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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Gordon Laing, October 2007

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 results :
Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 vs Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd outdoor scene


 
To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 and the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd within a few moments of each other using their Program modes, best quality JPEG and lowest ISO settings. The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view.

The image left was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 at 7mm f5.6 and with a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original JPEG measured 3.62MB. The crops are taken from the upper left, center and lower right portions of the originals and presented here at 100%. Both cameras feature the same image resolution, but have different sensor technologies, image processors and optics. Judging from the crops below which come from samples taken closer to the wider-end of their respective zooms, the Panasonic FZ18 enjoys a slightly clearer result with less fringing. The Fujifilm crops look less natural and more electronic looking using its default image settings. Much of this is of course down to personal preference though.

In terms of detail captured, both cameras are quite similar with only pixel-peeping giving the Panasonic a slight edge. Zoom both cameras in though and their optics tell a different story, so scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what happens at the telephoto end.


 


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
 
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4.5, 64 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4.5, 64 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4.5, 64 ISO


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 vs Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd telephoto outdoor scene


To compare real-life performance at their longest focal lengths we shot the same scene with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 and the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd within a few moments of each other using their Program modes, best quality JPEG and lowest ISO settings.

The image left was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 at 82.8mm f5.6; the original JPEG measured 3.78MB. The crops below are taken from the left, middle and right sections of the originals and reproduced here at 100%.


 

With both cameras zoomed-into their maximum focal lengths, a significant difference between them emerges. The Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd suffers from quite noticeable fringing at high contrast areas, which the Panasonic impressively avoids. Interestingly we noticed the same fringing when testing the Olympus SP-550UZ and upon closer inspection it appears both it and the Fujifilm S8000fd appear to share the same optics - they certainly suffer in the same regard anyway. Previous to the FZ18 you may have accepted this as a compromise of having an 18x optical zoom range, but the Panasonic proves it is avoidable. An impressive result here for the FZ18. Now to see how its RAW mode performs, scroll to the bottom of this page.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
 
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5, 64 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5, 64 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5, 64 ISO


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 : JPEG versus RAW

We photographed the first scene on this page using the Lumix FZ18's RAW mode in addition to a Fine Quality JPEG file; the FZ18 also offers a RAW plus JPEG mode, but the latter is saved with the lower quality Normal compression setting, so we shot the scene twice. The RAW file was processed using Adobe Camera RAW 4.2 using its default settings and sent to Photoshop CS3 in 16 bits. We then reduced it to 8-bits, took a crop and prepared it in the same way as the JPEG for reproduction here.

Judging from the crops below, the RAW file processed using Adobe's default settings appears less punchy than the in-camera JPEG - there's less contrast and sharpening applied. So anyone hoping for a better result without tweaking will be disappointed. But the advantage of shooting in RAW is of course the flexibility and latitude for adjustments, not to mention the ability to apply more sophisticated noise reduction to uncompressed files. Support for RAW is a great selling point for the FZ18. Now let's take a look at the FZ18's resolution.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 JPEG
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 RAW
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 results continued...

Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise
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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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