ZS40 Compared with SX700


Summing Up

The evaluations of the test images in the previous sections show that the ZS40 and SX700 are quite similar in many respects.  Both models produce good IQ  at low to moderate ISO settings over a very wide range of focal lengths in a very compact package.  The differences in IQ are fairly minor and are subject to personal preferences to some extent.

Both models yield their best IQ and resolution at wide angle FL, 100 ISO and widest aperture. However it seems that in general the IQ of the SX700 is slightly better than that of the ZS40 overall.  The SX700 shows better definition and IQ in the image corners at full WA but slightly lower resolution in the image centre than the ZS40.  At longer FLs the ZS40 has somewhat better definition and IQ in the image corners but slightly lower resolution at the image centre.  The SX700 shows slightly better resolution/IQ and retention of colours at higher ISO settings (at 800 ISO and above) than does the ZS40.  The ZS40 also tends to show more noise at 800 ISO and above than the SX700.  In addition, I found during the tests that the AWB on the SX700 seemd more reliable than that on the ZS40.  The ZS40, as in previous Panasonic models, has a tendency to take a while to adjust the WB, and then not always correctly, when there is a change in the lightling.  This could be overcome by using manual WB.

These relatively small difference may be negated by other factors such as the performance and features of each model.  I found that the ZS40 was in general more responsive than the SX700, as for example in burst speed.  Although the models are similar in size, the SX700 has a solid metal body and is noticably (to me) slightly heavier and larger than the ZS40.  Since the ZS40 has RAW capability while the SX700 does not, that may to an extent provide a way to overcome any slight lack of IQ in the OOC JPGs at higher ISO settings.

Other features may help to differentiate the models also.  Having an EVF is an important feature on the ZS40 that the SX700 lacks. Despite negative comments by some people I found the EVF to be quite usable, although I would not want to use the EVF exclusively all day as I think it would produce eye strain.  Perhaps being accustomed to the Panasonic menu system I find it more “user friendly” than the SX700’s but again they are not too different.  It is not possible to set an upper ISO limit in auto mode on the SX700 while it is possible on the ZS40.  The lens ring on the ZS40 is a very useful feature which the SX700 lacks.  Conversely, the SX700 has a feature called Framing Assist which is lacking on the ZS40.   When zoomed in on a distant moving target, by pressing a dedicated button at the side of the SX700 the lens is instantly zoomed out, showing the target in a small frame.  This enables the target to be quickly relocated and when the button is released, the zoom immediately returns to its original zoomed-in position.  Another useful feature on the Sx700, but not on the ZS40, is the means to customise the self-timer to any time up to 30 seconds and the number of shots from 1 to 10.

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