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Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Gordon Laing, October 2011
 
 

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Firmware quality v0.2 vs v1.0

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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

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions with two different firmware revisions, I shot this scene with each ISO setting using an FZ150 running firmware 0.2, before updating the firmware to version 1.0 then repeating the sequence a few minutes later. The firmware update was stored on the memory card in use, so the update could be performed without removing the camera from the tripod or changing its position.

For a level playing-field, I shot all the images in Aperture Priority at f4.0 to maximise detail and avoid diffraction. The ISO sensitivity was set manually, apart from in the final two rows of crops where the High Sensitivity and Handheld Night Shot scene modes each chose their own ISO automatically.

All the images below can be accessed via Flickr by clicking them. I have also reshot my sample images gallery with the FZ150 updated to v1.0.


The image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 with the lens set to 6.8mm (38mm equivalent) and the aperture set to f4 in Aperture Priority mode. The FZ150 was set to its minimum sensitivity of 100 ISO, where at f4 it metered an exposure of 0.5 seconds and generated a JPEG measuring 4.87MB. The crops below are taken from the area marked with the red rectangle and reproduced at 100%.

One immediate observation concerns the exposures before and after the firmware update. A few minutes separate each sequence, but the lighting conditions remained consistent. Prior to the update, when running firmware 0.2, the FZ150 metered 0.5 seconds at f4 and 100 ISO. After the update to firmware 1.0, the FZ150 metered 0.6 seconds at f4 and 100 ISO. This small, but consistent 0.3 EV difference remained throughout the ISO range. Both cameras were using the same Multiple metering mode and were focused on the same area of the flower arrangement.

Opening both sets of images in Photoshop and measuring their brightness revealed a slight difference in white balance, but roughly the same brightness despite the fractionally longer exposure in v1.0. This implies v1.0 is actually operating at around 0.3EV less sensitive than v0.2. If firmware 1.0 is indeed fractionally less sensitive for each quoted ISO value, this in turn could be used to deliver slightly better-looking results at a quoted ISO, or perhaps provide greater latitude for processing. Equally it could be within experimental error and be a non-story. The reason I mention it though is for full disclosure and because there's actually little else to comment on the crops below.

Some reports have shown a noticeable difference between v0.2 and v1.0 samples, but that's not the case for my tests with this particular scene. Looking closely at the crops below, there's little if any difference to note. Even looking at alternative areas on the original images shows them to be very similar. Of course this is just for this particular scene and maybe there's greater benefit for other subjects. But certainly there's little to get excited about following the v1.0 update on my FZ150 sample judging from the results here. I realise this is a controversial statement given the evidence of other samples, but I'm simply reporting my own findings and have provided each of the original images for you to download and compare for yourself. I'd love to hear what you think in the sticky FZ150 thread in the Cameralabs forums.

This isn't my only test with the v1.0 firmware though. I captured a new set of sample images for the gallery for you to download, so check them out and see what you think. My original 0.2 samples (albeit from an earlier shoot) are also still available. See my Panasonic FZ150 sample images v1.0.

 

Panasonic Lumix FZ150
(running firmware version 0.2)
 
Panasonic Lumix FZ150
(running firmware version 1.0)
100 ISO
100 ISO
     
200 ISO
200 ISO
     
400 ISO
400 ISO
     
800 ISO
800 ISO
     
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
     
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
     
High Sensitivity mode (here at 2500 ISO)
High Sensitivity mode (here at 2500 ISO)
     
Handheld Night Shot (here at 400 ISO)
Handheld Night Shot (here at 400 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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