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Author Topic: The FZ200 review, coming soon from Michael  (Read 10753 times)
Ray
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« on: September 01, 2012, 08:05:36 AM »
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I understand Michael is in possession of a Panasonic FZ200 and is currently testing the camera.

I would urge him to do a comparison with equivalent focal lengths and shutter speeds with DSLR comparable zooms such as the Canon 100-400, and the Nikon 80-400.

The Panasonic FZ200 has an eye-catching 600mm equivalent FL (in 35mm format terms), at an unprecedented F2.8. I'm not aware of any DSLR 600mm lens that has a maximum aperture of F2.8, so this FZ200 would appear to be a break-through. It's got me interested.

We all understand that no P&S can compare with a DSLR in terms of resolution and noise. However, if the P&S has an F2.8 aperture at an equivalent focal length, such as 600mm, then we may not be comparing image quality at the same ISO. We may be comparing the FZ200 at ISO 100 with a Canon 7D at ISO 600, for equal shutter speed at F8. ISO 600 is not a setting, but it's pretty close to the real ISO of the Canon nominated ISO 800.

At a long FL for wildlife we all know that a high shutter speed is required, and that this is dependent upon ISO and aperture setting.

The FZ200 has an alluring F2.8 when fully extended at a 600mm equivalent FL in 35mm terms.

The $64k questions is, "How does the FZ200 at F2.8, ISO 100 and 600mm compare with a 50D or a 7D with 400mm lens at ISO 400 & 800 and at F8, which is the sharpest aperture of medium priced and relatively light DSLR zooms, such as the Canon 100-400 and the Nikon 80-400?

A lightweight alternative to a Canon 50D with Canon 100-400/F5.6 is attractive if the quality is similar. If the quality is noticeably worse, then I'm not interested.
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HSway
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 04:31:34 PM »
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The Coal Pile Flyby on the homepage geometry and light concurrence is quite remarkable.

The camera seems to be an interesting innovation in design among these superzoom cameras.

Hynek
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Ray
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2012, 08:49:56 PM »
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The Coal Pile Flyby on the homepage geometry and light concurrence is quite remarkable.

The camera seems to be an interesting innovation in design among these superzoom cameras.

Hynek


Indeed! Major attractions for me are its constant maximum aperture of F2.8 across the entire zoom range, a full-resolution burst speed of 12fps, and an auto-exposure bracketing capability +/- 3 stops.

Can one really expect a 24x zoom lens to be sharp at full aperture and its longest focal length, though?
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HSway
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 05:41:50 AM »
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Indeed! Major attractions for me are its constant maximum aperture of F2.8 across the entire zoom range, a full-resolution burst speed of 12fps, and an auto-exposure bracketing capability +/- 3 stops.

Can one really expect a 24x zoom lens to be sharp at full aperture and its longest focal length, though?


It looks like a major upgrade to earlier models to me. Iíve seen a good raw files comparison of f2.8, f4, f5.6 from experienced photographer (I keep the link). I think we can expect f2.8 at maximum FL softer than the sweet spot. But fz200 wide open compared to say fz150 wide open doesnít have to be big difference while the gain in exposure sure is. And then there is a question how lenses of these cameras fare against each other also at f4 or 5.6.. a boring side by side comparisons of lenses wide open would give an idea. There is also f3.2 and 3.5 compared to fz150ís f5.6. The f4 is in sweet spot at 600mm.

The way I see this little superzoom is that it means a solid upgrade as the lens that bears the key role in the design at this point appears very good and much faster Ė while the sensor technology went hardly down. Donít know as against dslr.. 80-400 is due for replacement. But considering the size and portability prospect here my guess is that at sensible sizes this superzoom can be quite an interesting universal tool.

Hynek
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 05:43:47 AM by HSway » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2012, 01:16:49 AM »
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It looks like a major upgrade to earlier models to me. Iíve seen a good raw files comparison of f2.8, f4, f5.6 from experienced photographer (I keep the link).

The FZ200 is definitely an upgrade in some respects. There are a lot of comparisons on Dpreview between the earlier FZ150 model and the current FZ200, both with similar 12mp sensors and a zoom of the same range.

Trouble is, many of the comparison images posted seem to be flawed, when one compares the full-size originals, if they are available. The sorts of effects I've noticed are greater softness at F2.8 and at the presumed point of focus, compared with the FZ150 at F5.2, yet equal sharpness at one of the edges, which really doesn't make sense unless one assumes that the point of focus was different, or that the FZ200 lens has some strange, non-unform behaviour.

Another example comparing only the FZ200, at F2.8 and F4 at 600mm, showed parts of the images, at or near the centre, being about equally sharp but the F4 shot being very much less sharp at the far right edge, so I really don't know what to think.

I get the impression there may be difficulty in achieving accurate focussing at 600mm equivalent where DoF is fairly shallow.
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HSway
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2012, 06:20:08 AM »
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The FZ200 is definitely an upgrade in some respects. There are a lot of comparisons on Dpreview between the earlier FZ150 model and the current FZ200, both with similar 12mp sensors and a zoom of the same range.

Trouble is, many of the comparison images posted seem to be flawed, when one compares the full-size originals, if they are available. The sorts of effects I've noticed are greater softness at F2.8 and at the presumed point of focus, compared with the FZ150 at F5.2, yet equal sharpness at one of the edges, which really doesn't make sense unless one assumes that the point of focus was different, or that the FZ200 lens has some strange, non-unform behaviour.

Another example comparing only the FZ200, at F2.8 and F4 at 600mm, showed parts of the images, at or near the centre, being about equally sharp but the F4 shot being very much less sharp at the far right edge, so I really don't know what to think.

I get the impression there may be difficulty in achieving accurate focussing at 600mm equivalent where DoF is fairly shallow.



I admit I missed out dpreview which is a good idea considering high concentration of users despite a need to do some filtering. This is the comparison I had in mind but itís relative within the fz200's own variability only (and due DOF). It was a quick search I did.
http://photographic-central.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/panasonic-fz200-review-first-look.html
(there is a need to open more browser windows to view side by side)

I donít seem to generally share the same enthusiasm but tend to trust the work on raws in the comparison to get an idea (f3.2, 3.5 would be helpful). It matches what I have seen in 100% jpgs centre crops (Iíd be able to dig it out) just a step up in quality as expected. I had a quick look at Panasonic dpreview, it seems interesting but no proper on-tripod comparison. some field comparisons but hard to tell how they were treated in addition to other variabilities.
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Ray
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2012, 10:12:53 PM »
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I admit I missed out dpreview which is a good idea considering high concentration of users despite a need to do some filtering. This is the comparison I had in mind but itís relative within the fz200's own variability only (and due DOF). It was a quick search I did.
http://photographic-central.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/panasonic-fz200-review-first-look.html
(there is a need to open more browser windows to view side by side)

I donít seem to generally share the same enthusiasm but tend to trust the work on raws in the comparison to get an idea (f3.2, 3.5 would be helpful). It matches what I have seen in 100% jpgs centre crops (Iíd be able to dig it out) just a step up in quality as expected. I had a quick look at Panasonic dpreview, it seems interesting but no proper on-tripod comparison. some field comparisons but hard to tell how they were treated in addition to other variabilities.


Thanks for the link to those comparisons. The photographer who took the shots seems to think that F2.8 is softer, F4 better, and possibly F5.6 better still by some miniscule, pixel-peeping degre.

However, what I find when comparing the 3 images in Photoshop, is that all three images are about equally sharp in the region of the lower right corner. The brown horizontally-striped fabric in the background is clearly softer at F2.8. In the F4 and F5.6 images the fabric looks about equally sharp, with perhaps the edge going to the F5.6 shot.

If the brown fabric in the background were the point of focus, showing F2.8 as clearly softer, then the F2.8 image could not possibly be equally sharp at some point in the foreground. It would have to be even softer as a result of the shallower DoF at F2.8, not to mention the tendency for all lenses to be softer at the edges when used at full aperture.

Another issue is that those image files are rather small. Downsizing images of the same scene will always reduce the effect of any differences in noise or resolution that may exist in the full-size images..
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HSway
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2012, 03:44:57 AM »
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Thanks for the link to those comparisons. The photographer who took the shots seems to think that F2.8 is softer, F4 better, and possibly F5.6 better still by some miniscule, pixel-peeping degre.

However, what I find when comparing the 3 images in Photoshop, is that all three images are about equally sharp in the region of the lower right corner. The brown horizontally-striped fabric in the background is clearly softer at F2.8. In the F4 and F5.6 images the fabric looks about equally sharp, with perhaps the edge going to the F5.6 shot.

If the brown fabric in the background were the point of focus, showing F2.8 as clearly softer, then the F2.8 image could not possibly be equally sharp at some point in the foreground. It would have to be even softer as a result of the shallower DoF at F2.8, not to mention the tendency for all lenses to be softer at the edges when used at full aperture.

Another issue is that those image files are rather small. Downsizing images of the same scene will always reduce the effect of any differences in noise or resolution that may exist in the full-size images..




Yes true, oneís own files will sure be the best material. Looking at the size of the images and the data they contain, Iíd say a better quality data (at same size) would be actually looking better in this case.
Iíd be, too, reluctant to determine f5.6 as giving a better resolution over the f4 Ė at least from this demonstration. Looking at the target chosen it looks that Carl focused on the foreground objects (reading again he talks about corners) and that we have to follow the part in focus at f2.8; the background seems come out of it.
I see now Panasonic dpreview has set of default raws of centre crops that look about the same except 5.6 Ė slower s. speed?  itís unfortunately handheld, no exif either. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1033&message=42397066
- the second row. Another user had f4 the sweet spot at 600mm by his results. That seems logical. F4 seems the sweet spot or its area at least. F2.8 is only reasonably softer with slight contrast hit. Considering seriously this tool Iíd consider f2.8 acceptable by what I saw given I prevent iso increase or s. speed based image degradation that is likely to cause more harm to the sharpness with this sensor in edge situations. And Iíd be interested whether sharpness improves gradually at f3.2 and 3.5 which is not the case always as there can be a sudden improvement at f4. Such a gradual improvement would highlight success of this design and the practical usefulness. But I am afraid one needs to either test this for oneself or wait for a convincing evaluation and then testing oneís own unit.
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 01:16:17 AM »
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The great allure for me, of the Panasonic FZ200, is the possibility that the 600/F2.8 lens might be an adequate substitute for my rather heavy Canon 100-400/F5.6 zoom when used  at fast shutter speeds at 400mm, with my latest Canon camera purchase, but hopefully not my last purchase, the 15mp 50D.

Although I now use Nikon cameras for all the wider-angle shots I take, this rather ancient Canon 100-400 IS, bought around 2002, still serves a useful telephoto purpose. The Nikon equivalent, the 80-400 VR appears to be not quite as good as the Canon. I had thought of getting the new 24mp Nikon D3200 with either the old Nikon 80-400 or the newer Sigma 150-500/F5-6.3, but have been uncertain as to what improvement I could expect. If either of these lenses were to prove less sharp than my current Canon 100-400, then there would be little benefit from the extra pixels of the D3200, compared with my Canon 50D.

On the other hand, if the Sigma at 500mm and F11 were as sharp as my Canon lens at 400mm and F11, I would get the benefit of both the higher resolution of the D3200 sensor and the longer reach of 500mm. The improvement should be worthwhile and the additional weight of lens and camera would be only marginally heavier, so this would be my preferred option.

So what's the problem, you may ask? In a word, quality control. (Oops! That's two words  Grin )

There seems to be so much variation in opinion, on the internet, regarding the comparative quality of these lenses, and so many reports of people returning a lens and finding the replacement was better, I'm simply put off by the prospect of having to revisit these scenarios of the past when I used to rigorously test all lenses before buying, either by taking test shots in the bricks-and-mortar camera shop, or buying the lens on the basis I could return it for a full refund if it didn't prove to be satisfactory after the more rigorous tests and comparisons I was able to carry out at home.

I guess this is a part of the price one pays for an expensive and heavy telephoto lens, better quality control.

Okay! Enough of the preamble! I've just had an FZ200 flown out from Hong Kong by Express Mail. In Australia we have the very sensible policy of no tax on imported purchases under $1,000. Why is it sensible? Because the cost of establishing a bureaucracy to monitor and collect trifling amounts of GST on hundreds of thousands of low-cost imported purchases for personal use, would cost much more than the revenue collected.

Below is one of my first comparison images. I realize the comparison may not be perfect for some because I didn't use a tripod. The comparison is in relation to my use of my telephoto lenses. I don't use a tripod when I photograph wildlife.

However, the shutter speed of 1/1250th (1/2FL) for both shots should put your minds at rest, as well as the fact I've attempted to also get the same DoF with both shots.

One complaint I've often had on this site, in the past, is the biased way that MFDB versus DSLR comparisons have been made. Equalizing shutter speed and DoF has often been ignored, yet these two aspects of camera technique are often crucial to the effect of the resulting image.

The 400mm lens on the 50D is equivalent to 640mm in full-frame 35mm terms. The 600mm equivalent of the FZ200 is slightly less. However, the differences in aspect ratio tend to compensate for such differences. Horizontally, the FoV differences between the 4:3 aspect ratio of the FZ200 and the 3:2 aspect ratio of the 50D/400mm are negligible.

However, cropping the FZ200 image to a 3:2 aspect ratio results in a 10.8mp file. So, when viewing the attached images, one should bear this in mind. A part of the reduced detail in the FZ200 shot is due to the lower pixel count. 15mp has to be better than 10.8mp, all else being equal. These are 100% crops of converted RAW images. I had to download the trial version of Photoshop CS6 plus the beta version of ACR 7.2 in order to convert the RAW FZ200 images.

According to the differences in sensor size between the FZ200 and the 50D, F2.8 on the FZ200 is theoretically equivalent to F10 on the 50D. In practice, I've found that these theoretical differences are just that; theoretical. There appears to be other factors that influence the result, whatever they may be.

F11 on the 50D appears to be a perfect DoF match for the FZ200 at F2.8, at least at 600mm.

Another consideration is sharpening. The 50D image at ISO 1600 is noisier than the FZ200 image at ISO 100. There's no doubt about that. If I were to show both images with the same degree of sharpening, the FZ200 image would appear very noticeably softer, but also less noisy.

Fair's fair! Either I apply noise reduction to the 50D image to bring it down to the level of the FZ200 image, or I apply extra sharpening to the FZ200 image in an attempt to bring it up to the sharpness and detail of the 50D image.

I chose the latter. I'm trying to test for absolute detail.

I think you will see from the results that the P&S compares fairly well with the larger and heavier cropped-format DSLR, in the specific circumstances I've addressed. Nevertheless, at 100% on monitor, representative of a huge print, the 50D/400mm combination, even at F11, out-performs the FZ200.

However, at smaller sizes, A4 and even A3+, the differences may be hardly noticeable.


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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2012, 01:20:19 AM »
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Here's the overall scene relating to the above shots. I think I might have broken the maximum limit if I'd included it in the above post.

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Ray
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 01:24:11 AM »
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Oops! Waht happened to Near top Left Edge. Here it is.
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Ray
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2012, 01:32:06 AM »
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I should also mention, for the benefit of pixel-peepers, if the FZ200 image appears to have a coarser noise grain, it's because I may have overdone the extra sharpening in order to make the FZ200 image look closer to the 50D image. If I'm biased, I'm biased in favour of the underdog.  Grin
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michael
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2012, 08:04:09 AM »
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I used and enjoyed the FZ200, but in the end decided not to review it. It will make a great travel camera for someone who doesn't have extremely high standards, but in the end it's a small sensor camera with all that that entails in terms of IQ.

Michael
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2012, 07:23:21 PM »
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I used and enjoyed the FZ200, but in the end decided not to review it. It will make a great travel camera for someone who doesn't have extremely high standards, but in the end it's a small sensor camera with all that that entails in terms of IQ.

Michael


Yes, I'm afraid you are right, Michael. I haven't been able to get any images, so far, from the FZ200, when used at 600mm, at F2.8, F4 or F5.6 and at ISO 100, that match the detail of a not-particularly-good DSLR zoom used at F11 and ISO 800 or 1600.

However, when a fast shutter speed and consequent high ISO setting is required, as is often the case when shooting wildlife with a DSLR, the 600mm/F2.8 Leica lens on the FZ200 could narrow the differences in the capture of fine detail to the point where such differences may not be noticeable at print sizes that most people make, say, up to A3+.

But the range of situations where the FZ200 becomes 'good enough' as a replacement for the much heavier combination of a Canon 100-400 plus 50D, is fairly narrow. There are some situations where the lighting is bright, and a high ISO setting is not required. ISO 200 may be perfectly adequate with the DSLR and IS zoom when used at F8. In such situations the image-quality differences may be widened to the point where they are very noticeable on an A3 size print, in addition to the shallower DoF of the DSLR at F8, of course.
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David S
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2012, 01:55:20 PM »
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Yes, I'm afraid you are right, Michael. I haven't been able to get any images, so far, from the FZ200, when used at 600mm, at F2.8, F4 or F5.6 and at ISO 100, that match the detail of a not-particularly-good DSLR zoom used at F11 and ISO 800 or 1600.

However, when a fast shutter speed and consequent high ISO setting is required, as is often the case when shooting wildlife with a DSLR, the 600mm/F2.8 Leica lens on the FZ200 could narrow the differences in the capture of fine detail to the point where such differences may not be noticeable at print sizes that most people make, say, up to A3+.

But the range of situations where the FZ200 becomes 'good enough' as a replacement for the much heavier combination of a Canon 100-400 plus 50D, is fairly narrow. There are some situations where the lighting is bright, and a high ISO setting is not required. ISO 200 may be perfectly adequate with the DSLR and IS zoom when used at F8. In such situations the image-quality differences may be widened to the point where they are very noticeable on an A3 size print, in addition to the shallower DoF of the DSLR at F8, of course.

It is a small sensor and has all the limitations of such.

BUT it weights 22 oz and when one is hiking for hours in the woods, the joy of less weight just might make it worthwhile over the 100-400 mm canon and canon body. Especially for those of us who have back limitations.

Dave S
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2012, 03:12:23 PM »
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Have received mine today. I can confirm what has already been said here about the sensor and the IQ. Couple of additional points: the RAW files look a bit strange to me, as if there was some kind of lossy compression going on anyway (but could be that Silkypix isn't optimized yet). Image stabilization is impressive: shooting in poor lighting at 1/60 at maximum focal length is actually quite possible. On the negative side, a lot of barrel distortion all over the range (I am sure there must be a sweet spot, but I haven't methodically searched for it yet). Yes, I know complaining about barrel distortion on ultra-zoom bridge is a bit like complaining one is wet after a swim, but it is worth keeping in mind if one wants to shoot distant buildings. Without a correction model, this is going to require a lot of work.
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Ray
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« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2012, 10:24:48 PM »
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Have received mine today. I can confirm what has already been said here about the sensor and the IQ. Couple of additional points: the RAW files look a bit strange to me, as if there was some kind of lossy compression going on anyway (but could be that Silkypix isn't optimized yet). Image stabilization is impressive: shooting in poor lighting at 1/60 at maximum focal length is actually quite possible. On the negative side, a lot of barrel distortion all over the range (I am sure there must be a sweet spot, but I haven't methodically searched for it yet). Yes, I know complaining about barrel distortion on ultra-zoom bridge is a bit like complaining one is wet after a swim, but it is worth keeping in mind if one wants to shoot distant buildings. Without a correction model, this is going to require a lot of work.

Hi Pierre,
Are you aware you can convert the FZ200 RAW files to DNG using the latest beta version of DNG Converter, v7.2, which is a free download?

The RAW images I've taken so far, at ISO 100, average around 14.5MB. When converted to DNG they becomes slightly more compressed, ranging between 11 and 12MB.

I haven't had time yet to fully explore the advantages and disadvantages of this small-format camera. However, I have experienced a few annoyances. One is an apparent inability of the camera to autofocus on a small area, despite the option of being able to change the size of the focussing square, even in spot meter mode.

As an example, trying to autofocus on a small bird sitting on a solitary, leafless branch against a more distant background, can be time-consuming. The bird may not wait. Sometimes it's not possible to get the focussing square small enough and one has to either move the camera or move the focussing square to some larger object nearby that one hopes is equidistant to the bird. In the same situation, there's no problem with my 50D and 100-400. The 50D will instantly autofocus on the branch, even if there's no bird sitting on it.

Manual focussing with an enlarged section in the EVF might be the solution, but it seems very fiddly so far. It's going to take some practice to get the hang of that.

Another annoyance is the fact that the autoexposure bracketing feature, once set in the menu, does not remain set after the camera is switched off or goes into standby mode. For me, the autobracketing feature of this camera is one of its major attractions. The fairly wide range of plus and minus 3 stops, and the very fast frame rate at full resolution, make it a very useful feature to get the most out of the small sensor. Why not autobracket every shot, I ask myself.

I also got the impression that a slower shutter speed than the Canon 100-400 IS requires, may be sufficient. I'm not sure to what extent this may be due to a more modern IS system on the FZ200, or the fact that it's easier to hold the smaller and lighter camera more steadily. I've yet to compare the FZ200 at half the shutter speed. For example, 600mm at F2.8, 1/320th and ISO 100 compared with 640mm at F11, 1/640th and ISO 3200 with my 50D/100-400.

Cheers!
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2012, 11:32:10 PM »
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It is a small sensor and has all the limitations of such.

BUT it weights 22 oz and when one is hiking for hours in the woods, the joy of less weight just might make it worthwhile over the 100-400 mm canon and canon body. Especially for those of us who have back limitations.

Dave S

Hi David,

Yes, that's the general idea. The trouble with us resolution fanatics is we don't like to sacrifice too much image quality in the interests of, say, a mere 1.5kgs of savings in weight.

I don't generally go to the trouble and expense of making prints for the purpose of comparing lens or sensor performance, but in this case I did, using Premium Glossy on my Epson 7600, printing the above scene at maximum resolution of 2880 dpi at a size of 11"x16.5", after careful adjustments to equalize color and contrast.

I was sort of hoping I wouldn't be able to tell the difference, and indeed, some inexperienced photographers to whom I showed the prints, couldn't tell any difference.  However, probably because I knew what to look for, I was able to see subtle differences in detail, using my reading glasses and viewing the prints from a distance of around 12".

On a more positive note, the differences were not apparent in the centre, but around the edges. When photographing wildlife with a 600mm lens, the edges are likely to be out-of-focus, so this resolution fall-off at the edges, at F2.8, may not be an issue.

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« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2012, 10:03:05 AM »
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Yes, I'm afraid you are right, Michael. I haven't been able to get any images, so far, from the FZ200, when used at 600mm, at F2.8, F4 or F5.6 and at ISO 100, that match the detail of a not-particularly-good DSLR zoom used at F11 and ISO 800 or 1600.

However, when a fast shutter speed and consequent high ISO setting is required, as is often the case when shooting wildlife with a DSLR, the 600mm/F2.8 Leica lens ... could narrow the differences in the capture of fine detail to the point where such differences may not be noticeable at print sizes that most people make, say, up to A3+.
That should hardly surprise you, since this 108mm f/2.8 lens gathers photons from the subject at about the same rate as 600mm f/16 in 35mm format, 400mm f/11 in "APS-C", or 300mm f/8 in 4/3" format, and the maximum zoom is effectively taking the wide angle image delivered by the front part of the lens and magnifying it hugely. (I omit comparison to the Nikon One system as it so far lack any lens of comparable telephoto reach.)   Its virtue of course is being a lot more compact (and less expensive) that even the smallest cheapest collection of  body and several lenses needed to cover the same range of FOV options in any ILC system.

But let me suggest that the "print sizes that most people make" are instead limited to A4 or US letter size. So maybe you should compare at that size, where the FZ200 has an even better chance of giving satisfactory results.
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2012, 05:21:00 PM »
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That should hardly surprise you, since this 108mm f/2.8 lens gathers photons from the subject at about the same rate as 600mm f/16 in 35mm format, 400mm f/11 in "APS-C", or 300mm f/8 in 4/3" format, and the maximum zoom is effectively taking the wide angle image delivered by the front part of the lens and magnifying it hugely. (I omit comparison to the Nikon One system as it so far lack any lens of comparable telephoto reach.)   Its virtue of course is being a lot more compact (and less expensive) that even the smallest cheapest collection of  body and several lenses needed to cover the same range of FOV options in any ILC system.

But let me suggest that the "print sizes that most people make" are instead limited to A4 or US letter size. So maybe you should compare at that size, where the FZ200 has an even better chance of giving satisfactory results.



It doesn't surprise me, BJL. That's the least I would expect. However, I was hoping, perhaps unrealistically, that the resolution at F2.8 and 600mm would be at least the equal of that from the 100-400 at 400mm, F10 or F11 with the cropped 35mm format body used at a correspondingly higher ISO for equal shutter speed.

It doesn't appear to be, but I'm not sure to what extent that is due to the lower pixel count after cropping the 4:3 aspect ratio of the FZ200 to 3:2. After equalizing aspect ratios the comparison becomes between 10.8mp and 15mp.

If I were to crop the 50D image to a 4:3 aspect ratio, the pixel count of the two images would be much closer, but the FoV of the cropped 50D image would be noticeably less both horizontally and vertically, and the longer reach of a 640mm lens would then come into play.

A fairer comparison would be between my 10mp 40D and the FZ200. However, the 40D is not the camera that I now use with the 100-400 IS zoom. Likewise, I rarely make A4 size prints unless I get a special request. However, I sometimes do a favour for neighbours who may have only an A4 printer and want larger prints of particular shots that are dear to them, and I also sometimes make postcard-size prints for relatives who want prints that are small enough to fit into their albums.

Having recently returned from an outing to the Gold Coast, I'm also disappointed at the difficulty I experienced in focussing with the FZ200, on small and distant activities such as surfers riding the waves or canoeists on the ocean. It seemed very much hit and miss. I also much prefer an optical viewfinder.

However, one clear advantage of this little camera is the fact it is unobtrusive and therefore, when used at its long focal length, is ideal for candid shots. It would be very rude to point that Canon 100-400 at the following subjects, and would probably cause some alarm, but the alarm on the bridegroom's face is not directed at me.  Grin

I shall probably keep the camera because of this advantage for candid shots. However, I wish that sensor were just a little bigger with a few more pixels, even though that would result in a slightly bigger and heavier camera.



« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 07:55:02 PM by Ray » Logged
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