Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Ken McMahon, December 2012

Panasonic FZ200 vs Canon SX50 HS RAW quality

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To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS, within a few moments of each other using their best quality RAW settings.

The SX50 HS was zoomed in slightly to produce an equivalent field of view to the FZ200 at its 25mm maximum wide angle.

Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and all other settings were left on the defaults.

  Panasonic Lumix FZ200 results
1 Lumix FZ200 Quality JPEG
2 Lumix FZ200 Quality RAW
3 Lumix FZ200 Noise JPEG
4 Lumix FZ200 Noise RAW
5 Lumix FZ200 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ200. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f4 and the sensitivity to 100 ISO. The camera metered an exposure of 1/640. The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS metered an exposure of 1/400 at f4 at its base 80 ISO sensitivity.

I processed both files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. To further reduce any distracting visual differences between the crops I also set custom white balance to 6000K and tint to 0. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes.

These crops from the RAW files processed in the same way make for interesting viewing. As with the JPEGs, the results from the two cameras are very close, but this time the RAW processing has unveiled a significant difference. The crops from the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 look to be noisier than those from the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. You can see this straight away in the area of ocean on the left side of the first crop and it's even more obvious in the second. In fact, you don't have to look particularly hard to see the noisier textures in all of the crops. While you wouldn't normally process RAW files with this degree of sharpening and no noise reduction what this does show is that the SX50 HS RAW sensor data may be a bit more robust than that from the Lumix FZ200. In other words it's likely to offer more scope for tweaking and revealing improved detail.

Of course RAW processing isn't just about squeezing better detail from images and you'd also have no problem rescuing the blown highlights form this RAW file. You might also want to do something about the chromatic aberration apparent in both lenses, but to a slightly greater extent in the FZ200.

In view of the noise differences at the base ISO settings revealed here and in the JPEGs on the previous page, it'll be interesting to see how these two models compare starting with a JPEG comparison in my Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Noise results.


Panasonic Lumix FZ200 RAW
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS RAW
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO

Panasonic Lumix FZ200
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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