FZ1000 Wide Angle Soft, maybe only ~13MP of detail

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Eigenmeat
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FZ1000 Wide Angle Soft, maybe only ~13MP of detail
2 months ago

I just received my FZ1000, and oh boy, the thing is a blast to shoot with. I absolutely like everything about the camera, except the image quality at wide angle(~25-30mm). From 50mm onward, the FZ1000 lens is beast, pin sharp corner to corner. After reading the DPR review closely, they also have similar experience. I normally all for software lens correction, but I think Panny went too far on this one, especially on a flagship prosumer camera. The lens is wayyyy under design at wide angle to provide anywhere near 20MP worth of information. Anyways, I decided to a my own test to see how much sensor information are actually being thrown away for the correction.

All sample below are available at original 100% resolution.

OOC JPG, -5 noise reduction, +3 sharpening

1. OOC JPG, -5 noise reduction, +3 sharpening, the sharpness is relatively poor once you move out 1/3 away from the frame

RT basic sharpen, no NR, no distortion correction

2. I then loaded the raw into RawTherapy, basic sharpen, no noise reduction.(Color are different I know, RT color just turns out to be nicer in this case)

-Imaging circle of the lens does not cover the sensor at all. Those corner are black and contain no information. There goes ~2MP worth of sensor information goes out the window right at the start.

-The field of view is much wider than OOC JPG

-It's actually quite sharp corner to corner(check original), much better than OOC JPG. This rule out that my lens might be defective.

-I had to resize little bit on this one, as DPR dose accept image more than 20MP. RT output slightly more than 20MP for FZ1000 raw.

RT raw output distortion correct in Photoshop and crop to same angle of view as OOC JPG

3. I manually corrected the RT raw in distortion, and crop to approximately to the same field of view as the OOC JPG, see below

-You guys should open up the original file, u will see it's actually quite sharp per pixel(much sharper than OOC JPG), but...

-but here is the kick, you are only left with a 12MP image(once again, see original image below)!! The camera(and Lightroom/ACR) simply re-interpolate the image back to 20MP!

-I admit than my distortion correction is not perfect nor the most efficient, but there is no way for Panny to use more than 13-14 MP worth of actual sensor pixel to generate the "20MP" wide angle image.

This show much is being cropped away!

4th. This is to show how much I cropped away to attain the OOC JPG field of view. They could actually go abit wider to attain 24mm eqv. without hitting the black corners.

Well that is it, do you guys think that is too much software lens magic for a flagship model? And Frankly, the magic does not work too well in this case. I felt the humble $90 kit lens on my EOS-M was giving me sharper images at wide angle. I am very disappointed, as I used the extreme wide end alot. But then, there are so much to like on the other aspects of the camera... Tough decision

Appendix: Rawtherapee best effort, and Lightroom conversion

Highest field of view from RT without hitting any black corners, re-interpolated back to 20MP

Conversion from LR, basically very similar to OOC.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
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