Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

Started Jan 16, 2010 | Discussions thread
OP Robert Deutsch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,229
Re: The problem with this comparison is...

brunobarolo wrote:

... that it is done handheld. You don't get critical sharpness with 400mm at 1/250 sec. handheld, no matter you're using a stabilizer (and the Canon IS in the 100-400 is a first generation IS, 10 years old).

Agreed. As I said "Truly well-controlled camera/lens comparisons are difficult to do, and require studio setups with controlled lighting, standardized targets, cameras on tripods , etc."

However, since I use these lenses hand-held 90% of the time (or more), it's a reasonable test of how they perform in my normal use. I did notice in comparing the four shots I took with each camera/lens that the ones taken with the 5D/100-400 showed greater variability in sharpness (different file sizes) than the ones taken with the GF1/45-200. The greater consistency of the sharpness of the GF1/45-200 images may be due to the more effective IS of the latest-generation IS from Panasonic compared to the first-generation Canon IS, or to my being able to hold the Panasonic combo more steady than the Canon. As I noted, I picked the best of the four images from each camera (the four from the Canon showing some variability, and the Panasonic images all being pretty much the same). It may well be that the 100-400L IS would benefit more from the camera being on a tripod then the 45-200. Still, if I'm not going to use a tripod when I normally use these cameras/lenses, it's a moot point.

The photos I took under these conditions represent only two data points in a what would be a thorough, formal comparison. Tests done by DPR or other professional testing organizations would use a tripod as well as hand-holding (testing the effectiveness of IS), various focal lengths from 100 to 400, examination of the sharpness in the center vs. periphery, tests at various ISOs, controlled lighting conditions, standardized targets, and would look critically at dynamic range, distortiion, CA, and other detailed aspects of camera/lens performance. Mine was an informal, practical test under a single set of conditions, and I would not want to draw any definite conclusions about the ultimate quality of each camera or lens. Still, I think the results are kind of interesting. I expected the performance of the Canon combo to be more obviously superior.


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