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

Started Jan 16, 2010 | Discussions
Activatedfx Contributing Member • Posts: 957
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

I've posted a few comparos of the GF1 vs. the 5d MkII on this forum. My conclusion is that, at low ISO, the GF1 holds it's own PIXEL FOR PIXEL. ie: If the 5D MkII were a 12 MP camera, or the GF1 were a 21 MP camera, they'd deliver VERY similar images. Shallower DOF and a slight edge in high ISO noise goes to the 5D MkII.

My 1st thought when seeing your comparo is that NEITHER of the 100% crops are very sharp! I sold my 45-200 after realizing that it's just NOT SHARP. The 14-140, on the other hand, is AMAZINGLY sharp. Images I took on a recent ski vacation with the GF1/14-140, and my 5D MkII/24-105 L at similar focal lengths and f-stops are nearly identical in sharpness, contrast and overall IQ. The GF1 is amazing, and the 14-140 kills the 45-200.

malim Contributing Member • Posts: 509
Why we are so negative about this kind of test?

Are this kind of test really unfair? I remember someone comparing Nikon D700 (if I am not mistaken) with micro4/3 not long ago and so many negative feedback about it.

Any concrete justification why we cannot compare apple and orange? (beside of sensor size, pixels, physical size, brand)

Robert Deutsch wrote:

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

Robert Snow Senior Member • Posts: 1,091
Robert...

Robert, did you apply sharpening of any kind to the images??

thanks,

bob snow

Jogger
Jogger Veteran Member • Posts: 8,441
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

The advantage of ff are: dof, dr, hi ISO, etc... this sample hardly challenges ff and if these are the photos you take then the ff was a costly mistake.

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kenw
kenw Veteran Member • Posts: 6,404
Re: The 55-250 IS is a much better comparison

Ehrik wrote:

The Canon seems to be slightly better and it's a bit cheaper.

Still, the 45-200 is decent value.

I think that is a very fair statement. Worth pointing out as well that the 45-200 build quality is quite a bit better (the 55-250 even has a plastic lens mount I believe).
--
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morepix
morepix Veteran Member • Posts: 9,746
Well, I guess that settles it then! [nt]
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brunobarolo Senior Member • Posts: 1,118
The problem with this comparison is...

... that it is done handheld. You don't get critical sharpness with 400mm at 1/250 sec. handheld, no matter you're using a stabilizer (and the Canon IS in the 100-400 is a first generation IS, 10 years old).

Enough for resized web use? Yes. Pixel sharp? No.

That's why both resized images look pretty decent, and both 100% crops are equally soft.

OP Robert Deutsch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,229
Re: The problem with this comparison is...

brunobarolo wrote:

... that it is done handheld. You don't get critical sharpness with 400mm at 1/250 sec. handheld, no matter you're using a stabilizer (and the Canon IS in the 100-400 is a first generation IS, 10 years old).

Agreed. As I said "Truly well-controlled camera/lens comparisons are difficult to do, and require studio setups with controlled lighting, standardized targets, cameras on tripods , etc."

However, since I use these lenses hand-held 90% of the time (or more), it's a reasonable test of how they perform in my normal use. I did notice in comparing the four shots I took with each camera/lens that the ones taken with the 5D/100-400 showed greater variability in sharpness (different file sizes) than the ones taken with the GF1/45-200. The greater consistency of the sharpness of the GF1/45-200 images may be due to the more effective IS of the latest-generation IS from Panasonic compared to the first-generation Canon IS, or to my being able to hold the Panasonic combo more steady than the Canon. As I noted, I picked the best of the four images from each camera (the four from the Canon showing some variability, and the Panasonic images all being pretty much the same). It may well be that the 100-400L IS would benefit more from the camera being on a tripod then the 45-200. Still, if I'm not going to use a tripod when I normally use these cameras/lenses, it's a moot point.

