Face-Off: SP-820 UZ vs Lumix FZ200 vs X-S1 vs PowerShot SX40 HS vs SZ-31 MR

Olympus SP-820 UZ
Olympus SP-820 UZ
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Fujifilm X-S1
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Olympus SZ-31 MR
Olympus SZ-31 MR

Panasonic Lumix FZ200
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Panasonic Lumix FZ200
 
Olympus SP-820 UZ Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Fujifilm X-S1 Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Olympus SZ-31 MR
Photo
Olympus SP-820 UZ
Overview - Full review
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Overview - Full review
Fujifilm X-S1
Overview - Full review
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Overview - Full review
Olympus SZ-31 MR
Overview - Full review
Price
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£
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amazon.co.uk 235.00  
PRICE HISTORY  
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£
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Slrhut 289.95  
Slrhut 309.95  
Amazon 339.00  
John lewis 339.00  
Currys 349.99  
Overall Scene
Olympus SP-820 UZ
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Fujifilm X-S1
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Olympus SZ-31 MR
Score
3/5
5/5
5/5
4/5
4/5
Handling
3/5 5/5 5/5 4/5 4/5
Speed
4/5 5/5 5/5 4/5 4/5
Image Quality
3/5 4/5 4/5 5/5 4/5
Video
2/5 5/5 4/5 5/5 4/5
User Score
5/5 (1)
4/5 (11)
4/5 (5)
4/5 (2)
4/5 (4)
Specifications
Specifications
Sensor CMOS 14 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 49 Mpx/cm
Lens 40x 22-896 mm f/3.4 -5.7
Stabilisation Mechanical
Viewfinder NA
Screen 7.6 cm, TN, 460000 dots, 4:3, Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range) 80 - 6400 ISO ext. 28 mm
Video mode 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps , Mono
Internal memory 43 MB
External memory SDHC SDXC
Connections USB HDMI
Power source 4 AA / NA
Waterproof no
Shock resistant no
Dimensions/Weight 78 x 117 x 96 mm / 462 g
Specifications
Sensor CMOS 12 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 42 Mpx/cm
Lens 24x 25-600 mm f/2.8 -2.8
Stabilisation Optical
Viewfinder Electronic
Screen 7.6 cm, not TN, 460000 dots, 4:3, Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range) 100 - 1600 ISO ext. 39 mm
Video mode 1920 x 1080 pixels, 50 fps , Stereo
Internal memory 70 MB
External memory SDHC SDXC
Connections USB AV HDMI Microphone Flash hot-shoe Power
Power source DMW-BLC12E (8.7Wh)
Waterproof no
Shock resistant no
Dimensions/Weight 87 x 125 x 120 mm / 573 g
Specifications
Sensor BSI CMOS 12 Mpx, 2/3" , 20 Mpx/cm
Lens 26x 24-624 mm f/2.8 -5.6
Stabilisation Optical
Viewfinder Electronic
Screen 7.6 cm, NC, 460000 dots, 4:3, Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range) 100 - 3200 ISO ext. 72 mm
Video mode 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps , Stereo
Internal memory NC
External memory SDHC SDXC
Connections Flash hot-shoe
Power source NC
Waterproof no
Shock resistant no
Dimensions/Weight / 958 g
Specifications
Sensor BSI CMOS 12 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 42 Mpx/cm
Lens 35x 24-840 mm f/2.7 -5.8
Stabilisation Optical
Viewfinder Electronic
Screen 6.8 cm, not TN, 230000 dots, 4:3, Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range) 100 - 3200 ISO ext. 34 mm
Video mode 1920 x 1080 pixels, 24 fps , Stereo
Internal memory NA
External memory SDHC SDXC
Connections USB HDMI Flash hot-shoe
Power source NB-10L
Waterproof no
Shock resistant no
Dimensions/Weight 92 x 123 x 108 mm / 590 g
Specifications
Sensor BSI CMOS 16 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 56 Mpx/cm
Lens 24x 25-600 mm f/3 -6.9
Stabilisation Mechanical
Viewfinder NA
Screen 7.6 cm, not TN, 920000 dots, 3:2, Monopoint
Sensitivity (ISO range) 80 - 6400 ISO ext. 27 mm
Video mode 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps , Stereo
Internal memory 43 MB
External memory SDHC SDXC
Connections USB AV HDMI
Power source LI-50B (3.5 Wh)
Waterproof no
Shock resistant no
Dimensions/Weight 69 x 110 x 40 mm / 237 g
Conclusion
The Olympus SP-820 UZ is much cheaper than other bridge cameras with zoom lenses this powerful. Unfortunately, it's also not as well built as these higher-end models. Plus, image quality will only really be good enough to suit users shooting outdoors in broad daylight.
Compared with its predecessors, the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 moves things up a gear thanks to its f/2.8 constant aperture lens. Image quality hasn't taken a huge leap forwards but it remains excellent. With top-notch quality in photo and video modes, and sheer originality, the FZ200 sets a new standard in today's bridge market.
With its manual zoom, good-quality EVF, sturdy build, good responsiveness and top-end picture quality, the Fujifilm X-S1 is one of the most attractive bridge cameras out there at the moment. Image quality at mid-zoom settings is the only slightly embarrassing blip in this otherwise five-star camera
The Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is an excellent bridge, so long as you don't mind the smooth, shallow grip handle. In fact, it's probably the best compromise out there right now for pure picture quality (for Jpeg only, there's no RAW mode). However, the low-def screen and unimpressive responsiveness ultimately cost this bridge a fifth star.
The Olympus SZ-31 MR corrects the main flaw of last year's SZ-30 MR, as it's now much easier to see what's going on onscreen from various angles. A few nice new features have been added too, including a touchscreen interface and improved MR modes. So while Canon and Sony high-end superzooms handle noise more effectively, the SZ-31 MR is a surprisingly good value camera that's still a generally excellent choice.
Pros

