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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 / FH20 Ken McMahon, July 2010

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 / FH20 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 / FH20 vs Fujifilm Finepix JZ300 real-life resolution

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To compare real-life performance we shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FS30 / FH20 and the Fujifilm FinePix JZ300 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on each camera were set to approximate the same field of view, and the cameras were set to Program mode (a.k.a. Normal Picture mode on the FS30 / FH20) with manual ISO selected - 80 ISO for the Panasonic Lumix FS30 / FH20, 100 ISO on the Fujifilm FinePix JZ300.

The above image was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 / FH20 in normal Picture mode. The lens was set to 5 mm (28mm equivalent) and the metering selected an exposure of 1/1000th of a second at f3.3 at an ISO setting of 80. The original 4320 x 3240 pixel image had a file size of 4.84MB.

Overall, we were impressed by the quality of the Lumix FS30 / FH20's images. The exposure is good, with the histogram just touching either end of the horizontal axis and there's plenty of detail in the highlights and shadows. It's hard to fault the automatic white balance and all the colours from the yellow sand on the beach to the greens in the foreground vegetation and the blue sky are nicely rendered and natural looking.

Now to the detail in the crops. Here too, the Lumix FS30 / FH20 has turned in an impressive performance. If you were very critical, you might argue that the detail is a little soft, but in terms of what you can reasonably expect from a compact super zoom with a 1/2.3 inch sensor this is well within acceptable limits. The wider the zoom range, the more difficult it becomes to get good results and avoid problems like distortion and lens aberrations, but the crops from different areas of our Lumix FS30 / FH20 test shot are remarkably consistent, with sharpness and contrast holding up from the certre regions to the edge of the frame.

We also think Panasonic has done a good job with image processing and compression. There's no evidence of over sharpening or other processing artifacts and, thankfully, given there's no choice over compression settings, there's no evidence of JPEG compression artifacts despite the FS30 / FH20's 14 Megapixel images being conmpressed down to a manageable 4-5MB file size.

If you were hoping that a difference in image quality would help you decide between the Lumix FS30 / FH20 and the Fujifilm FinePix JZ300, you're going to be disappointed. There really is very little to distinguish these two models in terms of image quality, with the crops from both cameras looking remarkably similar. Because it packs an additional 2 megapixels on its higher resolution sensor, the crops from the Lumix FS30 / FH20 images show a smaller area larger and in more detail, so one clear advantage is that you'll be able to make larger prints at the same quality as the smaller ones you'll get from the 12 Megpixel FinePix JZ300. Now let's check out how they compare at higher sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 / FH20
Fujifilm FinePix JZ300
f3.3, 80 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f3.3, 80 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f3.3, 80 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f3.3, 80 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 / FH20 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

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