Panasonic FZ200 vs Canon SX50 HS Comparison

September 26, 2012

Panasonic FZ200 and Canon SX50 HS cameras with lions in the background

The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 is in my opinion the only real contender for the Canon SX50 HS. Panasonic is probably among the few companies that I admire to their innovation. You just don’t know what to expect next, and that’s a good thing. In this article I will be comparing the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 versus Canon PowerShot SX50 HS..

 

Constant F2.8 Aperture – Oh WOW!

The first mind blowing fact about the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 is that it has a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 25-600mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens. Yes, a constant F2.8 aperture that covers all the zoom range – Brilliant! – Some of you probably want to know why everyone is so excited about this F2.8 aperture?

For those who don’t know what fast F2.8 aperture means, let me explain it to you with a few sentences. The aperture is the hole from which the lass passes through.  The wider the aperture is the more light reaches the sensor.  The aperture controls two things: the amount of light that passes through the lens onto the sensor and control the depth of field. The bigger the aperture is (lower f-number) the more shallow is the depth of field. The f-number is a ratio. This is an indication of the entrance pupil of the lens compared to focal length.

Aperture is written in f-stops (e.g. f/2.8, f/5.6, f/22). The smaller the f-number is, the larger is the size of the aperture hole and as I’ve mentioned, the larger the aperture the more light passes through the lens to the sensor. So in order to get more light to reach the sensor,  you need to shoot with a lower (or some say faster) aperture number.

Modern lenses use a standard f-stop scale: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, etc.  Each element in this sequence is one stop lower than the f-number to its left. One stop is equal to twice amount of light. That means that f/2.8 will allow twice the amount of light to pass through the lens compared to f/4 and four times the amount of light compare to f/5.6, and so on. It’s also worth mentioning that aperture f-numbers are comparable across sensors of various sizes, so f/5.6 for example will omit the same amount of light per square millimeter regardless of the sensor size of the camera you are shooting with, whether its a DSLR or superzoom compact camera.

A constant f-number means that you can shoot with the largest aperture (also referred to as maximum aperture) for all focal lengths that the lens offers, or all the zoom range. If it’s a prime lens (fixed focal length, no zoom) so its only for that specific focal length (e.g. 50mm f/1.4).

Before the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 was announced, all of the zoom compact digital cameras had a variable aperture, not a constant aperture. That means that when you zoom in, the aperture gets smaller. This optical engineering design had to be made like this to keep the lens and camera design small.

It’s worth mentioning that the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 lens is actually 4.5-108mm f/2.8, but the FOV is equivalent to 24-600 mm on 35mm camera. Furthermore, the focal length is directly responsible for the size of the lens. So with a 600mm f/2.8 lens with a dSLR you get a 600 / 2.8 = 214mm, which is the minimum size of the largest glass that must be used. But 21.4 cm is much bigger than the size of the FZ200 lens. But don’t forget that the actual focal length of the FZ200 lens is 4.5-108mm, which means that the largest glass has to be 108 / 2.8 = 38.57 mm = ~3.6 cm, which is of course much smaller than a full frame DSLR lens and certainly fits compact superzoom cameras like the Panasonic Lumix FZ200.

If you want to be amazed just take a look at the photo below:

600 mm lens

Canon 5D Mark III + Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 (can you notice the difference)

 

Can you notice the size difference between the 5D MK3 with the EF 600 mm f/4L lens compared to the FZ200,  I guess you can :)

This just gives you a good understanding about what it takes to shoot with a fast 600 mm lens with a DSLR vs the FZ200. You can see that specific comparison on camerasize.com here.

This amazing lens is constructed with 3 ED lenses and 5 aspherical lenses with 9 aspherical surfaces. Using this lens you can achieve relatively much shallower depth of field (background blur) compare to superzoom with non-constant aperture and slower aperture f-number.

Another important advantage or fast lenses the ability to shoot at faster shutter speeds and the ability to get well exposed image at low light conditions, even without bumping up the ISO, so you also get less noise. Of course this lens is also combined with Panasonic Power O.I.S. optical image stabilizatino to help you get sharp images and minimize the effect of camera shake. The Image stabilization also works extremely well when shooting videos.

Now that you understand one of the most important features of the FZ200, let’s dive deeper into the comparison.

 

Panasonic Lumix FZ200

The new Panasonuc DMC-FZ200 is more than just a great lens. Panasonic really knows how to stuff a large amount of useful features and technologies into their little superzoom digicams.  Let’s take a look at the most important features and later on we’ll jump to the comparison itself.

Panasonic FZ200

Some photographers won’t touch a camera if it doesn’t have an EVF. Let’s admit it, most of compact cameras’ EVfs are awful. I sometimes ask myself why they put them in the first place. However, even with a low quality EVF, it makes it easier to shoot photos in bright daylight instead of the rear LCD. There is nothing close to the experience of shooting via a Viewfinder. Many DSLR photographers will tell you the same.  Panasonic really made a big difference here and upgraded the FZ150 201,600-dots EVF to a 1,312,000-dots EVF with max. 60 fps. Furthermore, the response time has been decreased and you can now shoot fast-moving subjects with confidence.

