Fz200 VS Canon 400 5.6 L ?

Started Sep 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
VincentR Regular Member • Posts: 124
Re: Fz200 VS Canon 400 5.6 L ?

PioneerPhoto wrote:

Anyone seen a comparison of the FZ200 vs Canon 400 5.6 L on a 5D II ?

It's a $600 camera vs $2500 combo but I'd be interested in the results...

Such a comparison would certainly be informative and the results would be an excellent demonstration of the principle that the "Best tool for the job" is not necessarily the most expensive tool.

First point would be that one can't expect a 400mm lens to compare well with a 600mm lens, even though the 400mm shot is 21mp and the 600mm shot only 12mp.

To compare equal 'field of view' and get a 600mm equivalent shot with the 400mm F5.6 would require cropping the 5D2 shot to about 9mp. The FZ200 shot would then have a slight advantage regards pixel count.

Second point is shutter speed. The Canon 400 F5.6 prime does not have Image Stabilization. That's a big disadvantage for hand-held shots, so before we go any further we need to stipulate whether or not tripods are to be included in the comparison.

If they are not included, there will be occasions when the shot from the 5D2 / 400mm combo will either be blurred at the same shutter speed as the FZ200, or very noisy due to the need for a much higher ISO to get the faster shutter speed to compensate for its lack of IS.

Modern OIS systems provide at least 2 stops' advantage regards shutter speed. The claim is sometimes 3 or more stops advantage, but 2 stops is a more reliable and consistent advantage in practice.

The FZ200, at 600mm and F2.8, already has a 2 stop shutter-speed advantage due to its wider aperture. As a result of its OIS it has another 2 stops advantage compared with the Canon 400 F5.6, but only in certain circumstances. This is why it's not possible to make a generalisation about which system is better.

For example, when a very fast shutter speed is required because the distant animal is moving swiftly, a tiger chasing its prey or a bird in flight, the advantage of OIS is much diminished.

Without having seen comparison images, I would deduce that the FZ200 would be a better tool than the 5D2 / 400 F5.6 combination in most circumstances when a 600mm equivalent focal length is required for hand-held shots.

However, the 18mp 7D with a 100-400mm F5.6 IS zoom is another matter. The comparison then becomes 18mp plus 640mm equivalent compared with 12mp plus 600mm equivalent. To get the same reach with the FZ200 we need to crop the image to about 10.5mp.

For the FZ200 image to be as sharp in those circumstances, its lens at F2.8 needs to be more than 3x sharper than the 100-400 lens at F5.6. If it's no more than 3x sharper, then that compensates for the smaller sensor, but not for its lower pixel count. Image resolution depends upon both lens sharpness and the pixel count of the sensor.

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