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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 and DMC-FZ200 previewed, DMC-LX7 with samples

By dpreview staff on Jul 18, 2012 at 05:00 GMT

We've had a chance to use Panasonic's latest models, and have prepared previews of the DMC-LX7, DMC-G5 and DMC-FZ200. The LX7 is the company's latest pocketable enthusiast model, featuring an impressive F1.4-2.3 lens covering a 24-90mm equivalent range. We've included a real-world samples gallery, to show how it performs. We've also taken a detailed look at the G5, seeing how it compares to the G3 and what its more comprehensive feature set offers for photographers. Finally we look at the most interesting superzoom we've seen in quite some time - the DMX-FZ200 - a camera that puts lens brightness (and hence usability) ahead of offering the biggest possible zoom number.

Panasonic DMC-LX7 preview with real-world sample images

 Panasonic DMC-LX7 preview with full-size sample images

Panasonic DMC-G5 hands-on preview

Panasonic DMC-G5 hands-on preview 

Panasonic DMC-FZ200 hands-on preview

 Panasonic DMC-FZ200 hands-on preview

Comments

Total comments: 101
audioprincess
By audioprincess (Jul 20, 2012)

I've owned and loved an LX-3 for several years now and the images it produces outdoors are stunning. I have to say the LX-7 sample images posted here are, at best, totally dissappointing.

0 upvotes
tt321
By tt321 (Jul 22, 2012)

You should compare DPR's LX7 sample photos with their LX3 sample photos and not your LX3 photos. Their priorities and practices when taking sample photos could be quite different from yours when you take your photos.

1 upvote
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Jul 19, 2012)

To me the LX7 improves on the LX5 only if, for instance, AF performance on fast moving subjects and in low light. is much better
The 1.4 lens may be nice (but it causes the sensor to be a bit smaller) but that doesn't make the difference, it's just a marketing trick. (The ring around the lens is maybe more interesting).
After Nikon 1 introduced the 1" sensor size, Sony bravely followed. Too bad that Panasonic didn't use a 1" sensor as well for the LX7 even at the cost of having a 2.8 lens.
The other trend to watch is which AF technology will win? Panasonic Contrast AF, Nikon 1 Phase AF. or Canon hybrid AF ?

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Jul 20, 2012)

I agree. At the lowest ISOs, the image quality is still pretty point and shoot class. It's not the noise, but the DR which feels lacking.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jul 21, 2012)

zodiacfml:

How can you draw DR conclusions based on the DPReview samples? Those are jpgs.

Then Imaging Resource hasn't yet posted the best raws to demonstrate DR, so DR is still an unanswered question for the LX7.

Valentinian:

If Panasonic went with a 1 inch sensor, then the lens would have to have been radically redesigned. The LX7 is a continuation of the LX5/3. I'd bet that the smaller sensor is the factor most leading to the F1.4 lens, not a major change in the lens.

I'm disappointed that the LX7 does not produce usable images (from raw) at ISO 1600, while with the latest firmware my LX5 is usable up through ISO1000, again from raw. (LX7 Raws downloaded from IR and extracted with UFRAW).

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jul 19, 2012)

I should say I don't quite get the value proposition of Pana LX7 and Samsung EX2F at $500 price point. Neither are truely jeans-or-shirt pocketable (unless you like to carry 300g bricks with protruding lenses and hot shoes and lugs in your pants). And if we are talking about 300g (with lens) and coat-pocketable, Panasonic GF3 ($366 now on Amazon with kit lens) or Oly E-PM1 give you that, are cheaper and allow you to install a different lens if the very limited abilities of their kits (similar to the built-in lenses of EX2 and LX7) will constrain you (not to mention E-PL1 etc which are dirt-cheap).

As they are, both EX2F and LX7 should be around $300-$350.

RX100 is the different case though - it is truly pocketable (although pushing it) and yet able to provide better image quality than the 12mpx m43rds with kit lenses, at least at the wide end. $650 seems overpriced too - it is a territory of entry-level DSLRs and good mirrorless - but none of them are pocketable, so no competition.

1 upvote
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Jul 19, 2012)

I'm not impressed with the LX7 output so far, to say the least. Two sample sets I've seen look like garbage so far. Happy with my TL350 by far. No banding at ISO 3200, useable.

0 upvotes
Michael Barkowski
By Michael Barkowski (Jul 19, 2012)

Thing is, I wonder when Nikon and/or Canon might deliver a superzoom with phase detect AF on sensor ... which might affect the relative attractiveness of these. Just speculating!

I know, Panasonic says CDAF is the future, but what if they're wrong?

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
leventhan
By leventhan (Jul 19, 2012)

Panasonic lumix dmc-fz200....

*shut up and take my money!!*

7 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Jul 19, 2012)

What an inspiring comment ! Ish .....

0 upvotes
leventhan
By leventhan (Jul 23, 2012)

@george no offense, its a meme after all

fz200 is a good tool for video-making, with its constant aperture, full hd, and external mic.

0 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Jul 19, 2012)

I am still looking forward to seeing what Panasonic can do with the GH3. The GH2 (hacked) is probably the best video camera (still) but the imaging capabilities are pretty average.

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Jul 19, 2012)

with GH3 they will make sure that it can not be hacked. They will create a hacked version and will give it a fancy name and you would have to pay twice of unhacked. ..

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jul 19, 2012)

Panasonic has unleashed a bevy of interesting cameras for the different levels of affordability / expertise / practicability / utility and craft, unlike other brands that release models on a measured pace.