I know how important it is for enthusiasts to have such high-res EVF. That certainly an important feature that most of you will appreciate or learn to appreciate when you first use it.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 was designed to be fast and responsive. It features 0.95 sec. Quick start-up time, features Panasonic Light Speed AF for fast and accurate autofocus so you capture every essence of the scene or any unique movement that you want to capture.

The FZ200 can shoot at 12 fps in full resolution. This is the same speed performance that you get with a flagship DSLR, but that’s not all. You can even shoot at 60 fps but in reduces resolution of 3.5MP. AF speed is decreased to 5.5 / 2 fps when you use AF tracking. Panasonic also implemented an ‘Intelligent Burst Mode’ that automatically adjusts the frame rate according to the subject’s movement.

 

The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 is really in extraordinary digital camera. I personally think that it’s the most interesting digital cameras in many years, at least in the ‘consumer’  category.

 

 

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

To be honest, if the Canon SX50 HS didn’t exist, I would probably recommend my blog readers to get the Panasonic FZ200 and put the end to their decision making suffering. The fact is that although the SX50 HS doesn’t feature a constant aperture across all the zoom range, it still have plenty to offer and it’s certainly a viable competitor to the Pana FZ200.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS camera

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 50x zoom superzoom camera

Before the SX50 has announced, the Nikon P510 was holding the crown of being the digital camera with the longest zoom, with 1000mm at the telephoto end and total of 41.7x optical zoom range. This doesn’t prevent some people to get the Canon SX40 HS which has proven to be even an overall better camera,  especially in the image quality department. Now the SX50 HS comes to rival the P510 and it does that with an enormous 50x (24-1200mm) optical zoom – Yes, mid blowing super ultra long 1200 mm focal length!

When we thought that it just not possible to go any further, Canon comes and proves us wrong.  I mean, how much longer can you stretch the zoom and keeping the overall size of the camera small. I personally think that it’s a great achievement.  More about the differences read my Canon SX40 vs SX50 HS comparison.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS features a 12.1MP BSI-CMOS sensor, and yes, Canon didn’t opt to increase the resolution, but that’s a very smart decision. Canon designed this camera for great low-light performance and image quality as the SX40 HS was, but now even better.

The SX40 HS was criticized for having a small and low-res LCD and Canon improved it with a 2.8-inch 461K-dot articulated LCD. I must admit that I am a bit disappointed, I really want to see a 3-inch 921K-dots LCD on current generation cameras by default, especially on a superzoom flagship camera, don’t you agree?

Canon engineers also worked to improve the AF performance of this camera, and according to Canon, this was improved by 50% (0.38 sec. vs 0.19 sec.) and shooting lag reduced by 445 (0.45 sec vs 0.25 sec.) compared to the SX40 HS.

Another thing that you probably already noticed is the change in the overall exterior design of the camera. I wasn’t a big fan of the SX40HS design, but the SX50HS looks much better, more stylish, rounded and seems like a better ergonomic design that fits the superzoom category. Ergonomics is very important too because it helps you better stabilize the camera and minimize hand-shake which leads to sharper images.

The main selling point of this camera will certainly be the huge optical zoom and as for the time of writing this article, the Canon SX50 HS is the digital camera with the World’s longest telephoto zoom lens.

 

Canon SX50 HS vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200

OK, you’ve become familiar with the basic aspects of both cameras but now you won’t be able to make up your mind without knowing the differences between the two. You probably can already see that the Canon SX50 HS has a much longer zoom, but the FZ-200 has this amazing f/2.8 constant aperture across all the zoom range. I know that you probably saying to yourself: “I wish that there was way to combine both camera’s features into one amazing superzoom camera..”, but there isn’t.  As you are going to make compromises, you need to know that camera manufacturers have their own compromises to make.

I know that some photographers will but the Canon SX50HS due to its bigger zoom, others won’t hesitate and get the FZ200 because of its constant f/2.8 aperture.  For those who still have hard time making a buying decision, I recommend that you continue reading this comparison until the end.
Let’s take a look at a Canon SX50 HS vs Panasonic FZ200 side by side specs comparison table:

 

Canon SX50 HS and Panasonic FZ200 side by side comparison

Canon SX50 HSPanasonic Lumix FZ200Notes
AnnouncedSep 17, 2012Jul 18, 2012
Sensor12.1MP
1/2.3-inch
BSI-CMOS
12.1MP
1/2.3-inch
MOS
Same resolution and sensor size.
ISO80 - 6400 (Expandable up to 12800)100 - 3200 (Expandable up to ISO 6400)SX50HS has a broader ISO range (+1EV)
Lens24 - 1200 mm F3.4-6.5 IS
Canon Optics
50x optical zoom
25 - 600 mm F2.8 Power O.I.S.
LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT Optics
24x optical zoom
SX50 HS offers much bigger zoom and even a bit wider lens. On the other hand, the FZ-200 features Leica lens and constant f/2.8 aperture. Which one is better, you'll decide
AF Points923FZ200 has much more focus points. This should give the FZ200 and advantage when shooting fast-moving subjects and when using tracking AF
Macro Focus Range0 cm (from front of lens in Macro)1 cm (from front of the lens in Macro)SX50 HS can shoot from a closer range in Macro mode
LCD2.8-inch
Fully Articulated
461K-dots
3-inch
Fully Articulated
460K-dots
FZ200 has a larger display, but both have virtually the same resolution
EVF202K-dots
EVF (0.20 type)
1312K-dots
EVF (0.21" type)
FZ200 much better electronic viewfinder!!
Shutter Speed15 - 1/2000 sec30 - 1/4000 sec

