Face-Off: PowerShot SX130 IS vs PowerShot SX260 HS vs Cyber-shot HX20V vs Ixus 500 HS vs Coolpix S30 vs Cyber-shot RX100 vs Lumix FT4

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Canon PowerShot SX130 IS Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Sony Cyber-shot HX20V Canon Ixus 500 HS Nikon Coolpix S30 Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Panasonic Lumix FT4
Photo
Canon PowerShot SX130 IS
Overview - Full review
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS
Overview - Full review
Sony Cyber-shot HX20V
Overview - Full review
Canon Ixus 500 HS
Overview - Full review
Nikon Coolpix S30
Overview - Full review
Sony Cyber-shot RX100
Overview - Full review
Panasonic Lumix FT4
Overview - Full review
Price
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Overall Scene
Canon PowerShot SX130 IS
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS
Sony Cyber-shot HX20V
Canon Ixus 500 HS
Nikon Coolpix S30
Sony Cyber-shot RX100
Panasonic Lumix FT4
Score
3/5
4/5
5/5
4/5
2/5
5/5
4/5
Handling
4/5 4/5 4/5 3/5 4/5 3/5
Responsiveness
3/5 5/5 3/5 3/5 4/5 4/5
Picture Quality
3/5 5/5 4/5 2/5 5/5 3/5
Video
4/5 5/5 3/5 2/5 5/5 3/5
User Score
4/5 (9)
4/5 (21)
5/5 (2)
2/5 (4)
4/5 (15)
2/5 (3)
Specifications
Specifications
SensorCCD 12 Mpx, 1/2.3", 42 Mpx/cm
Lens 12x 28 -336 mm f/3.4 -5.6
StabilisationOptical
ViewfinderN.A.
Screen7.6 cm, TN, 230000 dots, 4:3,Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range)80 - 1600 ISO
Video mode1280 x 720 pixels,30 fps, Stereo
Internal memoryN.A.
External memory
Connections
Power source2 AA / N.A.
Waterproof, N.A.
Shock resistantno, N.A.
Dimensions/Weight73 x 113 x 46 mm / 308 g
Specifications
SensorBSI CMOS 12 Mpx, 1/2.3", 42 Mpx/cm
Lens 20x 25 -500 mm f/3.5 -6.8
StabilisationOptical
ViewfinderN.A.
Screen7.5 mm, not TN, 461000 dots, 4:3,Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range)100 - 3200 ISO
Video mode1920 x 1080 pixels,24 fps, Stereo
Internal memoryN.A.
External memory
Connections
Power sourceN.A. N.A. / NB-6L (3,5 Wh)
Waterproofno, N.A.
Shock resistantno, N.A.
Dimensions/Weight63 x 107 x 33 mm / 225 g
Specifications
SensorBSI CMOS 18 Mpx, 1/2.3", 63 Mpx/cm
Lens 20x 25 -500 mm f/3.2 -5.6
StabilisationOptical
ViewfinderN.A.
Screen7.5 mm, not TN, 921600 dots, 4:3,Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range)100 - 3200 ISO
Video mode1920 x 1080 pixels,50 fps, Stereo
Internal memory105MB
External memory
Connections
Power sourceN.A. N.A. / NP-BG1 (3.4 Wh)
Waterproofno, N.A.
Shock resistantno, N.A.
Dimensions/Weight63 x 107 x 36 mm / 243 g
Specifications
SensorBSI CMOS 10 Mpx, 1/3", 58 Mpx/cm
Lens 12x 28 -336 mm f/3.4 -5.6
StabilisationOptical
ViewfinderN.A.
Screen7.5 mm, not TN, 461000 dots, 4:3,Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range)100 - 3200 ISO
Video mode1920 x 1080 pixels,24 fps, Stereo
Internal memoryN.A.
External memory
Connections
Power sourceN.A. N.A. / NB-9L (3.1 Wh)
Waterproofno, N.A.
Shock resistantno, N.A.
Dimensions/Weight56 x 87 x 19 mm / 156 g
Specifications
SensorCCD 10 Mpx, 1/3", 58 Mpx/cm
Lens 3x 29 -87 mm f/3.3 -5.9
Stabilisationno
ViewfinderN.A.
Screen6.7 cm, TN, 230000 dots, 4:3,Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range)NA - NA
Video mode1280 x 720 pixels,30 fps, Mono
Internal memory47MB
External memory
Connections
Power source2 AA / N.A.
Waterproofyes, 3 m
Shock resistantyes, 0.8 m
Dimensions/Weight66 x 102 x 40 mm / 206 g
Specifications
SensorCMOS 20 Mpx, 1", 17 Mpx/cm
Lens 3.6x 28 -100 mm f/1.8 -4.9
StabilisationOptical
ViewfinderN.A.
Screen7.5 cm, not TN, 1230000 dots, 4:3,Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range)100 - 6400 ISO
Video mode1920 x 1080 pixels,50 fps, Stereo
Internal memoryNA
External memory
Connections
Power sourceN.A. N.A. / NP-BX1 (4.5 Wh)
Waterproofno, N.A.
Shock resistantno, N.A.
Dimensions/Weight59 x 103 x 37 mm / 233 g
Specifications
SensorCCD 12 Mpx, 1/2.3", 42 Mpx/cm
Lens 4.6x 28 -128 mm f/3.3 -5.9
StabilisationOptical
ViewfinderN.A.
Screen7.5 cm, not TN, 230000 dots, 4:3,Not touch-sensitive
Sensitivity (ISO range)100 - 1600 ISO
Video mode1920 x 1080 pixels,50 fps, Mono
Internal memory0.02GB
External memory
Connections
Power sourceN.A. N.A. / DMW-BCF10E (3.4Wh)
Waterproofyes, 12 m
Shock resistantyes, 2 m
Dimensions/Weight66 x 104 x 25 mm / 192 g
Conclusion
Under its clumsy-looking casing, the SX130 IS is actually a pretty decent compact. It offers good picture quality, a 720p HD video mode and has plenty of settings for users looking for greater control.
The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS is a very nice update of the SX230. The 4:3-format screen has returned, the zoom lens and electronics are great quality, and the flash now only pops out when you actually want to use it! However, battery life is too tight (especially if you have the GPS switched on) for this camera to get a fifth star.
The Sony HX20V is a very nice camera indeed. It has plenty of features, offers good performances, and takes great pictures ... so long as you don't mind their slightly 'processed' look. The lens, however, could deliver more consistent levels of sharpness across the frame, as it's no better (and in some situations actually a bit worse) than the lenses in the HX10V and some other competitors.
The Canon Ixus 500 HS is one seriously attractive pocket camera. It also happens to perform well in pretty much any situation, so long as you can handle the slightly disappointing battery life and you don't plan on printing large-sized pictures. However, we can't help thinking Canon could taken things further by replacing the buttons entirely with a sleek touchscreen interface ...
With this camera, the glass is either half empty or half full depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, the Nikon S30 isn't a very good camera, and Olympus makes much better waterproof snappers for not much more money. On the other hand, as a low-cost, waterproof kids' camera for under £100, it crushes the competition and is the only such model we've tested that manages to bag a two star review (and not just by the skin of its teeth)!
The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 takes pictures that are often comparable in quality to an SLR or a mirrorless camera. In fact, depending oh what lens you use, the RX100 can even prove superior. Although there's scope for nit-picking, as far as expert compacts go, only the much bulkier Canon G1 X isn't completely crushed by this new arrival. Sony has raised the stakes for its competitors: from now on, this is the kind of quality we'll expect from expert compacts!
The Panasonic Lumix FT4 is a straight copy of the FT3. Its only new feature is a boosted GPS which is a minor, if pleasant, addition. This year's FT camera is still likely to retain its position as top dog in the waterproof compact market in 2012, but it doesn't change the game in any significant way. Plus, it still has a fair share of downsides (the screen, in particular).
Pros

