Panasonic Lumix LF1 Gordon Laing, July 2013

Panasonic Lumix LF1 vs LX7 vs TZ35 / ZS25 Quality

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To compare the real-life performance 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. 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 rectangles on the image opposite indicate the areas I've cropped for comparison below, where they're presented at 100%.

  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

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.

From a quick glance you can see straightaway that the results from the LF1 and LX7 are much crisper and better defined than the TZ35 / ZS25, proving that a higher resolution doesn't necessarily translate into better quality even under bright conditions at the lowest ISO value.

There's noticeably less fine detail in the TZ35 / ZS25 crops and it's most evident in the first two rows showing the weather vane and the tree. This is mostly due to the compromises of packing a 20x super-zoom into a small body, although it doesn't help that the TZ35 / ZS25 has such a high resolution; had it been 10 or 12 Megapixels, the softness wouldn't have been as clear. Obviously you can always resize the image down, but what I wanted to prove here is a higher resolution sensor isn't necessarily going to deliver finer details.

Moving onto the LF1 and LX7, there's never going to be much difference in potential detail between a 10 and 12 Megapixel sensor, especially if they're the same size, but you don't have to look too closely to see the LX7 still enjoys crisper results even with fewer pixels. It's nowhere near as big a difference as we saw with the TZ35 / ZS25, but it's quite apparent none-the-less. What you're getting with the LX7 is a sharper, crisper lens, which is quite simply delivering finer details than the LF1.

So the simple story here is out of the three cameras tested, the Lumix LX7 delivers the best image quality, at least for out-of-camera JPEGs. But it's important to put it into perspective as the LX7 also has the shortest zoom range and the largest body. As always there's compromises and priorities you need to weigh-up. I would however say that Lumix LF1 delivers very nice looking images straight from the camera and represents a comfortable step-up in quality over compacts with 1/2.3in sensors like the TZ35 / ZS25. And while it doesn't boast a huge 20x zoom, there's nothing shabby about 7.1x and you are getting it in a very slim body with the benefit of a built-in viewfinder.

But what's happening under the hood? To find out I also shot this scene in RAW with the LF1 and LX7 and you can see the comparison in my Panasonic Lumix LF1 RAW quality page. Alternatively check out my Panasonic Lumix LF1 noise results or skip to my Panasonic Lumix LF1 sample images.

Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO

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

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