iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
Apr 10, 2013

I always distrusted digital zoom, but I am now trying iZoom, which is carefully buried in the FZ200 Recording Menu with iResolution On-Off, and kept fairly secret in the Manual, and "Find" does not find it.

With the FZ200 on a tripod and the usual precautions, these are FastStone Comparator screen images, saved with FastStone Capture, showing 100 ISO, 12mp, 24x optical zoom left, 48x iZoom right.

1]  24x zoom v 48x iZoom, viewed at 17%:

2]  Holding down Ctrl, I select 50% left, 25% right, to get the same size:

3] Again, 50% left, 25% right:

4]  100% left, 50% right:

So what?

Well, as I am not an extreme birder, and have just joined Pixel Peepers Anonymous Therapy Group (Chairman: Ronomy), these results are good enough for me, so Hello, iZoom.

This all started when Ronomy told me that the zoom-puny LX7 could be 24-180mm, not 24-90mm, and I took an interest in the LX7 for the first time.  I really like the 18-105 (27-157 EFL) kit lens on my Nikon D90, and the LX7 has a wider range than that.

So, what can I sell to get an LX7 . . . . . . .  

Do you like iZoom?

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Nikon D90 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Zbyszek_Z
Forum MemberPosts: 72Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Yes, I do like I-resolution and I-zoom.

For me, they are good enough from the IQ-point of view.

And doubling the zoom range is pretty usefull (also enhancing sharpness of edges with i-res on).

I would also like to thank Ronomy and you, Mikedigi for very friendly, constructive and usefull contributions to this forum. I always read your messages with great attention.

Thanks a lot,

-- hide signature --

Zbyszek

 Zbyszek_Z's gear list:Zbyszek_Z's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon EOS 100D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rodger1943
Senior MemberPosts: 3,557Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Thanks for all that info Mike. I use izoom all the time. The enlarged image you get from it is pretty good until you try and enlarge that image and then you start to see it breaking up a bit. One of the great advantages of izoom is that it gives you a better view of your subject and therefore makes it easier to see if its in focus. It is also easier to control than digital zoom, as its limited, whereas digital zoom will skyrocket very quickly into very high zoom settings.

One thing I noticed from your shots was that magnifying the 24x up to 48x gives exactly the same result whether you do it in camera (izoom) or on a computer. I have done this comparison myself and got the same results, there's really no difference. I have also done comparisons between digital zoom ad izoom and can't see any difference there either, contrary to what Mr Panasonic has to say about this. When I had my FZ150 I did the same comparison between the two zooms and in fact the digital zoom gave a better result than the izoom. You can see the result here on my Flickr page

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62434662@N05/6917447484/in/photostream

-- hide signature --

Panasonic FZ200

 Rodger1943's gear list:Rodger1943's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Detail Man
Forum ProPosts: 15,000
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Rodger1943, Apr 10, 2013

Rodger1943 wrote:

Thanks for all that info Mike. I use izoom all the time. The enlarged image you get from it is pretty good until you try and enlarge that image and then you start to see it breaking up a bit. One of the great advantages of izoom is that it gives you a better view of your subject and therefore makes it easier to see if its in focus. It is also easier to control than digital zoom, as its limited, whereas digital zoom will skyrocket very quickly into very high zoom settings.

One thing I noticed from your shots was that magnifying the 24x up to 48x gives exactly the same result whether you do it in camera (izoom) or on a computer. I have done this comparison myself and got the same results, there's really no difference. I have also done comparisons between digital zoom ad izoom and can't see any difference there either, contrary to what Mr Panasonic has to say about this. When I had my FZ150 I did the same comparison between the two zooms and in fact the digital zoom gave a better result than the izoom. You can see the result here on my Flickr page

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62434662@N05/6917447484/in/photostream

Poked around a bit looking for Panny Intelligent Zoom information. Here's a recent blog post:

http://blog.almalence.com/test-of-panasonic-lx7-intelligent-zoom/

Looks like one of those features that Panasonic believes "less is more" where it comes to disclosure:

http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/compact/lx5/engine.html

In general, these cameras (I believe) all use the Bilinear re-sampling algorithm to re-sample images (which uses a 2x2 array for computations), as Bicubics, Lanczos, and other larger array algorithms would very likely be too computationally-intensive for the in-camera hardware.

Bilinear does well with up (or down) sampling ratios of exactly 2 - but not so well otherwise ...

Using "i-Zoom" with 2x sensor-crop, up-sampling by a factor of 2 sounds like the best way to use it.

(Likely) the only thing that differentiates it from using 2x digital zoom is the use of "i-resolution" functionality to post-sharpen the result. You (may) find that using 2x digital zoom and your own chosen controllable sharpening processes in post-processing gives as good (or prefereable) results.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jorgemtrevino
Junior MemberPosts: 39Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

I own both an FZ200 and an LX7. They are "companion" cameras. I anticipate the limitations imposed by the small sensor. If I need the utmost resolution I use a FX DSLR (D700).

