Sony SuperZoom in Tibet – sacrificing quality for good reasons


Flickr Album here.

If you are looking at mirrorless or even DSLR, superzooms may not be your target, considering its small sensor image quality, I myself included.

After my Tibet trip with a Sony HX-100 superzoom, I basically feel insufficient on its image quality and decided to step up to larger sensor. However, when i think again, that zoom range in small-medium size has really some unique edge. When i view my Tibet photos again, i could safely say, if I haven’t brought the superzoom for this trip, i wouldn’t have produced as many good shots as possible, despite the smaller sensor IQ.

In my Tibet trip, at least one-third of good shots are not possible without a superzoom camera.


Especially exotic trips like these that you might only go once in a life time, getting close isn’t an option when your eye spotted some moments of goodness far away, or the local culture or the subject just too dangerous/ impossible for a close range shoot, or the action will be gone in a few seconds before you get closer. You end up with only 2 telephoto options:  interchangeable-lens camera with big lens, or a superzoom. DSC00387DSC03121DSC00609DSC00703 DSC00840 DSC00929DSC00985

Obviously the former has image quality advantage, but the big weight/size issue can become a real burden, depends on how dedicated you want your shots. For me, superzooms is a very portable alternative if you decided not willing to carry those bulk but still don’t wanna miss great far away shots. And for travel, the zoom needed sometimes aren’t really a typical 70-200mm lens can reach. And further tele range will result in a HUGE lens needed, not to mention the needed to carry more than a lens and the need for changing lens. In this regard, those superzoom excel in some 400-1300mm range are just irreplaceable. DSC01549 DSC01592 DSC01852 DSC01860 DSC01994

As of today 2014 March, the Sony RX-10 is actually a superb superzoom with 1 inch sensor, constant F2.8! and built-in stabalization. Many more good choice there but another interesting one is about to come: CASIO EX-100, japan-only right now, offers a pocketable size with 28-300mm eqv constant f2.8 with 1/1.7 inch sensor. not sure about it yet but a pocketable constant f2.8 feels like an edge.

My strategy to “greedily” balance image quality, portability, and maximum possibility of capturing nice shots is:

I myself will carry my mirrorless e.g. my Fuji X-T1 with normal range in superb IQ, then to have your travelmate who is probably less photography-oriented to carry the Superzoom which they will usually find it easy to use and light to carry. When you see some real beauty far away, then you just grab your travelmate’s superzoom and get the shot. 😉


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