More FZ200 Testing

Started Sep 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
VincentR Regular Member • Posts: 124
Re: If I got a series of "test shots" like that too...

John Miles wrote:

These sorts of comparisons always happen. Never worth it. Those that hanker after DSLR image quality already own them. What is happening is that small sensor IQ is improving to tempt more people away from DSLR IQ; often accompanied by the lure of the reduction in camera bulk. The FZ200 is achieving this in accounts in other threads hereabouts. Here the opposite seems true.

But again to concur, web work and TV slide shows are so prominent these days. All work sub 3MP pretty much. The superzooms have an assured place in the camera line-up in store.

Do they? I haven't seen any yet. If they are never worth it, the only reason I can think of is maybe the comparisons have not been specific enough and have not been carried out thoroughly and properly, using correctly exposed RAW images in all situations, comparing identical scenes with identical lighting and identical focus points, and using a tripod of course.

For example, the tests in this thread all show severely blown highlights, and Dale admits that a tripod wasn't used. I understand they are just quick, preliminary tests, and that's fine to get a rough idea.

However, for the purposes of making a sensible purchasing decision, proper comparisons in specific situations are necessary.

For example, I have no doubt that a DSLR when used with the best lenses that are available, in situations where a shallower DoF and/or a slower shutter speed is not considered a disadvantage, will provide significantly better image quality than the FZ200.

But many of us either cannot afford the best lenses for our DSLRs and/or do not want to carry the extra weight. A 400/F2.8 prime is an expensive and heavy beast. A 100-400 zoom is much cheaper but still quite heavy at 1.4kg without camera, and costs significantly more than an FZ200. If, in certain circumstances, between focal lengths of, say, 300 to 400mm, and at the required fast shutter speeds for a sharp image of wildlife, the FZ200 provides an image quality which is close to that of a DSLR with 100-400 zoom, then I might prefer to buy an FZ200 to replace my 100-400 zoom. But that does not necessarily mean that the FZ200 would replace my DSLR with other lenses.

The principle here is, best tool for the job. I'd prefer to carry a 600gm tool than a 2.2kg tool, but only if I can get similarly acceptable results. If the results with the FZ200 are noticeably and clearly worse, I wouldn't be interested. When I use my 100-400 at 400mm for wildlife, I sometimes prefer to use F11 because F11 is not only sharper than F5.6, and only very marginally less sharp than F8, it provides a more pleasing DoF, to my eyes. However, if F11 requires the use of a high ISO, such as 1600, I may prefer to use F8 at ISO 800, or ISO 400 at F8 as opposed to ISO 800 at F11.

That the FZ200 at 600mm and F4, its sharpest aperture apparently, can provide the same (or similar) DoF as my 100-400 at F11, can be worked out. That the FZ200 at ISO 100 and F4 will produce a similar shutter speed, and similar image quality in respect of noise and DR, as my 50D does at 400mm, F11 and ISO 800, can be worked out, from DXOMark test results.

What cannot be worked out is the resolution of the FZ200 at 600mm, ISO 100 and F4, compared with the resolution of the 50D with 400mm lens at ISO 800 and F11.

For this we need precise comparisons using tripods and accurate focussing. If accurate focussing is a problem with the FZ200, then that may kill the deal. Testing without tripod can also be useful because, for all I know, the optical image stabilization of the FZ200 might be more effective.

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