FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Started Apr 9, 2013 | Discussions
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RudyPohl
RudyPohl Senior Member • Posts: 4,075
FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200
3

Hi Everyone:

As requested by some of you and promised by me, here is my very brief comparison between the Nikon D7100 and the Panasonic FZ200, and my comparison between bridge cameras and DSLRs when used for hobbyist wildlife photography.

Conclusion in a nutshell:

The Nikon D7100 together with just a single consumer-grade lens (the Nikon 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 image stabilized -  a great lens), is 3 times the price and 3 times the weight of Panasonic FZ200. However, you do not get 3 times the image quality, or 3 times the shooting versatility in return. In fact, with this limited single-zoom lens DSLR set-up you will be giving up all wide angle and all macro shooting to boot.

In comparing these two camera rigs, my conclusion therefore, is that for the purpose of hobbyist wildlife photography the image quality of the Panasonic FZ200, and the FZ150, are so good, that from a simple dollars and cents, and convenience and versatility perspective, it make no sense to buy the Nikon D7100 single-lens rig, or any other similarly expensive DSLR outfit. You get far, far more bang for your buck with the FZ200.

I have shot about 15,000 shots with the FZ200 over a 7-month period and have shot 3000 shots with the Nikon D7100 in the last 3 weeks. I think I have produced some fairly decent images using each rig, although I’m really just learning my way around the Nikon. So having made this hands-on comparison, this is my conclusion. Also, I believe that all the leading brand bridge cameras are so good these days that this conclusion would extend to them as well.

So why then part with all that cash just to buy and lug around an expensive DSLR rig?

Well, I think people do it for a lot of different reasons. I’ll share mine the next opportunity I get to add to this thread or post a new one. Right now I’m out of time and need to get back to work, but I wanted to get back to this forum (which is a really nice community by the way), and give you my initial findings.

Cheers,

Rudy

Nikon D7100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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GeraldW Veteran Member • Posts: 7,063
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200
2

Rudy,

Good to hear from you, again.  Even though I agree with what you say about the current superzooms; I still went out and bought another DSLR.  Actually not a DSLR; but the DSLR-like Sony SLT-A57.  It works well; but it's a bit of a hybrid.  It's Father was a Minolta DSLR, and it's Mother was a point and shoot.  It looks and feels like Dad in the hand; but has the EVF, the menu, and things like a zoom button from Mom's DNA.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

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Danny Gee Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Thanks Rudy for your coments and findings. They are really appreciated as I find myself in the exact same position of having to give up on DSLR equipment  (cameras and lenses, etc.)  Looking forward to hearing more of your coments ---  much appreciated.  Thanks.

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kkardster
kkardster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,039
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

RudyPohl wrote:

with this limited single-zoom lens DSLR set-up you will be giving up all wide angle and all macro shooting to boot.

Can't you simply reverse that fixed lens to do macro 

-- hide signature --

Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

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Bill Vincent Contributing Member • Posts: 664
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Rudy.....Thanks for the unbiased report.....How do they compare in the same lighting !!

sherman_levine
sherman_levine Forum Pro • Posts: 10,140
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

GeraldW wrote:

Rudy,

Good to hear from you, again.  Even though I agree with what you say about the current superzooms; I still went out and bought another DSLR.  Actually not a DSLR; but the DSLR-like Sony SLT-A57.  It works well; but it's a bit of a hybrid.  It's Father was a Minolta DSLR, and it's Mother was a point and shoot.  It looks and feels like Dad in the hand; but has the EVF, the menu, and things like a zoom button from Mom's DNA.

-- hide signature --

Jerry

Jerry,

The Minolta alphas are an excellent choice.  I coerced my wife into upgrading from her older Minolta to the a77 last year - Certainly a "best of both worlds" product...and pretty close to the superzoom range if you mount an 18-250/270 zoom.

Sherm

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Dale108
Dale108 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,348
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Hi Rudy:

Interesting conclusions based on your experience.  For me I use the FZ200 in concert with a DSLR as I find in many situations the FZ200 IQ isn't up to what I would expect.  The FZ200 can capture great IQ under the right conditions.

Dale

Mikedigi Veteran Member • Posts: 9,009
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

RudyPohl wrote:

Hi Everyone:

As requested by some of you and promised by me, here is my very brief comparison between the Nikon D7100 and the Panasonic FZ200 . . . . . .

A big part of your move was the motor zoom sticking at very low temperatures, wasn't it?

Mike

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Timj351
Timj351 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,773
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Hey Rudy, good to hear from you. That sounds like a nice setup you are using and I bet you are getting stronger too I predict you will be coming back to an FZ? in the near future. Maybe in addition to your current gear. The main thing is you are still taking a ton of pictures.

-Tim

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Donald B
Donald B Veteran Member • Posts: 5,647
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Hi Rudy, after seeing the president of our local photography club buy a fz200 2weeks ago, after buying a ful kit of lens with the 7d and a 5dmk11 only 18 months ago pretty well summed it up as to what cameras being used were winning the competitions.

cheers don

-- hide signature --

Pentax K7, Panasonic fz150, Olympus XZ1, my main toys.

proframki Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Interesting findings Rudy. Looking forward to your return and your contribution to this forum.Have a nice time

Ronomy
Ronomy Senior Member • Posts: 3,742
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

proframki wrote:

"Looking forward to your return and your contribution to this forum."

LOL!  Good one!

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Ronald A Yorko Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

I have the FZ150 but recently bought a Sony A57 as well.  While the Sony is heavy, especially with an 18-250 lens, I'm satisfied with the improved I.Q. and larger sensor that gives me the shots I want that the FZ150 struggled with.  Still use the FZ150, but limited to certain conditions.