(in motion picture: 1/30 - 1/20,000 sec)
Panasonic FZ200 provides much faster maximum shutter speed, twice the speed of the SX50 HS. Great for stopping fast-moving subjects
Manual Exposure ControlYesYes
Built-in FlashYes (9.5 m)Yes (13.5 m)FZ150 stronger built-in flash
External FlashYes (hot-shoe)Yes (hot-shoe)
Continuous Shooting Up to 13 fps in High-speed BurstUp to 12 fps (max. 12 images)Both cameras offer very fast burst
Exposure Compensation±3 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)±3 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
Video (NTSC)1920 x 1080, 24 fps
1280 x 720, 30 fps
640 x 480, 30 fps

Super Slow Motion Movie
640 x 480, 120fps
320 x 240, 240fps
Miniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps
iFrame Movie (HD)

+stereo sound
1920 x 1080 / 60p, 60i, 30p
1280 x 720 / 60p, 30p

640 x 480 / 30 fps

High Speed Video:
1280 x 720 / 30fps (sensor output 120 fps)

640 x 480 / 30 fps (sensor output is 240 fps)
FZ200 offers 60p (progressive 60 fps) as well as 60i (interlaced) and 30p. The Canon only 24p in Full HD.
Battery Life (CIPA)approx. 315 shotsapprox. 540 shotsFZ200 much better battery life!
Dimensions122.5 x 87.3 x 105.5 mm125.2 x 86.6 x 110.2 mm
Weight (inc. memory card and battery)595 g588 g
Built-in GPSNoNo
RawYesYesBoth cameras can shoot in Raw file format (digital negative)
Useful Features- Intelligent IS
- Smart AUTO (58 scenes)
- RAW Multi-aspect
- Framing Assist Seek
- Framing Assist Lock
- Ultra Sonic Motor (USM)
- 14 Creative Controls / Retouches
- Photo Styles (e.g. Standard, Vivid, Portrait)
- Panorama shot
- White Balance bracket
- Intelligent Handheld Nigh Shot
- 3D Photo Mode
- 4 aspect ratios (4:#, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1)
- Dual speed zooming
- Focus button
- iA Plus (extra manual control over the fully automatic iA mode)
- Face detection / recognition
- Intelligent HDR
- D-Range control

 

By going over the specs comparison table you can clearly see how the two cameras differ.  The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 is certainly the more equipped camera of the two. Panasonic just puts many software-based technologies that suppose to help you get better looking photos, as well as help beginners who don’t know anything about photography, enjoy taking gorgeous photographs. The 3D Photo mode, Handhels nigh shot, Intelligent HDR, all are very cool features that certainly add to ‘wow’-factor of this camera.

Of course the big difference lies in the lens itself. It’s very tempting to purchase the Canon SX50 HS  for its much longer zoom, but it’s also tempting to get the FZ200 for its f2.8 constant aperture. The first thing I would like you to understand is the difference between 24x and 50x zoom, or actually the difference between 600mm and 1200mm (35mm equivalent) which is the longest magnification that those two cameras can reach.

 

Difference Between 1200mm vs 600mm

Canon focal length simulator

Canon focal length simulator web app

In order to give you a good understanding about the difference between 600mm and 1200mm I recommend visiting Canon’s Focal Length Comparison web app. At the bottom you have the option to select a focal length and you can see how it reflects on the magnification of the subject in the image. Te higher the focal length is, the higher the magnification and therefore the closer the subjects appears in your image. Just click 600m and then click 1200mm to see the difference.

As you can see, there’s quite a lot of difference there, and just point your mouse to 28mm and then back to 1200 mm to really understand what this huge zoom is all about. Now you can understand why so many travelers bought the P510 and SX40, because they give you the ability to shoot objects hat are far far away from the camera.  Giving the 1200 mm focal length, the SX50 is a traveler’s dream, the perfect camera to take to an holiday and shoot amazing shots. Of course that can be said about the FZ200 as well.

So in general, there is a marginal difference between 1200 mm and 600 mm, but it’s not huge. What matters most is actually the image quality, lens performance of the lens at these focal lengths. Remember that lenses with more complex construction tend to perform less than lenses with smaller zoom factor.

