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Panasonic Lumix LF1 Gordon Laing, July 2013
 
 

Panasonic Lumix LF1 vs LX7 vs TZ35 / ZS25 Noise

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  Panasonic Lumix LF1 results
1 Panasonic Lumix LF1 Quality JPEG
2 Panasonic Lumix LF1 Quality RAW
3 Panasonic Lumix LF1 Noise JPEG
4 Panasonic Lumix LF1 Noise RAW
5 Panasonic Lumix LF1 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix LF1, Lumix LX7 and Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings. My RAW comparison between the LF1 and LX7 is on the next page.

The lenses were all adjusted to deliver an equivalent field of view and stabilisation disabled for this tripod-based test. I then put the cameras into Aperture Priority and selected the f-number I'd previously determined to deliver the best quality. Coincidentally this was the same value for all three cameras: f4, although at the chosen focal length, the TZ35 / ZS25 offered f3.9.

As always the red rectangle on the image opposite indicates the area I've cropped for comparison below, where they're presented at 100%.


In my comparison below you're looking at results from three Panasonic cameras, each with different resolutions: from left to right there's the Lumix LF1 with 12 Megapixels, the Lumix LX7 with 10 Megapixels and the Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 with 16 Megapixels. There's also differences in the sensor sizes with the LF1 and LX7 both employing 1/1.7in sensors which are slightly larger than the 1/2.3in sensor in the TZ35 / ZS25. So with the highest resolution and the smallest sensor, the TZ35 / ZS25 has a much finer pixel-pitch than the others.

There's also differences in the optical ranges with the LF1, LX7 and TZ35 / ZS25 sporting 7.1x, 3.7x and 20x zooms respectively. And finally, there are differences in the image processing, although since all three are from the same manufacturer and launched within a year of each other this is less of a factor than in other comparisons.

A quick note before starting - I selected a manual white balance setting on all three cameras for consistency here, although in retrospect I went a little far towards the cool end, hence the slightly blue cast. The actual noise levels and processing artefacts remain comparable though, so let's get on!

The Lumix LF1 and LX7 both offer an 80 ISO setting, so kick-off the comparison with very clean, detailed results. I'd say there's little to choose between them here, but the extra 2 Megapixels of the LF1 certainly aren’t resolving any more detail.

At 100 ISO the TZ35 / ZS25 joins in with a result that's visibly a little noisier than the LF1 and LX7, and which, despite having a higher resolution, actually contains less detail. We also saw this in my outdoor comparison and proves the combination of a bigger zoom range and a smaller sensor can compromise overall quality, and that increasing the resolution will do nothing to help. Meanwhile pixel-peepers may notice the LF1 has a fraction more noise than the LX7.

At 200 ISO, there's a bigger difference opening up between the LF1 and LX7 in terms of noise, although the actual degree of detail remains similar. Meanwhile the TZ35 / ZS25 is already noticeably noisier and lacking finer details.

At 400 ISO the story continues with the LX7 still delivering slightly cleaner results than the LF1, but both cameras ultimately delivering similar amounts of detail, while the TZ35/ ZS25 is beginning to suffer.

At 800 and 1600 ISO you can begin to see a different processing strategy between the LF1 and the LX7 with the former allowing more noise to show through, but the latter applying greater processing to smear it out. Again there's not a lot to choose between them, but both are enjoying greater definition than the TZ35 / ZS25 thanks to their slightly bigger sensors.

At 3200 ISO though it really is game over for all three cameras. The TZ35 / ZS25 bows out at this point, leaving the LF1 and LX7 to foolishly continue onto 12800 ISO at which point you're really looking at a mess. I should note the LF1 offers 12800 at the full resolution compared to a reduced resolution on the LX7, but honestly, would you use either at this point?

So what can we conclude from this test? I'd say in terms of noise levels, the Lumix LF1 and Lumix LX7 perform similarly although the latter enjoys a minor edge. Meanwhile both visibly out-perform the TZ35 / ZS25, proving even a slightly larger sensor can deliver superior results - but of course for noticeably cleaner images you'll need a bigger sensor still.

When it comes to the LF1 and LX7 though are we seeing different noise levels due to their slightly different resolutions, or is it more down to processing. The only way to find out is to shoot in RAW, turn off the noise reduction and bump up the sharpening. So to discover what's really happening behind the scenes, check out my Panasonic Lumix LF1 RAW noise results, or if you've already seen enough, skip to my Panasonic Lumix LF1 sample images.


Panasonic Lumix LF1
 
Panasonic Lumix LX7
 
Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25

80 ISO

80 ISO
80 ISO Not available

100 ISO

100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO Not available
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO Not available
Handheld Night Shot 400 ISO
Handheld Night Shot 400 ISO
Handheld Night Shot 500 ISO

Panasonic Lumix LF1 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise


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