Panasonic Lumix GM5 review - Quality

Quality

Lumix GM5 vs PEN E-PL7 vs Samsung NX3000 Quality

To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix GM5, the Olympus PEN E-PL7 and the Samsung NX3000 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.All three cameras were fitted with their respective kit zooms and were adjusted to provide the same vertical angle of view.For this test all three cameras were mounted on a tripod and set to Aperture Priority exposure mode. Image stabilisation was turned off and the camera settings were otherwise left on the defaults.The image above was taken with the Lumix GM5. I set the lens to f5.6 in Aperture Priority (previously determined to be the optimal aperture for this lens) and the GM5 metered 1/1250 at the base of 200 ISO. The Olympus PEN E-PL7 was also set to its base 200 ISO sensitivity setting and in Aperture Priority mode with f5.6 selected it metered the same 1/1250 shutter speed. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the Samsung NX3000 selected a shutter speed of 1/640 – so all three cameras effectively set the same exposure. As usual the 100 percent crops below are taken from the areas marked in red above.The Lumix GM5 has turned in a quite impressive set of crops with a good level of detail and sharp edges. The first crop from close to the left edge of the frame is a little soft though, the edges of the white window frames aren’t as sharp as they might be and there’s not as much detail in the tiles and brick work as the sensor is capable of resolving.In the second crop, from more or less the centre of the frame the edges are sharper and there’s more detail. In this, and the third crop you can make out a good level of detail in the stonework of the towers and the roof tiles. Despite a little bit of atmospheric haze the lighthouse in the fourth crop is a distinct white column and the tree and chimneys in the foreground of this crop are also nice and sharp.

The final crop from the right edge of the frame once again is a little on the soft side, this time to a slightly greater degree. It’s not unusual for an inexpensive kit lens to be less sharp at the edges than in the centre, and this isn’t a bad result at all from the Lumix 12-32mm f3.5-5.6. You’d really only notice that softness pixel-peeping these 100 percent crops, but the Lumix GM5 could clearly do better with a higher quality lens attached.

The results from the Olympus PEN E-PL7 are quite disappointing when viewed alongside those from the Lumix GM5. The Olympus 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ lens has produced crops that are very soft and a little blurry, not just at the edges, but across the entire frame. I was so concerned about the quality of these results from the E-PL7 that I contacted Olympus and asked them to send a replacement. As it turned out, the images I shot with the new lens were no better, so it appears that either we were very unlucky, with two individual lenses producing poor results, or the quality of the M.Zuiko 14-42 f3.5-5.6 EZ kit lens generally leaves much to be desired. As you can see from our E-PL7 sample images, the camera produces much better results with other lenses attached, so there’s no problem with the body.

The crops from the 20 Megapixel Samsung NX300 show a smaller area with larger detail than those from the two Micro Four Thirds models. Overall I’d say the NX3000 crops are quite closely matched with those from the Lumix GM5, but the samsung lens is a little more consistent with slightly better edge sharpness.

Panasonic Lumix GM5
Olympus PEN E-PL7
Samsung NX3000
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

Lumix GM5 vs PEN E-PL7 vs Samsung NX3000 Noise

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix GM5, Olympus PEN E-PL7 and the Samsung NX3000, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.All three cameras were fitted with their respective kit zooms and were adjusted to provide the same vertical angle of view.

For this test all three cameras were mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was turned off, all other setting were left on the defaults.

The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix GM5. Set to Aperture Priority mode and at its base 200 ISO sensitivity setting, with the aperture set to f5.6 the GM5 metered a shutter speed of 1.6 secs. Also set to its base 200 ISO sensitivity setting and f5.6, the Olympus PEN E-PL7 metered the same 1.6s exposure. I adjusted exposure compensation on the Samsung NX3000 by +1/3EV so that, at its base 100 ISO and f5,6 setting it selected an equivalent 3s exposure. So the results below are all comparable.

Before I examine the crops in detail just to note that the Lumix GM5’s base ISO sensitivity setting is 200 ISO – the 100 ISO settings is available when the extended ISO range is selected from the settings menu. So let’s start by looking at the Lumix GM5’s 200 ISO crop which looks pretty clean. You have to look quite hard to see the scantest evidence of noise texture in the white label at the top of the hymn board and the numbers.

The 400 ISO crop is a tiny bit grainier but even at 100 percent viewing size I’d be happy to use anything up to and including 800 ISO without a second thought about noise. The 1600 ISO crop is noticeably noisier, but you’d still need to be pixel-peeping at or near to 100 percent to see it. 3200 ISO looks distinctly clumpy, but it looks perfectly good even at full size on a 15inch screen. Even 6400 ISO looks almost respectable, but the two highest settings – 12800 and 25600 ISO are not settings you’d want to use other than in desperate circumstances.

Like the Lumix GM5, the Olympus PEN E-PL7 has a base setting of 200 ISO extendable down to 100 ISO. The 200 ISO crop compares favourably with that from the GM5 and there’s little, if anything to tell them apart. At 400 ISO I think the edges on the PEN E-PL7 crop may be a little less clean, but there’s not much in it. At 1600 ISO, however, I think the PEN E-PL7 sensor is producing more noise than the Lumix GM5. The crop certainly looks clumpier. And from there all the way up to 25600 ISO it looks like the Lumix has a bit of an edge – certainly the text and numbers are more legible in the Lumix crops. That said, these differences are pretty marginal and not something you’d probably notice unless pixel-peeing these 100 percent crops.
The 20 Megapixel sensor of the Samsung NX3000 produces a lightly smaller crop area with larger detail and the other difference is that the 100 ISO setting on the NX3000 is its base sensitivity, not part of an extended range, so you should compare the 100 ISO crop from the NX3000 with the 200 ISO crops from the other two models. Despite the 1/3EV exposure compensation the NX3000 crops look a little darker than those from the Lumix GM5 and PN E-PL7. In terms of noise, I think the Low ISO crops from the NX300 are cleaner than those from the Micro Four Thirds models as you’d expect from a camera with a larger APS-C sensor. Interestingly though, once you get beyond 1600 ISO the NX3000’s advantage evaporates – at higher sensitivities there’s not much in it and if anything the Lumix GM5 turns in better results from 3200 ISO upwards.

 

Panasonic Lumix GM5
Olympus PEN E-PL7
Samsung NX3000
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
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
25600 ISO
25600 ISO
25600 ISO
Buy Gordon a coffee to support cameralabs!

Like my reviews? Buy me a coffee!

Follow Gordon Laing

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2019 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

Website design by Coolgrey