Panasonic Lumix FZ60 / FZ62 review - Quality

Quality

Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 vs Sony Cyber-shot HX200V vs Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR noise

 
  Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 results
1 Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 Quality
2 Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 Noise
3 Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ60 / FZ62, the Sony Cyber-shot HX200V and the Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

The zoom on all three cameras was set to produce an approximately equal field of view and, where possible, image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test.

Note the firmware for the FZ62 supplied by Panasonic for this review was v0.2. Panasonic supplied this sample as being reviewable.

The above shot was taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ60 / FZ62. The camera was placed on a tripod and image stabilisation was disabled. F4 was selected in Aperture priority exposure mode and the metering chose a shutter speed of half a second at 100 ISO.

Anyone with concerns about the noise performance of a 16 Megapixel Panasonic MOS sensor will be very reassured by the 100 ISO crop here. It’s not noise free, but overall this is a very clean result with very little to worry about. The flat colour on the wall shows some slight texturing and parts of the darker areas in the memorial plaque look a little bit grainy but the level of detail is, I would say, excellent and the minimal noise takes nothing away from it.

Moving on to the 200 ISO crop, the noise has visibly increased but this is still a pretty good result. While it’s certainly worth selecting 100 ISO over the 200 ISO sensitivity setting for ‘default’ use, there’s isn’t a massive difference in quality between the two. At 400 ISO the noise creeps up, but once again, it’s a marginal difference. The noise now is clearly visible everywhere, but it’s fairly uniform and the processing has produced a result that’s free of smearing and clumping.

At 800 ISO the FZ60 / FZ62 is stil holding things together fairly well. Once again there’s a linear increase in the noise levels, once again, the processing handles it well, but the noise is gaining the upper hand now with the medium sized detail starting to be affected and edges beginning to break up. At 1600 ISO the game is very definitely up, you can no longer read the text and a shimmer of noisiness obscures all but the crudest detail.

Compared with the Sony CyberShot HX200V the Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 crops look pretty impressive. The HX200V has an 18.2 Megapixel sensor which is why the crops show a smaller area with larger detail. At the base 100 ISO setting there isn’t much to choose between them, but the Sony crops deteriorate at a more rapid rate than the FZ60 / FZ62 with the result that by 400 ISO the latter has a clear lead. By 1600 ISO I’d say the FZ60 / FZ62 is a full stop ahead of the HX200V.

The FZ60 / FZ62 also also compares very favourably with the Fujifilm FinePix HS300 EXR though these two models, both of which use a 16 Megapixel sensor, are more closely matched. Althought the FinePix HS30 EXR hasn’t resolved the text as well in the 100 ISO crop, in terms of noise I’d say it’s cleaner than the FZ60 / FZ62 crop. At 200 ISO there’s very little in it either way, but I think the FZ60 / FZ62 gains a bit of an edge going up the ISO range from here.

The FZ60 / FZ62’s maximum ISO setting is 3200, but it has a couple of other options for low light shooting. The Handheld Night Shot scene mode is a full resolution 16 Megapixel stacking mode that takes a quick burst of images and combines them. Because Handheld Night Shot and its equivalents on the Cyber-shot H200V and FinePix HS30 EXR set the ISO sensitivity automatically it’s difficult to make comparisons, except that in this situation these are the results you’d get from the three cameras at the sensitivities they automatically selected. The Cyber-shot result was quite dark so, for the sake of this comparison I set +1EV exposure compensation.

Finally, for the sake of completeness I’ve included a crop from the FZ60 / FZ62’s High Sensitivity Scene mode which records a single image of maximum 3 Megapixel resolution at an automatically set sensitivity of, in this instance, 1600 ISO

Now head over to my Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 / FZ62
 
Sony Cyber-shot HX200V
 
Fujifilm Finepix HS30 EXR
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 Not available
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO Not available
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
Handheld Nite Shot 400 ISO
Hand-held Twilight 800 ISO +1EV
Pro Low Light 3200 ISO
High Sensitivity 1600 ISO
 
 

Panasonic Lumix FZ60 / FZ62 results : Quality / Noise / Sample images

Panasanonic FZ60 / FZ62 vs Sony Cyber-shot HX200V vs Fujifilm HS30 EXR quality

 
To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, I shot this scene with the Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62, the Sony Cyber-shot HX200V and the Fujifilm HS30 EXR within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The zoom on all three cameras was set to produce an approximately equal field of view and image stabilisation was disabled where possible (Optical SteadyShot can’t be turned off on the Cyber-shot HX200V) for this tripod-mounted test.

Note the firmware for the FZ62 supplied by Panasonic for this review was v0.2. Panasonic supplied this sample as being reviewable.

  Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 results
1 Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 Quality
2 Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 Noise
3 Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f4 and the sensitivity was set to 100 ISO. The FZ60 / FZ62 metered an exposure of 1/800 at f4.

Overall, results from the Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 look good. The exposure looks a little brighter than the Cyber-shot HX200V and FinePix HS30 EXR, but the histogram isn’t clipped and there’s good retention of detail in the both the highlights and shadows. The colours, particularly the greens, are also nice and bright.

For anyone expecting a return to the bad old days of the FZ100 and the quality issues that were the bain of that model’s 14 Megapixel CMOS sensor, a glance at these crops will be very reassuring. The first crop, while not noise free, shows a good amount of detail in the chapel and you can make out the individual figures standing around. The second crop also has a little bit of an overall noise texture which you can see in the cliffs and sky and the lighthouse isn’t a distict as it could be. But there’s still a good level of detail in this crop with the window frames in the middle distance quite clearly defined.

The third crop from close to the frame edge is a little softer and there’s a tiny bit of colour fringing. Bear in mind that in the absence of a RAW mode, this is something that you’re going to have to live with as processing out of a RAW file, as you’d be able to do on the Finepix HS30 EXR or the more expensive FZ200 isn’t an option with the FZ60 / FZ62. Lastly, the crop from the centre of the frame shows the lens and sensor combination working at their best. It’s a tiny bit soft and a tiny bit textured, but the fine detail stands up well and it’s a very balanced result that shows minimal evidence of processing.

Compared with the crops from the Sony CyberShot HX200V the Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 stands up very well indeed. The Cyber-shot HX200V crops have a punchier more contrasty look about them with harder edges, but they also look more processed and the FZ60 / FZ62 crops are more natural-looking. The chromatic aberration problem is slightly worse on the Cyber-shot HX200V and like the FZ60 / FZ62, there’s no RAW shooting mode, so correction isn’t an option.

Compared with the Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR, the FZ60 / FZ62 crops fare better all round. The HS30 crops look highly processed and edge detail has an aliased ‘jagged edge’ effect which is particularly visible in the balcony dividers in the final crop. The HS30 EXR also suffers from chromatic aberration, but you have the option of shooting RAW and processing the file externally to deal with it.

See how these models compare at higher sensitivities in the Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62 Noise results.

 
Panasonic Lumix FZ60 / FZ62
 
Sony Cyber-shot HX200V
 
Fujifilm FinePix HS30 EXR
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO


Panasonic Lumix FZ60 / FZ62 results : Quality / Noise / Sample images

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