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Thread: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

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    Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    Hi

    What a fantastic site, some of it I do not understand, but some great information!

    My maths/physics understanding is poor to say the very least, so I hope someone can answer my question in 'idiot speak'!

    I currently use a Panasonic FZ200 with the constant f2.8 lens, and an RX100. I do have a Sony 18-135 lens and I was considering getting a cheap Sony A37 to take for walking holiday in France in August. My question is what would give me the best dynamic range and IQ, especially as the 18-135 min aperture is 5.6 at full zoom. I am not so bothered about losing the extra zoom of the FZ200, if the quality from the 18-135 gives me 'better' photos.

    Any advice on the pros and cons would be much appreciated. I assume the A37 would give me greater colour depth etc, but at what cost?

    Thanks

    Regards
    Fred

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    It's impossible to answer your questions without getting a bit nerdy, so if you'll pardon me....

    DXOMark, an independent camera testing group, has examined the Panasonic DMC-FZ200 and the Sony DSC-RX100, and the Sony Alpha 37. Comparison data available here. The FZ200 has 10.8EV of dynamic range, the RX100 has 12.4EVs, and the Alpha 37 has 12.9EV of dynamic range. Anything above 12 is pretty darn good these days, so I don't think you'll find that the Alpha 37 is magical compared with the RX100, but you'll definitely notice the improvement over the FZ200.

    Dynamic range is the ratio of darkest to brightest light a camera can capture in the same frame, so it'll help you see into the darker areas of your shots. It's mainly tied to your camera body. "Image quality" is an incredibly broad term, affected strongly by one's lens, camera, settings, and technique, so it's almost impossible to answer questions without more specifics. You will probably find that the most noticeable advantage to a more recent body is low-light performance.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    Better photos are generally due to the compositional and photographic skills of the photographer, not the camera (in most instances).

    The biggest plus for the Sony is the APS-C sensor (23.5 x 15.6 mm) versus the 1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm) for the Panasonic. That alone is worth a fair bit in image quality. In reality, this is going to make more of a difference if you are looking at larger sized prints, versus viewing the images on a computer.

    I personally don't think you are necessarily going to gain much buying a cheap Sony body; I would probably prefer using the Panny with its fast f/2.8 lens, as you will end up sacrificing some dynamic range by having to shoot at a higher ISO setting at the long end of the 18-135mm lens.

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    Re: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    Fred the dynamic range is dependant on the size of the sensor and the number of pixels (ie the size of each pixel), as well as the technology used in the sensor.

    The FZ200 has a 1/2.3" (6.17x4.55mm) 12MP sensor
    The RX100 has a 1" (13.2 x 8.8mm) 20MP sensor and
    The A37 has an APSC (23.6 x 15.6mm) 16MP sensor

    So, leaving aside differences in technology, the dynamic range would increase in that order (as per the figures Lex quotes from DXOMark)

    I would have thought that the RX100 would do a very good job for you on a walking holiday, unless you see the small zoom range as an issue. Would the extra weight of a DSLR be a problem on a walking holiday ?

    As far as max aperture is concerned, it depends what sort of photography you want to do. For general landscapes where you want large Depth of Field, you'll need to use a small aperture with the A37, a slightly larger aperture with the RX100 and can use a somewhat larger aperture for the FZ200.

    If you want to take shots of your fellow walkers, then the aperture you use will depend whether you want strong bokeh of the background or not.

    My gut feeling is that the RX100 and the FZ200 will do the job for you.

    Dave

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    Re: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    Hi

    Thanks very much for the responses. I do think that the FZ200 and RX100 will meet my needs. The RX100 seems to be not that much behind the A37, and the FZ200 covers the long zoom and slow mo HD video (mountain bikes etc, you never know). I cannot afford dSLR lenses with an equivalent reach and aperture as my current cameras give me so perhaps need to concentrate more on composition, and not on the equipment. This site certainly has some really informative articles that should help me a lot.

    Regards
    Fred

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    Re: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    As one who changed from an FZ50 to a GH2 I see your point about not affording DSLR lenses. I have 950mm reach with telephoto adaptor on the FZ50 and had some quarms about only having 280mm reach with the GH2 but the increase of sensor size definitely compensates for the lack of reach with the ability to crop for reach without less IQ than the FZ50 would give me. The point of this if you go for an APS-C body and short zoom is that you probably can crop for reach without being worse off than you are now ... and when you do not crop you will be fantastically better off The question for walking is the weight of your gear so probably a mirrorless will be better than a DSLR weight wise though MFT such as a Pen or G will be better still particularly if you continue to take the FZ200. While mirrorless has nice small bodies they have ridiculously large APS-C lenses where as MFT has small bodies and small lenses.

    After thought ... coming from bridge cameras I like having one lens so while I can get more reach it means buying a second lens and having to carry and change lenses too ..... 280 reach is with my 14-140 lens but I have a bigger sensor now which means I can crop more and/or use higher ISO ... rarely used more than 100 ISO with the FZ50.
    From what I have read avout the FX I think you should be very happy though Manfred says it with composition
    Last edited by jcuknz; 26th July 2013 at 10:34 AM.

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    Re: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    At the moment we have 35C and up in the South of France (and that's fairly normal for August as well). Weight might get important in those conditions (water is heavy as well).

    If you have some margin left, an external flash (for use with the FZ200) might be an interesting addition to your kit (but that's a whole different subject to study)

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    Re: Dynamic range etc question - FZ200 & Sony A37

    I will add that as far as blurred backgrounds are concerned that I cannot remember going for them 'in-camera'*, perhaps as a result of my bridge camera background which has resulted in working out how to do it quickly and well in editing ... so you would normally find my lens set to f/5.6 or f/8 with most of my subject matter in focus. This focus point will be fairly close to the camera and I know that Depth of Field while deteriating as we look further back will not be objectionablely soft in the far distance. and if you have a sharp foreground people will not spend much time looking at the background Of course if you have distracting backgrounds that is a bigger problem than them being in focus and even if soft are still distracting or more distracting than if they were sharp. Unless you work with a fast [f/1.4] lens, or a long one, or close to the subject, the softness one gets in-camera simply isn't what one can achieve in editing.

    That is where I come from as I value both camera and editor as tools to what I am trying to produce, each used with regard to the other.

    *apart from one occasion with my first bridge camera where I was trying and didn't get the soft distance It showed me that it wasn't feasible, even with 280mm AoV [80mm lens] and focused quite close.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 29th July 2013 at 08:15 AM.

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