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I recently had my dSLR equipment stolen, so now, I'm going to venture into the world of the bridge camera as a back-up and I'm torn between which of these to buy?
I've read all of the available online forums/reviews and yes, I know that the FZ200's constant f/2.8, enhanced EVF and speed of AF, are all swaying me towards buying Panasonic's offering, but something keeps pulling me back towards the Canon and as I'm not really in desperate need of the 1,200mm zoom, I'm not really sure what it is?
The price isn't the issue, I just want a back-up PAS camera that, at the end of the day, is going to produce the best images and if I can't fill the frame with an object a hundred miles away then so be it!
Can someone please put me out of my misery and enlighten me as to which they feel I should go for?
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My understanding is that the main appeal of the Canon (and the Fuji HS50) over the Panasonic for use in wildlife / bird photography is the longer focal length - not to cover huge distances but to provide sufficient magnification of the subject. Many (? some?) bird photographers who use the Panasonic also use a screw-on telephoto to extend the range. Difficult choice, I do hope somebody can shed some more light on it.....
Thanks for the comment Pete.
I'm not an avid bird-watcher and whilst I'm passionate about my photography, (all sorts; still life, portrait, scenery), in the main, I stick to holiday photographs and family gatherings, although I am asked to capture the odd wedding, etc, as apparently, my results can be quite good?
The point is, whilst the attraction of a 1200mm zoom is obviously appealing, I don't really 'need' the focal length on a regular basis, but then the comments relating to 'noise' with the Panasonic lends me to wonder about results with the FZ200? I must say, despite adverse comments relating to focussing and aperture issues at extended zoom lengths with the SX50, online results that I've seen actually look as though the Canon are sharper than it's main rival?
This is precisely my quandary and at the moment, I'm close to just tossing a coin and seeing how it lands!!!!
I have to admit that If I were to buy either it would probably be the Canon because I do want to get some decent bird photos, but I do wonder whether or not a good compact, something like a high-end Canon (G15 /S110) perhaps, would not better for what you will use it for, with possibly a slightly larger sensor and less need to compromise on the lens to achieve the zoom range..
Anyway. This review of the Canon SX50 compares the noise / dynamic range of the Canon SX50 and the Panasonic FZ200 (see page 5 of the review), and the Canon comes out better using their (I believe DXO-based) measurements. For landscapes in particular the higher dynamic range would be useful:
I believe, though, that the Panasonic lens comes out as being sharper in the same site's Panasonic review.
Unfortunately, it seems to me to be impossible to get a completely unbiassed user view as there seems to be a tendency to 'champion' ones 'own brand' (in which case I now urge you to buy a Fuji)
However, if you can get to try them both out, in particular to see the EVF of the Canon - it may be the best way to decide.....
Hi I have the SX50 and have some nice tripod shots from it of the Moon on my spot here, the SX50 has surprised me in both range and versatility, and it is quite small too and light,
the tripod Moon shots both day and night ones were pleasing, and also got some prints of the portraits of my grand daughter that were pleasing but you do have to get quite close for a good bird shot even at 1200mm, and fiddly to use so if I were you I would go for one of those nice new small Nikons with a telephoto lens and as I love my XZ1 I would go for the XZ2 for a pocket/ backup cam that can deliver nice portrait shots in low light.
Hope that helps and will add more if you want to ask any questions on the SX50. Chen.
Pete and Chen,
Thank you both for your comments. Pete, as you rightly say, it depends on which site you visit, as to which camera is supported as coming out on top, whereas, having read until I can't see straight - not a good thing for someone who enjoys his photography - it really is down to a mix of feelings and what one has been used to?
For me, the FZ200 is incredibly appealing, as the EVF/screen are both far higher quality, the AF is much faster, the HD video is far superior, (yes, I'll be taking some footage with whatever I buy, as the Lumix looks incredible for this), the constant aperture is a real winner and the battery life kicks the Canon into touch, so I guess what I'm really trying to establish, is why so many reports, opinions, forums and reviews, still favour the Canon!
Am I missing something completely??????????