Having said that,  ultra-zoom cameras are more about getting great shots, not about getting the sharpest image and printing it on a large poster. Most of the people who buy those type of cameras just won’t to be able to get great images and share it on facebook, twitter or even makes some small prints. Some of you might share those image on your travel blogs, etc. So the thing is that you probably shouldn’t be too picky, checking out the image corner softness and such, but I will pay attention to the image quality at the center of the frame and make sure that it satisfy my needs.

As I told you earlier, I recommended the SX40 HS over the P510 for a few reasons, but one of the main reasons was image quality in both stills and videos. It was just that the SX40 HS image quality was so good and ourperforms the P510 in a way that I was just drawn to the SX40 HS, even tough that the P510 has a bigger zoom.

 

Image Quality / Sample Images

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 and Canon PowerShot SX50 HS were designed to be top performers when it comes to image quality.  The combination of new generation sensor, high quality lens and advanced image processing engine, all should lead to performance that is better than previous models.

The Panasonic DMC-FZ200 image quality is just superb.  Take a look at some FZ200 sample images from Flickr.

 

Panasonic FZ200 Sample Images

ISO 250 | f/2.8

Panasonic FZ200, Tall Ships Festival, Vieux-Port, Montreal, 15 September 2012 (25)

 

ISO 100 | f/4.0

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

 

ISO 100 | f/4,0

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

 

ISO 200 | f/2.8

Panasonic FZ200, Magie des Lanternes 2012, Botanical Gardens, Montreal, 9 September 2012  (117)

 

Panasonic Lumix FZ200

 

ISO 100 | f/2.8

Panasonic FZ200, Monarch Butterfly, Botanical Gardens, Montreal, 9 September 2012 (6)

ISO 1600 | f/2.8
Last Import-66

 

Summary: Gorgeous saturated pleasing colors,  image is very sharp, even at the long tele end. Even at ISO 1600 you can get some decent photos for small prints. I highly recommend visiting proacguy1′s photostream on Flickr where you can find tons of high quality pictures shot with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. The image quality is just mind blowing.  I was personally blown away with the colors and low light capabilities of this camera. All those shots from the Botanical Gardens in Montreal really give you a good glimpse at the FZ200 low light capabilities.

Update: Having said that, the FZ200 performs great under ISO400, but above it the image quality start degrading by quite a lot. You’ll witness lots of noise and details start to become smudgy. So although you can get some nice shots for the web, I wouldn’t recommend shooting at above ISO400, the image quality just suffer too much. This get worse with complex scenes where you have many fine details like grass, trees, etc. This is probably the Fz200 most problematic downside, and that’s quite a shame because it seems like the sensor is the result for that. With a much better ISO performance, this could have been my favorite superzoom camera.

You might be able to shoot those photos on the SX50 HS, but you will have to bump up the ISO and/or lower the shutter speed, which can certainly lead to more noise and blurriness, and who wants to carry a tripod with this camera?

So for low light shooting (e.g. indoors, candle light, concerts, churches, museums, etc.) I personally choose FZ200, although notice the remark about the high ISO performance regardless of the f/2.8 aperture.
Let’s watch a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 1080p AVCHD video sample (50 fps Progressive AVCHD / PAL) and continue our discussion afterwards.

OMG!! – What is that.. wait..breath..breath.. :) video quality is just superb, even at 600 mm and at F2.8 it looks great! – Can you ask more than that?  Do you need to?

 

Canon SX50 HS Sample Images

Not so many SX50HS pictures are available on the web at the time of writing this review, nevertheless, there are some images that can certainly gives us a good impression about how good the image quality is.

Canon SX50 HS portrait smallSX50 HS portrait image, small

The two SX50 HS test shots are portrait pictures of a women from Canon.jp website. The image quality is second to none when it comes to color reproduction and details. The above test shots where taken at ISO80 @ f/4 and f/5 respectively.

Update:

I visited ephotozine Canon PowerShot SX50 HS sample photos page in order to know how good the high ISO performance is (see here). Here’s my observation’s conclusion:

ISO 80/100  – clean image, but some color fringing are visible, very good color definition and well saturated colors. The ISO 100 sample image with the toys and stuff looks amazing. Look at the crumpler camera bag, at the texture.. the sharpness is also excellent and small text are very readable

ISO 200 – excellent results, hard to tell the difference between ISO100 and ISO200, which is a good thing of course

ISO 400 – noise start kicking in, move evidence in the dark areas of the image (look at the blacks)

ISO 800 – Still looking very good but at the dark areas we can see color noise patterns (red, green..), but at mid-tones the noise levels are relatively low and contrast and color definition is high

ISO 1600 – From this point on the image start degrading in a faster paste. Much more noise, losing details and we can see smudging of details especially in the dark areas of the image. You can still get great small prints out of this, and contrast and colors are almost indistinguishable from ISO 800, which is amazing.  Overall great performance!

ISO 3200 – more noise of course, but again, the pattern of the noise is very good, small dots instead of smudgy appearance, which means that it’s easier to remove with noise reduction software. Dynamic range is reduces, but the overall color definitions is very strong

ISO 6400 – I wouldn’t shoot at ISO6400 unless it was impossible to get the shot otherwise.  What I was surprised to see is how well the contrast and color accuracy are maintained across all the ISO range.

