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 35-420mm range), and if you want the fast apertures and image stabilization you're looking at several thousand dollars. So here, as an interesting comparison, are studio shots taken using the FZ50 and the Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D) at each camera's lowest and highest setting (ISO 100 and 1600). Note that you should bear in mind that the EOS Rebel XT pictures were taken with a high quality 50mm prime lens - if you used an inexpensive zoom on the body you would expect to see considerably softer results.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 100)

  • Panasonic DMC-FZ50: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV
  • 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-FZ50
Canon EOS Rebel XT
ISO 100, 1/80 sec, F5.0
ISO 100, 1/40 sec, F9
4,735 KB JPEG
2,882 KB JPEG

At the lowest ISO setting it's fair to say that the FZ50 is giving the XT a good run for its money - especially when you remember that the Canon studio scene was shot with a 50mm F1.4 lens; if we'd used a cheaper zoom lens the results would have been much closer. The Rebel XT - like all SLRs - is producing a cleaner image (noise is slightly lower), and is capturing marginally more detail (though again this is due in no small part to the lens), but for standard prints the difference isn't so great as to make a massive difference.