Panasonic Lumix FZ150 Gordon Laing, October 2011

Panasonic Lumix FZ150 vs Lumix FZ47 / FZ48 vs Sony Cyber-shot HX100V image quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, we shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ150, FZ47 / FZ48 and Sony Cyber-shot HX100V within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view and all three cameras were set to f4 in Aperture priority mode for a level playing field. f4 was chosen to maximise sharpness and minimise diffraction.

The sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting on each camera: 100 ISO on all three models.

  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 image above was taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 with the lens set to 6.5mm (37mm equivalent) and the aperture set to f4 in Aperture Priority mode. F4 was chosen to maximise sharpness while avoiding diffraction, and selected on all three cameras below for a level playing field; note when faced with a very bright scene in program or Auto, the FZ150 (like many Panasonic cameras) often opts for f5.6, so fixing it at a lower value in Aperture Priority is the answer to avoid diffraction. The FZ150 was set to its minimum sensitivity of 100 ISO, where at f4 it metered an exposure of 1/1000 and generated a JPEG measuring 4.09MB.

To remind ourselves, the two Panasonic FZ super-zooms both share 12 Megapixel resolution, so what you're looking at is the impact of different sensor technology (CMOS on the FZ150 and CCD on the FZ47 / FZ48) and different default processing styles. Meanwhile Sony is playing the numbers game with its HX100V boasting nothing less than 16 Megapixels; this higher resolution is responsible for the smaller area in its crops when viewed at 100% below.

Starting with the first row of crops taken from the mountain ridge, there's not a lot between the three cameras, but what's important is what you can't see: there's no apparent coloured fringing present, which for cameras like these means there's digital reduction at work. I think this is a great feature to have and one that's been noticeably lacking on earlier Canon super-zooms like the SX30 IS. Time will tell if Canon have implemented it on the latest SX40 HS.

Looking at the other three rows, there's not much to tell the two Panasonic super-zooms apart. Both share essentially the same real-life resolving power and the only difference appears to be slight softness on the second FZ150 crop and the fourth FZ47 / FZ48 crop, implying a minor focusing difference - although I should note I set both cameras to single area AF, reduced the AF area size and positioned them on the same spot on the scene.

So with the FZ150 and FZ47 / FZ48 delivering roughly similar performance at 100 ISO, the big question is whether the Sony HX100V, with its 33% more Megapixels, can out-resolve them? If you pixel-peep the fine details on the buildings in the crops, you may spot a small benefit to the Sony, but it's really very minor in this scene. I'd say there's very little benefit to the Sony's 16 Megapixels over the Panasonic's 12 in this particular scene, so the question then becomes whether the higher pixel density on the HX100V has any impact on noise performance.

You can find out in my Panasonic FZ150 noise results page, but before checking that out, you may be interested in seeing what benefit there is to shooting in RAW on the FZ150 as oppose to JPEG. Find out in my Panasonic FZ150 RAW quality page.


Panasonic Lumix FZ150
Panasonic Lumix FZ47 / FZ48
Sony Cyber-shot HX100V
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 FZ150 results : Real-life resolution / RAW vs JPEG / High ISO Noise
/ Handheld Night Shot / Firmware 0.2 vs 1.0

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