 

I am very impressed with the Canon SX50 HS high ISO performance, which is something I can’t say about the FZ200, sorry Panasonic fans. It looks like Canon given very high attention to the image quality as it did with the SX40 HS, and even improved upon it.  The Canon SX50 HS High ISO performance is incredible considering it’s sensor size. So although the SX50 HS didn’t win in the ‘features’ category, it wins hands-down in the high ISO category. For some of you this will probably be the reason to get the SX50 HS, others might not be sold by it. I personally was WOWed, but I am an image quality freak :)

 

Dilemma: Canon SX50 HS or Panasonic FZ200?

Choosing between the Canon sX50 HS and the Panasonic FZ200 can be quite hard, I know. I am personally a superzoom fanatic and every year I upgrade to a new camera.  What really attracts me about the FZ200 is the excellent high-resolution electronic viewfinder (great for those who wear glasses) and constant F2.8 lens. The FZ200 might be the better camera for indoor shots and shooting concerts, mainly due to its fast aperture. However, there is a difference between the zoom range, and I think that the SX50 HS would be better for bird shooters, those who mainly shoot outdoors and need the extra reach. Also note that the FZ200 high ISO image quality isn’t that good, start suffering quite a bit at ISO400 but above it you can definitely see quiet a lot of noise and details are getting smudgy. Luckily this camera can shoot at fast aperture and prevent us from shooting at above ISO400.

Both cameras produce sharp, contrasty and well saturated looking photos. I find the FZ200 more appeal to my personal needs because I love shooting low light photos like the ones that you’ve seen on proacguy1′s photostream on flickr.  Those shots were taken at f/2.8, 1/15 sec shutter speed and ISO 200, which result in relatively very clean image, high dynamic range and sharp details. That also shows how good the image stabilization is on the FZ200 – I’m impressed.

F2.8 can be an advantage even when you don’t shoot in dim light, but for some of you the 1200mm focal length will appeal more than the constant f2.8 aperture. Those who need to get even closer to their subject. Believe me that although the difference is not huge, still, for some type of shots you just wish you have that extra reach.

The Panasonic FZ200 is also the more feature-rich camera (faster shutter speed, 60p Full HD videos – video looks SUPERB!, better battery life and software based features) . The new EVF is another reason why you want to take a look at the FZ200, it’s just way better than the SX50.  For some people this might even be a deal-breaker, especially those who only shoot via the EVF.

The difference between the cameras is ~$50 with the FZ200 being the more expensive camera of the two. It’s really comes to personal preference here, because those two cameras are targeting the same category but have their differences. If you want my opinion, I would personally get the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS over the Panasonic FZ200,. After investigating the image quality, I feel that the Canon SX50 HS perfectly fits my needs.

I hope that this comparison helped you get to know those two cameras better and help you make a choice. If you enjoy reading this article, please share it with friends. Thanks guys!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica September 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

After reading this article, I’m ready to pull the trigger on the FZ200. 24X zoom is twice what I have now so that’s plenty. Indoor/low light is a big factor for me. Quality EVF is a plus, 3″ articulating LCD is a plus altho I use the EVF on my Canon S3 90% of the time. Of course IQ is everyone’s priority but the way I get there is important too. Probably would have gone with the G1 X if it had at least 24X zoom and a high quality EVF.
A question that I’ve yet to find the answer for..seems like anything over ISO 200 is pretty much unusable?? Also, I’ve read that any picture at any ISO shot in JPEG is quite noisy. One must use RAW to get clean pictures. Can you address this please?
Thanks

Reply

Paul October 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Not sure if this will work, but here are a few low light shots I took at a soccer match on the first day out. I had not really learned the camera so had it in Program mode, and these are in JPG, but they seem fine for me.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/8591404671

People sitting around me were pretty impressed with it.

Reply

Paul October 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I am really loving my new FZ200. This is an upgrade from my FZ5, which I also loved. The FZ200 is the first superzoom since the FZ5 that has really made me want to buy a new camera. It has an incredible set of features and the image quality is really nice for this size of sensor. The Canon looks like a really nice camera for someone who wants that amount of zoom, but the f/2.8 at 600 mm really trumps that. Amazingly, I can use the 6MP mode on the FZ200 and take it out to 46X, or add a teleconverter and still have a larger aperture than the Canon. Some may say the Canon has smoother lines, but I like the rugged functional look of the Lumix.

BTW-I love the visual with the big lens. I have one of the Canon L-series 70-200 zooms and it is a beast!

Reply

Al October 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Paul,

If you’re willing to shoot a a lower resolution to gain the (seemingly) greater focal length why not shoot at full res and simply crop? It accomplishes the same thing with no difference in IQ. As for the teleconverter….I don’t know how that attaches to the lens but I will bet the darkroom that it seriously degrades the IQ.

Reply

steven October 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Are those photo taken at proacguy1′s photostream using RAW or JPEG?
Any PP or original?