Clever marketing ploy that could reap rewards or backfire.

Meanwhile, the bloated camera market flood level has risen to a higher mark.

.

3 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Jul 18, 2012)

What distinguishes the GH line for the G line?

0 upvotes
Nate21
By Nate21 (Jul 18, 2012)

The panasonic GH line was deisgned for video and previous models have been great. While the G line is panasonic entry level design and entry level specs as well.The GH line is also pansonic top of the line the sensor is compared to an ASP-C sensor as well. It follows G,GF,GX, and finally GH.

0 upvotes
Nate21
By Nate21 (Jul 18, 2012)

http://www.43rumors.com/panasonic-very-high-end-model-mirrorless-camera-coming-this-year-gh3/

Here is a website explaining the difference with more indepth details i hope it helps.

1 upvote
xlotus
By xlotus (Jul 19, 2012)

That is not correct. The GF is the entry level as evident on the simplified interface and staying with 12 mpix sensor.
The G and GX are priced identically with GH a bit higher price. They all have the 16 mpix sensor, The G and GH have articulating screen and both are shaped like mini DSLR with EVF. The GX has fixed screen and follows the brick/p&s form factor with no EVF. The GH is often touted as superior for video although personally I don't see the difference between the G and GH (I used to have both, now I only have the G). One more thing, the GH is bigger and heavier while the G is smaller.

1 upvote
BJL
By BJL (Jul 20, 2012)

GH models have multi-aspect ratio sensors: wider and with more pixels in the horizontal direction. This could improve HD video quality. They have so far had better HD video specs in other ways too, The G5 seems to reduce that gap, but maybe the GH3 will jump ahead in video performance. Maybe a 120fps option??

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
techmine
By techmine (Jul 18, 2012)

My X10 serves me well as compact camera. I am looking forward to FZ200.

0 upvotes
coastcontact
By coastcontact (Jul 18, 2012)

Even granting that there are some improvements in this model compared to the FZ150, the total weight of the camera is an issue! Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V weighs 1.29 lb and now so does this camera. It becomes no fun when the camera gets heavier. I have my camera around my neck all day. Weight DOES matter! I have the FZ150 (1.16 lb) and also the FZ28 that weighs 14.71 oz. You think I can feel the difference?

0 upvotes
trekkeruss
By trekkeruss (Jul 19, 2012)

The brighter lens means more glass; that is surely the reason why the FZ200 weighs more.

0 upvotes
mgblack74
By mgblack74 (Jul 19, 2012)

Try a D3s, or a toddler. Time to hit the gym if less than a quarter pound difference makes or breaks a camera for you.

2 upvotes
Michael Barkowski
By Michael Barkowski (Jul 18, 2012)

The FZ150 looked like such a useful tool already, and now they revise it with a constant f/2.8. Awesome.

4 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Jul 18, 2012)

BSI tech seems to be effective so the matter of fact of not using that tech in their sensors penalize their product competitiveness (ZS20 don't get daves pick in IR)
so why they are not doing this ?
PS go to IR and look at 1600 ISO samples of LX7 and FZ150
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-lx7/FULLRES/LX7hSLI01600NR3D.HTM
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/FZ150/FULLRES/FZ150hSLI1600.HTM
funny isn't it

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Jul 18, 2012)

The FZ200 looks like a really exciting camera for superzoom fans.

A constant f/2.8 throughout a 24X zoom range? WOW. I didn't think this was even possible at an affordable price.

Kudos to Panasonic for all three new releases.

5 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Jul 19, 2012)

It is possible obviously. At the expense of the camera sensor ....unfortunately!

0 upvotes
NetMage
By NetMage (Jul 20, 2012)

How so? The sensor size is the same as the FZ150, and even my FZ28.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Jul 18, 2012)

If the LX7 turned out to be what everyone was hoping, that is, with a 1" sensor, that would have seriously eaten into their micro 4/3 lineup's market share and prospects.
It's a pity though, because I am one of those who will never buy a micro 4/3 unless it were pocketable, preferring larger sensors if I'm going to carry around something bigger. Even the larger than 4/3 sensor Canon G1X is more pocketable, and has a brighter lens than what is normally offered on the removable lens kits.
Panasonic had a chance, and missed it, to bring to market a G1X and RX100 killer... and they blew it!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (Jul 18, 2012)

I agree with you that the key is whether a camera is pocketable or not. That's what makes the rx100 so interesting- it's really the only large sensor camera that's truely pocketable.

That said, if you don't consider a small m4/3 camera, like the gf3, to be pocketable, there's no way the G1X is more pocketable. The g1x is noticibly bigger in every dimension.

See camerasize.com- http://j.mp/wHVDnJ

0 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (Jul 18, 2012)

That is a very good observation. Even an "old" D40, produces better overall results, with far lower cost, and higher IQ lenses choices(lower cost), and similar IQ sensor; except for much better (IMHO), Nikon Color, output. A D40 is not that big, so why give up so much, especially at a greater cost, for a bridge cam size?

I have long said, those wanting bridge cams, could greatly benefit from micro 4/3rds. Sure it would be slight less telephoto, than tiny, crappy sensors, but so what? Now, think about that constant f/2.8 lens, built for 4/3rds. Now that is a quality, and do all, bridge cam. But oh, they have to save stuff that makes since, for the fool, and who's money is soon parted. The problem is, there is no shortage of fools. Many need that bragging right (excessive Mpx, X factors); on their crapper cameras. Not that pixels, and telephoto are bad, just bad, when imbalanced.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Hobbit13
By Hobbit13 (Jul 19, 2012)

To reach the quality of the LX3/5(/7?) lens, you'll have to buy quite expensive glass! The Nikon Kit lens doesn't even come close. And the D40 is way more bulky, if you cary arround a DSLR the whole day, you'll notice, a LX7 in your bag doesn't make a difference.

