Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Ken McMahon, December 2012
 
 

Panasonic FZ200 vs Canon SX50 HS quality

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To compare real-life 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 JPEG 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.

The test scene on the day that I took these shots was particularly demanding with bright sunshine presenting a very wide brightness range. The Lumix FZ200 has made a reasonably good job of the exposure, but nonetheless there's a good deal of highlight clipping in the image, particularly the white walls of the buildings which are reflecting the bright sunlight. The histogram reaches both ends of the chart, so had the FZ200 chosen a faster shutter speed it would have clipped the shadows rather than the highlights. Note the PowerShot SX50 HS had the exact same problem with this high dynamic range scene.

Overall, the Lumix FZ200 has produced an excellent set of crops despite the demanding lighting conditions. The first crop shows a good deal of fine detail with the texture in the rocks and grass well resolved as well as some fine detail in the stonework of the chapel. In the second crop the lighthouse has grown a little fat, and there's some noise texture in the sea and sky regions. The foreground detail in this crop also looks as though it's been slightly degraded by noise. It certainly lacks the contrast of the SX50 HS crop.

Moving on to the third crop from close to the edge of the frame the FZ200's lens can't maintain the same level of sharpness and contrast here as in the middle and the detail looks softer. There's also a little bit of colour fringing and the noise that was aparent in the second crop is more noticeable, particularly in the window area. Finally the last crop from nearer the centre of the fram sees a return to sharpness. You can't see much right in the centre of this crop which, like the SX50 HS is blown out, but the window frames in the furthest building are reaonably crisp and theres a good level of detail in the tiles roofs in the foreground.

Compared with the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS there's very difference in the quality of these crops. Certainly crops one and two are very close with a similar level of detail. At the edge of the frame, shown in the third crop the 25x zoom lens of the Lumix FZ200 dosn't do as good a job at maintaining consistent image quality as the PowerShot SX50. The detail here looks a little smeared and distorted and there's also a significant amount of colour fringing in the Lumix FZ200 crop. Back at the centre of things in the final crop, again, there very little in it, they've even blown the highlights by a similar degree. The Lumix FZ200 crops are a tiny bit noisier than those from the SX50 HS but, other than that, there's little to choose between these two models.

To compare results with the lens zoomed in I repeated this test, this time with both lenses zoomed in to a little under 400mm. I used the scale on the SX500's lens to estimate the focal length zoming it as close as I could to 400mm equivalent which, as it turned out, was 65.4mm or 365mm equivalent. I then zoomed the Lumix FZ200 to match the framing at a focal length of 65.8mm - 366mm equivalent. Both cameras were set to f5.6 in aperture priority mode at their base ISO sensitivity setting. As always, the 100 percent crops are taken from the areas indicated in red. You can see these results below the first set if yuo scroll down the page.

These crops don't reveal any shortcomings in the FZ200's 25-600mm lens that weren't apparent at the wide angle setting. What's interesting though is that they reveal more clearly the noise produced by the sensor. This is nothing to do with the zoom magnification, it's just more apparent with the larger detail in these crops, particularly the first one. Compare the area within the vertical grey bars of the rail and you can see the edges are grainy and unsharp and the light background has a clumpy speckled texture. So, ironically, it's not lens deficiancies highlited in the second test, but sensor noise.

Check out my Canon PowerShot SX50 HS RAW quality results on the next page or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Noise results.

 
 
 

Panasonic Lumix FZ200
 
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
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 FZ200 vs Canon SX50 HS quality at 365mm equivalent


Panasonic Lumix FZ200
 
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
25-600mm at 65.8mm (366mm equiv) f5.6, 100 ISO
4.3-215mm at 65.4mm (365mm equiv) f5.6, 80 ISO
25-600mm at 65.8mm (366mm equiv) f5.6, 100 ISO
4.3-215mm at 65.4mm (365mm equiv) f5.6, 80 ISO
25-600mm at 65.8mm (366mm equiv) f5.6, 100 ISO
4.3-215mm at 65.4mm (365mm equiv) f5.6, 80 ISO
25-600mm at 65.8mm (366mm equiv) f5.6, 100 ISO
4.3-215mm at 65.4mm (365mm equiv) f5.6, 80 ISO


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


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