Reply

Alfredo October 5, 2012 at 5:03 am

Awsome review CONGRATULATIOS very useful information i had sx40 and i sold it and then i wanted the new sx50 but now i want the FZ200 amazing camera very nice review again jajajaja

Reply

Alan October 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm

The view through the EVF on the FZ200 lets you really see what you are taking. A lot less shoot and check, a lot less post composition fixing.

The 720p “HD” 240 fps video is extremely useful to me, while true 24fps and i-frame video are not.

EVF, high speed HD, and constant f/2.8 sold me on the FZ200.

(So many people are underestimating how important high speed shutter is for hand holding these long lenses. You can’t keep the ISO at 100 for minimum noise, the lens stopped down 1 stop for maximum resolution and sharpness, and then expect pixel sharp images just from the “four stop image stabilization” and “I’m a good hand held shooter.” That f/2.8 bumps the shutter speed up some, but neither of these cameras will ever win with pixel peepers. The shot will either have some motion blur or some shadow noise.

Well composed original shots, at long focal lengths, with the optimal setting compromises will “get the shot” with either of these cameras, and the photographer will be excitedly displaying on their desktop background.

It all comes down to which features are more important to the eye behind the camera.

Reply

Idan October 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

Agree that the one feature that I was sold to was the constant 2.8. This is probably the most useful feature including the high-quality EVF. The advantage of this is that you can shoot at relatively lower ISO if you use fast aperture. So the noise problem that everyone is talking about might not be as bad as they might think. The video quality is indeed great, and as you said, as long as you shoot at ISO100, you shouldn’t have any real problem with noise. So at the end of the day, we shouldn’t bash the Panasonic FZ200 to the point that it’s a crappy camera, it’s far away from being such. Just know it’s weaknesses like in any other cameras of this type.

Reply

Monica October 10, 2012 at 7:08 am

Thank you Alan.
I can tell you that a 50X zoom is not something I MUST have. 24x is fine.
I’ll be doing a lot of indoor shooting, kids, portraits, family events, kids outdoors…just your typical family shooter with occasional road trips and landscape photos.
I’ve had a Canon for over 6 years (S3 IS). Very happy with it.
Frankly, I’m concerned about the steep learning curve of the FZ200.
I’m concerned about the more than average noise I’ve read the FZ200 has at any ISO.
I’ve seen as many, if not more, bad pictures from the FZ200 as I have good.
The constant f/2.8 is calling my name!
Since this is going to be my video camera as well, that needs to be a strong feature too.
It’s a complete toss up. If I wasn’t afraid of the steep learning curve of the FZ200 and noise at any ISO, the Panasonic would be in my hands right now.
If it wasn’t for the slower lens, I’d have the SX50 in hand. I think I’m going to have to buy one where there is no restocking fee and just test each camera myself.

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Attila October 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I have the same concernes as you after reading a lot of tests and reviews.
I want to you the Camera for doing lot of videos and fotos in darker areas like Clubs, or Car meetings in the Evening/Night where there is really not much light. In Hungary, where i live, there is no opportunity to restock something free. And i would have to buy the camera online.
So i’d be really glad if you would post your experiences with these cameras! Thank you in advance!

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Vasilis October 18, 2012 at 3:24 am

Very enlightening! My Panasonic FZ24 is pesently doing a great job for point-and-shoot projects (I have EOS 5d MKII and a bunch of glass for more serious tasks). However, I am struggling to make a decision whether I would trade my 24X Panasonic for the HX50, as the 50X zoom is a strong temptation! I would have gone for earlier versions of Canon bridge cameras if they supported Raw. This one does. Another “plus” is that Canon DPP Raw processing software (hope they provide the same for bridge camenras) is superior and more user-friendly than the “Silkypix” of Panasonic.
Great review! Just a minor point for your attention: Go over your text once more and correct those occasional misspelled words… :-)

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Carlos October 18, 2012 at 3:30 am

I have had the FZ200 for more than two weeks and I can tell you that the camera problems with the noise even at the ISO 100. I have taken shoot using the full aperture f/2.8 and ISO 100, and tripod and I still get some noise in the shoot. Using any higher ISO will increase the noise considerably. For your own sake, check the review in here.this review present the same kind of problems that I have had with the camera.

I am just going to try to return the FZ200 and maybe buy the Canon SX50. It is true that the FZ200 has awesome features, but the noise of the sensor is frustrating. I normally like to see my pictures at 100%. If you don’t care about the quality at 100%, I guest the FZ200 is very good…but if you care, you will be very very disappointing. I suggest to the people that is thinking to buy the FZ200 do more research verify the noise issue. In bright light conditions, and if you don’t look at 100%,,the camera is very nice otherwise no.
i have not been able to take good shot indoors or worse using the flash. most of the pictures that you find in internet are in outdoors with bright light. May be i have a defective camera but for indoors/flash pictures i have been extremely disappointing.
I only hope this help to people to do more research

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Idan October 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

It seems that Panasonic has made quite a frustrating camera :( . If just the noise performance was good, it just make you wonder. Canon seems to do exactly the opposite, emphasizing on image quality, knowing that it will make a difference for many people. The result is understanding the market needs and doing some compromises that people have not trouble to accept. Some people don’t mind about image quality, they shoot mainly for the web and share their photos on Faceobok, others will certainly need to take that IQ issue into account and consider whether the FZ200 fits their needs.

