Darn it, Luke, you set me to thinking again . . .

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    You said, "If I didn't have a DSLR, and if I didn't like shooting beyond 200mm and if I didn't love shooting macro and if I didn't need to shoot over ISO 1600 on a pretty regular basis, I just might buy this. It's amazingly good at what it does."

    And it got me going through the same thought process. The facts: I frequently shoot at 600mm (even 1200mm with digital zoom, but the image quality is sketchy). I like cameras that are convenient to carry, so I carry the FZ200 most of the time, and it acquits itself pretty well.

    So the question: If a fellow had a 24 megapixel APS-C dslr with a 300 mm lens (450mm equivalent), would he be able to digitally zoom to get similar reach to the FZ200 and get better image quality? In addition, I need to factor in that I recently "discovered" raw and that a little judicious post-processing can improve IQ.

    All opinions are welcome, particularly those from folks with DSLRs.

    Cheers, Jock
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  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, possibly, but a 300mm EFL lens on an APS DSLR is gonna be pretty big. I shot with the Fuji 55-200 on the XE1 for a while and that's a large lens and it only gets you half way to 600mm EFL. The same will be true with an APS DSLR. I'm sure there are smaller 55-200 lenses out there, but the Fuji's quality is probably at least partially related to the size.

    Another compromise to consider would be an m43 camera with either the Panasonic 100-300 or Olympus 75-300 lens. Either of these lenses are similar size to the average APS 55-200 and a lot smaller than an APS lens extending out to 400 (which gives you the same 600mm EFL as the m43 does at 300mm. Here's a quick comparison of a Panasonic GX7 with a Panasonic 100-300 (the Olympus 75-300 is roughly the same size, maybe very slightly smaller) to a Nikon D7100 (APS DSLR) with a 55-200 (which only gets you to 300 EFL) and a Sigma 120-400, which is what it would take to get you to a 600mm EFL.


    This should give you some idea of how much you're gonna have to carry if you choose to move away from the FZ200. But, yeah, the image quality, the ability to crop, the ability to play with the raw files, will all be notably better. And the quality of the lenses are quite good as well. Here are a couple of shots from the Olympus 75-300 both out in the 500-600mm range, to give you an idea:

    Vets Parade-62-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    View attachment 80497
    Phillies-Giants-246-Edit by ramboorider1, on Flickr

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  3. Yeats

    Yeats All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Jock, I can't provide a precise answer, but I'll relate my own experiences. IMO, I've found that my Pentax K-x (12mp DSLR) + Tamron 70-300 ($133) produced better image qualilty than any superzoom I've used at fairly equivalent focal lengths. I judge that I need the superzoom to have twice the effective focal length in order to best that cheap DSLR+lens combo.

    I don't know about digital zoom, as I've never used it. May as well simply crop the photo in post-processing.

    I'll be getting the Panny 100-300 and VF-3 to put on my E-PM2. Even then, that will be significantly larger and less versatile than the FZ200.
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  4. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    I have been using m43 75-300mm ~ 600mm since it's been released. I like it a lot due to its small size as I carried on my vacations. It is much smaller then Canon 70-300mm IS that I have and has more reach. M43 + 75-300mm will be smaller then any dslr package... I had a much bigger Canon 100-400mm one time, again at equiv of 640mm is similar to M43+75-300. It was mostly stayed at home due to the size. You can check the bird shots at my website:

    There are a few w/ 100-400 and last 2 rows are w/ BIGMA, Sigma 50-500 ~ 1000mm. You'll never enough reach for birds, esp small ones. So I ended up getting a used 43 Bigma ~ 1000mm to use w/ m43. That is mostly for the park on that link which is a couple miles away from me, not for travel. Bigma shots are manual focus. A week ago I added up 1.4x TC which should give me 1400mm equivalent.

    There is a nex-7 user shooting birds/bif w/ Canon 500mm fd lens (~750mm) which he says has better manual focus compared to Bigma and he can crop 24MP.

    Other new lens that will be released is Tamron 150-600mm, again not a small lens, might be good w/ dslrs:

    So unless you want to get bigger/heavier/longer lenses w/ apsc, it is better to go w/ m43 + 75-300 or 100-300mm options... DSLR will give you better tracking if you are looking for that...
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  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Hi Jock,
    I did some back and forth with a Pentax DSLR with a 55-300 (so 450mm equiv at the long end) and an Olympus E-M5 with the Panasonic 100-300 (600mm at the long end). Image quality of both were about the same. Sorry I didn't save any shots or pixel peep in depth. But they were both considerably better than what I was getting with a Fuji X-S1 when I had it. I appreciate the ability to zoom more with the bridge cameras, but for me, I would rather have a nicer file and sacrifice a a bit of zoom. And definitely the bigger the sensor (and the more megapickles), the more you can crop in post (and digital zoom is nothing more than a crop....and I prefer to do it in post so I have more flexibility with composition).

    For me, I went with the DSLR because I wanted a bit more quality and was willing to give up some reach (but then I'm also thinking of getting a Bigma.....just need to do a bit of weightlifting first.). I would think that for most people, the best choice is m43 (any body) and the 100-300 or 75-300.
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  6. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Hall of Famer

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
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