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Canon SX40 HS or Panasonic FZ150

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Posted on Oct 30, 2011 6:08:08 PM PDT
I see many posts with "tiny sensor" and "superior" being used. These things are quantifiable, please state the sensor size and how you determined superiority of images. By not doing so your posts are worthless to the person posing the question and just showing bias and lack of objectivity on a subjective matter.

Posted on Oct 31, 2011 1:19:11 AM PDT
JCUKNZ says:
I tend to agree with you Midwest Father. It always was with film and continues with digital that sensor size is important and just as the MF digital is superior to full frame to Apc, to 4/3, to Nikon one, to bridge cameras, to P&S ... to my little Coolicam :-) so it was with film with whole plate. half plate, quarter plate etc down to the little Minox

But as with film the important question is "do you need it" and are you prepared to pay for something you do not really need ... but it would be nice to have so you can keep up with the Jones's.

Just lately some blinkered people have started to call 4/3s bridge cameras, and I suppose you could call them that as they are an intermediate between bridge and APCs, but really when you consider that the sensor is 17mm wide compared with the 24mm of APC it is less a difference than bridge cameras and 4/3. Of course originally most people called them pro-sumers which in the right hands they can be. Of course too like every camera type they have their limitations and cannot do certain things satisfactorilly, but their failings are trumpeted loud and foolishly completely ignoring what they can do very well. There is also this thing about changing lenses without mentioning the drawbacks to being able to do that.
It is all highly amusing and not much help to those asking questions this regurgitation of the bias's of that mob ... and I bet you they will come back about my perceived bias in favour of the bridge camera ... the thing is I have learnt about using the right camera for the situation and a matching approach is not bothing about things that the camera cannot do.
I'm sure that I have made it clear that I know nothing about either camera the OP has asked about but I respect both manufacturers from their products I own. The answer is to check out the differences and which camera is going to meet your needs best

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 7:31:55 AM PDT

Typically a bridge camera has had a small sensor...but the main aspect of a bridge camera is that it has the layout and controls of a DSLR, while being smaller and without interchangable lenses. This is still the main feature that distinguishes APC DSLRs vs a few bridge cameras that are now being introduced with 4/3 sensors. A couple other links to clarify terms and technologies:

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 9:23:57 AM PDT
Roger James says:
The sensor is an important element but lens properties and quality is probably overlooked in the bridge camera. An improved processor can take a small sensor, cmos seems to be best for low light, and maximize its capability. An example, The SX40 is identical to SX30 except for a change from CCD to CMOS and a new processor..... BAM....a much improve camera.
A bridge camera is so popular today because it beautifully balances a versatile lens with a camera size, weight, features and price where you can take beautiful and creative pictures that is fun to use. It may not be professional quality but its darn good. Of course all the DSLR's have bigger and better sensors and add a nice $1000 Canon lens and you have top quality pictures. To get the variety of images, prepare to buy many lenses to match what a bridge camera does with its modest included package.
The bottom line is there is no perfect camera but the bridge camera from Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony come close for a lot of people and at about $400 is a great value.

I wouldn't be surprised to see in the near future a $1000 bridge camera with a larger sensor, superior lens with image quality rivaling any DSLR. Open question....would you buy this camera?

Posted on Oct 31, 2011 12:25:36 PM PDT
JCUKNZ says:
Much as I appreciate and support Wikipedia I cannot help but feel that the authority of its comments depends on who does the writing. If you have some blinkered DSLR oriented writer then it is suspect and the 4/3 has closer ties to the DSLR than the fixed lens pro-sumer simply by nature of being able to change lenses. One can also say that becuase it has dispensed with the mirror and ground glass screen it is closer to the pro-sumer but that is simply progress in the digital age. The pro-sumer and 4/3 are products of the digital age.

