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Old May 8, 2012, 3:18 PM   #1
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Default Definitive Canon SX40 versus Lumix FZ150 IQ

Trying to decide between the Canon SX40 and the Lumix FZ150.

MORE study last night- hit the boards, and pretty much EVERYwhere, the statement is, the 150 is slightly better, (and clearly THE way to go for video) but I bought the Canon, cause blah blah blah...

Only one person did mention CHDK for the Canon- which corrects two of the major complaints against it versus the 150, maximmum shutter time and ability to capture RAW.

So that takes it down to better vid, versus much bigger zoom, 600 versus 800... IQ went both ways: some say the C, some say the P???!!! And finally there is $350 versus $500...

But is the IQ and video quality really a deciding factor?

So, today, I decided to really investigate this fully and I started by first looking at many videos from each on Youtube.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 test video
http://youtu.be/WdVahEVcwgM

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 video zoom demo
http://youtu.be/s7HIcpD8210

Panasonic FZ150 - Night filming - Denver Christmas lights.
http://youtu.be/2n05bLv0JpI

LOW LIGHT TEST VIDEO PANASONIC Lumix DMC-FZ150
http://youtu.be/B9Yl5o1SqZg
[This is actually so good it is ridiculous.]

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS test video CNET
http://youtu.be/0zXsntvvbyw

Canon SX40 HS HD Powershot beautiful colors full HD
http://youtu.be/r0DT59Y27U0

Canon PowerShot SX40. No post editing, or color correction.
http://youtu.be/hc_NHAZ5VjY

Canon SX40 HS Zoom Test From Empire State Building Top
http://youtu.be/JETW_pzve1o

I looked at a few more videos, but in every case, the FZ150 is simply a sharp video, and the SX40 with the exception of the beach video, seems slightly washed out or hazy.

The FZ150 video is simply exquisite: you feel like you can touch the things being shown.

Note: I viewed everything at 380.

Onto the still images.

Standard test images from
www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM
Choose camera, scroll down to the image wanted, click on it, click on it again, and wait for the full rez version to load; DL it, pixel peep.

I DL'd 7 pairs of images covering 2 interiors, exterior, full wide and full zoom, and macro.

In EVERY image, the FZ150 is clearly superior. Actually surprised at that a bit, but it isn't even a contest.

So... less zoom (600 v 800), no CHKD, and an extra ~$150...

Hmmmm...



Jud
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Old May 8, 2012, 6:04 PM   #2
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Interesting opinion there...
IQ- like most things in life comes down to an individuals perception or preference.
Do you like sharp images- or smooth ? Do you favour colour accuracy- or chroma noise control over luminance noise..?

Here's a cropped sample from both camera's- the indoor scene.
Both taken at iso 1600...
The first is the Canon and the second is the Panasonic....
Which is the best...?
I'll leave that for everyone to decide....

I will add however- that the FZ-150 lens seems to outperform the Canon lens (though no surprise there) and definitely has more detail at lower iso settings- especially noticeable in foliage or such like- and a slightly more pleasing mid tone contrast- though I wonder if the i-contrast of the Canon was switched on,which can be a hindrance when not needed...
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Last edited by SIMON40; May 8, 2012 at 6:20 PM.
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Old May 8, 2012, 7:35 PM   #3
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while canon smooths out the noise better in jpg's at higher ISOs, being able to shoot raw and process your own pics from the fz150 is a great advantage in challenging situations. of course, if you don't mind a hack, the canon can shoot raw, too. i decided i'm too chicken to do the hack

in real world use, the pics will be very close - probably too close to tell unless viewed at full size, and when shot in good light, probably not even then. something i've finally learned is that review sites and serious enthusiast's reviews can mess with your mind and make it harder to decide on things. to me, it's simple:

how important is video to you? if you want manual control over your videos, the fz150 is the clear winner. it costs more, but is definitely worth it if video is a priority.

if veeery long zoom is important to you, get the canon - but the panasonic's zoom is also quite long. it was long enough for me to shoot things on the other side of the freeway successfully.

unless you want to work with raw images, which i found helpful in challenging lighting conditions, the differences in how the cameras feel are similar - i actually preferred the sx40 in hand just a little, but got the fz150 because i wanted raw without a hack and i wanted video control. i find the fz150's menus a little clearer, but it wasn't a big deal. if you're a glasses wearer and don't want to do a diy project, the canon is the way to go as the pany has a hard plastic eye cup. and if you're a real pixel peeper who is going to check your own low light pics at 100%, checking the shadows for noise, micro 4/3 or a small dslr is the way to go, honestly.

i went through this same decision process with the two cameras, and looking back, i now realize i couldn't have gone wrong with either. the same applies to you - this is a win/win situation. whichever camera you choose takes good pics, has useful features (mostly similar ones) and will be light enough to carry around yet large enough to hold with control.

let us know which one you get
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Old May 8, 2012, 9:31 PM   #4
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Just for the record, video IS important to me, and with the BIG difference I saw here, that clearly (unlike the stills, which are maybe 45/55) goes to the Lumix.

