Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 Gordon Laing, July 2013
 
 

Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 vs Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 vs Canon SX280 HS quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed out I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25, the Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / SZ30 and the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses were all set to their maximum wide angle equivalent of 24mm for the two Panasonic Lumix models and 25mm for the Canon SX280 HS. The cameras were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode with the ISO senstivity set manually. Results at approximately 250mm and 480mm are shown further down the page.

  Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 results
1 Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 Quality
2 Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 Noise
3 Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25. The TZ35 / ZS25 was mounted on a tripod and the stabilisation was disabled. Aperture priority mode was selected and I took a series of exposures to determine which aperture produced the best result from the lens. This turned out to be wide open at f3.3. This was also the case with the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS at f3.5.

With the aperture set to f3.3 and the sensitivity to 100 ISO the Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 metered an exposure of 1/1300 at f3.3, as did the Lumix TZ40 / ZS30. The Canon SX280 HS metered 1/1250 at f3.5. The TZ35 / ZS25 JPEG file measured 5.91Mb, the TZ40 / SZ30 file was 6.57Mb and the SX280 HS file was 5.61Mb. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

Just to remind you, the TZ35 / ZS25 shares the same 24-480mm f3.3-6.4 lens as its bigger brother the TZ40 / ZS30, but it has a lower resolution 16 Megapixel sensor, compared to the TZ40 / ZS30's 18 Megapixel sensor. Physically, both sensors are the same size, so the TZ35 / ZS25 ought to deliver better quality results in terms of noise. This isn't just theoretical postulating, in previous years Panasonic's second string super-zoom has outperformed its higher resolution flagship model with slightly superior results even in bright light at low ISOs. So what's the story this time?

Because of its lower resolution sensor, the TZ35 / ZS25 crops show a slighlty larger area with smaller details than the TZ40 / ZS30. Straight away, though, you can see that there's a little more detail in the TZ35 / ZS25 crops. Take a look at the top edge of the wall surrounding the chapel in the first crop, it's much cleaner than the corresponding area on the TZ40 / ZS30 crop and there's also a little more detail in the stonework generally.

In the second crop the lighthouse is a little more distinct, the window frames in the middle ground a little less soft-edged and the finer detail in the tiled roofs a little better defined in the TZ35 / ZS25 crops. And, moving on to the third crop from close to the frame edge, here's the clearest evidence yet of the TZ35 / ZS25's superior image quality with much clearer detail and less noise than in the same crop from the TZ40 / ZS30.

The final TZ35 / ZS25 crop, once again, is cleaner, crisper and sharper than the TZ40 / ZS30 one. As with the others, the differences are subtle, but significant; the balcony dividers on the apartment block are better resolved, the roof is less noisy, there's more detail in the brickwork of the building on the left and the tiled roofs in the foreground. You wouldn't notice this difference in quality at anything other than a 100 percent view and on its own, it certainly isn't enough to warrant choosing the TZ35 / ZS25 over its better equipped, more expensive sibling, but it's certainly a nice bonus for those who decide to opt for the less expensive model.

Compared with the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS, neither the TZ35 / ZS25 nor the TZ40 / ZS30 comes up to the mark in terms of image quality. With its 12 Megapixel CMOS sensor, the PowerShot SX280 HS produces crops showing a larger area and smaller detail than both Lumix models. The detail is also a lot clearer and the edges a lot sharper. The Canon compact possibly has punchier processing, but the fact that there's more real detail being recorded by the sensor is one of the reasons it's able to. The quality difference between the SX280 HS and the TZ35 / ZS25 is bigger than that between the two Lumix models, all the same, you'd need to be looking at full sized prints or on a big screen to notice it. So it's a factor, but, unless big print quality is important to you, not enough on its own to justify choosing one over the other. Now scroll down to see how they all compare halfway through their zoom ranges, or head over to my Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 noise results.

 

Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
 
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
 
Canon SX280 HS
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.5, 80 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.5, 80 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.5, 80 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.3, 100 ISO
f3.5, 80 ISO



Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 vs Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 vs Canon PowerShot SX280 HS quality at around 250mm

 
 

For this next test I zoomed all three cameras in to an equivalent focal length of around 250mm. This time I set the exposure mode to Program Auto and, in the event, each one selected the widest available aperture at that zoom setting, f5.8 on the TZ35 / ZS25, f5.7 on the TZ40 / SZ30 and f5.6 on the SX280 HS. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

As before, the area and size of the detail in these crops varies because of the different sensor resolutions with the 18 Megapixel Panasonic TZ40 / SZ30 showing the smallest area with the largest detail, then the 16 Megapixel TZ35 / ZS25, followed by the 12 Megapixel Canon SX280 HS.

As with the wide angle crops, in this set the Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 overall turns in slightly better results than the TZ40 / ZS30, though here the results aren't quite so clear cut. The first crop from the TZ35 / ZS25 shows a good level of detail and clean edges, it's a little speckled-looking, but not to the same degree as the TZ40 / ZS30. In the second crop there's apparently less in it and the name plate on the wall is no clearer in one than the other. Both the third and the fourth crop from the TZ35 / ZS25 exhibit the same quality issues as the TZ40 / ZS30, but to a lesser degree.

Comparing the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS results with those from the Lumix TZ35 / ZS25, the SX280 HS results overall are cleaner, crisper and sharper with a higher level of detail. The SX280 HS starts out with a much better looking first crop and with each one the quality margin gets wider. The difference in the sharpness and level of detail in the final two crops is striking, although is most likely down to the cameras focusing on different areas. Now scroll down to see how they all compare at their maximum zooms, or head over to my Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 noise results!

Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
 
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
 
Canon SX280 HS
f5.8, 100 ISO
f5.7, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.8, 100 ISO
f5.7, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.8, 100 ISO
f5.7, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f5.8, 100 ISO
f5.7, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO





Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 vs Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 vs Canon PowerShot SX280 HS quality at around 480mm


 
 

For this final test I zoomed all three models to their maximum telephoto length - 480mm on the TZ35 / ZS25 and the TZ40 / ZS30 and 500mm on the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS.

Once again, I set the exposure mode to Program Auto and each model selected the widest available aperture at that zoom setting, f6.4 on the two Lumix models and f6.8 on the SX280 HS.

It's interesting to see that, at the maximum telephoto focal length, the quality differences between all three models are evened up to a degree. The TZ35 / ZS25 still puts in a very good performance at 480mm, maintaining a good level of detail and sharp edges, particularly in the first two crops. The detail in the flowers in the third crop is starting to look a little indistinct and the flat colour area in the top right of the fourth crop has some worrying looking pixellation.

At this focal length, the TZ40 / ZS30 raises its game and produces crops that are almost, but not quite, on a par with the 16 Megapixel TZ35 / ZS25. In this set of crops there's much more consistency across the frame, the crops taken from close to the edge are softer, but not to the same degree as at the wider zoom settings.

500mm is the maximum focal length for the SX280 HS and the strain is beginning to show just a little bit. All four crops are a little softer than those at 250mm and the first and last crops are a little blurry. These results aren't quite so good as those produced by the SX280 HS at 250mm but, though the margin is much smaller, in my view they still just beat those from the Lumix TZ35 / ZS25. Now head over to my Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 noise results!

Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
 
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
 
Canon SX280 HS
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.8, 80 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.8, 80 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.8, 80 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.4, 100 ISO
f6.8, 80 ISO

Now check out how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25 Noise results.

 



Panasonic Lumix TZ35 / ZS25
results : Quality / Noise


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