Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20 Ken McMahon, Nov 2012

Panasonic TS20 / FT20 vs Canon D20 quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20 and the Canon PowerShot D20 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on both cameras were set to an equivalent field of view and both were set to Program auto exposure mode.

The ISO sensitivity was set manually on both cameras to the base sensitivity setting of 100 ISO.

  Panasonic TS20 / FT20 results
1 Lumix TS20 / FT20 Quality
2 Lumix TS20 / FT20 Noise
3 Lumix TS20 / FT20 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20. The lens was zoomed in slightly to match the field of view of the Canon PowerShot D20. In Normal Picture mode the camera metered an exposure of 1/500 at f4.2. The original JPEG image size was 6.35MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%. Image stabilisation was disabled for these tripod-based tests.

The Lumix TS20 / FT20 has done a good job with the exposure and white balance here, on a day when the lighting conditions - cloudy but bright - weren't particularly demanding. All the same, the shot is correctly exposed and looks reasonably contrasty and the white balance is accurate.

Turning to the crops, the first thing that caught my attention was the amount of noise that's visible at the base 100 ISO sensitivity. There's a good level of detail in the first crop, but there's also an overall grainy texture which is softening the edges and obscuring some of the finer details. This is even more evident in the second crop which has both large areas of flat colour as well as small details. The noise covers everything like a fine grainy mist but, despite it, the lighthouse is a distinct white rectangle. In the middle ground of this crop, though, it's hard to make out any detail in the tiled roofs and the window frame edges look quite soft too.

The third crop from the frame edge is actually pretty good. It has the same texture, but the detail here is as good as anywhere else in the frame and there's no fringing or distortion. The fourth crop, like the second one, is characterised mainly by the noise texturing the areas of flat colour in the sea and sky and softening detail elsewhere.

It's worth pointing out that you're only likely to notice these issues at 100 percent and at smaller sizes the Lumix TS20 / FT20 images look perfectly clean and sharp. But that doesn't change the fact that, while the TS20 / FT20's lens is doing a great job its 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor is prone to noise at the base 100 ISO sensitivity setting that's having an effect, however marginal, on image quality.

Compared with the Powershot D20, the Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20 crops show a smaller area with larger detail because of the difference in sensor resolution. The Lumix TS20 / FT20's 16.1 Megapixel sensor produces images that are 4608 x 3456 compared with 4000 x 3000 pixel images from the PowerShot D20. Apart from being noisier, the other difference is that the Lumix TS20 / FT20 crops look a little more aggressively processed. The Lumix FT20 crops are more contrasty, but the processing isn't helping to minimise the noise. If there is more actual image detail in there I'd say it's fairly marginal. The Lumix TS20 / FT20's lens is more consistent though, and it doesn't suffer from chromatic aberration to the same degree as the D20, or if it does, it's been dealt with in the processing.

To see how these models compare at higher sensitivities check out the Lumix TS20 / FT20 noise results.


Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot D20
f4.2, 100 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4.2, 100 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4.2, 100 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4.2, 100 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO

Panasonic Lumic TS20 / FT20 results : Quality / Noise

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