The 2012 Travel zoom cameras are pretty much the same thing than last year just with a bit more zoom and nothing exiting to talk about.
So the 12MP Canon SX240 will have again the best picture quality, Sony HX20V might be in the middle field, Panasonic has already shown with the SZ20 that the image quality is below that from the HX9V.
I don´t think that Fuji has learned to make better quality lenses this year with the Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR (see the orb disaster and the way they react to it)...
I will add a comparison from the HX20V to the HX9V here but there will be no new blog since it is pretty much the same camera just for more money.
The funny thing of this less exiting small update to the previous cameras HX100V and HX9V is, that last year Panasonic was much more expensive with the ZS10 than the HX9V and dropped quite fast in price way below the HX9V. This year the HX20V is already much more expensive then the ZS20 while bringing only mediocre enhancements (a bit larger zoom, 2 more MP, a bit faster low light focus and some more tiny things - but nothing is mentioned if the much criticised sluggish UI is finally replaced with a more snappy one)
After reading through some first (p)reviews from the HX200V the new 18MP sensor combined with the image processing can be summed up in one sentence. A tiny bit better in low light, less smothering, more noise and much more sharpening.
It looks like Sony found a way to recycle the Tsunami debris:
Manufactured with “SoRPlas” – Sony recycled plastic – a durable plastic containing 99% recycled materials. I wonder if somebody checked for radiation before they put all the plastic in a shredder...
...and do not worry about the 18MP sensor, Nokia packs a 41MP sensor into the 808 Pure View cameraphone - a 1/1.2" sensor with 1.75 micron pixels.
So if you are looking to buy something new this year, a heavily price reduced 2011 model is the way to go.
here is a PDF about the new 18MP sensor.
ISO is now up to 12800 just to play some more "dumb customers" number games.
The new cameras will hit the stores in May.
There is already a first look at digitalversus what compares the HX100V to the HX200V