For the use I give both of the above, iZoom is perfect, when needed. Better a picture that is short in resolution than none at all.

 jorgemtrevino's gear list:jorgemtrevino's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ60 Nikon D700 Fujifilm X-E1 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dale108
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,298
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Hi Mike:

Yes I have surprised by the IQ from the iZoom on my FZ200 but have yet to try on the LX7.

Dale

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
morepix
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,985Gear list
Like?
iZoom in raw, digital zoom JPG only
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 10, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

(Likely) the only thing that differentiates it from using 2x digital zoom is the use of "i-resolution" functionality to post-sharpen the result. You (may) find that using 2x digital zoom and your own chosen controllable sharpening processes in post-processing gives as good (or prefereable) results.

But iZoom works with raw, whereas digital zoom does not. That seems like an important difference to me.

-- hide signature --

David
www.pbase.com/morepix

 morepix's gear list:morepix's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus OM-D E-M10
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Zbyszek_Z, Apr 10, 2013

Zbyszek_Z wrote:

Yes, I do like I-resolution and I-zoom.

For me, they are good enough from the IQ-point of view.

And doubling the zoom range is pretty usefull (also enhancing sharpness of edges with i-res on). . . . .

Thank you Zbyszek, and it's good to hear from someone in Poland!

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Rodger1943, Apr 10, 2013

Rodger1943 wrote:

Thanks for all that info Mike. I use izoom all the time. The enlarged image you get from it is pretty good until you try and enlarge that image and then you start to see it breaking up a bit. One of the great advantages of izoom is that it gives you a better view of your subject and therefore makes it easier to see if its in focus.

Thanks Rodger, I used to find that in EZ Zoom with other FZs.

It is also easier to control than digital zoom, as its limited, whereas digital zoom will skyrocket very quickly into very high zoom settings.

Good point!

One thing I noticed from your shots was that magnifying the 24x up to 48x gives exactly the same result whether you do it in camera (izoom) or on a computer. I have done this comparison myself and got the same results, there's really no difference. I have also done comparisons between digital zoom ad izoom and can't see any difference there either, contrary to what Mr Panasonic has to say about this. When I had my FZ150 I did the same comparison between the two zooms and in fact the digital zoom gave a better result than the izoom. You can see the result here on my Flickr page . . . .

Thanks, to be honest I may not look at that, I'll keep my life simple and just use iZoom when I want to.  Now that I have joined the Pixel Peepers Anonymous Therapy Group.

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Erik Ohlson
Forum ProPosts: 13,041
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Hi, Mike,

I had a similar insight that I posted here:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3466267?page=2

@nd post down on Page 2 of that silly thread.

The TX1's "Digital Tele-Converter" extra zoom was really working "a Treat"!

-Erik

-- hide signature --

'He who hesitates is not only lost - he's miles from the next Exit.'
www.flickr.com/ohlsonmh/ ohlsonmh@yahoo.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 10, 2013

Detail Man wrote:

Poked around a bit looking for Panny Intelligent Zoom information. Here's a recent blog post:

http://blog.almalence.com/test-of-panasonic-lx7-intelligent-zoom/

So he finds it pretty good for what it is.

Looks like one of those features that Panasonic believes "less is more" where it comes to disclosure:

http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/compact/lx5/engine.html

Ah, with LX5 the iZoom does not double the magnification, it increases it from 3.8x to 5x?

In general, these cameras (I believe) all use the Bilinear re-sampling algorithm to re-sample images (which uses a 2x2 array for computations), as Bicubics, Lanczos, and other larger array algorithms would very likely be too computationally-intensive for the in-camera hardware.

Bilinear does well with up (or down) sampling ratios of exactly 2 - but not so well otherwise ...

Using "i-Zoom" with 2x sensor-crop, up-sampling by a factor of 2 sounds like the best way to use it. . . . . .

So if I use , in iZoom, any even number, say 32x (2 x 16x), or 38x (2 x 19x), that will not be as good as using 48x?

I.e. is it one-spot, or sliding scale?

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
sherman_levine
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,127Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Mike,

So far, I think what you've shown is no real surprise...that when you view normal and iZoom at comparable magnifications, they look pretty much the same. I suspect that would be true for digital zoom and EZ as well.

For example, at "50%/25%", you're

Compressing 4 pixels into 1 in the normal

Expanding 4 pixels to 16 and then compressing 16 to 1 in the iZoom.

Even at "100%/50%", you're

Showing 1 pixel in the normal

Expanding 1 pixel to 4, and then compressing 4 to 1 in the iZoom.

so you're not accomplishing anything with the iZoom which you couldn't already do in normal.

