Canon 600D Vs Panasonic GF6 which is better?


Having had both cameras for some time and looking over photos I have taken with them, I can now do a closer evaluation. Micro Four thirds versus APSC. While this comparison may seem years out of date and not relevant by todays standards its worth remembering that not everyone has the budget or need for the biggest and best that camera manufacturers are currently offering.

So what have I learned from using an eleven year old Canon and a nine year old Panasonic. First off they both do the job of capturing useable images. The Canon is better overall with less noise in the images and sharper images from the 55-250 STM telephoto lens. The Panasonics images are very good but at ISO 500 even in very good light I could see a good deal more noise when compared to the 600D. The 18 megapixels sensor in the 600D even though its older than the 16 MP GF6 sensor just has better detail overall. Its not huge and when printing A4 photos there’s no discernible difference in the prints, but the difference shows in high resolution images when viewed at normal sizes on a screen.

In the interests of being fair the STM 55-250 of the Canon is a considerably better lens than the Panasonic 45-150 standard kit lens that came with the camera. The 14-45 kit lens that also came with the GF6 is also a mediocre at best performer. The latest STM 18-55 from Canon easily out performs the Panny’s offering. That doesn’t mean that its useless but rather that there are better lenses available for the Micro Four Thirds line of cameras, they are however expensive, even 2nd hand. By comparison the Canon 55-250 STM lens can be found used for $300.00NZD or less and the standard version for $180NZD or less. By comparison the much improved Panasonic Lumix 14 -140 mm lens used will be $500NZD to $600 NZD which makes it less than attractive when the GF6 and two lens kit I purchased earlier this year only cost $360NZD.

And that’s the real drawback in the Micro Four world, unlike Canon which has some very useful lenses such as the STM 55-250 and the STM or Nano version of the 18-135 ( a really nice lens ) as well as a nicely priced STM 50mm ( Nifty fifty) at the $200NZD mark or often less than that. For a very useful set of lens possibilities for considerably less outlay than that seen with the micro four thirds its hard to see the attraction of the smaller micro four thirds camera bodies, especially now that Panasonic has opted to develop the G9 and GH6 and full frame models.

This then leaves those of us with smaller M4/3 camera bodies with a problem, upgrade the lens(es) that we have at a substantial increase in cost or a newer larger camera body. I bought the GF6 to see if having a smaller camera was going to offer a substantial increase in portability and reduced cost without compromising image quality and user friendliness.

While images from the GF6 are very good especially in good light, the lack of user friendliness and ergonomics that are inherent in a DSLR makes for anything other than point and shoot a less than enjoyable experience. If however I was travelling and wanted a smaller quality camera that took very good Jpeg images with little editing required and space and weight is an issue, then hands down the GF6 two lens kit would be a no brainer.

Like it or not and considering I intend to do more astrophotography, the GF6 isn’t quite up to the job and I will be moving it on. As a starter camera for someone coming from a smart phone or as a family camera it will still be a very good performer.

In the two images below, I prefer the composition in the GF6 image but like the detail and contrast of the Canon image.

GF6 image, using the 45-140 lens at 100 mm Focal length @ ISO 500
Canon 600D image, using the STM 55-250 lens @ 200 mm focal length @ISO 400.

As is often the case its all a matter of compromise, I wanted to try and reduce the size and weight of my day to day camera and feel a little less encumbered. That’s where the smartphone comes in to a certain extent, and while my current smartphone has a mediocre camera it is still worth noting that there are times when its just as worthwhile as a dedicated camera. The two images below were taken using my Oppo A5 to record a nice sunny morning with frost on the top of the car, the last winter frost we will see as its officially spring tomorrow and any frosts from now on will be Spring frosts, hopefully not too many.

So now I’m on the hunt for a replacement camera, until then Happy Snappin’

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