Still, if it can fit in your pocket, that's an advantage, that the S95 and RX100 has, and the LX7 lacks.

0 upvotes
fastlass
By fastlass (Jul 18, 2012)

So if I'm perfectly happy with the LX7s zoom range, why would I consider a GX1 (or other GFx)? It seems having a strong enthusiast compact plus compact m43s muddles the offerings. What would a Panasonic marketing rep say the difference is?

0 upvotes
jdrx2012
By jdrx2012 (Jul 18, 2012)

if you need this questioned answered you yourself don't know the more obvious differences. LX7 looks great...would have been still better with a larger sensor, not a smaller one. At the end of things, it will be a great available light street shooter with limitations.

0 upvotes
Carlos AF Costa
By Carlos AF Costa (Jul 18, 2012)

LX7 with a smaller sensor than LX5? Is this an upgrade? Not for me, thanks.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 18, 2012)

Even if the brighter aperture all the way through the lens range means it's able to gather more light? (More than offsetting the smaller sensor)

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Jul 18, 2012)

Gathering more light may mean lower ISO's, but sensor size as related to print size are more important to me.

2 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jul 18, 2012)

If you are printing large sized prints then I have no idea why you would even look at any of the small sensor compact cameras.

6 upvotes
jdrx2012
By jdrx2012 (Jul 18, 2012)

R. Butler: "Even if the brighter aperture all the way through the lens range means it's able to gather more light? (More than offsetting the smaller sensor)" Will this sensor offer as much or greater dynamic range than the larger sensors in rx100 and v1/j1? How about resolution and print sizes?
Looks great but I will wait for some in-depth tests/comparisons to these other referenced cameras. So, I will wait til later to get one if it pans out well for LX7.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 18, 2012)

I agree entirely. We wouldn't bother reviewing cameras if you could predict the result by looking at the spec table.

I'm working to prepare an RX100 review at the moment, so am looking forward to seeing how the LX7 compares.

And, while I agree it doesn't make sense to judge cameras based on specs, it's downright crazy to dismiss this camera, compared to the LX5 based purely on sensor size, since that isn't even the whole picture in terms of specs.

3 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Jul 18, 2012)

Well, the trend is towards bigger sensorsv(Sony) in these so-called enthusiasts' cameras so IMO this is not a step forward. Samsung managed to keep sensor size at least comparable to earlier enthusiast cameras and still use a fast lens, so I am fully aware of more specs than just sensor size.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 18, 2012)

The LX7 combination of a 24mm equiv wide ange, F/1.4 aperture, and 1/1.7" sensor is intriguing. It also preserves a relatively wide aperture at full zoom. Test comparisons to the 3 or 4 other upper-end compacts will be interesting.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jul 18, 2012)

Tom Goodman:

And the Sony RX100 raws I've seen (and extracted) aren't really usable beyond ISO 1600, that's a flaw in Sony's pixel cramming.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Jul 18, 2012)

I am astonished how many people actually shoot at ISO 1600. C'mon, people, get real.

mpgxxvcd: because some times one only has a compact along and not the obviously preferred large format camera. You know, as in "the best camera you have is the one you have with you." I wouldn't think of preferring a compact for making prints but sometimes that's the only option available.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jul 18, 2012)

Tom Goodman:

I shoot beyond ISO 1600 much of the time. And for that reason the Sony RX100 is a problematic camera for indoor lowish light shooting.

Yep, I've even shot at ISO 51200, printed too, though that was a Nikon D4.

To be really serious the Sony RX100 should have about 12MP and shoot noise free at ISO6400, though that would cut into A77 and Nex 7 sales.

0 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (Jul 18, 2012)

I have to assume that Panasonic testers like the performance of the camera, and their marketers know that people will react negatively to a sensor size decrease in this segment, but hope that it tests well. Personally I love the emphasis on the lens for this and the FZ200.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Jul 18, 2012)

HowaboutRaw: I assume you rarely print anything larger than a snapshot, if at all, shooting at those ISO's with an "enthusiast" camera. Your comments aren't really helpful but I know you will keep on making them.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jul 18, 2012)

Tom Goodman:

Never said I shoot beyond ISO1600 with my LX5. That's you picking a meaning that suits your end. You didn't limit your comment about how radical it is to shoot above 1600 to small sensored digicams.

So yep, I shoot above ISO 1600 really frequently. I note too that you skipped the point I made about shooting high ISOs with a D4. So that means you knew that my comment was not confined to " 'enthusiast' " cameras. And no I didn't go for tiny prints at ISO 512000, though did use the 600dpi trick and frankly that ISO is stretching the the D4, but ISO 12800 is nearly noise free on the D4, so prints can be done at 300 dpi. Maybe you've learnt something.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Sergiobona
By Sergiobona (Jul 19, 2012)

Suggestion to DPREVIEW: consider LX7 and FZ200 for next reviews. Ok RX100 is finishing, but the lenses specs of these cameras are incredible, creating a strong expectation, as is possible to see in the comments.