The photos I took under these conditions represent only two data points in a what would be a thorough, formal comparison. Tests done by DPR or other professional testing organizations would use a tripod as well as hand-holding (testing the effectiveness of IS), various focal lengths from 100 to 400, examination of the sharpness in the center vs. periphery, tests at various ISOs, controlled lighting conditions, standardized targets, and would look critically at dynamic range, distortiion, CA, and other detailed aspects of camera/lens performance. Mine was an informal, practical test under a single set of conditions, and I would not want to draw any definite conclusions about the ultimate quality of each camera or lens. Still, I think the results are kind of interesting. I expected the performance of the Canon combo to be more obviously superior.

Bob

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Amin Sabet
Amin Sabet Veteran Member • Posts: 6,781
Nice, thanks for sharing!

First, let me say that I enjoyed the comparison photo - what a size difference!

Second, thanks for going to the trouble of posting this. I do similar comparisons, and posting them here at DPR is largely thankless.

I think that best of 4 shots using IS in good light with 1/(0.5*focal length) shutter speed is a reasonable test. Tripod would be better for evaluating the optics, but any IS worth a damn should be able to produce one shot out of four without motion blur under these circumstances. I also found your comments about the greater variability with the 5D combo to be useful.

As a previous owner of the 5D and 100-400, I think in good light (or any time deep DOF is desired) that my G1/GH1 and 45-200 compete nicely with that combo and without the huge weight. For low light or action/sports, the DSLR kit is much better, but all of these systems have their inherent advantages/disadvantages.

Thanks again for posting an interesting comparison!

Amin
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OP Robert Deutsch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,229
Re: Nice, thanks for sharing!

Thanks, Amin. I appreciate your comments.

For me, the practical difference between the 5D/100-400L IS and the GF1/45-200 combo is that there would have to be a specific reason for me to take the Canon setup--e.g., going to the zoo or a sports event where they allow DLSRs, and when I want to make sure that I'm using the best equipment I have available. The difference with the GF1 is that I can carry it with the 20 f/1.7 mounted, and the 45-200 is small enough to carry in a coat pocket "just in case," and I'm confident that it will still allow me to get good photos. Also, the 100-400 is a BIG lens, and attracts a lot of attention, which may not be desirable. The GF1/45-200 combo is more unobtrusive. I've taken pictures with it at a couple of church concert events, and no one seemed to pay attention to me. I'm sure this would not have the case if I had been using the 5D/100-400!

Bob

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tko Forum Pro • Posts: 13,383
there is no magic in FF - if you have enough light

I'm not at all surprised at this. My Panasonic FZ50 was fine in daytime, and I used to use it side by side with my dSLR. It's nice to have 420MM that you can cup in your hand.

Really, even the smallest sensor will give FF a good fight with enough light. Someone compared the Canon G6 to a large format back for landscapes, and it did very well. People sometimes think there is a huge difference between the different crop formats, in reality a bunch of different trade offs are being made which means you can vary the sensor size quite a bit w/o having a dramatic difference in overall system performance

Where FF shines is when the light goes away. You were shooting at ISO 200. The Canon can go to ISO 1600 easily, and the 5d isn't really optimized for high ISO. If they were to release a new FF today it should be able to go to ISO 3200-6400 with similar picture quality. That allows you high shutter speeds and better holdability.

When I was using my FZ50 for travel photography it was put away about an hour before dusk.

rockygag Senior Member • Posts: 1,336
Re: there is no magic in FF - if you have enough light

I have been playing with a Casio FH-20 super zoom, and in the right conditions, I can get some pretty good photos from it.

However, the more you get to the edges of light/zoom, the worse that camera does.

Move far enough to the edges of light and zoom, and the G1 starts doing poorly,

Even farther to the edge, the D300 starts doing bad.

and yes, even the D3X or the Canon 1DMIII will have it's limits.

When I need ultimate sharpness, I'll drag out the 4X5, load a few backs with ektachrome at IS0 100, shoot from the Gitzo carbon, with a Schnider lens and a cable release, then have the negatives drum scanned. I would take a 39 megapixel back to equal that.

I think the point the OP was trying to make was that for that big middle of the bell curve, the 45-200 just does a super job. I have kids, and go to the zoo/parks/theme parks, and simply put, the G1 is much more FUN than the D300, and for the web site, IMPOSSIBLE to tell what camera it was shot with. It's light, responsive, and good to use. At the same time, the Casio is a blast too.

