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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 Gordon Laing, August 2006


 



 




Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2 / Corner sharpness / Fringe & macro / Geometry / Vignetting

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 real-life noise versus Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000

Panasonic DMC-TZ1 at 7mm f3.4  

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot the same scene using the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 and Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG options, and at each ISO setting.

The lenses on both cameras here were adjusted to deliver the same fields of view - the TZ1 was at 7mm and the S9500 / S9000 at 10mm. Due to the high brightness of the scene and requirement to shoot it at up to 1600 ISO, it was necessary to use a neutral density filter. The brightness also forced us to set the Fujifilm to f8; the TZ1 automatically adjusted its own aperture.


The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 at 7mm f3.4 and at 80 ISO; the original measured 2.34MB. The crops are taken from an area just below and to the left of the centre.

Note: it's not possible to manually select 1600 ISO on the TZ1, and the High Sensitivity preset wouldn't go any higher than 800 ISO under these conditions.

Consequently we have included two separate 800 ISO crops from the TZ1 below. The first is from an image taken in Normal mode with 800 ISO manually selected from the menu. The second is from an image taken with High Sensitivity mode, which here automatically selected 800 ISO. Note how this preset applies lower resolution and somewhat aggressive noise reduction.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1
Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000
Panasonic DMC-TZ1 noise at 80 ISO
Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 noise at 80 ISO
80 ISO, 1/250, f3.4
80 ISO, 1/40, f8
Panasonic DMC-TZ1 noise at 100 ISO
Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 noise at 100 ISO
100 ISO, 1/320, f3.4
100 ISO, 1/52, f8
Panasonic DMC-TZ1 noise at 200 ISO
Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 noise at 200 ISO
200 ISO, 1/640, f3.4
200 ISO, 1/105, f8
Panasonic DMC-TZ1 noise at 400 ISO
Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 noise at 400 ISO
400 ISO, 1/400, f5.6
400 ISO, 1/210, f8
Panasonic DMC-TZ1 noise at 800 ISO
Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 noise at 800 ISO
800 ISO, 1/800, f5.6
800 ISO, 1/450, f8
Panasonic DMC-TZ1 noise at 800 ISO (high sensitivity mode)
Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 noise at 1600 ISO
800 ISO, 1/800, f5.6 (High Sensitivity mode)
1600 ISO, 1/1000, f8


The Panasonic Lumix TZ1 delivers fair results at its slowest 80 and 100 ISO sensitivities, although some noise is visible in dark shadow areas even in these modes. This noise becomes more obvious at 200 ISO, although still delivers acceptable results for modest print sizes.

At 400 ISO and above though, the TZ1's noise and noise reduction visibly reduce detail, which can be seen most obviously in the increasingly smeared fencing and foliage. The most dramatic result though is with the TZ1's High Sensitivity mode, which reduces the resolution and applies considerable noise reduction to deliver what looks like, at 100%, a Photoshop artistic filter; another example of this can be seen on our Features page. Manually setting 800 ISO gives a far preferable result.

Noise is the TZ1's greatest problem and can only be avoided at the slowest sensitivities. To be fair if you're only printing at modest sizes and not staring at 100% crops, it's not a huge problem, but if you demand clean results, you'd be better off with a different camera.

Crops from a similar area taken with a pair of digital SLRs can be seen in our Sony Alpha A100 review. While anyone shopping for a compact is unlikely to consider a DSLR, it's interesting to compare the results none-the-less. Low noise levels are where DSLRs excel, thanks to their physically larger sensors.



Results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2 / Corner sharpness / Fringe & macro / Geometry / Vignetting

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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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