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I'm looking to upgrade my equipment, on a tight budget so shopping in the second hand market. The camera will be used mostly for holiday photos but I'm also looking to give astrophotography a try. I'm bouncing between two cameras. Either the Panasonic DMC-FZ200 Or the Canon EOS 500D.

I'll be getting either camera second hand. The Canon comes with 6 months warranty, the Panasonic comes with 1 year warranty.

I know the EOS has a bigger sensor and more megapixels (12 vs 15) but the FZ200 has a constant F2.8 aperture through the entire 25-600mm focal length. The best lens I can afford to get for the EOS is the kit EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II. I also know that the FZ has a very fast focus (my current S2980 takes an age to focus and my wife hates it lol).

I've seen some of the astro shots taken with the FZ online and they are very impressive so I know it can handle those types of shots.

Will I notice a great deal of difference getting the 500D for the types of photography I want to do?

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I know the EOS has a bigger sensor and more megapixels (12 vs 15)

This really isn't an issue. This works out as a mere 11 percent different between the linear pixel counts (i.e. it's 25% extra over the area, but only 11% extra on the side or height). You won't notice that in practice.

but the FZ200 has a constant F2.8 aperture through the entire 25-600mm focal length. The best lens I can afford to get for the EOS is the kit EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II.

These are two quite different cameras. The FZ200 is really intended for travel and convenience photography. It's a relatively small package with a versatile lens. The compromise you make for that is the small sensor.

The 500D is a DSLR with a large sensor.

Ultimately the 500D would be my choice for astrography, but then I'm not the one doing this. :-) The larger sensor simply wipes the floor with the small FZ200 sensor for this purpose. And you also get the benefit of better control of depth of field with a large sensor (which in layman terms means it's easier to get those out of focus backgrounds).

But the DSLR cannot easily (or cheaply) get you a huge zoom range. And I suspect you may be planning to use it without a telescope for astrography. Most people doing this seriously would be bolting a DSLR onto a real telescope.

I do not think you could use an FZ200 with a telescope (someone please correct me on this if they know it's wrong).

Well you can add something like a used/old 18-200mm to your DSLR. That's equivalent to about 28-300mm in the same terms the FZ200 uses.

300mm sounds a long way from 600mm doesn't it ?

But it's not as bad as you think. In practice you can crop most of the way down, and I'd honestly prefer that to the FZ200 for "everyday" purposes, but for astrography it's a different issue.

I also know that the FZ has a very fast focus (my current S2980 takes an age to focus and my wife hates it lol).

I would not expect too much from it. Amateurs generally have an expectation of fast focus that exceeds what is practical in most cases.

I've seen some of the astro shots taken with the FZ online and they are very impressive so I know it can handle those types of shots.

I have seen some interesting shots which were stated to use "only" the FZ200, but when I got into the detail it appears they often used star trackers, which are somewhat expensive bits of equipment to avoid star trails (and generally something serious astrography types will use).

SO I'd be careful about your expectations of what is possible.

Astrography really needs a telescope and quite a bit of technique (often in post processing as well as when you're shooting). Dpreview.com have a forum on this very subject and I'd strongly suggest reading posts there and perhaps asking them some questions.

  • thanks for getting back to me with the details explanation. You're right, Astrography would be getting done without a telescope, it's just something I want to try out, the main point of the camera will be for holiday / family photos. You've gave me a lot to think about :) thanks – Alex Goldie Sep 18 '17 at 11:54
  • If you want to do astrophotography without a tracking mount, then you'll be limited to around (500 / focal length) seconds for the maximum exposure on a normal tripod before stars start trailing - so a bit under a second at 600mm to around 20 seconds at 25mm. Actual times will vary depending on where you're aiming and how picky about trailing you are. For longer exposures, you'd need a tracking mount (alt-az ones are limited to around 30sec by an effect called field rotation, equatorial ones can go as long as you can track accurately (but may need autoguiding for longer exposures). – JerryTheC Sep 18 '17 at 13:48
  • You can "stack" multiple images of the same target to reduce noise with free programs like Deep Sky Stacker. I've heard of one guy who managed to get a good image of the Andromeda Galaxy just with a tripod - I think he used aroudn a 300mm lens and had to stack several hundred shots - so it is possible if you're dedicated enough, but it's a lot easier (and more expensive, unfortunately) with a tracking mount and longer sub exposures. – JerryTheC Sep 18 '17 at 13:53

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