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Compared to... Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Panasonic FZ30 and the similarly-specified Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 at ISO 400. Note that the DiMAGE A200 also has an ISO 800 setting click here for the relevant page in the A200 review.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 400)

  • Panasonic DMC-FZ30: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV
     
  • Konica Minolta A200: Manual exposure mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Auto white balance
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI

Note: the Konica Minolta A200 shots were taken before we changed the lights in our fixed studio setup. This explains the different exposure values and pattern of reflections.

Panasonic DMC-FZ30
Konica Minolta A200
ISO 400, 1/250 sec, F5.6
ISO 400, 1/500 sec, F5
3,951 KB JPEG
2,933 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 6.1
Noise, std dev: 4.2

There's been a lot of talk about the FZ30's noise, and at ISO 400 it is certainly high - luminance noise is amongst the highest we've seen in the last few years. But of course these measurements don't tell the whole story and it's obvious from these examples that the end result - even with Panasonic's hideous 'watercolor style' noise reduction -the FZ30 image is sharper, with slightly more detail. That said, noise is a serious issue here - with serious color blotching in darker areas and the ham-fisted noise reduction obliterating fine detail - and would prohibit printing of ISO 400 images at larger sizes. Ultimately this is what happens when you squeeze too many pixels onto a tiny chip. It is possible to bypass Panasonic's noise reduction by running RAW files through Adobe Camera Raw, but this is hardly the perfect solution, and the noise itself will always be there.

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