GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Started Dec 14, 2010 | Discussions
Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Quick test with my GH2 and G1. Take a look at the pics. I chose two crops...one with lighter tones, which was also the focus point, and one with deep shadows and darker detail. These are not at truly equivalent ISOs, as I forgot what the EC setting I used on my GH2 was when taking the G1 pics. Overall, it appears that the G1's ratings are about a half stop conservative compared the GH2...1/3 stop shutter speed difference and ever so slightly brighter....still, this should give you a good idea, especially given how big the gap gets at the really high ISOs. These are 100% crops straight out of Lightroom 3.3 with default settings (so, minimal color noise reduction, no luminance noise reduction, default sharpening)

Quick impressions: Similar noise at ISO 800, but finer grain and more MP means the GH2 will print better at this ISO - I believe even at equal ISO for shutter speed. An edge to the GH2 at 1600, especially in the shadows. At 3200 and above, however, it's just absolutely no contest. The GH2 stomps the G1. I think ISO 6400 on the GH2 looks noticeably better than 3200 on the G1, and even 12800, while having more color artifacting and color shift than 3200 on the G1, retains significantly more detail!

All crops are GH2 on the left, G1 on the right:

ISO 800:

ISO 1600:

ISO 3200:

ISO 6400: (GH2 only):

ISO 12800: (GH2 only):

-- hide signature --
OP Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

And one more for an interesting note. I, for one, have been rather astounded at the detail retained in the ISO 12800 shots. The color gets a bit wonky, and shadows get a little nuts too. However, with the right processing, you get surprisingly usable images. For this, I used Luminance NR in Lightroom, set to 40, custom white balance, and I darkened the shadows (Black slider at 18) to get rid of the blue blotches and increase contrast. Additionally, this shot was pushed nearly HALF a stop...making this effectively ISO 19,200! Remember, these are 100% crops:

For comparison's sake, I've put the G1 ISO 3200 crops on the right....so, with proper noise reduction and RAW conversion, ISO 12,800/19,200 on the GH2 has better detail retention and overall image quality than ISO 3200 on the G1.

And to give an idea...it looks not too bad at web size, and even on a 4x6 print... (the books are my wife's.)

GH2 at ISO 12800

Oh....I do have to say that the JPEG output of the GH2 isn't nearly as good at high ISO as RAW....much less detail, some color blotching...not nearly as effective as Lightroom at processing these high sensitivity files.
--
--------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.jordansteele.com

TEBnewyork
TEBnewyork Forum Pro • Posts: 11,337
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Nice comparison. I agree with you that you are getting a good two stops. I'll be curious to see the work people start doing at 12,800 in B&W.

-- hide signature --

terry
My picture a day site
http://blipfoto.com/terryb
General photos
http://tbanet.zenfolio.com/

Mike942 Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Jman,

Thanks for posting those comparison images.

I have a G1 and am contemplating a GH2 - partly for better high ISO performance - and your post was most illuminating.

Thanks again, Mike.

OP Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Yeah, this was the first time I really tried processing a 12,800 image. The key is to give up some of the dynamic range at the shadow end and purposely blacken them a bit...there's not much detail there anyway at this ISO, so you're not losing much, but it massively improves the photo. In RAW, there's still plenty of detail in a 12,800 image, so these are quite usable. I printed that 12,800 image above at 4x6, and honestly, it looks practically clean with good detail and colors with this processing . Quite amazing. I had assumed that 12,800 would be a throwaway ISO, but it seems it can be useful if done right.
--
--------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.jordansteele.com

Adventsam Veteran Member • Posts: 4,983
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Jman, we are on the same page, I have been blown away by the real world advantage of GH2, around 6400 there is a touch of banding, but it is minimal and can be treated much like the noise, Happy days and as I have seen with my own GH2, noise is like film grain, it gives you that sharpness and rightness we are not witnessing elswehere with high iso shots.;-)

OP Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Agreed. I really like the film-like grain....I'd also rather have detail with some noise than clean mush.
--
--------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.jordansteele.com

EXR Senior Member • Posts: 1,437
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Nice comparison, and as expected the GH2 is much better, the GH1 already hat 1 stop improvement over the G1

florinandrei Regular Member • Posts: 484
what's the Auto ISO limit on GH2?

On G1, you could set the upper ISO limit in Auto ISO to 1600. The camera won't adjust it above that automatically. (but you can force it manually)

What's the Auto limit with the GH2?

-- hide signature --
OP Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: what's the Auto ISO limit on GH2?

ISO 3200 is the limit for auto ISO
--
--------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.jordansteele.com

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,915
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Linda Howard books, hmmmm interesting... Does your wife know about your guilty pleasures???

Thanks for posting these shots. It seems from your samples and the sample raws on photographyblog that the noise is grain like, which cleans up well. Even if the sensor isn't technically "many stops" better, it seems the camera is more useable for a couple of more stops due to the nature of the noise and overall quality of the raw files. Lightroom and panny bodies match up well.

