Panasonic Lumix G5 Ken McMahon, January 2013
 
 

Panasonic Lumix G5 vs Sony NEX-6 Noise JPEG

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  Panasonic Lumix G5 results
1 Lumix G5 Quality JPEG
2 Lumix G5 Quality RAW
3 Lumix G5 Noise JPEG
4 Lumix G5 Noise RAW
5 Lumix G5 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix G5 and the Sony Alpha NEX-6, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings, and at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

The 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 power zoom on the NEX-6 was zoomed in to 19mm to produce an equivalent vertical field of view with the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 power zoom on the Lumix G5 and an equivalent focal length of 28mm for both lenses.

Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and all other settings were left on the defaults.



The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix G5 with the PZ 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens. The sensitivity was manually set to 160 ISO and the Lumix G5 was set to Aperture priority exposure mode with the aperture set to f4. The metering selected an exposure of 1/3s. To achieve a better exposure more closely matched to the Lumix G5, I applied 1.3EV exposure compensation on the NEX-6, resulting in a shutter speed of half a second at f4 at its base 100 ISO sensitivity.

As you'd expect the Lumix G3 delivers clean detailed results at its base 160 ISO sensitivity setting and, practically speaking, there's little difference between the 160 ISO and 200 ISO crops with neither exhibiting much if any evidence of noise. Even at 400 ISO you have to look very closely at these 100 percent crops to see the marginal deterioration in image quality that results from a one stop increase in the ISO sensitivity. You can't actually spot noisy individual pixels in the 400 ISO crop, but the fine detail is a little less well defined and the flat coloured wall looks a tiny bit blotchy.

At 800 ISO we've finally got something to look at in terms of noise but it's still very fine grained, there's no clumpiness or smearing, just a slight loss of edge sharpness and blurring of the fine detail combined with a fine granularity in areas of flat colour. It's by no means unpleasant or intrusive, though, and you'd get good quality full sized prints at this setting.

At 1600 ISO the game's up, though, and the cumulative effect of the marginal increases in noise has now produced a fine gauzy mist across the entire area of the crop. That said, this shot looks fine at smaller sizes, the only giveaway being the slight desaturation and cooler white balance. Oddly, the colour balance and saturation are restored at 3200 ISO, but by then the noise is in the ascendent and all but the coarsest detail has fallen victim to it.

The Panasonic Lumix G5, compares very favourably with the NEX-6. The G5's Four Thirds sensor is slightly smaller then the APS-C sized sensor in the NEX-6 but its 160 base ISO setting, compared here alongside the NEX-6's 100 ISO crop, looks every bit as good. What's more, the G5 manages the NEX-6's trick of keeping the noise at bay as you progress up the sensitivity range. Except that it can't quite keep up and by 800 ISO it's looking just a bit noisier. Despite that, it doesn't lose any more ground and remains close, if a little behind the NEX-6 right through to its maximum 12800 ISO setting. But in addition to a further 25,600 ISO setting, the NEX-6 boasts a Hand-held Twilight composite mode plus, if you're wiling to pay a little extra, the more versatile Multi Frame Noise Reducton app.

To find out how much of a role processing plays in keeping noise at bay in these crops take a look at my Panasonic Lumix G5 RAW noise results page to see just how much noise is present behind the scenes. Or head over to my Panasonic Lumix G5 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Panasonic Lumix G5
 
Sony NEX-6
     
160 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
     
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
     
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
     
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
     
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
     
25600 ISO Not available
25600 ISO
     
Handheld Twilight 1000 ISO


Panasonic Lumix G5
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise


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