Panasonic Lumix G6 Gordon Laing, June 2013

Panasonic Lumix G6 vs Canon EOS SL1 100D Quality

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix G6 and Canon EOS SL1 / 100D, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings; my RAW 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; you're basically looking at out-of-camera JPEGs below, although I have a second comparison using RAW files on the next page.

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 the next 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.

At first glance, the crops from the Panasonic Lumix G6 look a tad softer and less vibrant than the Canon EOS SL1 / 100D, most obviously in the first row, but it's important to note much of this is due to processing as opposed to actual recorded detail. Canon has a reputation for applying fairly high degrees of sharpness and contrast on its JPEGs by default, especially on its consumer cameras, and this is apparent on the crops from the EOS SL1 / 100D below.

Compare the actual recorded detail on the crops below and I'd say it's too close to call. This is good news for anyone concerned that a 16 Megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor can't capture a similar degree of detail to an 18 Megapixel APS-C model from Canon. Any differences seen in the crops below is down to different processing styles (and of course optics), and you can see how they look with the same approach in my Lumix G6 RAW quality results on the next page.

In contrast the crops from the Lumix G6 look a little subdued in comparison, but it's fairly subtle and once again more down to their respective processing strategies than anything else. On my Panasonic Lumix G6 RAW quality results page you'll see how they compare when both share the same approach to processing.

Interestingly it looks like Panasonic has slightly boosted the sharpness, contrast and saturation on the G6's default processing compared to older models, bringing the output closer to Canon, and arguably closer to what consumers expect. Of course you can always tweak the picture processing styles on either camera as desired, or better still shoot in RAW and make your adjustments later.

Which is exactly what I've done on my Panasonic Lumix G6 RAW quality results page.


Panasonic Lumix G6 JPEG
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D JPEG
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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