It didn't take me very long to spot an obvious error based on bias where it states that the EVF is worse than the OVF in poor light which is complete rubbish because the EVF compensates for the low light level to give you a good image for framing ... LOL

It also talks about refresh rates where I suspect the human is blaming the machine for its own failings, which is of course human nature LOL

Posted on Oct 31, 2011 10:48:47 PM PDT
We tried the Panasonic FZ100, the zoom was great, the IS was superb, even at the long end of the lens. We shoot a lot of video and we use to the Canon S5 which has a dedicated button near the thumb for movies. Its so natural I never considered there'd be another way - the FZ100 has the movie button flush near the still button. Sometimes I literally had to look and see where the button (missed some great nature shots). The FZ100 takes a long time to finish 'writing' its movies, so if you want to switch from stills to movies etc. - you have to wait, whereas the Canon allows one to shoot stills while recording video. Also the Panny grip only allowed three fingers vertically - thus I always felt like I was about to drop it just before shooting. These are small ergonomic things that shouldn't matter, but over the course of 1000's of shots, they are bound to add up. Thank you Amazon for the great return policy - we tried it - sent it back and are set to purchase the Canon sx40 instead.. (finally with HD 1080p = FZ100)! Thanks for all the posts, and thanks again to Amazon (no thanks to UPS who despite 1 day shipping managed to get it here in 2 days, with much sweat - Amazon refunded the shipping cost though)

Posted on Oct 31, 2011 10:50:50 PM PDT
The fz100 or the fz150?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2011 7:13:46 AM PDT
Professional digital cameras (including your hated DSLRs) are also "products of the digital age". You can quantifiably measure refresh rates, viewfinder brightness, noise handling, and a myriad of other features and not base these features on YOUR feelings.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2011 11:08:12 AM PDT
EdM says:
JCUKNZ - "It didn't take me very long to spot an obvious error based on bias where it states that the EVF is worse than the OVF in poor light which is complete rubbish because the EVF compensates for the low light level to give you a good image for framing"

Speaking of bias, yes, an EVF can amplify the light level. However, an electronic view screen with a resolution of say 600 x 400 [240,000 pixels] is far from the resolution possible from a decent sized optical viewfinder. An optical VF doesn't ruin your visual purple for seeing in the dark, and an EVF also doesn't accurately portray whatever color may be present. Not to mention that an EVF will bloom and distort from the very wide dynamic ranges possibly encountered at night. You choose your bias, others will choose what matters to them.

"Complete Rubbish" thus is your very opinionated viewpoint, stating that what matters to you is the only thing that should matter to anyone. For me, I love to see the lovely colors that are emphasized when shooting in night conditions, such as Times Square at night. FWIW, using flash also doesn't get it for that style of shooting, IMO. YMMV.

Posted on Nov 2, 2011 1:23:39 AM PDT
JCUKNZ says:
I don't hate DSLRs, just recognise them for what they are .. a make-over from the SLR .. whereas the pro-sumer or bridge camera is a digital invention. Both are marvelous bits of engineering.
It does depend on what you use your viewfinder for and I'd think I am closer to the average person asking questions here than you experts and I use the viewfinder to frame up my shot so all those other things you mention are irrelevant. I have had no problems using EVF from darkness to looking at the sun, and I wouldn't do the latter with anything other than an EVF for my eyes safety. As it was there was a Wratten 87 to enable the AE to pick 1/4000 at f/7.6. I guess I have had good EVF and you have had bad ones and you want more out of your viewfinder than I do.
It IS complete rubbish to say that the EVF doesn't work as well as an OVF in low light conditions, I'd say the reverse, though I did think afterwards it depends on what kind of OVF you are talking about ... what you find in the average DSLR or what the Canon G's have ... people seem to call both OVF but I may be wrong there with the terminology but not with my original comment as I believe the OVF was being used, the DSLR kind.
I think the DSLR OVF is a greatly over rated feature and not a patch on what we had as standard in SLRs ... unless you add optional extras.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 6:48:22 AM PST
My first camera was a Contax II, for years I shot with a Zorki 4, a Russian rip-off of the Leica IIIg. Over the years I shot film with, Nikon, Canon, Olympus cameras and lenses as well as with a Rolleiflex. I have no doubt that the glass in a DSLR is superior, (you obviously pay for it). One factor, however, is weight; when you get into your 70s, a Ultra long lens, admittedly at the expense of IQ, instead of three or more heavy lens, becomes more than a little relevant.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 8:08:57 AM PST
Roger James says:

