I want to buy a new snapshot camera. Because i want a new one with geo-tagging, I haven't such a great choice. So the following three cameras are my favorites:


  • Canon Powershot SX230 HS
  • Sony DSC-HX7V
  • Panasonic Lumix TZ20

But now they look all very similar to me. The biggest difference I can see as a beginner is the optical zoom. Is this correct? Or is there a more important difference that I can't see?

And if it is only the optical zoom. How much is the difference between 10x and 16x? Do I feel any difference?


I never tried to hold a 384e mm zoom on such a camera, but as @dpolitt mentioned it might be very difficult. You may want to try that at a store or read up on that.

But, leaving any other image quality aspects aside, I think the wide angle focal length might be much more interesting. 24e to 28e mm, from your given comparison, is quite a difference which cannot be compensated by moving your feet as much as on the narrow angle end. If that is important to your needs, of course.

  • @drewbenn Thank you for that, and everyone for this website :)
    – jfk
    Dec 16 '11 at 10:30

Specifically speaking to optical zoom, I would say it is very important and a great benefit to have optical zoom over no optical zoom. Practically speaking to the three cameras you noted though, the difference between 10x and 16x is not very important.

At 10x you are going to be zoomed to a 35mm equivalent of 250mm, which is quite a lot of zoom. At that distance, with a small camera, you are going to have trouble holding the camera still enough to even see the subject, let alone get a clear picture unless it is very bright sunlight.

You will see a difference between 10x and 16x, but in actual usefulness, I wouldn't worry much about this as a differentiator in a purchase. Other things are probably more important, such as the menu, the size of the camera, the features like image stabilization, maximum aperture, high ISO performance, etc.


Optical zoom is much better then the digital zoom, but if you do not like to zoom when you doing pics, then do not worry if it's 10x or 16x. Of course it could be that later you will find yourself changing your mind and you will need zoom more and more. So then 16x will be something what you can start to use. It really depends on your style of photography. But what is for sure do not care about digital zoom :)

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