Panasonic Lumix GM1 Gordon Laing, December 2013

Panasonic Lumix GM1 vs Sony RX100 II Quality JPEG

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix GM1 and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings; RAW results will follow as soon as the GM1 is supported in Adobe Camera RAW.

The Lumix GM1 was fitted with the 12-32mm kit lens, set to 32mm for a 64mm equivalent field of view, and the Sony RX100 II adjusted until it matched the vertical field of view; since the Sony captures a slightly wider 3:2 shaped image there are thin vertical strips down the side of its test shot here which are effectively ignored in this comparison.

Both cameras were set to their respective maximum apertures at this focal length, f5.6 on the Lumix GM1 kit lens and f5 for the RX100 II. All other camera settings were left on the defaults. Stabilisation was however disabled for this tripod-mounted comparison.

  Panasonic Lumix GM1 results
1 Panasonic Lumix GM1 Quality JPEG
2 Panasonic Lumix GM1 Quality RAW
3 Panasonic Lumix GM1 Noise JPEG
4 Panasonic Lumix GM1 Noise RAW
5 Panasonic Lumix GM1 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix GM1 and the 12-32mm kit zoom set to 32mm for a 64mm equivalent field of view. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode and f5.6 was selected as this produced the best result from the lens. With the sensitivity set to 200 ISO the GM1 metered an exposure of 1/2500. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II produced its best results at f5, where it metered 1/1600 with the sensitivity set to 160 ISO. The GM1 JPEG file measured 8.29MB and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

Before starting, it's worth reminding ourselves about the differences in their sensors: the Lumix GM1 employs a Micro Four Thirds sensor measuring 17.3x13mm with 16 Megapixels, while the Sony RX100 II employs a 1in type sensor measuring 13.2x8.8mm with 20 Megapixels. As such the Sony is packing more pixels into a smaller area, so its lens had better be optically sharp enough to meet its demands.

The higher resolution of the RX100 II means the crops at 100% show a slightly smaller area than the GM1, but is it recording any finer detail? At first glance they look quite similar, but look more closely and you'll see the GM1 kit combination is delivering crisper and finer details, at least with its lens set to 64mm equivalent and using the default JPEG processing as tested here.

The difference becomes particularly apparent in the final three rows where the text on the signs and the detail on the ferris wheel are simply better resolved on the Lumix GM1 kit. This is impressive performance from a sensor that is actually lower resolution than the Sony - clearly its larger size coupled with a sharper kit lens allows it to deliver crisper and finer details in good light.

But how much of the sharpness is down to optics as oppose to punchier image processing. Find out in my Panasonic Lumix GM1 RAW quality results page as soon as it's supported in Adobe Camera RAW! In the meantime though, see how the two cameras compare across their sensitivity range in my Panasonic Lumix GM1 noise results!

Panasonic Lumix GM1 (with 12-32mm) JPEG
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II JPEG
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5, 160 ISO

Panasonic Lumix GM1 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise
/ RAW Noise

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