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Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (JPEG - 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 NX10, Nikon D5000, Canon 550D and Panasonic GF1 compare (at their default settings) when shooting our new studio setup at higher ISO settings - particularly in the shadow areas.

Bear in mind that the Panasonic is around a third of a stop more sensitive than marked and that, at ISO 3200, the Samsung is one third less sensitive.

ISO 800

Samsung NX10
Nikon D5000
Canon EOS 550D
Panasonic DMC-GF1

ISO 1600

Samsung NX10
Nikon D5000
Canon EOS 550D
Panasonic DMC-GF1

ISO 3200

Samsung NX10
Nikon D5000
Canon EOS 550D
Panasonic DMC-GF1

At ISO 800 all the cameras are showing the effects of both noise and noise-reduction but the Nikon and Canon are retaining more detail and exhibiting less chroma noise than the Samsung. The Panasonic is letting through more noise than the others but, like the Samsung, is losing some of the very finest details in the left-hand, shaded crop.

The Panasonic continues with the approach of allowing some noise to remain in the image, meaning that more detail is also retained. This works fairly well at ISO 1600 but by 3200 there's a lot of noise but little detail. The other three cameras all try to suppress noise fairly aggressively. The Canon does the best job of this - continuing to produce clean images even at ISO 3200 (albeit rather over-smoothed ones). The Nikon also manages to balance noise and noise-reduction quite well, still producing some detail at ISO 3200 - though the results are less pleasing than the Canon's. The Samsung takes an approach somewhere between that of the Nikon and the Panasonic - its results are noisier than the two DSLRs' but much of the detail has already been blurred away.

Overall its high ISO noise performance puts it in about the middle of its class - the Nikon, Canon and Pentax K-x all trump it but it edges ahead of the Sony A380 and Pentax K-7 (which uses a similar Samsung sensor).

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