[added] I have not handled the FZ150, but I do have the FZ35, and have handled the SX40. In hand, I much prefer the feel of the Canon.

HOWEVER!!! And OMG!!!...

It occurred to me to check my SX230 against the SX40 and the FZ150 stills... and dang! IT, the 230, beats the 40 and is at least equal to the 150!!!

Same tests!

The Canon SX230HS.

Wow.

Come on!!!

Wow.
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Old May 9, 2012, 3:54 AM   #5
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ejud- whilst I'm sure you're having fun comparing images (and why not)- I wouldn't rule out the fact that maybe the testers SX40 wasn't a perfect example...
The reason I say that is that I've owned both the SX40 and the SX230- and the latter certainly couldn't beat the SX40 on IQ- aside from the cheap feel of the 230 and the ghastly pop up flash..!
There's no doubt however- that the FZ-150 is the way to go for video- and its superior AF speed,shot to shot time,quality lens and impressive burst modes make it quite a compelling "all in one"- and in my humble opinion is probably the best out there....
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Old May 9, 2012, 11:16 AM   #6
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i have the sx230 and had the fz150. i don't find the 230's pics to be as good in challenging light or haze, and it has a lack of control over the videos so it really can't compare with the fz150. i also very much prefer the fz150's controls to the menu-based 230.
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Old May 9, 2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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Simon, Pcake,

Thank you. I take your points- and sure I would love to have the 150, especially as being cross-eyed, having a viewfinder is extra important to me.

BUT! At $500 bucks, for the bottom line of images that I do not see as significantly better, or at all even, can't really justify it.

What I am comparing here are standard images at the link first mentioned, so the conditions are very nearly identical.

I usually do my "shopping" with Steve's images, several specific ones, but as those are not as controlled, and the call between the 40 and the 150 is so close, I used the "standard" images at that other site.

My "claim" for all of this is IQ, not other factors such as ease and options, and is based most critically on the image for Resolution, showing a series of patterns, and one of those, ganged lines, the 40 is good to 24, whereas both the 150 and the 230 are good to 22. And the 230 is actually a bit clearer than the 150 at the 22 box.

I also pixel peeped at the house image, (exterior) near the peak with the louvered opening, and again, same results!

In the sample posted here above, I do think the top image, the 40 looks better. More indecision creeps in! In that image, I peeped at the picture on the wall in the background. (For one camera I checked once, that was good enough to be printable!)

Anyway, bottom line for me is the urgency is gone, as though I would LOVE to have a 150 or maybe even a 40, the IQ of my 230 is at least close enough that I don't need to spend right now!

Maybe I will get one of those stripped down 4/3's things...



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Old May 9, 2012, 11:37 AM   #8
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PS, Pcake,

My friend is literally a NASA rocket scientist (well, not now, cause they closed, but up until about a month ago...) and IT guy, engineer, and he did the CHDK "hack" and it is okay!

Has used to to capture lighting shots! That is something!



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Old May 10, 2012, 11:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMON40 View Post
Here's a cropped sample from both camera's- the indoor scene.
Both taken at iso 1600...
The first is the Canon and the second is the Panasonic....
Which is the best...?
I'll leave that for everyone to decide....
That's not a particularly useful comparison imho because:
(1) We all know the Canon is better at high ISO.
(2) Both images are crap; one is simply less so.
(3) If you are shooting at such a high ISO more than "rarely," you bought the wrong type of camera.
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Old May 11, 2012, 5:03 AM   #10
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FiveO- the OP was comparing the said two camera's with a selection of identical images- and suggesting that the FZ-150 was better in EVERY case- I plucked one out which I believed to be contrary to that claim- in my opinion of course.
Of course,neither images are exactly "clean"- though are not too bad viewed at screen size,uncropped.
Of course- anyone planning to shoot in low light and/or at high iso settings regularly probably wouldn't be going for a bridge camera- though to be fair,my SX40 could probably get away with decent prints of A4 size at iso 1600-2000.
Here's one taken inside Bangor Cathedral at the dizzy heights at iso 3200- handheld,f/4.5,1/13th sec.
Not too shabby,in my humble opinion of course....
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