0 upvotes
NetMage
By NetMage (Jul 20, 2012)

I would have that Nokia PureView would have disabused everyone of the notion that reducing MP reduces noise - at worst it is a wash, and at best increased MP allows for more noise reduction and better images.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Jul 20, 2012)

Not from you. HowaboutRAW. I noted the D4 comment originally and thought that's nice, we are talking about compacts and he throws in a D4.

0 upvotes
Hallie76
By Hallie76 (Jul 18, 2012)

They all looks good, where can i found technical info ?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 18, 2012)

What technical information are you looking for that isn't in the previews? (Each image is a link to a preview article).

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jul 18, 2012)

I would like to know exactly what the 120 FPS and 240 FPS are. They are mentioned in the text but not listed in the specs.

Also is there a bulb mode on any of the new cameras? If so is it limited to a certain time limit?

What is the new AFF focus mode?

Can the G5 shoot RAW images with the silent shutter?

What is the maximum you can set the Auto ISO limit to for these cameras? Is it ISO 1600, 3200, or higher?

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jul 18, 2012)

It looks like the 120 FPS and 240 FPS modes are "High Speed" video modes just like the GH2 has. Except for the GH2 shoots the slow motion at only 30 FPS.

http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/pressrelease/second_half_new_production2012/index.html#lx7

0 upvotes
bshy
By bshy (Jul 18, 2012)

FZ200 reborn the fast lens of fz20
it is a remarkable advence
But LX7...
I expect larger sensor, Not smaller one

0 upvotes
John Koch
By John Koch (Jul 18, 2012)

The FX200 may be the most remarkable of the three Panasonics making their debut. The others have competition from Sony, Samsung, or Olympus. SFAIK, no one, but no one, offers a zoom model with constant F/2.8 aperture or anything close. Yes, the sensor is small (no other way to make such a zoom compact), but I'd be curious to see whether it matches or even outperforms large sensor cameras at the long end, since the aperture of a 600mm FF camera lens would probably have to be F/8 or narrower, or else be huge and fabulously expensive.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jul 19, 2012)

Yet among bridge cameras Fuji X-S1 is still better in the most usable focal lengths, as much as 1.5 stops better at wide angle. FX200 is only better roughly above 300mm eq, and only significantly better by the 600mm long end. Shooting wildlife in the dusk?

0 upvotes
ANAYV
By ANAYV (Jul 18, 2012)

Whats with this 25x less light?

Take the LX7 at full wide open aperture, then put it next to a FF D-SLR, with same aperture...and iso...look at the shutter speed.

Is it 25x less?
Oh...same shutter spped, eh?

Because it's same regarding light gathering ability, but is much more close to 25x ONLY when comparing DOF.

Having a fast lens on a small sensor camera gives same shutter speeds, but not same DOF, as larger sensored camera's..

I've proven this from using my GH2 and small sensored FZ's.Taking photo's at the Zoo, same shutter speeds are obtained, regardless of which camera I use,when set to same aperture and iso..

Try this, and experience this...but why type erroneous info?

0 upvotes
SeaPower
By SeaPower (Jul 18, 2012)

I had beeing waiting for the LX7 having had the LX2 and currently using the LX5, but I can't see enough in the LX7 to make me replace my LX5. There does seem a trend toward increasing the video capabilities of cameras. I assume this is one of the reasons for the chip change but I have never shot a video on my camera and probably never will. I had been hoping for a larger sensor but never mind my LX5 will have to do.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 18, 2012)

To DPReview : a suggestion. Could you guys please post equivalent F-numbers (in terms of DOF and light gathering ability) when you post equivalent focal length numbers? E.g. LX7's 4.7-17.7 F1.4-2.3 is the equivalent of 24-90 F7.2-11.7, not of 24-90 F1.4-2.3; similarly for FZ200 it's either 4.5-108 F2.8 or the equivalent of 25-600 F15.6 in 35mm standard.

Being one of the most influential camera review websites on the Internet you could really help your readers to understand what a lens designed for a smaller than 35mm sensor is actually capable of photographically. Clearly posting the equivalent angle of view (by posting an equivalent focal length) is only half of the story.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
Kai Griffin
By Kai Griffin (Jul 18, 2012)

to ppastoris: the light-gathering ability is exactly that: F1.4-2.3. That is a constant, regardless of sensor size. It is only the DOF which has equivalence to 4.7-17.7.

So, indeed, in terms of light-gathering ability, which at least for me is by far the more important aspect when considering a pocket camera, the lens is equivalent to 24-90 F1.4-2.3.

8 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 18, 2012)

Kai, you have just made a very typical mistake. The brightness of the image is indeed determined by F-number. However with a smaller imaging sensor the total amount of light collected is the brightness times the area of that sensor (in case of an LX7 that is about 25 times less than the 35mm sensor). Hence 25 times less light at the same AoV and the same aperture for 5x crop-sensor camera. It's that simple, not a rocket science at all :).

3 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 18, 2012)

Another way to look at it. What is an F-number? It's the ratio of a focal length to the diameter of a given lens. An "equivalent" lens for say 5x crop sensor will have 5x shorter focal length; therefore it will have 5x smaller diameter given the same F-number, and therefore will collect 25x less light. That is exactly why the small sensor cameras have high image noise levels -- they collect too little light at the same F-numbers as the bigger cameras. In order to collect the same amount of light one needs to increase the diameter of the 5x crop lens five-fold ==> the equivalent F-number will have to be 5x smaller, i.e. in our example a 5 mm F2.8 lens on a 5x crop camera is equivalent to 25mm F14 (2.8*5) lens on a 35mm system.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 18, 2012)

We will quote equivalent apertures when looking at camera classes with a variety of sensor sizes, so that each can be compared in terms of depth-of-field control.

