Panasonic Lumix GF6 Ken McMahon, August 2013

Panasonic Lumix GF6 vs Olympus EP5 vs Fujifilm XM1 quality JPEG

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To compare real-life 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 best quality JPEG settings; RAW results will follow on the next page.

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. On the GF6, the Photo Style was set to Standard, White balance was set to Auto and i.Dynamic and i.Resolution were turned off. The PEN E-P5's Picture mode was set to Standard, White balance was set to Automatic, Keep Warm Colour was turned on and Gradation was set to Normal. On the Fujifilm X-M1, Film Simulation was set to Standard, White balance was set to Auto, Dynamic Range was set to Auto, Noise reduction, Highlight tone, Shadow tone, Colour, and Sharpness were all set to 0. The Lumix GF6 JPEG file measured 8.52Mb and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

Overall, the crops from the Lumix GF6 are sharp and detailed, though not as punchy as you might expect from a consumer camera. Panasonic is aiming the GF6 at photographers who are mostly likely to shoot JPEGs using the default settings, so this is what they're going to see. In the first crop the stonework in the chapel is a little soft as is the grassy hill in front of it. And you can't make out the individual tiles on the roofs of the buildings in the foreground of the second crop. The lighthouse is a little indistinct, but that's due to the atmospheric haze more than anything else.

The window frames in the foreground of the lighthouse crop are sharp as are the balcony dividers in the fourth crop. But comparing the Lumix GF6 crops with those from the Olympus PEN E-P5, you can't help but notice the slight softness. I reckon the detail is there in the GF6 crops, but the in-camera JPEG processing isn't making the most of it. You'll need to be pixel-peeping at 100 percent to spot the difference though, and those who want the option can get a punchier result by increasing the sharpness and contrast on the GF6. Alternatively, RAW processing would offer the potential to tease more detail out of the GF6's sensor. Check my RAW results page to see how much of this difference is due to the different processing approaches of the two Micro Four Thirds models.

The Fujifilm X-M1's bigger sensor, in my view, produces slightly better, more detailed crops than both the Lumix GF6 and PEN E-P5. As well as it's larger size,the X-M1's sensor architecture is, of course, radically different, with a less regular colour filter array than the Bayer type used in the GF6, E-P5 and virtually every other digital camera. This does away with need for a low-pass filter and, as we've seen from previous X range models using this sensor, the results are impressive.

You can see how these differences are reflected in my Lumix GF6 RAW quality results on the next page. Alternatively you can see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Lumix GF6 Noise results.


Panasonic Lumix GF6
Olympus PEN E-P5
Fujifilm X-M1
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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