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Compared to... Panasonic DMC-LX1

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Panasonic LX2 (4:3 mode) and the Panasonic LX2 (also 4:3 mode) at ISO 400.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 400)

  • Panasonic DMC-LX2: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation

     Panasonic DMC-LX1: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Panasonic DMC-LX2
Panasonic DMC-LX1
ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F4.9
ISO 400, 1/400 sec, F4.9
2,700 KB JPEG
2,468 KB JPEG

At ISO 400 it is obvious that Panasonic's engineers have struggled to overcome the serious (and unforgivable) noise issue that blights the LX1. Have they succeeded? Is it an improvement? On the positive side measurable and visible noise is massively reduced and more detail is being retained. It would appear that Panasonic is not doing a lot of noise reduction on the luminance component, but is going 'hell for leather' on chroma (the image looks like it has had some fairly heavy chroma sub sampling). What this means in effect is that you're getting a relatively clean image, but one with very low resolution color information and the classic smearing we've come to associate with the Venus III processor. It reminds me of the 'magic paint' books I had as a child (the ones where you paint with water and color 'magically' appears), with colors running into each other and often disappearing altogether. This spells death to fine, low contrast detail such as foliage and hair. There is also a significant loss of saturation. For a 6x4 inch print there's little need to worry (though the bleeding of colors, particularly reds, is still visible even in small prints) - for anything bigger, forget it.

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