Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Ken McMahon, September 2013

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

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To compare real-life RAW performance 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 best quality JPEG 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.

  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

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode and f4 was selected as this produced the best result from the lens. With the sensitivity set to 100 ISO the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 metered an exposure of 1/640. The FZ70 / FZ72 was mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was disabled. As usual for this test, the cameras were otherwise left on the default settings. At its 24mm wide angle setting the Powershot SX50 HS metered 1/500 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. 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.

The use of different RAW processing applications makes it impossible to make comparisons between these two sets of crops, but it is possible to draw some conclusions form the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 RAW files processed using Silkypix. The absence of noise reduction and noise cancellation has resulted in crops with quite a high degreee of noise and, while the high level of sharpening has resulted in sharper edges, the clumpiness is also exagerrated.

All the same, it ought to be possible to squeeze a slighly better result from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72's RAW files than the in-camera JPEG processing delivers and the RAW option is a welcome inclusion.

Now see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Noise results.

Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO

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

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