If I go to Sea World again, I will still lug along the D300 with the 80-200 2.8, because catching Shamu jumping is not inside the very large range with the G1 would be just fine.

I have little brand loyalty, and have grasped the concept that specialist tasks take specialist tools. I only have one camera that shoots 40FPS, and its a point and shoot!

Dave

OP Robert Deutsch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,229
Re: Robert...

Robert Snow wrote:

Robert, did you apply sharpening of any kind to the images??

thanks,

bob snow

No sharpening at all in ACR. Focalblade plugin in PSE8, set at "Light sharpening" and "Fine detail,"Screen" setting (which applies less sharpening than "Print"). These are pretty much the lowest settings in Focalblade. I normally don't use any sharpening until after resizing, or just before printing, and in the latter case I would use the Print setting, which applies a higher level of sharpening. In this case, I wanted to make sure that I didn't oversharpen the images. In retrospect, the images could have used a bit more sharpening without becoming oversharpened.

Bob

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Aleo Veuliah
MOD Aleo Veuliah Forum Pro • Posts: 14,768
Re: opss
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Maximillan Regular Member • Posts: 488
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

Any camera could've achieved this result in this kind of light.

Robert Deutsch wrote:

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

J R R S Senior Member • Posts: 1,337
Re: Canon 5D/100-400L IS vs. Panasonic GF1/45-200

Not so shaw FF DOF is an advantage.... my e-p1 with a 25mm 1.4 has shalow DOF - if it was any shalower it would be unusable and just an effect! - I bet the FF 50mm 0.95 Canon will be so shallow as to be almost unusable - I dont think the slightly more depth of feild at wide apatures is a problem - only on slow glass - and I also think they should make fast fast glass for 4/3... partly cus you can use more depth and partly cus it will bridge the gap in hi ISO situations!... and when it comes to macro more depth of feild the merryier....

J

brunobarolo Senior Member • Posts: 1,118
Re: The problem with this comparison is...

Robert, no offense intended, I didn't want to question the validity of your comparison in the context you gave. Of course, if you use the lens handheld, then a handheld test is valid for your purposes.

I just think that both lenses should be able to produce higher resolution than shown in this test.

Robert Deutsch wrote:

brunobarolo wrote:

... that it is done handheld. You don't get critical sharpness with 400mm at 1/250 sec. handheld, no matter you're using a stabilizer (and the Canon IS in the 100-400 is a first generation IS, 10 years old).

Agreed. As I said "Truly well-controlled camera/lens comparisons are difficult to do, and require studio setups with controlled lighting, standardized targets, cameras on tripods , etc."

However, since I use these lenses hand-held 90% of the time (or more), it's a reasonable test of how they perform in my normal use. I did notice in comparing the four shots I took with each camera/lens that the ones taken with the 5D/100-400 showed greater variability in sharpness (different file sizes) than the ones taken with the GF1/45-200. The greater consistency of the sharpness of the GF1/45-200 images may be due to the more effective IS of the latest-generation IS from Panasonic compared to the first-generation Canon IS, or to my being able to hold the Panasonic combo more steady than the Canon. As I noted, I picked the best of the four images from each camera (the four from the Canon showing some variability, and the Panasonic images all being pretty much the same). It may well be that the 100-400L IS would benefit more from the camera being on a tripod then the 45-200. Still, if I'm not going to use a tripod when I normally use these cameras/lenses, it's a moot point.

The photos I took under these conditions represent only two data points in a what would be a thorough, formal comparison. Tests done by DPR or other professional testing organizations would use a tripod as well as hand-holding (testing the effectiveness of IS), various focal lengths from 100 to 400, examination of the sharpness in the center vs. periphery, tests at various ISOs, controlled lighting conditions, standardized targets, and would look critically at dynamic range, distortiion, CA, and other detailed aspects of camera/lens performance. Mine was an informal, practical test under a single set of conditions, and I would not want to draw any definite conclusions about the ultimate quality of each camera or lens. Still, I think the results are kind of interesting. I expected the performance of the Canon combo to be more obviously superior.

Bob

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