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Steve October 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Try this website Digitalmediapro TV for some pretty impressive video clips from the SX50 HS especially the stabilization demo and a useful explanation and comparison of zoom.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=wTR-4lF4SBs
Thanks for the review I’m thinking about upgrading a Fuji HS10 but want to achieve better image quality. As noted before not enough full reviews about for the SX50 and the guy that produced the sample video for the FZ200 in the review above seems to suggest that FZ200 perhaps outperforms the FZ150 in video but not image quality. However the improved EVF gets rousing support.
Thanks again for the review, Steve

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Steve October 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Perhaps worth noting that Panasonic and Canon are offering a 50 GBP cashback on their respective cameras reviewed above starting in mid October and ending by New Year 2013. Panasonic were first to announce offer and Canon followed up on 18th October 2012!
Steve

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johnnny October 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Just wondering if anyone has had the chance to compare the sx50 to sx40 low light video mode? The SX40 seemed quite poor in this department…I wonder if they have improved the with the sx50? If not then the fz200 sounds more appealing to me.

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Beginner October 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm

The price difference between fz200 and sx50hs is approx $100 usd !!! Does the fz200 REALLY worth that extra $100 ??? Understood the constant f2.8 of fz200, but leaving the numbers aside, Do we have a shot-by-shot IQ comparison of both the cameras with 100% crop ? Then it will be helpful to decide for a potential buyer like me.

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peter November 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I read a lot of reviews and al the reviews are ending the same: fantastic lens and features, crappy old sensortechnologie/preformance. :(

What im want to know is that de noise problem of the fz200 can be resolved with tweaking the software from the sensor. Or do we have to wait for the fz250? (same body new sensor (its looks like panasonic can’t do both a the same time , excelent new lens- bad sensor).
i wanted the fz200 badly but now i don’t know anymore.
Maybe ill will wait for a pana fz200 type II or buy a 300mm and a dslr.(sadly twice the price)

when panasonic can get de noise problem out of the camera then the fz200 is a real dslr- killer for casual shooters. now i dont know

please recomment about the software or hardware of the sensor question.

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Nyawin December 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

Nice article and thanks for the basic aperture lesson. I have been taking pictures for years with borrowed digital cameras (from work and siblings) and cameras on phones. Finally I decided to get one this year after I stumbled upon a nice looking camera in a store which introduced me to bridge cameras. After a lot of research, I finally found two final “candidates” which led me to this site.

Thanks to this article, I understood a lot of things to help me refine my choice but there are still some details I need clarification. I intend to take pictures of scenery but since I’m a teacher so most of my pictures would also include sports activities, staff pictures and dinner functions with low lighting conditions.

The SX50 was my first choice (yes, the 50X zoom got to me) but after reading that the FZ200 is better with moving subjects, I’m at a lost here. Of course then there was that little update near the end about FZ200 has some ISO issues…well, that simply threw a big monkey wrench to the whole confusing mess of choice. It’s also annoying there isn’t much pictures of stuff in motions in a lot of reviews.

Any advice with little conundrum?

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PASCAL Philippe December 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

If they really want to solve dynamic/noise issues on bridge…just need half megapixels ;)

Bridge cameras would kill a lot of others being 6 megapixels only (half last FZ models, size 12MP).

With 6MP, you get enough to be Full HD (2MP in 16/9 so 6MP in 4/3 is enough).
You get enough for medium prints (things most ppl never do) in 150dpi.
And more than enough for small prints in 300dpi and even more for web.

Final one : most websites (apart some dedicated photo ones) display near 1MP only…

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coal December 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I notice every review fails to mention what menu system is better, who has the better controls, which feels better in your hands. Which has the better sound when taking pictures or recording video. ?

These subtle things can make a difference also.
I herd on the canon the zoom switch is loud and you can hear it when you zoom on the video, ?

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Antonio Mario December 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I’m a little curious about the report by Carlos above, on Oct 18. He describes a noise problem at ISO 100 with his shots. Were those shots JPEGs straight from the camera? The review pointed at is actually of the Canon SX50. Almost everywhere else you go for a FZ200 review, shots from this camera are stunning. And if one really cares about his/her images’ IQ, he/she should shoot RAW and process, e.g., with Lightroom. Hard to believe one would be disappointed with the FZ200 then.

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Andre Jasienski April 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

It is a great and very informin review which allowed me to come closer of making a decision on those two great cameras.

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Jan April 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I own currently the SX40, and had the SX30 also in the past. I love to take photos on Airshows. So I think I will sell my SX40 and will buy the SX50. If I had already a cam with a 35x-zoom, I will definitely not downgrade to a 24x-zoom, but upgrade to 50x-zoom. I hope in future Airshows, I have more possibilities to “catch” jets in the air… Thank you for the great review, I have not seen something like that before!