If you want to test the value of iZoom, you need to evaluate it at 100% using a zoom range unavailable to normal (e.g. 48x).  Does it look good to you? Is it better than upsampling a normal image to 200% in Irfanview or a similar editor?

Sherm

 sherman_levine's gear list:sherman_levine's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to jorgemtrevino, Apr 10, 2013

jorgemtrevino wrote:

I own both an FZ200 and an LX7. They are "companion" cameras. I anticipate the limitations imposed by the small sensor. If I need the utmost resolution I use a FX DSLR (D700).

For the use I give both of the above, iZoom is perfect, when needed. Better a picture that is short in resolution than none at all.

Thanks.  That, for me, has always been the essence of the FZ line - many cameras do some things better, but the FZ does an amazing range of things reasonably well - they get the shot.

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Erik Ohlson, Apr 10, 2013

Erik Ohlson wrote:

Hi, Mike,

I had a similar insight that I posted here:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3466267?page=2

@nd post down on Page 2 of that silly thread.

The TX1's "Digital Tele-Converter" extra zoom was really working "a Treat"!

Thanks Erik - yes, I see what you mean.

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
morepix
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,985Gear list
Like?
It's not only a matter of equal IQ
In reply to sherman_levine, Apr 10, 2013

Sherm,

I think I understand the point you're making here, about quality = quality. But there's another reason for using iZoom besides convincing oneself that the quality doesn't change, and that's the fact that iZoom lets you compose the photo you're going to end up with, whereas shooting without iZoom and cropping in PP is more hit-and-miss composition-wise.

-- hide signature --

David
www.pbase.com/morepix

 morepix's gear list:morepix's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus OM-D E-M10
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to sherman_levine, Apr 10, 2013

sherman_levine wrote:

. . . . . . . If you want to test the value of iZoom, you need to evaluate it at 100% using a zoom range unavailable to normal (e.g. 48x).  Does it look good to you? Is it better than upsampling a normal image to 200% in Irfanview or a similar editor?

Thanks Sherm - OK, obviously I changed the sizes to get similar framing, which, I agree, does not evaluate them both at 100%.

Also it looks as if the Resize/Resample in FastStone will do the doubling thing, so I can try that.

As with EZ Zoom with my FZ8, FZ38, FZ200, I expect the main iZoom advantage will be the user one - both camera and I seeing and focussing on the target more easliy, especially when I am spot-focussig with twigs etc in the way.

I've asked Detail Man whether the best result is only achieved at 48x, or whether any even number will do, e.g. 26x, 28x, and so on up to 46x. I suspect that I know the answer.

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Detail Man
Forum ProPosts: 15,000
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

Poked around a bit looking for Panny Intelligent Zoom information. Here's a recent blog post:

http://blog.almalence.com/test-of-panasonic-lx7-intelligent-zoom/

So he finds it pretty good for what it is.

The author finds it unremarkable in its effects. The other poster's (on this thread) example showing the re-sampling artifacts of i-Zoom compared to Digital Zoom (on the FZ150) does not make me very excited about letting i-Resolution sharpening occur. It looked pretty bad to me.

Looks like one of those features that Panasonic believes "less is more" where it comes to disclosure:

http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/compact/lx5/engine.html

Ah, with LX5 the iZoom does not double the magnification, it increases it from 3.8x to 5x?

That's what it looks like. A case where the user appears to have less control over the situation ?

In general, these cameras (I believe) all use the Bilinear re-sampling algorithm to re-sample images (which uses a 2x2 array for computations), as Bicubics, Lanczos, and other larger array algorithms would very likely be too computationally-intensive for the in-camera hardware.

Bilinear does well with up (or down) sampling ratios of exactly 2 - but not so well otherwise ...

Using "i-Zoom" with 2x sensor-crop, up-sampling by a factor of 2 sounds like the best way to use it. . . . . .

So if I use , in iZoom, any even number, say 32x (2 x 16x), or 38x (2 x 19x), that will not be as good as using 48x?

I.e. is it one-spot, or sliding scale? I've asked Detail Man whether the best result is only achieved at 48x, or whether any even number will do, e.g. 26x, 28x, and so on up to 46x. I suspect that I know the answer.

(Possibly), it does not know or care what the optical zoom factor is. It is just using 1/2 of the image-sensor (1/4 of the area) and up-sampling that, I presume. So it is narrowing the Field of View by a factor of two (or whatever) regardless of the optical zoom.

(However), I am not familiar with the specific user-interface (whether the camera allows that simplicitly - or does things like EZ Zoom does where the sensor-cropping is used in varying amounts depending upon what the Zoom Factor is set to by the user. By all means, you would want to use it at a factor of 2 (so that you don't get grody up-sampling artifatcs from the Bilinear re-sampling that goes on). Same for Digital Zoom (keeping it to a factor of 2 is going to be best).