I own the Panasonic FZ200 and before I bought it I had the same problems with deciding as you! Overall though I am happy with the camera as it has lots of customization and controls as well as the things you mentioned. One thing to be aware of however is image noise which at ISO 400 and below isn’t too bad and ISO 800 for small prints but any higher is pretty bad so depending on how much light you generally shoot with you may consider one of the many “advanced compacts” available. Also you may want to choose the same brand as you are used to shooting with now as many things will be similar such as menus and the like.
I wish you luck with your decision and any questions you may have I will be happy to answer.
Have a nice day
Actually, talking of compacts, I did consider and look at the TZ40, as the specs and reviews, are excellent. However, it feels more of a handbag camera, (please don't slate me for that comment), whilst it lacks the feel of an SLR which I love. Saying that, the bells and whistles are all there!
I also looked at the Nikon P520 and found it super-comfortable, with the rubberized grip and as you say, a familiar menu. However, again, reports of poor battery performance and squeezing 18MP into a small sensor, turned me off, whilst from a ratings viewpoint, it doesn't carry that much weight, at least not compared to the SX50, or thee FZ200!
No, I'm afraid that the quandary continues, although the more research I do and having keenly read Techradar's review, twice, (thanks again Pete), I'm actually now swaying towards the Canon? In truth, Nathaniel, with you commenting again on noise levels above ISO 400, its pretty much a done deal? Ooh, I do feel sorry for the guys in Currys, as I must have been in there six times to carry out my hands-on market research!!
I guess I'll sleep on it............again!!!
Then there will be the SX60...Hmmm, those Nikons....not big cameras either and just a few hundred quid more to pay for so much more camera. Best of luck...Chen
I could not reply before as I have only just returned from a holiday. I did a comparison between the Fuji X-S1, Canon SX50 HS and Panasonic Lumix FZ200. I looked at 38 different aspects of the specs and obtained performance information from a Which? report, various reviews and manufacturers' specs. My overall scores were 227 for the Fuji, 230 for the Canon and 252 for the Panasonic. There was little to choose between them for many aspects, resolution, IS and RAW. Differences were that the Fuji was heavier and for the viewfinder the Fuji was 144k pixels, the Canon 202k Pixels bit the Panasonic 1.3M pixels (over 6 times better than its nearest rival). Shutter delay for the Fuji is long and for HI Res burst mode the Panasonic is much faster than the other two. The Fuji has a larger sensor size but the IQ performance seems no better for this. The Fuji does not have HDR (not important if you only use Raw as I do). Probable the most significant difference is the lens. Which? and most the reviews rate the Panasonic Leica lens as the best and the constant f2.8 is very attractive. With very clear advantages, I bought the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 about 6 weeks ago.
I should also mention that I use two Canon DSLR's a 5D Mkii and a 20D IR so would tended to have favoured Canon. I have not given up my DSLR cameras but, due to back problems, I cannot always carry this heavy equipment and now use the Panasonic in some circumstances. In low light situations there is no doubt that the 5D2 beats the FZ200 but in many well lit situations the FZ200 produces excellent results. In particular, I am finding a. the swivel screen a great advantage in street photography. The 1.3 M pixel viewfinder is great but I have looked at a low resolution version on the FZ150 and it is difficult to use hence the Canon and Fuji bridge camera scoring much lower. I have also taken several bird shots with the FZ200 with its 600mm zoon which I would have struggled with for my 5D2. I can also take macro shots with the FZ200 which again I cannot do without a specialist macro lens.
Overall, the strengths are speed, lightweight, versatility and the fact that I can take this camera when I would now have to leave my heavy DSLR kit at home. I am sure if you buy the Panasonic FZ200, you will not be disappointed.
How about a panasonic GF3 twin lens kit for £299, kit includes the 14-42 and the 14mm pancake.
The GF3 fitted with the 14mm is smaller the my fuji x10 compact
Dave and others, thank you all for your feedback, but I finally made the call and late yesterday afternoon, having ordered the FZ200 from John Lewis, (as they were offering it for £400, to include a very smart LowePro case and it was only a few quid cheaper from other reliable sources), I became the new owner of the Lumix.
