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Compared to... Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon PowerShot S2 IS and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 at ISO 400.

Studio scene comparison ( @ ISO 400)

  • Canon PowerShot S2 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ5: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI

Note: the Panasonic FZ5 shots were taken before we changed the lights in our fixed studio setup. This explains the different exposure values and pattern of reflections.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS
Panasonic DMC-FZ5
ISO 400, 1/318 sec, F5.0
ISO 400, 1/640 sec, F5.0
2,454 KB JPEG
1,913 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 3.4
Noise, std dev: 4.5

At ISO 400 noise has become a serious issue for both cameras, though the effect of noise reduction on detail is much more pronounced in the S2 IS image than the FZ5. Luminance noise is measurably lower in the Canon image, but even a cursory glance at the shadow areas shows that per-channel (chroma) noise is much higher, producing a speckled effect that is prominent enough to show in even fairly small prints. Canon's aggressive noise reduction has produced a very soft overall result that means I'd recommend only using ISO 400 when you really have to - thankfully with such an effective image stabilization system this shouldn't be too often.

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