However, most people think in terms of what ISO an F number gives, and then look at how that camera performs at that ISO. And, indeed, that's what's marked on the camera when you're using it. As such, using actual F numbers will remain our primary means of reporting - adding equivalent aperture when it adds something useful.

9 upvotes
ManuH
By ManuH (Jul 18, 2012)

1) I don't know why everything has to be compared to 35mm. For me it would be more useful to compare to APS-C which is what I'm using.
2) Even if the equivalence numbers are mathematically right, in practice the sensors efficiency are never scaling perfectly between formats. A 1/2.3" could be more efficient per area than a 35mm sensor.

2 upvotes
Jay Kim
By Jay Kim (Jul 18, 2012)

@ppastoris

I think you are wrong about the light gathering part. The luminance does not lessen for the same amount of sensor area at the same f-stop ratio even if the physical diaphragm aperture of the lens is smaller.

Please read Notation section:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number

If what you wrote was true, these tiny sensors must be outrageously more efficient than a full frame DSLR sensor!

0 upvotes
twadger
By twadger (Jul 18, 2012)

"1) I don't know why everything has to be compared to 35mm."

It's for the benefit of us oldies, we need a reference point.......

1 upvote
OngNikon
By OngNikon (Jul 18, 2012)

@ppastoris

Your are wrong!.

In your above example, a 25 times less 'liight' is shining on a 25times less area. The 'brightness'per unit sensor area is the same - and i think this what f-number is proxying..

And if you want to bring in the image quality stuff in, then it is because of the smaller sensor size and hence smaller pixel area for a given sensor MP count. that smaller pixel area mulitply by the same 'brightness/area give a low intensity,, blah blah...

DPReview is correct to present the values this way. Do it your way is not correct.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Tomskyair
By Tomskyair (Jul 18, 2012)

@ppastoris: What's your point? Everybody knows that a lens with a given f-stop for a certain format is smaller than its equivalent with the same f-stop for a larger format. What a surprise...

I am old enough for having used handheld exposure meters - and these never ever had separate dials for 8x10", 4x5", 6x6, 135 and so on. They gave an EV which translated to a range of possible shutter speed-aperture combinations for a given ISO number. 1/125-f4 was the same on my Mamiya RZ67 as on my Nikon F3. Of course the Mamiya lens was way bigger as it had to illuminate a much larger film surface. And it still had the worse maximum aperture.

It would be really helpful if all these wannabe experts could stop their confusing posts about "light gathering capability". The whole f-stop number comparison for the end user is about DOF only and nothing else. The required lens specifications for making an f2.8 or f1.8 for a given sensor size is just the engineers' business when designing a lens...

Comment edited 57 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 18, 2012)

In terms of focal lengths, it makes sense to make reference to 35mm (since it's been common-practice for so long, that many people understand what, a 28-70mm equiv range would look like).

However, there's an argument for using APS-C as the reference point in terms of depth-of-field, since it is by far the most-common sensor size for DSLRs (and full frame arguably currently almost as niche as medium format was in the film era).

2 upvotes
Ed Gaillard
By Ed Gaillard (Jul 18, 2012)

What I'd really like to see DPReview (and other sites) do is to start quoting angle-of-view along with actual and 35mm-equivalent focal length.

Maybe we can eventually wean people off using the 35mm-equivalent focal length as a proxy for angle of view. Sure, it will take a while, but I think it's worth doing.

2 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 18, 2012)

Richard (R Butler), indeed it will be nice (to explain how the DoF scales with imaging sensor size in system comparison articles).

The only reason why I brought up the issue of "equivalent F-numbers" here, is because I have seen quite a few forum posts where people were comparing "apples" to "oranges", e.g. comparing 75mm f/1.8 m4/3 lens to an "equivalent" 150mm f/1.8 for 135 film and being surprised how much smaller the 75/1.8 is while being "equivalent" :). I myself was first surprised why I was getting much larger DoF when I first bought an APS-C DSLR, when compared to my previous 135 film SLR. To make the long story short, it would probably significantly help people to compare lenses between the systems with different sensor size if there was a measure, similar to "equivalent focal length", that would reflect the effect of the sensor size on lenses with the same physical F-number. The "equivalent F-number" is one possibility, though apparently confusing to some.

2 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 18, 2012)

For now, I will ignore all the other comments, unless someone has a sincere question (not just trying to demonstrate their ignorance :)).

As to the above comments:
1) ManuH, you are right, I think. The smaller sensors indeed seem to be more efficient per area than the larger ones. You can see that for example from DxOmark numbers. Intuitively it should be the opposite. I don't know why it is so. I could speculate that there's more pressure on manufacturers to improve the small sensors since they have to deal with more noise (photonic noise) to begin with.

2) Jay Kim, image brightness is the same for the same F-number, image size is proportional to the focal length ==> same F-number, shorter lens, smaller image, smaller *total* amount of light recorded ==> higher image noise (roughly speaking).

3) Tomskyair, a) apparently not everybody knows, b) "light-gathering capacity/power" is an actual term in optics (and e.g. one of the main characteristics of a telescope), RTFM :).

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
OngNikon
By OngNikon (Jul 18, 2012)

May I know what is equivalent f-number??