Am not sure whether the up-sampling occurs prior to or after the in-camera JPEG engine. Perhaps after (because that would mean the JPEG engine could operate on a smaller image, less pixels, less work?). If so, I would think it better (if possible) to record and extract a RAW file of the smaller (sensor-cropped) photosite dimensions, and RAW process it. Don't know whether that or Digital Zoom will record a sensor-cropped RAW image-file. If so, such a RAW file would be free from the "i-Resolution" sharpening (which is an in-camera JPEG engine thing).

Perhaps you record JPGs only anyway. The RAW approach (might) be an additional possibility.

Also it looks as if the Resize/Resample in FastStone will do the doubling thing, so I can try that.

And it has algorithms like Lanczos-3 which are much higher quality - especially important for non-integer re-sampling ratios deviating from a factor of 2 (where the cam's Bilinear looks best).

As with EZ Zoom with my FZ8, FZ38, FZ200, I expect the main iZoom advantage will be the user one - both camera and I seeing and focussing on the target more easliy, especially when I am spot-focussig with twigs etc in the way.

Some tests were performed on an FZ50 in EZ Zoom modes that seemed to indicate that the indicated rectangular Focus Area remained roughly as indicated in the user-interface (and IIRC, the associated Metering Area, as well). If so, note that the number of photosites that is being used in the CDAF system is reduced as a result - and the AF performance may suffer as a result. So, it's nice that you can preview the focus target better - but the AF may suffer for that ...

Whatever the case, the Fcoal Length is not modified - only the Field of View is modified, and one sacrifices quite a lot of pixel-resolution (75% of the total pixel area) in order to sensor-crop by 2.

Your examples don't contain much of any high spatial-frequency (finely detailed) subject-matter. Try it on something finely detailed, and the results may well not please or be adequate. And the i-Resolution sharpening applied may well just make matters worse on top of that.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Detail Man
Forum ProPosts: 15,000
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to Mikedigi, Apr 10, 2013

Mikedigi wrote:

So if I use , in iZoom, any even number, say 32x (2 x 16x), or 38x (2 x 19x), that will not be as good as using 48x?

I.e. is it one-spot, or sliding scale?

Sorry, I think that I mis-interpreted your question in my previous reply. There is no technical reason why any of the above would be different. The sensor-cropping (and up-sampling) ratios listed are 2.

However - I do not know how a particular camera's user-interface operates (and whether the user can specify the above listed situations). With EZ Zoom implementations, the amount of the sensor-cropping that takes place is controlled by the camera. With the FZ50 it is gradually increased over the range of the Zoom Factor control values. With the LX3, quite a bit of the sensor-cropping appears to be implemented early on in the range of the Zoom Factor control.

It sounds like (perhaps) these later released cameras (may) allow more direct control of the amount of sensor-cropping ? Don't know. There (may be) so little about it in the Operating Instructions that you may need to test and look at the Focal Length in the EXIF meta-data to determine how much of the implemented zoom is optical, and how much is due to sensor-cropping.

If the pixel-size of the recorded JPG remains the same (with or without i-Zoom), then you know that the up-sampling ratio that is being applied is the same as the sensor-cropping ratio.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
The intricacies of iZoom . . .
In reply to Detail Man, Apr 10, 2013

Thank you for both your replies. I won't pretend I've understood it all at first reading, but I usually have to read tech stuff at least twice.

Clearly the important thing is to look at varied test and field results and see if I like them.  My guess is that iZoom will help in getting the AF onto some small targets that are otherwise obstructed, and also in seeing whether some small targets have come into focus.

But as I rarely need over 24x zoom, Izoom is not going to be a big issue for me.

I might use it more if I had an LX7, largely for the empowering feeling - stopping at 90mm EFL is not something I am used to.

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mikedigi
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,434Gear list
Like?
Re: iZoom, FZ200, LX7, FastStone - a few thoughts
In reply to jorgemtrevino, Apr 10, 2013

jorgemtrevino wrote:

I own both an FZ200 and an LX7. They are "companion" cameras. I anticipate the limitations imposed by the small sensor. If I need the utmost resolution I use a FX DSLR (D700).

For the use I give both of the above, iZoom is perfect, when needed. Better a picture that is short in resolution than none at all.

Thank you, for more critical work work I also have a Nikon DSLR, the D90, just with its 27-157 EFL kit lens - not up to the D700 standard, but quite nice for portraits and landscape.

I think iZoom may help me with small targets, especially when there are otherwise obstructions in the way, like tree branches, and the results seem good enough, so far.  It is certainly not crude.

Mike

 Mikedigi's gear list:Mikedigi's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F20 Zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads