FZ150 vs. Canon 7D with 100-400 is for birding.

Started Nov 2, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Daniel Lauring
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FZ150 vs. Canon 7D with 100-400 is for birding.
Nov 2, 2011

Silly comparison but does show how far bridge cameras have come.

Price: $3100 vs. $400, winner FZ150.
Weight: 5.25lbs vs. 1.3lbs, winner FZ150.
Image stabilization: Check for both.
35mm equiv focal length: 640mm vs. 600mm, winner 7D.
Aperture at full zoom: F5.6 vs. F5.4, winner 7D
Resolution: 18Mp vs. 12Mp, winner 7D
High ISO NR: 2-3 F-stops in favor of 7D.
Articulating screen: Winner FZ150.
FPS: 5 then long pause vs. 8 and then continuous at card speed.
Pauses to write: Huge advantage to 7D which basically never does.

Focus: Phase detection vs. contrast. Speed for 7D but there are some advantage to contrast which I will discuss.
Conceal-ability: Big white lens vs. small black one. winner FZ150.

No one is going to argue the 7D is not a "better" camera. Having said that, the FZ150 does an admirable job in specific circumstances, for a lot less money and weight.

Over the last week I've been playing with the FZ150, to see what I can get out of it. We have a bird feeder out back. Hundreds of willing subjects visit each day. It took me a while to get the hang of it, and I'm still way below the level of even the average bird photographer, but I'm starting to learn some tricks and today tried a shootout between the two.

Size, weight, concealment. In order to take these pictures it helps to be close. Often swinging the huge 100-400is scared subjects off. It also got tiring hand holding, a monopod would have been a big help. In comparison I never grew tired of holding the FZ150. With it's articulating screen I could shoot from my chest and the turn the camera from position to position without startling the birds.

Focus speed. The Canon focused faster but often chose a subject just in front or in back of the main subject...sometimes it would maddeningly jump back and forth from branch to branch, never grabbing the subject at all. The FZ150's added DOF helped, but it also grabbed focus on a tree limb in the foreground less often than the 7D. I mostly locked the focus of both of them, but often would take many more tries to get the 7D locked onto exactly what I wanted.

Picture IQ. The Canon, of course, puts more pixels on the subject and had less noise at higher iso's. The little FZ150 did surprisingly well though.

Shutter speed and ISO. The Canon allowed me to shoot at higher ISO's and still retain details that would be fighting with the noise of the FZ150's tinier sensor. But in the end, the trick was to shoot both at two low a shutter speed in a spray and pray manner, then sort through the crap for the gems that didn't suffer from camera shake or subject movement. The trick was to maximize the signal to noise ratio of the sensor and let the volume lottery yield a few good pics.

These were my best pics with both cameras. The 7D was clearly better, but the FZ150 is still a nice picture. I've seen better examples from both cameras.

Here there you can see the additonal detail of the 7D, but also the shallower DOF coming into play. I probably shoud have stopped it down another notch or two, but of course that would give up some of it's sensor noise advantage.

Here is one of my best shots from the FZ150. Note the advantage of the shallower DOF.

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