Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Gordon Laing, May 2013

Canon EOS SL1 100D vs Panasonic Lumix G3 Noise RAW

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  Canon EOS SL1 100D results
1 Canon EOS SL1 100D Quality JPEG
2 Canon EOS SL1 100D Quality RAW
3 Canon EOS SL1 100D Noise JPEG
4 Canon EOS SL1 100D Noise RAW
5 Canon EOS SL1 100D Multi-shot NR
6 Canon EOS SL1 100D Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Canon EOS SL1 / 100D and the Panasonic Lumix G3, within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes at each of their ISO sensitivity settings; my Multi-Shot Noise Reduction results are on the next page. I plan to repeat this test with the Lumix G6 when it becomes available.

The Canon EOS SL1 / 100D was fitted with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 STM kit lens and the Lumix G3 with the Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens. Both lenses were adjusted to deliver the same picture height as seen opposite. The narrower 4:3 aspect ratio of the Lumix G3 meant small strips were cropped from either side of the composition compared to the Canon.

The image above was taken with the Canon EOS SL1 / 100D. The camera was set to f5.6 in Aperture priority mode and the sensitivity to 100 ISO; I'd previously confirmed that f5.6 delivered the sharpest result with the new EF-S 18-55mm STM kit lens. I used the same aperture for the Lumix G3, again having pre-determined this to deliver the best results.

I processed all files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, the White Balance set to 3800K and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes - as such the visible noise levels at higher ISOs will be much greater than you're used to seeing in many comparisons, but again it's an approach that's designed to show the actual detail that's being recorded before you start work on processing and cleaning it up if desired.

The Canon features 18 Megapixels across a 3:2 aspect ratio frame, while the Panasonic features 16 Megapixels across a squarer 4:3 shaped frame. I adjusted their lenses to deliver the same picture height, so the Lumix G3 cropped a little from the sides of the Canon's original coverage. As such, both cameras were sharing roughly the same pixel density across the area evaluated, and hence show similar magnification in the crops. Speaking of which, I took the same crop from each image, indicated by the red square in the photo above left and reproduced them at 100% below.

One quick note before analyzing the results: both cameras metered the same exposures, but the Lumix G3 delivered slightly darker images as a result. So to match the brightness below I applied +0.3EV to a subsequent set of Lumix G3 exposures, but this in turn implies the Panasonic is approximately 0.3EV less sensitive at each ISO value.

Looking at the crops below, you'll notice a very faint sprinkling of noise at even the lowest sensitivities - this is normal when you turn the noise reduction off and turn the sharpening up. But in terms of real-life detail I'd say they're pretty much neck-in-neck at the start of this test.

As we saw on the JPEG comparison, the noise levels don't change a great deal at 200 ISO, or indeed 400 ISO for that matter. At 800 and 1600 ISO you could arguably say the noise speckles are more defined on the Panasonic samples, but the actual degree of noise looks quite similar on both cameras. At 3200 ISO and above, the noise again looks a tad more defined on the Lumix G3 than the EOS SL1 / 100D, but it's really close.

Even with 0.3EV compensation applied, I reckon the Lumix G3 images are still a tad darker than those from the EOS SL1 / 100D, implying a sensitivity difference closer to 0.5EV in the favour of the Canon. But the slightly darker samples below from the Panasonic are perhaps responsible for the slightly more obvious noise speckles. I reckon there's definitely a hint of greater chroma noise from the Panasonic, but again we're talking about pixel-peeping here.

I'd say from the results below there's essentially no difference in the resolved detail and noise levels at the RAW level between the Canon EOS SL1 / 100D and the Panasonic Lumix G3, at least up to 3200 ISO. Most of the differences you see between them concern alternative processing strategies for in-camera JPEGs with Canon going for its usual punchier approach with higher contrast and sharpening by default.

Before I wrap-up my results though I have one more page to share, demonstrating the Canon EOS SL1 / 100D Multi-shot Noise Reduction feature. Alternatively if you've seen enough, head on over to my extended Canon EOS SL1 / 100D sample images.

Canon EOS SL1 / 100D RAW
Panasonic Lumix G3 RAW
100 ISO
160 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO not available

Canon EOS SL1 / 100D results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise / Multi-Shot NR

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