I wish to know my own ignorance so as not be confused expert.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 18, 2012)

OngNikon, short answer is the "equivalent F-number" = (crop factor)*(F-number). See my posts above.

A bit longer answer using an example. Say you have a 5mm f/1.4 lens projecting an image onto a "small" sensor with crop factor = N (e.g. ~5 for Lumix LX7). It turns out that N*5 mm f/(1.4*N) lens will create an image with the same angle of view and depth of field (and also the same total amount of light and diffraction effects) on a sensor with crop factor = 1. For example, you'll get roughly the same photographs in terms of AoV, DoF, noise (provided similar sensor efficiencies on both sensors), and diffraction effects using the same exposure length on LX7 at 5mm f/1.4, ISO 100 and on a full-frame camera at 25mm f/7, ISO=100*N=500.

All in all, comparing say a 5mm f/1.4 lens on a 5x crop sensor to a 25mm f/7 on a full frame gives you a much better idea of what the lens/sensor combination is capable of photographically than comparing it to a 25mm f/1.4 full-frame "equivalent".

1 upvote
Kai Griffin
By Kai Griffin (Jul 18, 2012)

ppastoris: In a compact camera, I'm more interested in whether I can hand-hold a camera in dim light, while bumping up the ISO as little as possible. My Sekonic hand-held light meter happens to agree with the meter built into my pocket-sized Ricoh GRD-2 camera, which has a maximum aperture of f/2.4, and a 1/1.75" sensor. How does my Sekonic know I'm using a compact camera?

0 upvotes
Tomskyair
By Tomskyair (Jul 19, 2012)

ppastoris: all your smart words can't deny that your "equivalent f-stop" is nothing more than the old DOF comparison between different formats. You better RTFM of a handheld exposure meter if you can still find one.

BTW: I didn't say that there was no such thing as "light gathering capability" in optics. But all your scientific argueing just proves my point about the misleading use of these terms in photography discussions.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 19, 2012)

Kai Griffin, the reason to use an "equivalent F-number" would be to be able to quickly compare the lens+sensor photographic capabilities, not to operate the camera. Though you could do it that way too, you'd just need to use the "equivalent ISO" = ISO*(crop factor)^2 as well.

Here is an example: you have 5mm f/1.4 lens on a 5x crop sensor. Your meter tells you that you must use ISO 100 at shutter speed 1/25. If you put the "equivalent" 25mm f/7 lens onto a full-frame sensor to get the same DoF and AoV, set the same 1/25 shutter speed, the meter will tell you to use ISO 2500=100*5*5. The resulting images are going to be essentially the same in terms of AoV, DoF, sharpness due to handholding. They will ALSO be roughly the same in terms of noise. There is a good physical reason for that, but simply compare for yourself the noise produced by various crop sensors of the same generation at equivalent ISOs, e.g. Canon G9 at ISO100, Canon 400D at ISO860, Canon 5D at ISO2200(=100*4.7^2).

0 upvotes
Kai Griffin
By Kai Griffin (Jul 19, 2012)

My hand-held meter tells me to use 1/30, at ISO 400, f/2.4.
My Ricoh GRD-2 also wants to use 1/30, at ISO 400, f/2.4.
This LX7 would tell me to use 1/90, at ISO 400, f/1.4.

That is all I want/need to know. I do not care about DOF equivalence to a hypothetical 35mm camera & lens, noise ratio as compared to the eye of a tiger, nor even the space-time continuum while using my *compact* camera. I do care that the sensor delivers reasonable quality (and I'd expect at least that from Panasonic's flagship compact). You can be sure I'm not worrying myself over DOF, circles of confusion or raising large numbers to the power of 2 while using a camera that fits in my jacket.

--All-- I care about is exposure, and that I can hold it steady enough. I have other, bigger cameras for obsessing over noise & DOF. Perhaps what you're really looking for is some kind of Equivalent Noise Value (ENV, pronounced "envy"): the camera industry is always receptive to a new acronym!

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
1 upvote
OngNikon
By OngNikon (Jul 19, 2012)

Just like global politics: a confused state is confusing others with confused 'facts'. What an analysis!

now logical extension to this: it seems all non-35mm or full frame cameras manufacturers are misleading the customers????

1 upvote
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 19, 2012)

OngNikon, I could not understand if you are being serious or ironic :). But indeed one could imagine how such a confusion is beneficial to "crop" camera makers, the more beneficial the higher the crop )) : certainly advertising say a 14-35 f/2 zoom for 4/3 system as 28-70 f/2 equivalent is easier than advertising it as 28-70 f/4 equivalent which it really is :).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Kai Griffin
By Kai Griffin (Jul 19, 2012)

"...easier than advertising it as 28-70 f/4 equivalent which it really is"
It is from the point of view of DOF. It isn't from the point of view of exposure. What's more important to market, I wonder? I have no statistics, but only a hunch that the majority of people in the market for a fast lens, are in that market because the lens is fast, not because it offers shallower DOF. And I'd wager, were it possible, that 99% of customers for a small-sensor compact camera would be into f/1.4 purely for the exposure advantage. The other 1% thinking they might get some kind of SLR-like shallow DOF effect would simply be mistaken. The 35mm DOF equivalence for a 1/1.7" sensor compact camera is totally irrelevant, other than to instruct those who have the wrong expectations about DOF.

