Noise reduction experiment

Started Apr 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
Ron Tolmie
Regular MemberPosts: 366
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Re: 120% crop
In reply to Ianperegian, Apr 22, 2012

Ian:

It is still snowing here in Canada so Australian beach scenes are very appealing!

I bought a Lumix FP2 a year ago with the intent of using it for snapshots - rather like my first camera, a Box Brownie. However, I found that I was using the FP2 more than my big cameras and the new ZS20 covers the wide angle angle and telephoto ranges I need so that inspired an effort to see if I could produce "acceptable" 13x19 inch prints so that I could travel with just the ZS20.

I have reached the point where I am cautiously optimistic. Noise reduction software (including the controls built into PSP) does a very good job of removing noise without impairing the resolution so the tiny 1/2.33 images are not inherently a limiting factor. (By "noise" I mostly mean the muddy image quality that it causes.) The resolution drop-off at the edges can (debatably) be minimized by operating at f/8 (just like my old Box Brownie!) and the ZS20 incorporates several features that enhance the dynamic range.

For me the improvement from noise reduction for pictures like your beach scene is a big deal, although others would probably consider it to be trivial. There are other factors that enter into the determination of the image quality that I am still evaluating. I doubt that the ZS20 images would win in a direct comparison with those of a good DSLR at 13x19 but the point is that you would usually need to do a side by side comparison to recognize those differences.

The two step noise reduction makes it easy to employ smoothing as an additional control. Cameras are cruel to women over 30 in particular, especially if they live in sunny cities. The edge preserving smoothing control of PSP is effective in smoothing complexions without making the pictures look fuzzy. (I haven't yet tried the portrait and retouching controls built into the ZS20.)

Thanks for your comments, and I hope that you don't mind that I "borrowed" part of one of your images.

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Ron Tolmie

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