Thursday, December 16, 2010

Which Travel Camera Rules The Ratings -Nikon P100 or Canon PowerShot SX20 IS

This is the Nikon P100

Travel lends itself to a very specific type of point and shoot camera, don't you think? Have you been trying to decide between a Nikon P100 or a Canon SX20 IS? That is exactly what I am doing as I look for a new every day camera that will allow me to not carry a heavy backpack with digital SLR gear all day when traveling. It will also double as a back up my digital SLR.

When I was buying that first DSLR, I faced the exact same dilemma. Canon or Nikon... Nikon or Canon... which one is best.

I am focusing my attention on the top two manufacturers in this situation, even though there are other good cameras in the travel category. By the way, these digital compacts are also known for their "super zoom" capabilities. Panasonic also has a very good model, the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ40, but I will restrict this discussion to the Nikon or Canon choice.

Find a complete list of Point and Shoot Cameras at the Amazon Marketplace

It's true, these two camera makers have a lock on the market. They can swager into any digital camera expo with confidence. There are a couple of good reasons for this, too.

First, they have good cameras. Their engineers and designers apparently listen to their camera buyers' feedback, as well as doing their best to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to new technology. They usually put forth excellent products.

Second, they both have excellent marketing programs. And usually, the cameras they promote do what they say, so there is trust in the products.

The Competitor - Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Cameras that are considered for the travel camera category can also be found in the super-zoom category. That is because of the ability to take pictures at wide angles as well as from a distance in the "up close and personal", or "zoomed to catch the whites of their eyes from 100 yards" mode. Simply said, they can get a huge range of focal length shots.

Now, let's have a gander at these two cameras: Nikon P100 and Canon SX20 IS. They are quite similar when you look closely at the feature sets. In fact they are so close in many areas, I will not even bother to point those out, because if one camera has a certain element, you can pretty much count on the other having an identical one.

So here are the differences.

The Nikon P100 has a higher capacity video recording system, with the ability to record 1080p at 30 frames per second. It also has the better LCD screen with 3" vs 2.5" and twice the number of dots per inch for better viewing in tough light situations. It has a higher zoom ratio at 26x (26-678mm) vs 20x (28-560mm) and higher ISO range.

The Canon SX20 wins in fewer categories, but they are important ones. One factor that is not as important as it used to be is the sensor size. The Canon SX20IS has a 12.1-megapixel sensor as opposed to the 10.3-megapixel sensor of the Nikon. The key factor for the Canon is that it has a higher Star rating on Amazon, and it has a win in the DPReview "Compact Super-Zoom group test." This test takes all aspects of camera performance and image quality into consideration. Of course, the Nikon was the runner-up, so it is still a tough call.

So, the Nikon-Canon or Canon-Nikon competition rages on.

Oh Yeah, did I mention that my mind is settled on which camera that I, personally, will get? You can see the "Bottom Line" at the "Best Travel Camera" web page at

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful review! Very helpful indeed. I am thinking of getting a new point and shoot camera that has a powerful zoom and I can't decide what to get between these two top rated cameras in the market, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 and Nikon Coolpix P100. I will definitely consider your review and I hope I won't regret my purchase! Thanks! ;)