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

Started Jan 16, 2010 | Discussions
Robert Deutsch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,226
Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

Truly well-controlled camera/lens comparisons are difficult to do, and require studio setups with controlled lighting, standardized targets, cameras on tripods, etc. I wasn't prepared to do all that, but I wanted to do an informal comparison between my Canon 5D with the 100-400L IS mounted, and the GF1 with the 45-200. Considering the crop factor, the 45-200 is equivalent to 90-400, and the maximum apertures are the same.

What I did was to set the lens of each camera at maximum focal length (400mm on the 100-400L IS, and 200mm--400 equivalent--on the 45-200), aperture set at 5.6 (the max. on each lens), IS on for both, ISO200, and took four hand-held photos of the garden shed in our back yard, aiming at approximately the same point.

I shot RAW, processing the images with ACR5.6 and PE8, using the same settings. I compared the four images from each camera in FastStone, and picked the sharpest image from each for the camera/lens comparisons.

The first picture shows the two cameras/lenses, to give you an idea of how they compare in size. What follows is a pair of images resized to the standard 1024 pixels wide (the aspect ratios are different, so the vertical size is not the same), first the 5D/100-400L IS image, then the GF1/45-200. Below that is the second pair of images, 100% crops, first the 5D then the GF1.

What do you think?

Bob

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Zman53 New Member • Posts: 23
GF1 appears to have slightly better detail ... my opinion ;-)
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Best,

jwilliams Veteran Member • Posts: 4,332
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

I'm shocked. There really isn't a big difference between either one. Having read many times that the 45-200 is not that great at max FL I am amazed.

Although as you said it is not a controlled test, I think it is pretty representative of real world usage of the equipment. I am curious what shutter speeds were used? If they are within the range that you could reasonably expect a sharp pic given the use of IS then you have made a very valid comparison.

Thanks for the test and the info.
--
Jonathan

Zman53 New Member • Posts: 23
Many thanks for running this comparison! Excellent!
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Best,

millsart Senior Member • Posts: 2,771
100-400 isn't that great at its long end either though keep in mind

I did always like the 100-400, its a bit slow, and not the sharpest lens out there, but it was always super useful and I got tons of great images over the years with mine.

The same could be said for the 45-200.

The very fact that we can get that type of performance now for around $300 and for a lens thats so small and light to actually be carried in a jacket pocket is just amazing to me

If you told me such a thing a few years ago I never would of believed it even

OP Robert Deutsch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,226
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

jwilliams wrote:

I'm shocked. There really isn't a big difference between either one. Having read many times that the 45-200 is not that great at max FL I am amazed.

The same has been said of the 100-400L IS.

Although as you said it is not a controlled test, I think it is pretty representative of real world usage of the equipment. I am curious what shutter speeds were used? If they are within the range that you could reasonably expect a sharp pic given the use of IS then you have made a very valid comparison.

The 5D was 1/250 and the GF1 was 1/200, which is pretty close. Both are in the range where IS should be able to handle it, and I think represent real-life conditions.

Thanks for the test and the info.
--

You're welcome!

Bob

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Angular Mo Senior Member • Posts: 2,454
but the Cnon is FF !

I never believe what I see, and only what people tell me... the 5D is FF, costs more, so it MUST be better, right?

As I say,
No F-ing Way !

That white things looks like a bazooka for those less naturally endowed.

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Hansplast26
Hansplast26 Senior Member • Posts: 1,247
not fair

This is hardly a fair comparison.
the 100% crop is from the center, how about the edges?
and how about the iso? this was probably only done at iso 100?

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millsart Senior Member • Posts: 2,771
What if you only shoot at low ISO ? Why test at higher for "fairness" ?

So what if its at low iso, if like me, the only reason you bought a m4/3rds camera was for tripod mounted landscape work when you don't want to take the full Nikon rig what does it matter how it would work at ISO800 or higher ?

Would the Canon do better ? Yep, but if both are being used in the manner that an owner shoots, which may just be low ISO exclusively, then its perfectly "fair"

jwilliams Veteran Member • Posts: 4,332
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

At those shutter speeds obviously you should have no problem getting good results with IS.

I know the 100-400 isn't the best Canon lens at 400, that is why years ago I bought the 300/4IS and 1.4x instead of the zoom, plus I just though the 300 handled better. I had been contemplating upgrading my ancient 20D and getting either a used 5D or new 5DII. My though was use my GH1 for most things and reserve the DSLR gear for the times when I want to take 'serious' pictures.

