way in images retain adequate sharpness but I have noted some flattening of contrast which is pretty normal for zoom optics that have extreme range. Doing a LEVELS adjustment in your photo manipulation software usually completely straightens this out. There is an additional digital zoom but I do not use it as it reduces image quality. You have the option of setting which way this works in the SETUP menu. Also of note about this camera is the option of using the 3.0-inch LCD screen in the back or an electronic viewfinder. Because of the fact I've been a traditional 35mm camera user for years, I prefer the electronic viewfinder in most cases and find I can aim and hold the camera steady much easier when zoomed way in. The LCD screen comes handy when on a tripod and shooting things like panoramas. The camera's menu is divided into two sections, the SHOOTING menu and the SETUP menu. The menu comes up in the SHOOTING menu and to move from that to SETUP you hit left arrow and then go down arrow and then click back right again. There are LOTS of options in each menu and I highly suggest that you get familiar with all of them before going out and shooting pictures seriously.
This camera is quite different from the simple cameras that most Facebook shooters use in that you can chose a variety of different shooting modes as you would on a serious DSLR and yet there is no option for shooting in Camera RAW. The camera can shoot fully auto, Scene Program Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and fully manual if you so chose! Also contained is an interesting PANORAMA mode that allows shooting a 3-panel panorama and the camera will actually stitch the images together! Use a tripod for this! Of course you can also select movie mode too and it will shoot full 720P video with amazing quality! These are all selected by the rotating knob on top of the camera.
When shooting pictures with the camera, you have several format and size of image options. The biggest 35mm size, (4:3), produces a 14-megapixel image but file size can be pretty large especially when using the "Fine" mode. You can select smaller image sizes if for example you're going to post or email these images. It will also shoot a 16:9 image with a a 10-megapixel image being the largest size. You have a large amount of metering and autofocus options as well. These can allow you to select which of these will work best for the image you are shooting. The nice thing is that in movie mode, continuous autofocus can be selected and even a mode that tracks the subject across the frame maintaining perfect focus. The metering modes are versatile too, even allowing the selection of a spot meter if you wish. One of the real nice things about this camera is that you actually have control of the internal flash! Many point-and-shoot cameras will try to use flash in all low light situations and it's almost impossible to turn it off or keep it turned off. This camera if the flash is retracted, the camera uses available light and adjusts accordingly, if the flash is popped up, it uses it. This includes in daylight as flash fill. So long exposure night shots are possible without interference by the flash unit. You can also adjust the flash brightness in flash fill situations by =/- 1/3 exposure value...very nice!
The camera is surprisingly good at shooting movies! It can shoot full 720P video and of course 640x480 and 320x240. What's curious is that you can only shoot about 19-minutes of constant HD video and it appears that is the case because it can only store 2GB of material on internal RAM in the camera. What this means is that each scene in a movie cannot be longer than this 19-minutes, but you can shoot multiple scenes, (which are separate files), depending on the size of the card you have installed. Also, even though you hear the servo in the movie, you can set the camera to optical zoom in a movie and the zoom goes faster or slower with how far you move the zoom lever. I've always had an issue with being unable to zoom during a movie, and this camera handles this nicely. You can also set the autofocus to continuous and same with the image stabilization so things don't go out of focus when the subject moves closer or further from you.
So far, I've had no issues with running up to a 32GB SD card, although the manual only mentions 4 and 8GB cards. If it is one of the faster newer cards, the rate of writing and reading is quite enhanced, so use a class 4 card for best performance.
Likes: The Electronic Viewfinder...it's a great idea and makes steadying the camera handheld a lot easier. The side grip which also helps to hold the camera steady on real long shots. The fact it DOESN'T use flash unless you request it. Ability to create a 3-panel panorama right in the camera! The ability to shoot 720P video, certainly better than the VGA and the old Super 8 days in resolution. Audio while mono is excellent and very high fidelity!
Dislikes: The lens cap is always falling off and when shooting movies with a breeze the cap clacks loudly against the side of the camera. Take this off and stow it away while you're using the camera and don't leave it tied to the camera. I find the lens cap really annoying on this camera! The menu system is somewhat confusing because of a lot of options and over simplified button structure. You need to learn how to navigate this! For such a serious photographic instrument, there is no ability to shoot in Camera RAW but the JPEG images are amazing in their quality!
Overall a SUPERB camera even for a serious photographer such as myself. Most DSLR's require two or three optics to cover the range the lens on this camera does and the images are sharp with a minimum of flaring in adverse lighting situations. I highly recommend this camera for those who are more serious about their photography! If you need Camera RAW, go with a DSLR, but for everything else, this camera definitely cuts the mustard!