Top positive review
154 of 155 people found this helpful
A Pocket Rocket.
on 6 January 2015
Firstly, having read a lot of reviews there is quite a lot of confusion on what this camera can and can't do. I'm an experienced amateur photographer who has owned an awful lot of cameras, from full frame DSLR's all the way down to cameras like this so perhaps I can help.
Firstly, this camera is what it is, a point and shoot type with a phenomenally long zoom for it's size. This means there will be compromises on certain things. The first thing to understand is that it is pointless to view shots from a camera like this at 100% magnification on a computer, the shots will just look horrible. Even shots from many DSLR's don't look great doing this. As a guide, I find that shooting general scenes at close distances then you could probably print up to A3 size from this camera, at full zoom, depending on the light (more is better obviously) then A4 is probably about right. Yes you will lose some image quality at full zoom, but this will happen with any camera with a zoom of this range. That being said, for the right subject it can still be excellent, just remember, the more light the better.
Now, how to get the best results from it? Well I can say that Superior auto is excellent 95% of the time, almost foolproof, which is good news for people who aren't experienced. It will produce bright and contrasty photos, which most people love. If you want a bit more dynamic range ( the range between black shadows and blown out highlights ) then switch to aperture priority and "realistic" picture mode, it definitely unblocks the shadows and protects the highlights a bit more. The dynamic range is generally pretty good on this camera, better than most others of it's type I would say. If you're going to take a lot of telephoto shots then switch to Superior auto as it has a neat trick, hold the shutter button down for a second or two and it will take a high speed burst of shots and merge them together to create a single shot which has less noise, it's very effective 99% of the time. I recommend turning the shutter noise off ( I have it permanently switched off anyway, making the camera shutter almost silent ). I also recommend Superior auto for low light, it does the same thing and gets much better results.
In a nutshell, as I said, Superior auto is very good at getting it right most of the time, if it doesn't then you'll need to learn some basic photography skills to improve on it and tweak the settings on the camera, I'd recommend that to anyone anyway.
So what do I love about this camera apart from the awesome zoom? well the exposure compensation dial for a start, that is a brilliant feature for protecting the highlights or shadows quickly, shooting in aperture priority mode. It's one of the reasons I prefer this camera over the Panasonic TZ's, a big reason in fact. The chunky grip is another, it makes the camera much nicer to hold if you don't have dainty hands. The LCD is excellent, I just shield it in bright light if I have too, no biggie for me. The build quality is also very decent, it feels well built overall. Battery life is excellent and you can charge it from a USB power pack, another big one if you're hiking or camping. Charge time is also pretty quick. The image stabilisation is also very effective, impressively so, which means you can get better image quality if you know what you're doing (and sometimes if you don't). Video is very good, I don't take much but it's more than capable of excellent high quality clips. All in all, for what it is, it's hard to fault this camera at it's price point now. But there are few things I need to point out.
If you want a camera for low light shooting this is not it's forte, it can do it but over ISO 800 it falls apart. You're ok for shooting things that don't move, such a nightscapes etc, you can use the image stabilisation to reduce the shutter speed and get better quality. For moving subjects it's not going to be great if you want to print or display large sizes, that's just the limitation of it's slow lens and small sensor. That being said it will beat many phone cameras so it might good enough for some.
It doesn't have flash compensation so you can't manually adjust the flash output directly, not a biggie but a little annoying for me. You can use different flash settings but its not as flexible. The good news is that you can mount an additional flash if you want to, a nice bonus feature that most cameras of this type don't have.
So in summary, an excellent little camera with a superb zoom range and lots of bells and whistles on it. It's strength is it's zoom range and the ability to nail shots using Superior Auto. In experienced hands it's capable of quite a bit more, but don't let that put you off if you're a novice, if you're happy with an Iphone or similar you'll love this camera. It's not for night-owls unless you're using flash for social shots, in which case it'll do the job. It's not for pixel peepers or monitor lickers, there are other cameras for that, but for general shooting it's a very versatile and capable little beastie - or a pocket rocket as I like to call it.