I also had a Contax (fathers camera) and bought a Canon V1t (circa 1959), loved that camera. Also had SLR's from Nikon, and Minolta. The rangefinder being more compact was always more comfortable to use. The FZ150 reminds me of the rangefinder because it is compact and relatively light in weight. The performance is amazing! I have the usual assortment of DSLR's beginning with the first rebel and lots of lenses but why use them when you have such a great camera in the FZ150 that is so light and easy to use and the results are more than satisfying. The FZ150 goes everywhere but use the DSLR for macro stuff where it really outperforms any big zoom.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 9:27:36 AM PST
Roger, in part I agree with you. As long as your prints are limited to 8"x10", the newer P&S cameras will give acceptable results. If and/or when you go beyond, the superior glass obtainable, (for a price), from DLSR better lenses will give superior results, all other things being equal.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 9:56:37 AM PST
Arieh, I agree. Having taken photographs for more then 45 years, what amazes me is the incredible progress we have seen in digital in the past 10 years. The image quality from the small cameras today like the Canon SX40 and the Panasonic FZ150 are nothing short of amazing if you stack them up against the 35mm photos from the 60's and early 70's. I remember when high speed was 400 for black and white and 160 for color. The standard for quality was ASA (ISO) 25-64, there was no auto-focus or auto anything, and you measured focus times in seconds (dependent solely on the photographers skill) and shooting speed in frames per minute. There is no doubt that larger sensors, like larger film sizes, will provide better quality at a cost of size, weight and portability, but much like the advent of 35mm which was heavily criticized for its substandard quality when 4X5 Speed Graphics and 2.25X2.25 Rolleiflex ruled. today's incredible small cameras actually outperform the the film cameras of the 60's and 70's in so many ways. I sometimes wonder though if all the technology and pixel peeping isn't making us lazy photographers rather then good photographers. While not quite your age, I agree that portability can take priority over maximum quality. Having a small, highly versatile superzoom that can produce the images we see today is good enough for me. After all it is the image and the story it tells that makes the difference, not the pixel or size. Mind you, if I had the money, I would skip over full frame 35mm digital and go all the way to Medium format for a really nice landscape camera for maximum detail retention. Something like a Pentax 645d or Mamiya DM series (both very portable). For now though that isn't reality and the new superzooms deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 10:06:28 AM PST
On this I would have to partially disagree. I have pulled decent 11X14 prints from an FZ50. Key is low ISO and RAW, not JPEG output carefully post processed. It takes a lot of care and attention to detail but is doable and is less work then what I used to do in darkrooms.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 10:51:33 AM PST
I am sure that if good care, and a good knowledge of Photoshop is available, that you must be right. Still, such feats would be so much easier with better lenses, no?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 10:53:43 AM PST
Ah, yes. "If I had the money". Me too.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 11:34:24 AM PST
JCUKNZ says:
As the 'Big Eight Oh' comes up next month, I have already passed my medical to have my driving licence extended for two years :-), I can remember when 100 ISO was fast [Ilford HP3 or Kodak's Tri-X] and I was using Ilford Special Rapid plates with a speed of 25 ISO. The English firm May and Baker had just brought out [1951/2 ? ]their developer Promicrol which tended to clump grain together in sharp lumps instead of other developer's blurr and gave us the 'Fantastic' speed of 800+ ISO with FP3 [50 ISO] film .... 'happy days' :-)

I think after glimpsing the Canon camera that it is more akin to my Nikon 5700 which is a delightfully smallish camera but with all the features of its day while the 'Large FZ' range is more the size of a small DSLR but because it is plastic its without the weight of say my ancient D60 ... still plastic bounces and metal cracks 'they' say. I thought we were not supposed to let those things happen with delicate instruments :-)
Since I have gone to M4/3 as my 'big sensored' camera and spent three times the price of my FZ50 to get less but approaching its specs, if they had brought out a large sensor [ say 4/3 size] with a constant f/2.8 x8 <x12 zoom with a price of around $1000 I would have been in there for sure. But I guess there are not enough serious photographers who appreciate the advantages of the good bridge camera as a working tool so it would not be an ecconomic proposition to develop it. Meanwhile my M4/3 has interchangable lens for when I need that facility so I suppose it is a step forward for me. Being able to shoot acceptable images at 6400 ISO is interesting. Since with good PP I made A3 prints from my Canon P&S 3.3Mp I think 10x8 is a rather conservative limit. It does depend on how good your technique is with the tools we have today. Practice and learning with the editor is as important as camera technique if one is going to use smaller recording areas. This has always been the situation down the years except PP was rather harder with film.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 11:49:48 AM PST
Arieh. Always better with better sensors. The lenses are just matched to the sensor and size, same as with film. The lens can resolve more then the sensor, but what is recorded is only what the sensor sees. That is what amazes me, the progress in sensor technologies. The lenses are now pressed to keep up. I find though that the optics of the better super-zooms are up to the task, unlike the lenses of just a few short years ago. Surely you remember the day when no one in their right mind would use any kind of zoom due to the poor quality. So it is that progress continues.

