2nd attempt - FZ200 at 600mm eq vs 70D at 400mm eq cropped to 600mm eq

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gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,637
2nd attempt - FZ200 at 600mm eq vs 70D at 400mm eq cropped to 600mm eq
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In this post I compared images captured at 600 mm FF equivalent with an FZ330 with cropped images from a Canon 70D with 55-250 STM lens. Helpful discussion in the thread and further investigation have brought me to the conclusion that the comparisons were invalid because the FZ330 was faulty.

I have redone the comparison exercise, this time using an FZ200 in place of the FZ330.

In summary, the conclusions are very different; the FZ200 images at 600mm held up very well against the cropped 70D images. In fact, for one of the five scenes the FZ200 version was distinctly better than the 70D version. For the other four scenes the images in each pair looked different to me, sometimes with one being better in one way but not so good in another, but I did not get an impression of one or the other being clearly better.

Details

I shot 5 captures of each scene using raw with a 12 megapixel FZ200 at full telephoto and with a Canon 55-250 STM lens at 250 mm focal length on a 20 megapixel Canon 70D APS-C dSLR using live view with the LCD screen. I worked hand-held.

This time I captured five scenes rather than three.

There is a discussion of depth of field considerations in the linked post. Some of the comments below are based on the reasoning in that post.

This is the crop I used for the 70D images.

I picked the best of each five captures to process. I processed the raw files using a preset in DXO PhotoLab and exported DNG files to Lightroom where I applied Lightroom's AutoTone function. I then made some minor changes in Lightroom, for example trying to get the white balance to look more similar for each pair of images. I exported two sets of images to JPEG, one set of my usual viewing size of 1300 pixels high and one set 2700 pixels high, which was around the size of the 70D crops. Both sets of images are in this album at Flickr.

In the following screenshots the 70D image is on the left and the FZ200 image on the right. The screenshots show the centre of the frame (where a small autofocus box was placed) at 100% of the 2600 pixel high versions.

Scene 1

Unlike the previous exercise, out in the sunlight there was plenty of light so I used f/4 with the FZ200 to get the aperture nearer to the sweet spot aperture. Based on my previous calculations I would get the same depth of field with the 70D at f/10. On the other hand using the 55-250 one stop down from its maximum aperture (as for the FZ200) would have been f/8. I decided to split the difference and just use one 70D shot, at f/9.

I was using aperture priority mode. With 0 EV exposure compensation I was getting no highlight warnings with the 70D but was getting them with the FZ200. When I turned the exposure compensation down by 2/3 stop for the FZ200 I was still getting highlight warnings but I decided that since I was shooting raw and the warning relates to JPEG I would not reduce the exposure compensation any more. There were similar issues with the other scenes.

It seems to me that the FZ200 version on the right is significantly sharper than the 70D version.

Scene 2

I was going to use the same apertures for this scene, but this just tipped the FZ200 over its fastest shutter speed of 1/2000 sec, so I reduced the aperture by 1/3 stop to f/5. The FZ200 version may therefore have slightly greater depth of field. Since we are looking at an essentially flat surface that is probably moot.

These two look very similar to me.

Scene 3

For this one I used f/2.8 on the FZ200 so as to get 1/125 sec with base ISO 100. I didn't want to go much slower than that with leaves that can move in a breeze. I could have got the same shutter speed for the 70D at f/7.1(for the same DOF) by raising the ISO to around ISO 320, but I limited the ISO to ISO 200 and used f/5.6. The 70D image on the left should therefore have perhaps 30% or so less depth of field than the FZ200 image.

I can't draw any conclusions from this pair, other than that neither of them looks clearly better overall to me.

Scene 4

I try to avoid raising the ISO with my FZ cameras, but in this case even though using f/2.8 I had to raise it to ISO 200 to get a shutter speed of 1/80, which was as slow as I wanted to go. In this case I went back to using f/9 with the 70D, and to get 1/80 second I raised the ISO to ISO 1000.

I think the centre of focus is nearer the front for the 70D image on the left so I wouldn't want to overplay the obviously better sharpness in the top quarter or so of the FZ200 image on the right. One thing I do notice here though is that despite the exposure compensation the highlights in the FZ200 version are ugly, garish. It is tempting to think of this as a processing issue, but from handling this and the other images I get the impression that the 70D handles highlights rather more gracefully. The little hairs around the edges of the leaves look rather "edgy" to me too in the FZ200 version, although that said they are at least clearly visible which they are not in the 70D version.

Scene 5

This scene had rather a lot of depth and I wanted to use a larger depth of field but the relatively low light level limited what I could do. I closed the aperture to f/4 on the FZ200 but still only got 1/80 sec when at ISO 200. I didn't want to go slower speed or higher ISO. I used f/9 again for the 70D to get similar depth of field, and raised the ISO to ISO 640, which was not quite enough to give me the 1/80th second I had used with the FZ200.

The flowers look a bit better focused to me in the FZ200 version on the right (but DOF placement for a scene like that using autofocus can be a bit variable, so I wouldn't regard that as evidence clearly in favour of the FZ200). The noise in the background looks a bit more granular to me in the FZ200 version.

I find the comparisons for scenes 1, 2 and 4 very telling compared to those for the same scenes in the linked post, and highly suggestive of some sort of problem with the FZ330.

As between the FZ200 at 600 mm FF equivalent and the 70D cropped from 400 mm FF equivalent, for these five comparisons at least it seems to me that the FZ200 looks at least as good as the 70D.

Canon EOS 70D Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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