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mustafa nazif April 20, 2013 at 10:35 am

actually, fz200 have 2.8 lens built in; but the low light performanse is not good as Canon Sx50; its big dilemma for panasonic and i expected fz200 have to be better image quality but its not…

i think the winner is; canon sx50
there is a lot of reason to choose sx50
+ low light performanse
+ zoom quality
+ and canon factor:)
photographers should thingk about this:
what is the real point?
actually my point is always same: iso performanse…

i wonder what you bought:)

regards.

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Brooke July 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I am torn between theses two cameras. I have has Canons in the past and liked them. I have never owned a Panasonic. I am just a casual photographer trying to get some good pics of my kids. Which one would be the better choice for trying to photograph moving kids while playing sports?

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Grant August 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Really confusing here, the FZ200 has a better battery,better view finder and in theory better images w/2.8 lense.Is 50x zoom really necessary. Sounds like flipping the coin is in order.

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Mike September 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Just spent 2 weeks im Malaysia photgraphing dragonflies and the 50 times zoom is great for getting those one off skittish dragonflies in good light but it often failed to focus in poor light conditions in shade. Companions with the Lumix FZ200 didn’t appear to suffer fom this. Consequently some important shots were missed. Close up shots also a bit fiddly. Manual focus is only really usable by prefocusing on the closest distabnce and walking forward untill focus acheived, trying to focus manually on a static object very difficult.

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Mike September 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Forgot to mention that you are lucky to get more than 200 shots out of one battery charge

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s.a.parthasarathy October 28, 2013 at 6:21 pm

comparision of two super zoom cameros were good .but is there any updated compaision between cannon sx50 HS camera and any other latest introduced super zoom cameras by the competitors.any new ranking of this years camera’s.nice keep it up
regards
partha

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Ivan November 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Gostaria ver ver os ruidos na fotos utilizando FZ200 para decidir, onde tem estas fotos com ruido para eu ver?

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John December 15, 2013 at 7:02 am

Believe it or not, I own both of them + pentax dslrs isds k100. I got excited about the zoom of sx50, so I bought it. Then I saw the 2.8f zoom capabilities of FZ200. I thought I could replace my dslrs with this and save some lenses.
So I bought FZ200. Having used both, This is my opinion.

I really loved the fact FZ has buttons to do manual focus (sx50 can do manual as well but fz 50 is so easy). Love the view finder of fz200. Very nice camera.
But the real test is image quality. Canon outperforms fz200 in these areas
skin tones, colour, Noice in high iso, zoom (well, as though so many people say we don’t need big zoom, I end up using it so often)
Fz out performs sx50 on – more handy buttons rather than going through menus (believe it – it is very handy esp manual focus button), f2.8, view finder, and very nice feeling when you hold it.

In the end I’ve decided to upgrade my dslr to K3 and keep sx50 and sell fz200.
reasons are – 1) although fz has 2.8, canon does better in high ISO so its equally fast. 2) Canon skin tones are much better. I even tried to saturate maximum on fz200, but if you are taking people, canon is much better. you can get away with birds and trees with fz 200 my setting it to max saturation.
3) If you are taking pics in bright light, low light, flash on canon is the best.
fz does it better in low light where you can manage your ISO on 400 or lower without flash (doesn’t happen in real life).
4) with flash on, canon tones are so much better , skin tones etc, on fz if you have facial hair , it makes it shiny and ugly (dont know how to describe, makes it look like flair effect).
5) canon controls flare much better than fz200.

Its all about image. I am selling fz200 and keeping canon (my preference)
My verdict – if you are shooting people, harsh lighting conditions, flare, going to use flash buy canon, if you are shooting birds, nice lighting condition (not sunny, not dark – very rarely happen), low light ISO not more than 400 without flash (again not going to happen) buy fz.

last thing.. when comparing noisy pics on both cameras, fz’s noise looks so grainy and smudged – very ugly and cant even reduce with Photoshop.

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Cy February 19, 2014 at 7:28 am

This review was very informative. It was indeed hard to decide between the two cameras. I have a Canon 7D, which I love, but wanted a “carry everywhere” camera for catching those quick shot opportunities that seem to happen when you least expect it. In the end, as much as the f2.8 sounds great, I was concerned about the “noise” issue I’ve read about here and on other sites. Besides, most of my shots with whichever point-and-shoot I bought would likely be outdoors in decent light. I do like the 50x zoom also. I’m sure I would be happy with either of these, but when I saw the SX50 on sale on Amazon, I pulled the trigger. Besides, I’m used to the Canon way of doing things so the learning curve would be shorter I suspect.

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Dimitris May 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

OK. Now what? I am very confused. I am turn between the two cameras and i don’t know what to do. I mostly take pictures outdoors.I also use long range zoom to take pictures of ships and moving ships. Image quality is the most important one for me. For example, can I use 40 or 50 zoom for a long distance subject and achieve very good image quality or the f2.8 lens is better. Please help.

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