That said, I've noticed naughty camera makers implying that their compact cameras with fast-ish lenses will let users create "attractive background blur", which you & I both know is horse hockey.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 19, 2012)

not just DOF, but also image noise at the same shooting conditions, and also the diffraction limited aperture. Pretty much everything that defines a photograph in technical terms (AoV, DoF, image noise, diffraction effects). And again there is no exposure advantage of e.g. a 5mm f/1.4 on a 5x crop camera vs a 25mm f/7 on a 1x camera. At the same shutter speed you will simply have to use 5*5=25 higher ISO setting on the larger camera to get exactly the same exposure, which will give you exactly the same image noise in theory (because it simply is the result of the particle nature of light -- the number of photons hitting each "pixel" of a sensor is instrinsically random, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_noise ). Sensors only increase this noise, and in practice the sensors from the same generation increase this noise by approximately the same factor (+-1EV or less).

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 19, 2012)

So to reiterate, practically you will not get any advantage (+-1EV at most) using a bright 5mm f/1.4 on a 5x crop at say 1/25 sec, ISO 100 vs 25mm f/7 on a 1x crop at the same 1/25 sec but higher ISO 2500. Using however the larger sensor camera you *will* get a large improvement in image quality of you trade some DoF and use 25mm f/1.4 lens at ISO 100 on the large camera.

If something is still not clear let me know, please. I'll explain.

0 upvotes
Tomskyair
By Tomskyair (Jul 19, 2012)

ppastoris: Your whole theory regarding equivalent "f-stop" is purely theoretical pixel-peeping with no practical relevance at all.

And you should probably try to get your math straight first and do a reality check second to that: Claiming that a crop factor 5 5mm/1.4 equals a 25mm/7 means an EV difference of 4 2/3. At a base ISO of 200 for the CF 5 system the FF would be required to shoot at ISO 5000(!) for the same shutter speed. Not at some 2000ish value as you claim.

Reality check: show me the FF that achieves small sensor ISO 200 performance at ISO 5000 and I'll buy it in a heartbeat. Surely I wouldn't be the only one. As I own a Panny LX-3 and a Nikon D700 I know what I'm talking about. The Nikon at ISO 5000 RAW can't hold a candle to the Panny at ISO 200 RAW - definitely not! Maybe at 800 or 1600 - but 5000? Absolutely ridiculous.

Here goes your great mathematical "equivalent f-stop" theory crashing and burning. Just another wannabe expert dead hobbyhorse, nothing else.

2 upvotes
Kai Griffin
By Kai Griffin (Jul 19, 2012)

ppastoris, whether your math is right or not, it just seems to me that you're stating the bleeding obvious with regards to noise: who really cares how high a full-frame camera's ISO needs to be in order to match the noise of a compact at ISO 200? What relevance is there in saying that there is no exposure advantage vis-a-vis noise between a compact at f/1.4, ISO 200 and a full frame dSLR at f/7, ISO 5000? Clearly, I can't cram the dSLR into my jeans pocket as I'm heading out for an evening stroll with my wife along the riverside of an exotic city. Naturally, I could take the massive dSLR instead, but my wife would probably find that about as romantic as me lugging along a tome called "The Pedant's Guide to the Mathematics of Photography".

No, I'd normally have my Ricoh GRD2, which maxes out at f/2.4. It shares the LX's sensor size, and there is *definitely* going to be an exposure advantage between the two when wide open, and I won't even mention the Ricoh's lack of IS.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 20, 2012)

Tomskyair,
short answer : pretty much ANY full-frame camera will indeed have a comparable (+-1EV) quality at ISO5000 as a 5x crop camera at ISO 200 :).

Longer answer. Need data? See DxOMark measurements for e.g. 1) Lumix LX3, 2) Nikon V1, 3) Nikon D7000, 4) Nikon D700, 5) Nikon D800 (in the order of sensor size). These cameras achieve the same noise level (SNR=30dB) at ISOs 1) 94, 2) 345, 3) 1167, 4) 2303, 5) 2801 respectively (the metric is called "Low-light ISO" on DxO website). Their respective crop sizes are 1) ~4.3x, 2) 2.7x, 3) 1.54x, 4-5) 1x. Hence the equivalent ISOs ( ISO*crop^2 ) are 1) 1739, 2) 2560, 3) 2801, 4) 2303, 5) 2801. As you can see they all are pretty close, except the LX3 underperforms even taking into account the small sensor. LX3 is a well known poor performer in noise department, which I can confirm since I owned both LX3, Canon 350D, and Canon 5D MarkII at the same time (ISO 400 on LX3 is a bit worse than ISO6400 on 5DMkII).

Any further questions?

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 20, 2012)

Kai, an f/7 FF lens would be a lot more comparable in size to the f/1.4 lens for a 5x crop sensor provided the same IQ. Ok, it may be a bit of a stretch for a 5x crop, but if you compare lenses for the systems with less crop difference you can see that the "equivalent" lenses are similar in dimensions, weight, and price. One example is Olympus 4/3 14-35 f/2 (28-70 f/4 equiv.) vs Canon 17-55 f/2.8 (27-88 f/4.5 equiv) vs Canon 24-105 f/4 (fullframe). They for example weigh 900g, 645g, 670g respectively.

Had most consumers understood that a bright f/1.4 lens for e.g. m4/3 is as capable photographically as just as large (and cheaper) f/2.8 lens for FF perhaps the market would not be as driven towards the small sensor cameras (like m4/3) as it is now. On a small FF body you'd at least have an option of using a f/1.2-1.4 lens when you needed shallow DoF and/or low light ability, while it's essentially impossible to make an equivalent lens for a smaller sensor.