And Photoshop? Too expensive for me. I do most of my post-processing directly in Aperture or Lightroom with occasional help from a program like Noise Ninja (noise reduction) or Photomatrix (HDR) or Calico (Panorama) PT Lens (distortion and perspective correction). Once in a great while I will revert to an older version of Photoshop Elements if I need layers. Once you know your equipment and the files it creates, you can then do extensive work with simpler programs. And it is possible to create "presets" specific to a camera and your desired look to heavily automate it going forward. Soo much easier then the old "wet" work. But yes, the better the equipment, the better your starting point just like it was 40-50 years ago. That much hasn't changed, but in the end the responsibility always lies with the photographer regardless of equipment.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 11:51:19 AM PST
[laughing] Yes that is always the determining factor, but I have no desire to carry a 4X5 view camera around the mountains any more, regardless of the quality.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 12:11:22 PM PST
JCUKNZ. Congrats on your upcoming Eight Oh celebration. I definitely have a ways to go to catch up. I remember hearing of Promicrol but never used it. Of course Accufine with Tri-X was quite the thing for my generation. Tricky to process well but the potential for 1200 was tempting despite the dramatically increased grain and loss of detail. After all, getting the image was the thing, and 35mm was just coming into its own. M4/3'rds is a nice compromise if you don't mind carrying the kit with lenses. And it has improved a lot in just the past 3 years.

While we are on the subject of Superzooms, there is also the announced but still VaporTech Fuji X-S1 superzoom supposed to be out early next year. Will use the same sensor as the already released and well acclaimed Fuji X10. 12 mp, 2/3 sensor (about twice the size of 1/2.3 sensors used in FZ150 and SX40). 26X Manual (not electronic) zoom from 24mm to 624mm F2.8-5.6 zoom. From early prototype images definitely larger then their current HS20, one of the larger super-zooms. The only question is can they actually bring it to fruition without shooting themselves in the foot with silly compromises. The sensor looks impressive in the X10 and if the lens is of decent quality it may serve to take the IQ argument to a different level. Tilting hi rez LCD and a state of the art electronic viewfinder with a resolution about 4X higher then the FZ150 or SX40. Price is expected to be much higher but again an all-in-one with better IQ will have some appeal to the enthusiasts market. Still smaller and lighter then a full m4/3 or DSLR kit. But the way car repairs are eating up my budget right now, it may be next year before I can actually look at getting a superzoom of any kind. Maybe a good time to wait anyway as fast as things are changing.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 6:29:20 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
"would you buy this camera?"


Posted on Nov 16, 2011 1:06:36 AM PST
I got the FZ-150 a few weeks ago and so far I like it. A lot. On paper they're both pretty similar on most points. What follows are a couple of the differences that drove me towards the FZ-150 when I was "doing my homework". Optional remote shutter (the cheapo ones that you can pick up for $5 work fine) is a big plus. Shoots RAW - it's an extra step after you've taken the shot, but I feel it gives me a lot of control over the final image that I lose if I'm shooting JPEG. Of course, if I'm feeling lazy I can still batch-develop them and be done with it. The FZ-150 has 52mm filter threads - no adapter required.

Oh, I also picked up a Raynox DCR-2025 to extend my reach a bit... seems to work well.

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 7:10:46 PM PST
KOPA says:
SX40, had both, got rid of the Panny.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 7:23:58 PM PST
Interesting. Why did you choose the canon? Thinking of going the other way 'round myself since I shoot a lot of wildlife and I like the look of the faster fps with full autofocus
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