Canon SX40 vs. Panasonic FZ150

Started May 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
GeraldW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,054
Re: Gail - a few thoughts

gail wrote:

I like to hear a fresh discussion about cameras. New people, new insights, new experiences; different replies that may not have been discussed, or get lost in long older threads.

I am considering both cameras though, imho, the FZ150 is way overpriced.

I debated about the two last fall and finally decided on the FZ150. The FZ150 price has stayed high, apparently because of demand. And now, rumours abound about the camera being discontinued, so prices have soared back to the original MSRP.

I would like to point out, however, that the FZ150 takes 52 mm lenses directly, and comes with a bayonet mount that can be used with filters on the lens. If you add the price of the optional hood and three filter holders to the SX40HS, it comes closer to the FZ150 price. You can't use both the hood and a filter on the SX40HS.

I'm not a birder, so the extra focal length of the Canon wasn't that important to me; but I did have an Olympus TCON 17 tele lens, and that works wonderfully well on the FZ150 with the LA5 adapter, and gives the equivalent of 1020 mm.

Both cameras start at 24-25 mm and f/2.8; but the F# on the FZ150 rises much more gradually than the Canon, so the FZ150 has a 1/2-2/3 stop advantage over most of the range. The FZ150 is only f/4 at 300 mm, for example.

The other factor is size and weight. The SX40HS just looks and feels bigger and heavier. The FZ150 comes in at 20.9 oz. with neck strap, hood, battery, card, 52 mm filter and cap. The SX40HS is around 23.5 oz. with battery and card; but i don't have one to weigh with the rest of the stuff added on. I'd guess something north of 25 oz.

Image quality is the main thing, or should be. Early on, Panasonic released new firmware for the FZ150. DPReview upgraded their camera, and the results were much better. My camera has the new firmware, and my results pretty well agree with DPReview's new firmware. However, I-R and CameraLabs shots with the new firmware look more like DPReview's early shots, before the upgrade. So a lot of the early review samples are not representitive, in my opinion. My camera was purchased last fall, shortly after the introduction, so I'd think any production models after that would be fine. This situation does, however, significantly confuse the comparisons between the FZ150 and SX40HS. I did compare my FZ150 to the G12 I had at the time, and the FZ150 is at least as good, perhaps a little better. But then my G9 is better still, at least at lower ISO.

Here's some shots I took with my FZ150 while whale watching on a February cruise. The whales don't give warning as to where they'll pop up, so the response speed of camera and photographer were important. These are all "grab shots", just point the camera in the general direction and shoot, and hope for the best. These are straight out of the camera with no PP; but I do use +1 in-camera sharpening.

Full zoom is 108 mm on the FZ150, so you can see these shots were all at moderate focal lengths, so the whales were quite close. Multiply the actual focal lengths by 5.56 to get a 35 mm equivalent.

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