Panasonic Lumix G6 Gordon Laing, June 2013

Panasonic Lumix G6 vs Canon EOS SL1 100D RAW Quality

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To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix G6 and Canon EOS SL1 / 100D, within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes; my noise comparison is on the next page.

The Lumix G6 was fitted with the latest Lumix G 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Mark II kit lens, and the Canon EOS SL1 / 100D with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 STM kit lens. Both lenses were adjusted to deliver the same picture width as seen opposite. The narrower 4:3 aspect ratio of the Lumix G6 meant small strips were cropped from the top and bottom of the composition compared to the Canon.

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

  Panasonic Lumix G6 results
1 Panasonic Lumix G6 Quality JPEG
2 Panasonic Lumix G6 Quality RAW
3 Panasonic Lumix G6 Noise JPEG
4 Panasonic Lumix G6 Noise RAW
5 Panasonic Lumix G6 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix G6. The camera was set to f5.6 in Aperture priority mode and the sensitivity to the base of 160 ISO; I'd previously confirmed that f5.6 delivered the sharpest result with the new 14-42mm lens. I used the same aperture for the EOS SL1 / 100D, again having pre-determined this to deliver the best results. Both cameras were using their default settings for picture styles, contrast enhancements and lens corrections.

I processed both files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, the White Balance set to 5500K 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 Panasonic features 16 Megapixels across a 4:3 shaped frame, while the Canon features 18 Megapixels across a wider 3:2 aspect ratio frame. For my tests over these four pages I matched the coverage across the short axis (horizontally for this composition), so the Lumix G6 cropped a little from the top and bottom of the composition compared to the Canon. As such, both cameras were sharing roughly the same pixel density across the areas evaluated, and hence show similar magnification in the crops. Speaking of which, I took four crops from each image, indicated by the red squares in the image above right and reproduced them at 100% below.

When comparing JPEGs using the default settings on the previous page, there was a small difference in processing style, with the Lumix G6 looking a little subdued compared to the EOS SL1 / 100D. But now the crops below, taken from a RAW file using the same degree of sharpening and contrast, look almost identical in terms of punchiness and detail. There's a small difference in colour balance, but that's about it.

The only real difference between them now is fractionally more evidence of noise on the Lumix G6 crops. But I'm talking about a very faint sprinkling that's only apparent when you turn off all noise reduction, significantly increase the sharpening and start pixel-peeping. Under more normal circumstances with a little noise reduction applied and more modest sharpening you'd be really hard pushed to see any difference between the two models here.

This is a good result for Panasonic, as while it is often criticized for not increasing the resolution of its Micro Four Thirds sensor from 16 Megapixels, it can clearly keep up with Canon's larger 18 Megapixel sensor in terms of detail - and lest we forget, Canon seems in no hurry to boost the resolution on its APS-C models either.

But what about noise? Does the larger sensor area of the EOS SL1 / 100D give it a noticeable benefit? Find out in my Panasonic Lumix G6 noise results, which as with my resolution tests, starts with a JPEG comparison and concludes with RAW.


Panasonic Lumix G6 RAW
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D RAW
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Panasonic Lumix G6 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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