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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 / FZ40 Ken McMahon, October 2010
 

Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 results : Real-life resolution / Sharpness mid-range / Sharpness tele / High ISO Noise
/ Vs FZ38 / FZ35

Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 vs Lumix FZ100 vs Canon PowerShot SX30 IS High ISO Noise


 
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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40, the Lumix FZ100 and the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.

The lenses on all three cameras were set to approximate the same field of view and ISO was manually set.

The above shot was taken with the the Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 in Program mode with the lens at a wide angle setting of 4.5mm (25mm). The ISO sensitivity was set to 80 and the exposure was one second at f2.8. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

The Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 makes a very promising start. At 80 and 100 ISO the crops look clean, noise free and show good detail. Arguably, the detail in the stone column on the left of the crop is a little on the soft side, but there's no obvious evidence of noise and overall this is a result that anyone would be happy with.

Moving on up the range to 200 ISO we start to see some evidence of noise, but you have to look closely. There some clumping of pixel values in the wood panelling and the edge of the stone column isn't as crisp and well-defined as in the 80 and 100 ISO crops. There's not much to worry about at this level, though. Unless you were looking closely at a full-sized print you'd never notice it and it certainly wouldn't make you think twice about using 200 ISO for situations when the light is dropping that little bit.

At 400 ISO the loss of detail and pixel clumping gets progressively worse and is now at the stage where you don't have to be looking for it to see it. If you were viewing this 400 ISO shot full screen on a 15inch notebook, you'd be able to tell it was a high ISO shot. Having said that, the noise isn't overwhelming and the result is very accepatble for the middle of the Lumix FZ45 / FZ40's sensitivity range.

From 800 ISO and up the noise is pretty intrusive, but that's what you'd expect. Even at these higher ISO sensitivities, and, in fact, throughout the range Panasonic has done a good job in maintaining the always difficult balance beween noise supression and loss of real image detail.

As with our outdoor tests, the Lumix FZ100 crops are all marred by an overwhelming softness that smears away all the fine detail. Take a look at the vertical grooves in the panelling of the 100 ISO crop, they're indistinct at the top and blur away into nothing at the bottom. At 400 ISO the grooves have disappeard into a clumpy regularity - though they are still clearly visible in the Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 and PowerShot SX30 IS crops.

The results from the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS stand much closer in comparison to the Lumix FZ45 / FZ40. At 80 and 100 ISO there's very little to tell them apart. The fringing on the PowerShot SX30 IS crops doesn't do anything for the edge definition, but despite that we think the PowerShot SX30 IS is doing a slightly better job of retaining detail. The detail in the wood panelling in this crop does look granier than in the Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 crops, however. Through the middle of the ISO range there's still very little in it, though here the difference between Panasonic's and Canon's approach to noise supression becomes clearer. The Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 crops generally look smoother than PowerShot SX30 IS ones which show more detail, but more noise as well.

One thing worth noting is that all of these cameras produce a better result in their lower resolution low light scene modes than they do at the full resolution 1600 ISO sensitivity, something worth bearing in mind if image size isn't a big consideration. Here, the Lumix models have a slight advantage, producing a 3 Megapixel image measuring 2048 × 1536 pixels against a 2 Megapixel 1600 × 1200 image from the PowerShot SX30 IS. Now head over to our Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40
 
Panasonic Lumix FZ100
 
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS
80 ISO
80 ISO Not available
80 ISO
100 ISO
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200 ISO
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400 ISO
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800 ISO
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1600 ISO
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3200 ISO (High Sens scene mode)
3200 ISO (High Sens scene mode)
2500 ISO (Low Light scene mode)


Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 results : Real-life resolution / Sharpness mid-range / Sharpness tele / High ISO Noise
/ Vs FZ38 / FZ35


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