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Compared to...Panasonic DMC-TZ3

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon SX100 IS the Panasonic DMC-TZ3 at ISO 400.

Studio scene comparison @ ISO 400

  • Canon SX100 IS: Aperture Priority AE mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
     
  • Panasonic DMC-TZ3: Program AE mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon SX100 IS
Panasonic DMC-TZ3
ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F4.5
ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F4.4
3,357 KB JPEG
2,188 KB JPEG

Both noise and noise reduction artefacts are visible at ISO400, neither camera performs brilliantly at this sensitivity, though it's clear that the SX100 IS is doing a better job here. Canon's luminance noise reduction is light enough to retain a level of sharp detail whilst chroma noise is kept well controlled - the result is still a little noisy, but it still looks like a photograph.

Panasonic's Venus III imaging engine tackles not only chroma noise but also luminance noise full-on. The result of this strategy are very smooth images, characterized by a distinct lack of detail and significant bleeding of colors. You would not want to print the Panasonic output at anything larger than postcard size. Anybody who is halfway familiar with the limitations of the tiny 1/2.5 in sensors used in these cameras will know that shooting at a sensitivity of ISO400 or higher will always be a compromise between noise blurring and detail retention. If I get to choose, I'd always go for the more detailed image, at the end of the day it is a matter of personal preference.

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