Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 Gordon Laing, Apr 2013

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 Noise

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  Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 results
1 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Quality
2 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Noise
3 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Handheld Night Shot
4 Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 using its best quality JPEG settings and each of its ISO settings.

As the first of the 2013 pocket super-zooms, I have decided to share results here from the TZ40 / ZS30 alone and to discuss how it compares against previous results for the TZ30 / ZS20.

As I review the TZ40 / ZS30's main rivals, I'll update these pages with more comparisons.

The image above was taken with the Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 at its widest focal length of 4.3mm, equivalent to 24mm. I tested the camera at every aperture and found it delivered the sharpest results with the aperture wide-open with the smallest available f-number, in this case f3.3. At f3.3 and 100 ISO, the camera metered an exposure of 0.8 seconds.

The crops below are taken from the area marked by the red rectangle and presented at 100%. As we saw on the previous page, there's a smattering of noise artefacts at 100 ISO when viewed at 100%, but there's still a good level of detail present in the image. This slightly deteriorates at 200 ISO, and a little further still at 400 ISO, but I'd still say they're very usable for all but the closest examinations.

At 800 ISO though there's a noticeable drop in image quality when viewed at 100%. The finest details are beginning to disappear into the mush of noise reduction processing, and it's a downward spiral from here on. 1600 ISO upwards are really suffering and best-used only in emergency situations when you need a fast shutter speed to avoid motion blur. I should note the TZ40 / ZS30's image stabilization is excellent, which at least allows you to keep the ISO values down with longer exposures so long as the subject remains static.

Looking back at my results for the TZ30 / ZS20, I'd say the older model enjoyed fractionally lower noise levels at higher ISOs, no doubt thanks to its lower resolution. But equally the TZ40 / ZS30's higher resolution allows any artefacts to appear a little smaller when images from both cameras are printed the same size.

Ultimately any differences are down to pixel-peeping though. For most purposes of viewing on-screen, sharing online or printing at average sizes, the quality of the TZ40 / ZS30 is absolutely fine. Just try and keep it below 800 ISO for the best results, and like all point-and-shoot cameras with tiny sensors, don't look too closely and instead revel in the enormous zoom range in a pocket camera.

This isn't the end of the story though as the TZ40 / ZS30 also offers a Handheld Night Shot mode which combines multiple exposures taken in a burst into a single image to reduce noise levels. See how it performs in my Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 Handheld Night Shot results page, or skip straight to my selection of Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 sample images.

Panasonic Lumix TZ40 / ZS30 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
100 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO

Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30 results : TZ40 / ZS30 quality / TZ40 / ZS30 Noise
/ TZ40 / ZS30 Handheld Night Shot

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