0 upvotes
Jay Kim
By Jay Kim (Jul 20, 2012)

@ppastoris

Noise level differs between cameras. Even when they have identical sized/resolution sensors. So with your argument, you should also need camera manufacturers to specify "equivalent ISO" values and not just equivalent f/stop. But then it gets REAL messy as older DSLR's are no where near as noise-free as the current crop of DSLR's. Heck, my old Canon 20D camera is more noisy than most current compacts with 3-5x smaller sensor size.

FoV equivalent makes sense as people want to know how much that lens can see. But equivalent F/stop just don't make any sense unless you really care and measure how much or little DoF you are going to get. Most people don't notice the difference of DoF up to around 2 stops anyways even with a DSLR while they notice big time about the extra 4mm focal length difference at wide angle for example regardless of the sensor size. That is the reason why focal length is stated in equivalent values. I'm sure you know this also.

0 upvotes
Jay Kim
By Jay Kim (Jul 20, 2012)

@ppastoris

Also, small sensor cameras are not as useless as you say as most consumers don't care about the differences that you are talking about. Many just prefer it being smaller, more versatile and cheaper.

Last time I checked, no FF DSLR fits in your pocket. Having a FF DSLR with a 24-70mm 2.8 lense and a 70-200mm 2.8 lens might be awesome but a compact camera with a 24-600mm F2.8 equiv. zoom lens would be far BETTER in many situations for its size, weight, versatilityand the noise/image quality difference would be practically nil if used under bright sunlight situations. But yes, for dimly lit cafe's, the FF DSLR with 24-70mm would win every time for IQ/noise.

But really, we are talking as enthusiasts/pro's/hobbyists. Most general consumers are actually very happy with their iPhones and Galaxy S's and don't even care not having a dedicated camera at all. =p

0 upvotes
Kai Griffin
By Kai Griffin (Jul 20, 2012)

@ppastoris: You said "an f/7 FF lens would be a lot more comparable in size to the f/1.4 lens for a 5x crop sensor provided the same IQ", but again this is completely hypothetical and irrelevant. There are no f/7 FF lenses on the market, though you might find one in a former Eastern Block flea market, perhaps made of bakelite. Even without the lens, the FF body is gargantuan - the smallest FF body I know of is the Leica M9, and neither pants nor most people's budget is that big. Compact 1/1.7" sensor size cameras do one thing that no full frame camera can ever do: they can make you forget you're even carrying them. It's the #1 reason people gravitate towards them. It is beyond ridiculous to be getting mathematical about the technical equivalence of such cameras to cameras approaching the size of a house brick. That is why quoting "equivalent F stop" for a little camera like this is a such a silly idea; it says nothing about what people are actually interested in.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Jul 20, 2012)

Kai, for a small 35mm camera see Minox 35. With a 35 mm f/2.8 collapsible lens that camera was just a bit thicker than Lumix LX5, and (more relevantly) about exactly the same size as a m4/3 Lumix GF5 body w/o a lens. So yes it IS possible to make a full-frame compact pocketable.

Jay, just saying you will be carrying a 24-600 f/15.6 eq. not f/2.8 eq. Very different from if it actually were f/2.8 :). Someone with say a seemingly "darker" Nikon 18-300 f/3.5-5.6 would actually be carrying 27-450 f/5.3-8.4 equiv., and should they crop a bit -- 27-600 f/5.3-11.4 equiv. That's, a lot brighter on the wide end ans still almost a stop brighter on the long than 24-600 f/15.6 (naturally 24-600 f/15.6 eq. is smaller and cheaper).

Which is exactly my point, would the effective F-numbers been published along the effective focal lengths the consumers (enthusiasts(?)) would be able to make much more informed decisions IQ/weight/size/price tradeoffs when selecting their hardware.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Kai Griffin
By Kai Griffin (Jul 20, 2012)

ppastrois, last time I looked, the Minox 35 was a film camera. There's one on my shelf downstairs. Yes, it'd be great to have full frame digital cameras in that size, and perhaps we will some day in the future, but the technology isn't with us yet. It's awfully fun to hypothesize, speculate and dream, though - this can't be denied. Reality sucks sometimes.

0 upvotes
Elaka Farmor
By Elaka Farmor (Jul 18, 2012)

With this smaller sensor than before, LX-7 should have been more pocketable....

0 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Jul 18, 2012)

The image quality of the LX7 is not bad .... for a compact. But with the recent release of large sensor compact cameras it is going to be hard to sell camera in similar price range (just a guess) with small sensor.

2 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jul 18, 2012)

They all have small sensors. This one just happens to have a bright lens as well.

2 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Jul 18, 2012)

@mpgxsvcd yep rx100 like nikon 1 has small sensor that also happen to have bright lens too. :-D :-D

3 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jul 18, 2012)

@zxaar

Not as bright as the Panny cameras.

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Jul 19, 2012)

Still is bright. I would argue that panasonic is no F0.95 and hence useless not bright enough. You were talking as if the difference is two stops or so.

0 upvotes
Eelco van Vliet
By Eelco van Vliet (Jul 20, 2012)

I love my LX-3 as a 2nd camera to my Canon 40D. I use it when a DSLR is not that handy on the ski slope for instance. I even use video a lot more than I anticipated. Now the LX-7 seems a good upgrade, the only worry I have is the smaller sensor. But if the output is equal, the extra zoom and video capability might lead to an upgrade !!

I can't wait for the bigger review bij Dpreview !!

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 101