I am curious, these shots aside, how you feel about the quality of the GF1 vs your 5D. I haven't done any direct comparisons of my 20D vs my GH1, but my gut feeling looking at my GH1 shots is that the 20D is still a tiny bit better. To me it seems that my GH1 blows highlights out easier and really needs to have the exposure nailed for good results. It seems the 20D is more forgiving. Given ideal lighting and exposure I think the GH1 may actually be slightly better. I did some shots under a simple studio lighting setup and the results were very good. Also it seems that setting the WB manually helps a lot. The AWB on the GH1 seems to miss a lot more than the Canon.

I don't have the 45-200, but do own the 14-45, 14-140 and 20. I may just have to pickup the 45-200. My reasoning so far was I would probably get my 20D and 300/4 + 1.4x if I was going to do long tele shots like widlife stuff etc. I might want to rethink that.

Again thanks for the informative post.

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Jonathan

jwilliams Veteran Member • Posts: 4,332
Re: not fair

The poster stated the shots were at ISO 200.

Of course the 5D is going to do better at high ISO. The sensor is 4X the size (area) with the same number of pixels so high ISO is obviously going to be better.

I think the comparison is a fairly typical example of how people might shoot the 2 cameras using long tele lenses. Bigger sensoirs will always win out over smaller sensors all things else being equal. It has been that way since the film days. Nothing new to report there.

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Jonathan

Diane B Forum Pro • Posts: 20,694
Re: not fair

What the 5D is great at is high ISO shots--and better DR. I have one, I have a G1 and GF1. I have shot with the 5D over 4 years and love it--but now I love my m4/3rds and shoot a lot more with them (having had the G1 now for 13 mos.). I deal with ;the compromises when needed--or I carry the 5D--but I never owned the 100-400 because I don't shoot a lot of tele--and I suspect I don't shoot a lot of tele (I have the 70-200 f/4L) BECAUSE the big tele lens are so blooming big and heavy LOL. I may shoot more with my 45-200--we'll see LOL.

I think this was a fair comparison in normal conditions. For those shooting in extreme conditions, you know what you need. But--the point is most of us don't. I shot with my 5D commercially (and the 20D before it) so I know the camera well and expected to upgrade to the 5DII. Now--I won't. I'm not selling off my Canon gear either--there are times, but they are getting fewer and further between.

Diane
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OP Robert Deutsch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,226
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

jwilliams wrote:

At those shutter speeds obviously you should have no problem getting good results with IS.

I know the 100-400 isn't the best Canon lens at 400, that is why years ago I bought the 300/4IS and 1.4x instead of the zoom, plus I just though the 300 handled better. I had been contemplating upgrading my ancient 20D and getting either a used 5D or new 5DII. My though was use my GH1 for most things and reserve the DSLR gear for the times when I want to take 'serious' pictures.

That about sums it up for me, too. For the ultimate quality, I would still use the 5D (I can't justify buying a 5DII at this point). I haven't used the 100-400L IS very much--it's just so heavy that I must have a special reason for taking it with me. I've used the 45-200 much more. I should probably sell the 100-400...

I am curious, these shots aside, how you feel about the quality of the GF1 vs your 5D. I haven't done any direct comparisons of my 20D vs my GH1, but my gut feeling looking at my GH1 shots is that the 20D is still a tiny bit better.

I used to have a 20D, which I sold to a friend when I got the 5D, and she's very happy with it. I have no doubt that the performance of the 20D--and the 5D--at high ISO (say, 1600) is superior to the GF1, and so is the dynamic range. I understand that the GH1 sensor is somewhat better than the one in the GF1 and the G1, but I would expect the superiority of the 20D/5D to hold. But the GF1 and its associated lenses are very good, and at lower ISO and where extreme DR is not present, the IQ is in the same league--and much better than what you can get from the best of the small-sensor digicams like the G10 (which was used for the photo of the GF1 and the 5D), G11, or the LX3.

To me it seems that my GH1 blows highlights out easier and really needs to have the exposure nailed for good results. It seems the 20D is more forgiving. Given ideal lighting and exposure I think the GH1 may actually be slightly better. I did some shots under a simple studio lighting setup and the results were very good. Also it seems that setting the WB manually helps a lot. The AWB on the GH1 seems to miss a lot more than the Canon.

I don't have the 45-200, but do own the 14-45, 14-140 and 20. I may just have to pickup the 45-200. My reasoning so far was I would probably get my 20D and 300/4 + 1.4x if I was going to do long tele shots like widlife stuff etc. I might want to rethink that.

If you need a really long tele, the 300/4 +1.4x on the 20D will be quite a bit longer than the 45-200, keeping in mind the extra 1.6x crop factor.

