Friday, December 18, 2009

Panasonic ZS3 versus Fuji F70EXR -- round 5 -- Snow and Sunset

The sun finally showed its face on a bitterly cold day today. I had some work to do during the day (despite ostensibly being on vacation) and needed to go out to grab a part for my son's car (windshield washer nozzle that attaches onto the hood ... 1 gram of plastic worth 1 cent for $28 taxes in.)

So I grabbed both the cameras along with the D700 and tripod. It turned out to be far too cold to use the tripod, but I was able to grab images with all three cameras and had quite a good time doing that, despite my hands turning to blocks of ice at every stop.
A caveat: These images are all processed. This blog is not a place to see 100% pixel peeped comparisons every day. I do that when there is a purpose, for example the ISO ladders in round 4. But for general purpose shooting, I show you what I can do with these cameras, not what the camera spits out as a capture.
First off, I went back to the location where I shot the birds and wind surfers ... wow, what a difference a few weeks make. The river is entirely frozen over already ... blew my mind. I walked across to the beach where I shot the gulls a few weeks ago and took some images of the ice, which has repeatedly thawed and refrozen from the look of it.

I shot the two cams basically in auto. One issue with the Panny was that I left it at 100 ISO all through the shoot. But since the sun was up, this only served to improve its imagery. The Fuji, however, was able to gain higher shutter speeds at times by shooting at 800 ISO ... still, the Fuji at 800 looks as good as the Panny at 100 most of the time when shot with my settings anyway.

Panny


Fuji


The Panny got closer in this case, and gave me more of a milky-white rendering. Not sure why. But both images are nice. I can tell you that the Fuji image was cleaner at 100% ... the Panny can generate a surprising amount of grain at 100 ISO in moderate light.

The shore line ran just in front of me, and as I turned to face west north-west, the breakwater looked inviting.

Panny


Fuji


There's really nothing to choose between these. The Fuji rendering is slightly more contrasty, but that's processing, not what was available.

Turning around and walking back across the point, I stop to capture the sun and trees. Very pretty scene to my eyes ...

Panny


Fuji


The Fuji's high dynamic range mode really didn't assert itself too much today ... as I have noted before, the Panny seems to be able to almost match the Fuji for holding highlights and rendering shadows. No idea why, but that's what I have been seeing. Still, the Fuji image retains a slightly nicer gradation.

I drove over to the car dealership to get my drubbing and on the way back to the car, noticed this lovely red brick building awash in late afternoon sunlight. I have always been a sucker for that glow.

Panny


Fuji


No relevant difference between the two of them here ...

I drove down to the Ottawa River on the western parkway and stopped at a site near the Champlain Bridge. This site offers open spaces, access to open and swiftly running water, and some nice trees and a bridge. Things to shoot ...

So the first thing I shoot is the far end of the bridge awash in the same late afternoon glow ... looks nice against the water.

Panny


Fuji


I went a bit more contrasty with the Fuji again, but both gave me plenty to work with.

On the other side of the bridge are some footings that I've shot before. This time they are covered in ice and looking pretty cool with the moving water.

Panny


Fuji


Here we see a difference in the two ... as mentioned earlier, I had left the Panny in fixed ISO 100, whereas the Fuji was shot in auto ISO ... I meant to shoot the Panny in full auto, but I still have trouble remembering to check it every time. The Fuji shoots well in auto, whereas I often feel the need to tweak the Panny, it simply is not as good in its smart modes as it is when tweaked (in my opinion.)

Anyway ... the ISO 100 led to a slow shutter speed, which actually looks quite nice here. The Fuji stops water movement, which also looks quite nice. Panny's excellent stabilization helped keep the footing itself pretty sharp even at full 300mm zoom.

And finally, to my left, there is the sunset in full glory. I shot both cams at full zoom for this image and the Panny surprised me by handling the sun itself very well ...

Panny


Fuji


Both are nice images, but I prefer the Panny's rendering.

It's basically a wash ... but that says a lot for how well Panny handles contrasty conditions ... it's really quite good.

Now ... where did that D700 go you ask? ... Well, here is a whimsical series from the two sites ... I love trees and their bare branches at this time of year ...







I was able to shoot the D700 with gloves on, so I shot quite a few images at the first site. The second site did not offer much for my Tamron 28-75 to bite into, so I only show the pretty tree at the end. But I must say that I am very pleased with the D700. It handles bright conditions easily and the Tamron is sharper than either the Panny or Fuji lenses ... not that this is a big stretch or anything.

5 comments:

DannySees said...

I like this round very much, looking forward to living with the snow again this time next year...almost feel like I'm there with some of these pictures. To me it seems in quite a few photos, this round and others, that the Fuji is bringing in more detail.

Thank you for including the D700 at the end also, that is beauty.

Kim Letkeman said...

Thanks Danny. I agree with you ... in a lot of lighting, the Fuji gives a cleaner image, which translates to more retained detail, despite running at half the resolution of the Panny. In very bright light, though, the Panny is impressive.

Anonymous said...

Great series Kim.

Tough 'comparison' when one cam is at 400 and the other at 100 though ..

The Fuji sunset really looks off from a color standpoint, with all the blue. It also has more flare and some fringing. I'm sure between shots the sun could have shifted creating a more challenging job for the fuji but I'm sure surprised at the color balance on that one ...especially being on auto.

The 700 shots are super and that camera really opens up possibilities that neither snapper can dream of. Did you sell the 300 or are you just trying the 700?

jj

Kim Letkeman said...

Thanks jj ... I kept the D300 ... a nice 1-2 punch when I need two bodies. The 700 is pretty amazing, I must say. But it took quite the fire sale of older stuff to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Fire sale eh? Don't tell me what was in it ...as I'd probably be wishing I'd been there. :)
jj