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Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (higher sensitivities)

We've already looked in detail at the GF1's high ISO performance in our the noise section of this review; here we're just taking a quick look at how the GF1, E-P1 and EOS 500D compare (at their default settings) when shooting our new studio setup at higher ISO settings - particularly in the shadow areas.

ISO 800

Panasonic GF1
Olympus E-P1
Canon EOS 500D

ISO 1600

Panasonic GF1
Olympus E-P1
Canon EOS 500D

ISO 3200

Panasonic GF1
Olympus E-P1
Canon EOS 500D

At ISO 800 the GF1 and E-P1 are both obviously fighting noise, with Olympus taking a slightly more aggressive approach to noise reduction. Whilst this does remove a little more texture (the GF1 keeps more luminance detail) it seems to do a better job at balancing the noise/detail tradeoff. This difference gets progressively more pronounced as you move up the ISO scale, with the GF1's ISO 3200 JPEG output looking pretty poor (the E-P1's output, for all its faults, is far more pleasing to the eye). It's worth noting that (as discussed here) the GF1 is just under half a stop more sensitive than E-P1 at every ISO setting and therefore needs slightly less exposure to get the same result.

At ISO 1600 and 3200 the Canon EOS 500D is clearly beating the Micro Four Thirds cameras (though it should be said, the margin between the Canon and the Olympus isn't enormous). Finally, it's worth mentioning that these examples are at each camera's default settings; all three offer control over the amount of noise reduction applied.

Panasonic GF1 vs LX3 (high ISO)

Below is a quick comparison between the GF1 and Panasonic's flagship compact, the LX3. With its tiny sensor the LX3 was never going to be able to compete with any Four Thirds or APS-C sensor, and - though pretty good for a compact - it manages to make the GF1 look wonderful in comparison.



Panasonic GF1
ISO 1600
Panasonic LX3
ISO 1600


Panasonic GF1
ISO 3200
Panasonic LX3
ISO 3200
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