Again thanks for the informative post.

I'm glad you found it useful.

Bob

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rkhpedersen Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Stop kidding yourself

Show me a camera with a 400mm equiv. lens (compacts incl.) that could not have made this shot. It´s a picture of a house in good light...

funny.

millsart Senior Member • Posts: 2,771
Who's kidding themselves ? Other than perhaps you

rkhpedersen wrote:

Show me a camera with a 400mm equiv. lens (compacts incl.) that could not have made this shot. It´s a picture of a house in good light...

funny.

Again, suppose one doesn't shoot fast action in challenging light ? Then whats your point ?

Would I take a 45-200 in place of my 400 2.8 and D3 to a night football game ? No

Would I take a 45-200 in place of a 100-400 on a family trip to the zoo on sunny afternoon ? You bet I would because it works great for those type of situations, is very affordable, and light/easy to carry. Its great for what it is.

Only person kidding themselves is you if you can't understand the reasons m4/3rds appeals to people for a specific set of conditions.

Why go carry a heavy $2500 camera rig around all day taking snapshots when under the same non challenging conditions there are alternatives that give good quality and less work ???

Ehrik Veteran Member • Posts: 8,014
The 55-250 IS is a much better comparison

EDIT: Used on a 1.62x crop camera, of course. END EDIT
The Canon seems to be slightly better and it's a bit cheaper.

Still, the 45-200 is decent value.

Hansplast26
Hansplast26 Senior Member • Posts: 1,247
Re: What if you only shoot at low ISO ? Why test at higher for "fairness"

because when you compare two things you need to compare the full scope of features.

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millsart Senior Member • Posts: 2,771
Thats idotic to compare features that don't interest you

Sorry but thats one of the dumbest arguments I've seen a while

Your testing two lens that provide a similar range, feature set, and IQ and you test them under the context of how you'll use them.

If your only shooting landscapes who cares about high ISO ?

If I work from a tripod exclusively why would I care about shooting at 1600 ??

Why not test the video mode of the m4/3 camera then that the 5D can't do ?

You test like features that interest you for like features that interest you. If your reason for owning a 100-400 is for taking pictures at the zoo on sunny days (main thing I used to do with mine) then its perfectly valid to test the 45-200 as a much lower cost/ lighter weight alternative for that type of purpose.

Hansplast26 wrote:

because when you compare two things you need to compare the full scope of features.

rkhpedersen Contributing Member • Posts: 846
don´t get too far out of the chair

Again, suppose one doesn't shoot fast action in challenging light ? Then whats your point ?

My point is that if you want small and light in these shooting conditions then take one of the super zooms. They´ll do the job.

Only person kidding themselves is you if you can't understand the reasons m4/3rds appeals to people for a specific set of conditions.

I understand perfectly the appeal of especially the m4/3 system. In fact I´m contemplating buying a GH1 with the 20/1.7 as a second system for the portability.

Aleo Veuliah
MOD Aleo Veuliah Forum Pro • Posts: 14,740
Re: Good example of how good m 4/3 is and thoughts

Hello,

Good example of how good m4/3 is, images look almost equal, and I think the 45-200mm is a better lens overall, closer to the telecentric concept

Looking at the one on the table showing the two cameras, there is no doubts, size matters, I prefer a smaller system with hight IQ like Panasonic Lumix m4/3

On the first shot I see a bit more dynamic on the canon, but this is normal, it's a fullframe sensor (nikon, leica m9, and other fullframe sensor cameras will produce the same results here)

On the second picture I prefer the Panasonic Lumix overall

Conclusion, Panasonic Lumix m4/3 (and olympus but panasonic is ahead IMO) is making superb cameras and lenses, and only for some professional work I see the need to go for a Fullframe SLR, Nikon, Canon, Sony or Leica

About the other micro systems that can appear in the future, the Samsung Nx does not attract me, and lenses quality is inferior to what we have now in micro 4/3 (4/3 and leica lenses)

It seems Nikon is going to use a even smaller sensor than m 4/3, maybe interesting to see but it won't make me change from Panasonic Lumix

And finally let's see what canon, pentax (I like pentax philosophy), sony and fuji will do, but from those I think only fuji can use a 4/3 sensor size, so canon and other have to invent new sizes, bigger like aps-c or smaller

For those who don't have any idea of sensor sizes here it is:

I think that m4/3 have magical proportions, the 2.0x crop, this size seems to be just the perfect one, for a good balance of quality and lenses sizes and optical design

Let's see what PMA 2010 will bring

All the best

Aleo

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