Support me by shopping at B&H!
Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Ken McMahon, September 2013
 
 

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

Support me by
shopping below

 

To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72, the Nikon COOLPIX P520 and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The 20-1200mm lens on the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 was zoomed in to 24mm to match the field of view on the COOLPIX P520 and PowerShot SX50 HS at their 24mm maximum wide angle setting. Further down the page you can see results at approxiamtely 600mm and 1200mm (1000mm on the COOLPIX P520).

  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 COOLPIX P520 has a maximum aperture of f3 and in Aperture priority mode increments in 1/3EV steps. It's therefore not possible to set f4 so the closest alternative was selected and at f4.2 the COOLPIX P520 selected a shutter speed of 1/640 at 80 ISO. The Powershot SX50 HS metered 1/500 at f4 and 80 ISO.

Looking at the crops from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72, overall the results are very good. There's a little bit of noise texture in all the crops which is taking the edge of some of the finer detail but generally the level of detail is good and edges are sharp. In the first crop there's enough detail to make out the door and windows in the chapel, but not in the stonework. In the second crop the lighthouse isn't as distinct as it might be and the foreground detail is soft and a little noisy. The third crop from very close to the edge of the frame highlights the shortcomings of the 60x ultra-wide zoom with some evidence of colour fringing, distortion and softer detail. Back near the centre of the frame, though, the final crop shows a much better level of detail with clean lines defining the window frames and balcony dividers. Even on the final crop though, there's a discernible level of noise which is preventing more detail from being displayed.

Compared with the crops from the Nikon COOLPIX P520 the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 crops show a slightly larger area with smaller details as the COOLPIX P520 has a higher resolution 18 Megapixel sensor. But the COOLPIX P520 crops don't show any more detail than those from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72, and in fact the first crop from the COOLPIX P520 looks a little softer, particularly the grassy area in the foreground.The second row of crops looks very similar, but at the edge of the frame the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72's lens appears to have a slight advantage over the COOLPIX P520's which looks a little more distorted and blurred. Remember, the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 is zoomed in from its maximum 20mm wide angle here, whereas both the COOLPIX P520 and PowerShot SX50 HS are right up against their wide angle limit. In the fourth crop taken from near the middle of the frame the tables are turned though, and the lens and sensor combination on the COOLPIX P520 produces a slightly sharper result with marninally more detail. It's a small margin though and generally, there isn't a great deal of difference between these two models at the wide angle end of the range.

The crops from the 12 Megapixel Canon PowerShot SX50 HS show a larger area with smaller detail than either the 16 Megapixel Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 or the 18 Megapixel COOLPIX P520. They're also sharper and more detailed. In all of the PowerShot SX50 HS crops edges are more crisply defined and you can make out finer detail, in the chapel stonework of the first crop, The lighthouse and foreground roofs in the second, the less distorted sharper detail of the window, tile and brickwork at the frame edge and pretty much everywhere in the final crop. The SX50 HS's sensor and lens outperform the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 at this focal length.

Further down the page, I've compared results at the mid-range focal length and the maximum telephoto, so read on to see how these three models compare when zoomed in. Alternatively, you can see how the RAW files from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 compare with those from the PowerShot SX50 HS in my Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 RAW results, or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 Noise results.


Lumix FZ70 / FZ72
 
COOLPIX P520
 
PowerShot SX50 HS
f4, 100 ISO
f4.2, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4.2, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4.2, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4.2, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO



Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 vs Nikon COOLPIX P520 vs Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Quality at approx 600mm

 
 

For this next test I zoomed all three cameras in to an equivalent focal length of around 600mm. With the exposure mode in Aperture priority, each camera was set to the widest available aperture. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

As before, the area and size of the detail in these crops varies because of the different sensor resolutions with the 18 Megapixel Nikon COOLPIX P520 showing the smallest area with the largest detail, followed by the 16 Megapixel Lumix FZ70 / FZ72, then the 12 Megapixel PowerShot SX50 HS.

Two things strike me about these mid-range crops taken at around the 600mm focal length. The first is that the crops from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 look better and are more consistent than those taken from the wide angle image. The second crop, taken from close to the frame edge has none of the distortion and bluriness of the one from the 24mm crop and generally the level of detail and sharpness is good, though there's still a noticeable texture in these crops.

The second thing is there's less difference between the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 crops and those from the COOLPIX P520 and PowerShot SX50 HS. In the first crop, the FZ70 / FZ72 comes off worst, with both the other models producing a more detailed image, but there's very little to chose between the three of them in the second and third crops (the PowerShot SX50 HS does slightly better in the second crop, but worse in the third). In the final crop all three would be evenly matched, but the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 is let down by a clumpiness that covers the crop but is most visible in the top half.

Lumix FZ70 / FZ72
 
COOLPIX P520
 
PowerShot SX50 HS
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO



Panasonic Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 vs Nikon COOLPIX P520 vs Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Quality at approx 1200mm

 
 

For this final test I zoomed all three cameras in to their maximum focal length - 1200m on the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 and PowerShot SX50 HS, 1000mm on the COOLPIX P520. Again, the exposure was left in Aperture priority mode and set to the widest available aperture - f5.9 on the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 and COOLPIX P520 and f6.5 on the SX50 HS. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

These crops appear in order from left to right across the frame, so the first and last are from the frame edges with the middle two closer to the centre. Interestingly, the first crop from the FZ70 / FZ72 is markedly better than either the COOLPIX P 520 or the PowerShot SX50 HS. There are a couple of holes or screws in the metal rail that are more detailed and the edge of the rail and the white frame behind it are more cleanly defined.

The edges are cleaner in the second crop from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 as well, but here the clumpiness is once again in evidence. The same goes for the third crop - sharper edges, but more clumpy grain from the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72. In the final crop the FZ70 / FZ72 doesn't have the advantage it had in the first one and it's actually quite difficult to see much of a space between these three crops in terms of quality.

It's always interesting to see how the performance of a camera varies at different focal lengths and what these three sets of results show is that the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72's lens performs better at the longer focal lengths than the wide angle ones. That's good news if you plan on doing a lot of shooting in the mid to long 600-1200mm range and if you don't, why would you be considering a camera with a 60x zoom lens? At the wide angle setting, the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72 produces results of a similar quality to the COOLPIX P520, but both are outclassed by the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS.

Lumix FZ70 / FZ72
 
COOLPIX P520
 
PowerShot SX50 HS
f5.9, 100 ISO
f5.9, 80 ISO
f6.5, 80 ISO
f5.9, 100 ISO
f5.9, 80 ISO
f6.5, 80 ISO
f5.9, 100 ISO
f5.9, 80 ISO
f6.5, 80 ISO
f5.9, 100 ISO
f5.9, 80 ISO
f6.5, 80 ISO


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


If you found this review useful, please support me by shopping below!
 
Photographing the 4th Dimension: time
eBook by Jim M Goldstein
Price: $20 USD (PDF download)
More details!

A great-looking and highly informative eBook for anyone interested in long exposure photography. Whether you're into painting with light, capturing star-trails or creating timelapse video, author Jim M Goldstein has the answers. One of my favourite eBooks to date and one you'll want in your collection even if it's just to browse the great images.
     
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs