Last year I finally decided to buy my first DSLR and traded up by selling my Panasonic FZ 28 to get a Canon T1i. I’ve been very happy with the Canon but also wanted to fill the gap of getting a point and shoot for portability with a decent zoom that could also double as a good video recorder in the $300 range. So I started my hunt for this a few months back and narrowed it down to 3 cameras. The Canon SX210 IS, the Panasonic ZS7, and the Sony HX5V.

After reading sever reviews for all of these I quickly discarded the Canon as it didn’t get much of a recommendation. Then after reading quite a few reviews for the Panasonic and Sony it quickly became evident that they were both good contenders depending on what features were most important to me.

These were the key features I was focused on between the two models:

Sony HX5V

  • 10x Optical Zoom
  • Movie Mode: Supports both AVCHD and H.264 MOV with max resolution of 1920×1080 (60fps)
  • Low light mode including an HDR mode
  • GPS: Tagging of lat/long in exif data
  • iSweep Panorama mode

Panasonic ZS7

  • 12x Optical Zoom
  • Movie Mode: AVCHD Lite with max resolution of 1280×720 (30fps)
  • GPS: Location name and landmark details on-screen (driven by the GPS and a built-in database)

I ended up trading off the better quality images and longer zoom of the Panasonic for some of the additional features that I really liked about the Sony. Here’s some of the main points for my decision.

  • I’m a huge fan of panoramas and having that feature built in to the camera is convenient without having to manually stitch images after the fact
  • Low light performance was a little better on the Sony. They have a special mode for this as well as an HDR mode that works well too.
  • AVCHD is a pain to work with in editors. I like having the option of native H.264 built in for videos
  • While the GPS is bare bones on the Sony, reviewers said it was more reliable

Here are a few sample low light photos taken without flash, panorama’s, and a video I recorded while I was in Michigan this summer.


These are two great cameras pretty well matched on features and have gained quite a following online for people to try and decide between them. It really boils down to your most important features. Here’s a few resources to try and help distinguish them more in-depth.

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