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Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Gordon Laing, October 2011

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Handheld Night Shot

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  Panasonic Lumix FZ150 results
1 Panasonic FZ150 Resolution
2 Panasonic FZ150 RAW vs JPEG
3 Panasonic FZ150 Noise
4 Panasonic FZ150 Handheld Night Shot
5 Panasonic FZ150 Firmware 0.2 vs 1.0
6 Panasonic FZ150 Sample images

The Panasonic Lumix FZ150, like many cameras these days, offers a composite shooting mode which captures a quick burst of images before combining them into one to reduce noise. Panasonic calls this Handheld Night Shot, and strangely buries it as a sub-option of the Night Portrait scene preset.

Like other models, the sensitivity and exposure are fully automatic, so to make a comparison with a single shot exposure here, I first took the scene in the Handheld Night Shot mode, before matching the settings in Program. In order to give the camera some latitude for shake during capture, the Handheld Night Shot mode slightly crops the view, so when taking the corresponding shot in program, I zoomed-in a fraction to match the view recorded.

In this first example, the FZ150's Handheld Night Shot mode automatically selected 400 ISO. Look closely at the crops and you'll see the composite shot contains a little less noise and fewer ragged edges than the single shot in Program - this is most evident in the first and second crops. It also does this without smearing-out any of the fine detail, so it's a win-win for static subjects.

But compared to other composite noise reduction modes I've tested, the benefit is fairly subtle here. It's certainly visible if you look, but not massively. Now scroll down for another comparison, this time at 800 ISO.

Panasonic Lumix FZ150: Handheld Night Shot at 400 ISO
f3.1, 1/13, 400 ISO
f3.1, 1/13, 400 ISO
f3.1, 1/13, 400 ISO

Panasonic Lumix FZ150: Program at 400 ISO
f3.1, 1/13, 400 ISO
f3.1, 1/13, 400 ISO
f3.1, 1/13, 400 ISO

Panasonic Lumix FZ150: Handheld Night Shot versus Program mode (at 800 ISO)

For this second example, I struggled to find a composition which was both dark enough to force a higher ISO in automatic and sufficiently detailed to give some meaningful results. I compromised by shooting this heavy wooden table at a relatively dim bar with a printed flyer. Unfortunately the metal bolt / rivet heads were not in the depth of field, so I've had to concentrate on the wooden textures and the half-toned printed material. Not ideal I agree, but you still get the idea.

Here the FZ150's Handheld Night Shot automatically selected 800 ISO, and once again I was able to match the exposure and framing perfectly in Program mode. Once again the differences are fairly subtle, but the version taken with Handheld Night Shot is definitely cleaner with less noise and crisper, more saturated images.

Head on over to my Panasonic FZ150 sample images for more real-life examples, or skip to the chase and check out my verdict.


Panasonic Lumix FZ150: Handheld Night Shot at 800 ISO
f3.2, 1/8, 800 ISO
f3.2, 1/8, 800 ISO
f3.2, 1/8, 800 ISO

Panasonic Lumix FZ150: Program at 800 ISO
f3.2, 1/8, 800 ISO
f3.2, 1/8, 800 ISO
f3.2, 1/8, 800 ISO

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 results : Real-life resolution / RAW vs JPEG / High ISO Noise
/ Handheld Night Shot / Firmware 0.2 vs 1.0

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