Compared to... Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D)

Perhaps the biggest competition for high end 'super zoom' cameras is the budget DSLR. Obviously we're talking about a lot more money (for the body and lenses to cover the 35-420 range), but not a ridiculous amount of money. So here, as an interesting comparison, are studio shots taken using the FZ30 and the Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D) at each camera's lowest and highest setting (ISO 80 and 400 for the FZ30, ISO 100 and 1600 for the XT).

Studio scene comparison (FZ30 @ ISO 80, Rebel XT @ ISO 100)

  • Panasonic DMC-FZ30: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66EV
  • Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT): Canon EF 50 mm F1.4, Aperture Priority (F9), ISO 100, JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Parameter 1)
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Panasonic DMC-FZ30
Canon EOS Rebel XT
ISO 80, 1/40 sec, F5.6
ISO 100, 1/40 sec, F9
3,241 KB JPEG
2,882 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 2.9
Noise, std dev: 1.9

OK, so the FZ30 image is noisier (though in prints it's not enough to cause concern), and has marginally less detail and a narrower dynamic range, but perhaps the most surprising thing here is how well the FZ30's image stacks up against a camera with a huge sensor and a razor-sharp 50mm F1.4 lens. If you compare the FZ30 against a 350D with a cheaper zoom lens the sharpness difference is far less stark.