On unpacking it, which is always a slow and a pleasurable experience when I buy a new camera, or piece of electronics, (which, according to my wife, is far too often), the first thing that I noticed was the weight and the fact that it felt uncomfortably light! However, ergonomics are good, very good and the 'rubberized' feel is comfortable and welcoming, so I charged the battery, went through the initial set-up process and this morning, the dog and I went for a long walk........and I mean a 'long' walk!
From the outset, I wasn't sure if I'd made the right decision, having been used to a Nikon for the last thirty years, with my favourite everyday lens being the Nikkor 18-200mm, which is heavy without a body. However, I quickly started to enjoy using the FZ200, although I still have reservations about the EVF, even though its far superior to that of the SX50? This said, I set about shooting anything and everything that was of interest in the park and the surrounding areas. The question was, would the results be any good?
I couldn't wait to get home and tinker, (as my wife calls it), when I hide in the study, download my day's catch and see if any gems lay within? Well, today, there were a few rough diamonds, as I was playing with the focussing settings and macro still mystifies me to an extent, but what I can share, is that whether the setting was for 12m pixels, or the more modest 10.5m, (I have a new 32GB card, so what the heck), the results are astonishing for such a lightweight, but clever, bit of kit.
The controls are easy to monitor and use, the menu system is simple, the quality of the video is nothing short of astonishing, (when played back on a 47" full-HD TV), whilst even some of the in-camera special effects, albeit, there for fun, are both entertaining and rewarding.
Speed of operation is excellent, the multi-point AF is a dream and highly accurate, whilst overall operation, even down to the extent to which buttons are depressed, are all spot-on in my book and so far, after a modest morning's entertainment and a few hundred test shots, everything points to me having made an excellent decision with the FZ200?
There's been much written about Canon's 50x zoom, both positive and negative, but the Panasonic's fixed f/2.8 aperture, Vs Canon's decreasing number as you zoomed in, scared me towards buying the Panasonic and now I know that I made the right decision. I'd tested the SX50, of course and it was nigh impossible to hold steady at full zoom, (even with their very good inbuilt system helping to conquer 'the shakes'), but I'm not a bird spotter and having been used to the 18-200mm for years, the FZ200 offers me more than enough of a 'reach', so for me, first impressions, for both photographic results AND video, (unbelievable!!), are very welcome and I look forward to commenting further once I've had an opportunity to carry out more in-depth testing to see what it really is capable of?
For the moment, my conclusion is that if you 'need' the extra reach, you must go for the SX50, whilst if you can make do with a mere 24x, which a lot of folk can, (like me), then absolutely everything that is posted on review and forum websites, points towards the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 being the superior camera.
By the way, I doubt that the dog will be wanting me to take him out again in too much of a rush, he was finished when we got home!!!!
I think you made the best choice; that lens with its 2.8 aperture throughout the range would do it for me.
Well I do hope that you will be very pleased with the FZ200. I initially used a single centre spot focus as I do for my 5D2 and spot metering but this did not work so well on some shots. I then started using the multi-point focus on the FZ200 and the evaluative metering and the results are much better. I know two others who also have the FZ200 along with DSLR's (and decades of experience) and they have both found the multipoint focus and evaluative metering a better option (even though not necessarily the best option for their DSLR's).
I recently took some bird shots with the FZ200 which were great (did not have my DSLR at the time) but a couple of days ago took some shots of a Great Crested Grebe about 200m away. I had all my kit so took some with the FZ200 at 600mm and some with the 5D2 with a 70-200mm f2.8 l IS plus 1.4x extender. The images in the FZ200 are twice the size in the frame but once zoomed in the 5D2 images are better (due to the much larger sensor size). However, in many circumstances, I will not have the DSLR with me so a shot with the FZ200 will then be very valuable.
One thing that I have bought is a monopod for the FZ200 and I am pleased with this. I have a good tripod but no point in reducing the camera weight if I have to carry a tripod around. Overall, I am very pleased with the performance of the FZ200.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I am facing the same problem here. It would be really great if you can comment on the 'noise' issue with FZ200. How well does it perform in low light? I am sure you must have gone for an evening walk too with your dog and clicked some good pics in low light
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