I wanted to get a digital camera before my trip to Ireland this Summer. Susan has a compact camera, so I was wanting something with a powerful zoom. I narrowed my choices down to two cameras: the Canon SX100IS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4K, both around $230. Neither has a viewfinder and instead rely on the LCD screen on the back. Both use SD cards. Both are 8 megapixel cameras with optical image stabilization and 10x zoom lenses. The Panasonic’s lens varies from 28mm to 280mm while the Canon was 36 mm to 360 mm. That means the Panasonic can take wide angle shots, but the Canon can zoom things in closer. I liked the wide angle feature because sometimes you can’t back up far enough to fit something in the frame. From reviews I found, both cameras were ranked pretty highly and people on Amazon liked them.
Jeb said no question I should get a Canon. Consumer Reports seemed to rank the Canon a little higher, but Panasonic’s repair history was better. The Panasonic is a little more compact and weighs a couple of ounces less than the Canon (9 oz. vs. 11). The Panasonic looks better too and I was leaning that way. Finally today I got the latest Consumer Reports which ranked the Canon higher than the previous (but very similar) version of the Panasonic. They also liked a Sony, but the Sony uses Sony memory sticks instead of SD cards, which was a deal breaker for me. The deciding factor was probably image quality and the Canon had the edge, getting a half full circle from Consumer Reports while the Panasonic got a neutral circle (one increment lower). Also, one thing I thought would be good about the Canon was it uses 2 AA batteries while the Panasonic uses a unique internal battery. But people were saying the battery life of the Canon was very short and the Panasonic was amazing. Consumer Reports, however, said they could take hundreds of pictures with 2 AA batteries, so that seems to be a wash (though I bet CR used some kind of super AA batteries that I am too cheap to buy).
So tonight I went ahead and ordered the Canon. It comes in silver or black and I got black.