+

Good overall picture quality

+

Stabilised 12x zoom

+

Plenty of settings available

+

Good auto modes

+

720p video mode with zoom and stereo sound

+

Very good general picture quality, especially at long focal lengths

+

Good build quality, nice design and handling

+

Flash now only pops out when you actually want to use it

+

Full HD video with decent picture quality and stereo sound

+

Good build quality, design and handling

+

Good screen with relatively accurate display quality

+

Full HD video at up to 50p with stereo sound

+

Advanced image processing, digital noise kept in check

+

Very good general responsiveness

+

Great design, top-notch build and materials

+

Ultra-compact for a camera with these tech specs

+

Noise handled well up to 800 ISO

+

Lens gives consistent quality at all focal lengths

+

Generally easy to use

+

Original design, easy to use in two hands

+

Reworked, simplified interface, suitable for kids who can't read yet (icons)

+

Unusual/fun/handy functions (interval timer etc.)

+

Runs on AA batteries, which can be practical

+

Image quality better than in direct rivals

+

Unrivalled picture quality for a compact camera (sensitivity, sharpness at wide-angle settings)

+

Good build quality and design (lens ring, settings wheel) with plenty of customisable features

+

Good responsiveness once it's running

+

Full HD, 50 fps video with stereo sound

+

Waterproof to 12 m, shockproof to 2 m

+

Image quality at wide-angle settings and low ISO settings

+

Simple interface, effective iA mode

+

Image quality in video mode

+

Advanced GPS tools

Cons

-

Screen has tight vertical viewing angles and limited definition

-

Only one zoom speed (slow)

-

No exposure histogram in shooting mode

-

No HDMI output for 720p videos

-

Powered by AA batteries

-

Responsiveness could be better

-

Pop-up flash could put some users off

-

Battery life is quite low (230 photos with GPS off)

-

Limited video framerate: 24 fps

-

No RAW mode and Jpeg shots are quite heavily processed—too processed for some users

-

Lens quality could be more consistent, especially at mid and long focal lengths

-

Buttons packed together, handling could be improved

-

Poor battery life, micro SD card

-

A bit slow to start up

-

Results aren't as sharp as market leaders

-

Video mode is a bit disappointing (fps, image quality, sound)

-

Interface can be perplexing, especially if you're used to regular compacts

-

Plastic finish, grip could be better

-

Screen viewing angles

-

No stabilisation

-

No adjustable sensitivity settings

-

Image quality and video lag behind current market standards

-

Lens quality could be a little more consistent at telephoto settings

-

Start-up is a bit on the slow side

-

Battery life (330 photos, compared with 400 for the Panasonic LX5)

-

Lens quality could be more consistent across the frame

-

Noise and smoothing visible from 400 ISO

-

Low-def screen

-

Sound in video mode