Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Gordon Laing, February 2014

Panasonic Lumix FZ200 quality at 600mm

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To compare real-life performance at an effective focal length of 600mm, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 using its base sensitivity and best quality JPEG settings. I tried every aperture setting and selected the sharpest result for the crops below.

The Lumix FZ200 results are presented here in isolation as neither the Olympus STYLUS 1 nor Sony RX10 can zoom this long. I've included them here just to illustrate the kind of quality you can achieve at the maximum zoom and whether it's usable in practice.

For my results at other focal lengths, noise and RAW comparisons, see the results index above right.

  Sony Cyber-shot RX10 results
1 Sony RX10 Quality at wide angle
2 Sony RX10 Quality at 50mm
3 Sony RX10 Quality at 100mm
4 Sony RX10 Quality at 200mm
5 Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6 Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7 Sony RX10 noise
8 Sony RX10 RAW noise

On my sixth results page I've tested the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 in isolation at its longest focal length of 600mm, as neither the Sony RX10 nor Olympus STYLUS 1 can zoom anywhere near as close.

The crops below look very respectable in terms of optical performance, with the FZ200 delivering crisp results - indeed this has been evident across the entire focal range, which is impressive given the 24x stretch and the relatively low price of the camera.

But with the good comes the unfortunate: the FZ200, like all cameras with 1/2.3in sensors exhibits visible noise when viewed 1:1 even at the lowest sensitivity. There's a strong sprinkling of noise across this image, and while it's also present at shorter focal lengths, it's more obvious here thanks to the larger expanses of flat coloured areas. If your subject remains complex and detailed even at 600mm, then you may not notice it as much, but in this particular composition, the weakness of the FZ200 is revealed. Only you can decide if it's a problem or not, but noise like this can be smoothed fairly effectively in post processing, especially if you feed it a RAW file, and again the FZ200's optics at least mean there's plenty of detail to start with.

Now it's time to compare the performance of the Sony RX10, Olympus STYLUS 1 and Lumix FZ200 at higher sensitivities in my noise results or check out what's happening behind the scenes in my RAW noise results. Or perhaps you'd like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!


Panasonic Lumix FZ200
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9

Sony RX10 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

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