Panasonic Lumix GF6 Ken McMahon, August 2013

Panasonic Lumix GF6 vs Olympus EP5 vs Fujifilm XM1 quality RAW

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To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix GF6, the Olympus PEN E-P5, and the Fujifilm X-M1 within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes.

To eliminate quality differences due to lens factors I used the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II on both the Lumix GF6 and the PEN E-P5. The X-M1 was fitted with the new Fujinon 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OIS kit lens.

For the Lumix GF6 and PEN E-P5 the lens was set to its 14mm (28mm equivalent) wide angle setting. At its wide angle setting, the 16-50mm Fujinon lens has an equivalent focal length of 24mm and the X-M1 sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio compared with 4:3 on the Micro four thirds models. I zoomed in marginally with the X-M1 to produce an equivalent vertical field of view.

All three cameras were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode with the senstivity set manually to the base ISO sensitivity setting.

  Panasonic Lumix GF6 results
1 Panasonic Lumix GF6 Quality JPEG
2 Panasonic Lumix GF6 Quality RAW
3 Panasonic Lumix GF6 Noise JPEG
4 Panasonic Lumix GF6 Noise RAW
5 Panasonic Lumix GF6 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix GF6. The GF6 was mounted on a tripod and the stabilisation was turned off. Aperture priority mode was selected with the aperture set to f5.6, which produces the best result from the Lumix kit lens. With the sensitivity set to 160 ISO the camera metered an exposure of 1/1000 at f5.6. At its base 200 ISO sensitivity setting the PEN E-P5 metered an exposure of 1/1250 and, also at 200 ISO, the Fujifilm X-M1 selected 1/900 at f5.6.

The cameras were left on their default settings for this test. The Lumix GF6 RAW file measured 19.7Mb and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

I processed the files from the Lumix GF6 and PEN E-P5 in Adobe Camera RAW using identical 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. To further reduce any distracting visual differences between the crops I also set custom white balance to 5500K. 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.

At the time of testing the Fujifilm X-M1 RAW format wasn't supported by Adobe Photoshop Camera RAW, so I processed the X-M1's RAF raw file in the supplied Raw File Converter application. I tried as far as possible to produce similar results to the Camera RAW processed files, setting sharpness to exagerrated, turning off all noise reduction, setting the white balance to 5500K and developing the result to a .tif file. While the resulting crops provide a useful idea of what the X-M1 RAW file can produce, it's not intended for comparison with the Camera RAW processed files, so I'll confine my comments to the Panasonic Lumix GF6 and Olympus PEN E-P5. I'll update the X-M1 crops when Camera RAW support becomes available in Adobe Photoshop Camera RAW.

So what about the crops from the GF6 and E-P5? Well, they look strikingly similar with levels of detail and noise that are so closely matched you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart. This confirms that the differences we saw in the JPEG results were due to different in-camera JPEG processing workflows and if you're shooting RAW, there's practically zero difference in the quality of the results you'll get from these two models.

You can see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Lumix GF6 Noise results.


Panasonic Lumix GF6 RAW
Olympus PEN E-P5 RAW
Fujifilm X-M1 RAW
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO

Panasonic Lumix GF6 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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