Goodbye G11

Started Oct 27, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Robert Deutsch
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Goodbye G11
Oct 27, 2009

This may come as a bit of a shock to those who've read my enthusiasic report of my initial experience with the G11 (e.g, http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1010&message=33403966 ), but I've returned the G11 for a refund.

My disillusionment with the G11 started a few days ago, when I was asked to take a group photo of the handbell choir that my wife is a member of. I used the G10 with the 270EX flash, and I set the ISO at 400, which I thought would make sure that the flash would be well within its maximum distance rating, and, given the purported improvement in noise at high ISO, should be fairly comfortable for the G11. The exposures were quite accurate, and, just looking at the camera's LCD viewer, the images seemed OK.

At home, I converted the images from RAW in DPP, using my standard settings (no Luminance NR, default Chroma NR, everything else at default), saved the results as high-quality jpegs. and opened these in CS3. Looking at the images at 100%, I expected to see some noise, but this was far worse than I anticipated. Here's a 100% crop of the best of the G11 images. (The exif on pbase says that flash was not used, but I assure you that it was , and is so indicated on the actual exif.)

Now, this is at 100%, and I know that if I used Noiseware and reduced the size to, say, 1024 pixels wide, or print a 4x6, the results would likely be OK, but this looked to me to be an unacceptable starting material for making larger prints.

Fortunately, I also took some group shots with my 5D/24-105L IS and the same flash. Here's a comparable crop.

This needs a bit of PP, too, but I think it's really a world apart in terms of image quality. Of course, a FF DSLR should perform at lot better than a compact digicam, but the difference should not be this great. I normally shoot at ISO80 whenever possible, but ISO400 should not stress the capabilities of a camera with a rated ISO range that goes to 3200.

Later on, I did some test shots, indoors and out, and tried a second sample of the G11, hoping that mine was defective, but it wasn't. Comparing the G11 with the G10 at ISOs varying from 80 to 800, the noise of the G11 seemed more fine-grained at high ISOs, but the frequency distribution of noise shown in Noiseware showed that the high-frequency noise of the G11 was actually at a higher level at 400 and above than than that of the G10.

The G11 is in many ways a most admirable camera. I love the articulated LCD; the zoom range is just about right for me, and the performance at ISO80 is excellent. But I'm sad to report that it really doesn't deliver on the promise of significantly improved high ISO performance over that of the G10.

So, with regret, I said goodbye to the G11. Much as I like the articulated LCD, it's not worth changing from the G10 just for that.

Bob

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1
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