Up to 400 ISO, the FZ50's crops below look quite clean with noise only making a significant appearance at 800 ISO and above. As you'd expect, noise levels are also higher on the examples with the Low Noise Reduction setting. The FZ50 also delivers cleaner results from 100 to 400 ISO than its predecessor.
Viewed in isolation, this would be an impressive result for the Lumix FZ50, but it's easy for overly-aggressive noise reduction systems to be hidden in flat colours such as those on the Gretag chart here. As such, it's crucial to also compare real-life outdoor results taken at different ISO settings. We've provided these on the following page, where you'll see the FZ50 is best used only at its lowest sensitivities.
The High Sensitivity 3200 ISO mode in particular should only be used in situations where you have no other choice, as it results in considerable loss of detail from noise reduction and reduced resolution as seen in particular on the following page.
Note: we have compared 100% crops from both cameras here measuring 136x136 pixels. In reality the FZ50's crops represent a slightly smaller area of the image than the FZ30's due to its higher resolution, so if images from both were reproduced the same size, the FZ50's artefacts would appear slightly smaller and less noticeable as a result.