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

Canon EOS SL1 100D vs Panasonic Lumix G3 Quality RAW

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To compare real-life RAW performance 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; my noise comparison is on the next page. I plan on repeating the test with a Lumix G6 when they become 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 width as seen opposite. The narrower 4:3 aspect ratio of the Lumix G3 meant a small strip of grass at the bottom and sky at the top was cropped from its composition.

Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and all other settings were left on the defaults.

  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

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 both 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 4800K 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.

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 matched their coverage across the short axis (horizontally for this composition), so the Lumix G3 cropped a little from the top and bottom of the Canon's original coverage. As such, both cameras were sharing roughly the same pixel density across the areas evaluated, and hence show similar magnification in the crops. Speaking of which, I took four crops from each image, indicated by the red squares in the image above right and reproduced them at 100% below.

When comparing out-of-camera JPEGs on the previous page, the Canon displayed a much punchier approach to processing with noticeably higher sharpening and contrast to the Panasonic. This time the same settings have placed them on a level playing field and the differences are down to their respective sensors and optics, plus any processing at the pre-RAW stage.

In terms of detail, both cameras look essentially the same, even with strong pixel-peeing, but two main differences stand out.

Looking at the first crop, the Lumix G3 exhibits a higher degree of background noise as you might expect from its slightly smaller sensor, although it's worth noting you're comparing 100 against 160 ISO here, so the Panasonic is two thirds of a stop more sensitive at its base ISO. To be fair, you wouldn't normally see this amount of noise on a typical shot, it's just that I've chosen a very high degree of sharpening with zero noise reduction. Tone the former down and the latter up a tad and you'll enjoy smooth results from either camera, but I wanted to see what data each was starting with for this results page.

Looking at the second and fourth crops, the new Canon kit lens exhibits a little coloured fringing, but it's pretty minor and easily corrected in software, either at the RAW processing stage or in-camera on JPEGs. Note that I didn't apply any lens corrections to the Lumix G3 image, but the camera performs it automatically prior to recording or processing the RAW data, so that's why its images are bereft of fringing. The bottom line is coloured fringing isn't an issue for either camera / lens combination tested here, although pixel peepers may be a little concerned by the small but undesirable stepping artefact on the inside edge of the arch in the final crop. This wasn't visible in the in-camera JPEG, so I'm guessing it was introduced in the processing by Adobe Camera RAW.

So judging from these crops I'd say the EOS SL1 / 100D delivers similar results to the Lumix G3 when both are equipped with their kit lenses, with a minor advantage in noise to the Canon. But before moving on, it's once again important to comment on the impact of the new EF-S 18-55mm STM kit lens. The earlier EF-S 18-55mm IS often exhibited uneven sharpness in my tests, ultimately letting down the EOS bodies which were sold with it, but the new EF-S 18-55mm STM looks much more promising with uniform sharpness across the frame, not to mention a decent degree of detail. I plan on conducting a more detailed examination of its performance in the future.

But now it's time to check out my Canon EOS SL1 / 100D noise results!


Canon EOS SL1 / 100D RAW
Panasonic Lumix G3 RAW
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO

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

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