Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Ken McMahon, September 2013

Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 vs Nikon COOLPIX P520 vs Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Noise RAW

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  Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 results
1 Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Quality JPEG
2 Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Quality RAW
3 Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Noise JPEG
4 Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Noise RAW
5 Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes at each of their ISO sensitivity settings. The Nikon COOLPIX P520 doesn't have a RAW shooting mode.

The 20-1200mm lens on the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 was zoomed in to 24mm to match the field of view on the PowerShot SX50 HS at its 24mm maximum wide angle setting.

The cameras were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode with the ISO sensitivity set manually.

The above shot was taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 in Aperture priority mode. The camera was mounted on a tripod and tonal enhancement features were left on their default settings. The Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 RAW file measured 19.9MB and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangle. The aperture on the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 was set to f4 and at its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting it metered an exposure of 1/2s. The Powershot SX50 HS metered 0.8s at f4 and 80 ISO.

At the time of writing, support for the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 RAW file format was not available in Adobe Photoshop, so for this comparison I've processed the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 images in SilkyPix Developer Studio 5 for Panasonic. All the application settings were left on the default settings with the exception of noise and sharpening. Sharpening was set to Pure detail mode with Outline emphasis set to 100, Detail emphasis to 75 and False outline control to 40. All noise reduction and noise cancellation controls were set to zero. To reduce distracting colour balance differences between the crops I set the white balance in Silkypix to 4350K to match the PowerShot SX50 HS processing.

I processed the PowerShot SX50 HS files in Adobe Camera RAW using the following settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes.

While the use of two different applications to process the RAW files rules out a comparison between these two models it is possible to draw some conclusions from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 RAW crops. With the absence of noise processing, even the base 100 crop from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 looks quite noisy. The clumpiness is more evident than in the JPEGs and there's a speckling of colour noise across the crop. The noise increases in a fairly linear manner with each 1EV step up the sensitivity scale, but starting at a relatively high level at the base ISO sensitivity means noise levels quickly become difficult to manage. Of course they're not being managed here at all, and it's only fair to point out that the Silkypix sharpening algorithm applied with higher than normal settings isn't helping. That said, whatever RAW processing software you're using it looks like managing noise levels from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 is going to be a challenge.

Now head over to my Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Lumix FZ70 / FZ72
PowerShot SX50 HS
f4 80 ISO Not available
f4 80 ISO
f4 100 ISO
f4 100 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 800 ISO
f4 800 ISO
f4 1600 ISO
f4 1600 ISO
f4 3200 ISO
f4 3200 ISO
6400 ISO Not available
f4 6400 ISO

Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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