+

Decent quality lens (in spite of its large focal range!)

+

Full HD video with a relatively sharp picture

+

Excellent grip, big and comfortable handle

+

Easy to use

+

Good image quality up to 800 ISO

+

Lens with constant f/2.8 aperture

+

Full HD video at 50 fps with stereo sound

+

Good responsiveness

+

Good design and handling, easy to use, customisable features

+

RAW and Jpeg mode

+

Precise, pleasant-to-use EVF

+

Good general responsiveness

+

RAW mode

+

Excellent finish

+

Good manual zoom

+

Picture quality up to 1600 ISO

+

Interesting EXR modes

+

Simple, clear interface

+

General picture quality (sharpness and sensitivity)

+

Full HD video with good-quality stereo sound

+

Record-breaking zoom in a compact camera

+

Lens quality on par with competitors (or better in some cases)

+

Pleasant to use and handle

+

Original MR functions (shooting two 720p videos, taking a photo while filming video, etc.)

+

1080p HD video with stereo sound and optical zoom

Cons

-

Digital noise could be handled more effectively

-

Build quality isn't always up to scratch (battery compartment) / Screen is below par

-

No advanced settings

-

Video noise in low light, poor audio quality

-

Low-def, low-contrast viewfinder with sequential display

-

Plastic build, could be better quality

-

Autofocus is a touch slow at telephoto settings in low light

-

Heavy

-

Image freezes slightly when focusing

-

Picture quality could be better at mid-range zoom settings

-

A higher resolution screen would be nice

-

Design and handling could be better (the grip handle in particular)

-

No RAW mode

-

Could be more responsive, a bit slow to start-up

-

Sensitivity could be better: no match for Sony or Canon superzooms

-

Sound gets muffled when you zoom in video mode

-

Hard plastics aren't as pleasant as materials in some competitor models

-

No battery guide to make sure you get it in the right way round