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capnblinski
capnblinski Contributing Member • Posts: 534
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

RudyPohl wrote:

Hi Everyone:

As requested by some of you and promised by me, here is my very brief comparison between the Nikon D7100 and the Panasonic FZ200, and my comparison between bridge cameras and DSLRs when used for hobbyist wildlife photography.

Conclusion in a nutshell:

The Nikon D7100 together with just a single consumer-grade lens (the Nikon 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 image stabilized -  a great lens), is 3 times the price and 3 times the weight of Panasonic FZ200. However, you do not get 3 times the image quality, or 3 times the shooting versatility in return. In fact, with this limited single-zoom lens DSLR set-up you will be giving up all wide angle and all macro shooting to boot.

In comparing these two camera rigs, my conclusion therefore, is that for the purpose of hobbyist wildlife photography the image quality of the Panasonic FZ200, and the FZ150, are so good, that from a simple dollars and cents, and convenience and versatility perspective, it make no sense to buy the Nikon D7100 single-lens rig, or any other similarly expensive DSLR outfit. You get far, far more bang for your buck with the FZ200.

I have shot about 15,000 shots with the FZ200 over a 7-month period and have shot 3000 shots with the Nikon D7100 in the last 3 weeks. I think I have produced some fairly decent images using each rig, although I’m really just learning my way around the Nikon. So having made this hands-on comparison, this is my conclusion. Also, I believe that all the leading brand bridge cameras are so good these days that this conclusion would extend to them as well.

So why then part with all that cash just to buy and lug around an expensive DSLR rig?

Well, I think people do it for a lot of different reasons. I’ll share mine the next opportunity I get to add to this thread or post a new one. Right now I’m out of time and need to get back to work, but I wanted to get back to this forum (which is a really nice community by the way), and give you my initial findings.

Cheers,

Rudy

Rudy --

Thanks for your support of the 'Leica's! No doubt that the price and super-flexibility of the FZ200 is a winner and the resulting shots compare well with DSLR's with fast glass.

An all-time favorite lens of mine is the Nikon 105mm 2.0.  Now pair one of those with say, a D800, now that would sure be nice.

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sherman_levine
sherman_levine Forum Pro • Posts: 10,140
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

In case you're wondering if he can handle that big camera....

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rudypohl

Sherm

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Kurt W
Kurt W Regular Member • Posts: 492
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Thanks ruddy for your analysis  you have some amazing images on your flickr page

Sherm

I looking at that move to compliment the fz200 later this summer. I want to pair it with the sal70400gII when needing prints larger than 11x14 and when needing to shoot higher iso. good to hear your happy with it.

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,185
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Interesting. But you've boiled it down to money and convenience. For those for whom money is not the main object (perhaps not even an object at all) and don't mind carrying around a moderate zoom and wide angle (two lenses), WHICH will give the better performance?

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JamesD
Happy Snappin'

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sherman_levine
sherman_levine Forum Pro • Posts: 10,140
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

Kurt W wrote:


I looking at that move to compliment the fz200 later this summer. I want to pair it with the sal70400gII when needing prints larger than 11x14 and when needing to shoot higher iso. good to hear your happy with it.

Can you use the sony zoom with Nikon body?

Sherm

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Jon_Doh
Jon_Doh Regular Member • Posts: 368
Re: My Two Cents
2

I own the Leica version of the FZ200 and also a professional level Canon DLSR.  There are many different DLSR's you could use for comparison - lighter in weight crop cameras with consumer lens versus pro or semi pro bodies with pro lenses.  I own the latter and to take my Canon with a variety of lenses out for shooting is quite a task.  To me, you have to compare the Panasonic with the pro lenses because it has high quality Leica glass.  Not to mention a constant 2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.

A few months back I was going to Europe and debated back and forth which camera I should take.  In the end, I chose to take only the Leica.  The decision proved to be the correct one because I was able to pack the camera in the carry on bag.  Instead of having to lug a heavy camera and several large heavy lenses with me, that would have been a magnet for thieves, I traveled with this small compact bridge camera.  In the end I was more than pleased with the photos I took.  The long reach of the lens was amazing.  And the pictures were high quality with plenty of detail that printed in large sizes nicely.  I even took great shots in a dark cathedral and at dusk with very little noise.

After that experience I have found myself picking this camera up whenever I go out to walk around town to shoot urban life and graffiti  This weekend I'm attending a photo workshop and the bridge camera is all I'm taking with me.

I know the camera isn't capable of keeping up with a 5D Mark III or Nikon D800, but I think it gives the consumer cameras with consumer lenses a run for their money.  And being someone who has grown tired of carrying a ton of heavy cameras, lenses and tripods I'm more than happy to settle for the few compromises this camera offers because the benefits far outweigh its deficiencies.

By the way, I want to thank the folks in this forum for accepting Panasonic made Leica owners.  The Leica forum folks do not accept us because we don't have real Leicas.

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It's not what you look at, but what you see when you look.

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Kurt W
Kurt W Regular Member • Posts: 492
Re: FZ200: 3 weeks on the “Dark Side” - Nikon D7100 vs FZ200

sherman_levine wrote:

Kurt W wrote:


I looking at that move to compliment the fz200 later this summer. I want to pair it with the sal70400gII when needing prints larger than 11x14 and when needing to shoot higher iso. good to hear your happy with it.

Can you use the sony zoom with Nikon body?

Sherm

Im sure acme makes an adapter

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