-- hide signature --

SLOtographer
Panasonic G1, LX5

Rick Wirch New Member • Posts: 3
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Hi,

I am going to buy either a GH1 or a GH2 with the 14-140 lens for Christmas. Since you have both, is it worth the extra $500 for the GH2? I can get the GH1 for $1000 with the 14-140 and the GH2 will be $1500 with the same lens.

Thanks,
Rick

Adventsam Veteran Member • Posts: 4,983
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Rick Wirch wrote:

Hi,

I am going to buy either a GH1 or a GH2 with the 14-140 lens for Christmas. Since you have both, is it worth the extra $500 for the GH2? I can get the GH1 for $1000 with the 14-140 and the GH2 will be $1500 with the same lens.

Thanks,
Rick

Rick, the issue with the GH1 is that there are good and bad copies out there, you may get an excellent GH1 with little or no banding upto iso1600 or even higher or you may get a bad one. Mine seems to be in the mddle but the problem is to avoid banding you need to consistantly get good exposure, not always the case, so pulling the exposure back can lead to a few surprises. So, if you feel confident with those facts, GH1 is an excellent camera, however, if you really feel you need to psuh the camera in the shadows or highlights, I think the GH2 is a better bet, well in my brief experience its a much more consistant-reliable performer.;-) but remember this as well, what we all pixel peep at on the web isnt always remotely visible in print and we dont all print at huge sizes and even if we do its not all the time? again just think of what you will do with the camera?

Rick Wirch New Member • Posts: 3
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Thanks for the reply.

Has anyone noticed how the EVF is improved between GH1 and GH2? It seems the main improvements are in video (doubled read speed), ISO sensitivity, and autofocus time. Are there any other improvements?

It seems like those are worth getting a GH2 over.

Thanks,
Rick

BTW. I am just an ordinary shmoe who is going on a vacation of a lifetime in Australia and New Zealand and want to upgrade from my current Nikon point and shoot to a pro quality camera for taking photos there.

I used to have a COMPLETELY manual 35mm and was on the High School yearbook as one of the main photographers and did all the developing in the darkroom too.

It seems like the GH1/GH2 are awesome because the lens flaws (distortion, chromatic abberation) are corrected in software because you never look through the lens optically. However, the EVF looks pretty darn good from looking through a G2 at a local camera store. Also the m43rds lets you create something like the 14-140 lens that actually works REALLY well and is much smaller than the rest of the DSLR field.

On one review site I looked at, It looks like the 14-140 in this camera is MUCH better in all areas sharpness, distortion, CA, etc than all the other lenses out there. It is nothing short of amazing. It has sharpness close to primes (within limits).

Pete Berry Veteran Member • Posts: 3,640
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

The two big factors to me are, first, that the GH-2 can AF-S all 4/3 Oly lenses, including the superb 50-200/2.8-3.5 which I use with the EC-20 2x extender; and the addition of 1.5-2 useful stops of high ISO IQ.

Pete

jimrpdx
jimrpdx Veteran Member • Posts: 3,742
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison

Adventsam wrote:

.. I have seen with my own GH2, noise is like film grain, it gives you that sharpness and rightness we are not witnessing elswehere with high iso shots.;-)

Considering I find the G1 noise to be like film grain, the GH2 must deserve its praise - for now I'll be satisfied with the G1 being the best in its current price point!
--
Jim in Oregon.. granitix.blogspot.. A200 veteran, now K-7 + G1

 jimrpdx's gear list:jimrpdx's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Nikon D600 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +6 more
OP Jman13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Regarding the EVF:

I think the G2 has the same EVF as the G1, so I'm basing that off my experiences with the G1 viewfinder. The GH2 viewfinder is improved over the older one in a few ways:

1. It's slightly larger. While not apparent in 4:3 aspect ratio, when using 3:2 or 16:9, the viewfinder is bigger as the EVF is wider. I didn't notice right away, but using both viewfinders side by side makes this obvious.

2. It's clearer. The refresh is faster and even though it's essentially the same resolution (plus that extra width), it looks more natural and real. Dynamic range on the EVF is improved and the bright spots don't clip as much.

3. Colors are far more accurate. My G1 viewfinder does not have particularly accurate color (nor does the LCD). The GH2 displays appear to be much more color accurate.

-- hide signature --
saghost Senior Member • Posts: 1,520
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Rick Wirch wrote:

Thanks for the reply.

Has anyone noticed how the EVF is improved between GH1 and GH2? It seems the main improvements are in video (doubled read speed), ISO sensitivity, and autofocus time. Are there any other improvements?

Yup. 5fps continuous shooting, a completely silent (once you turn off the fake shutter sound) 40 fps 4 MP burst mode, touch focus/shooting (really handy for composing with focus in odd places or focus stacking,) more dials, more custom modes, 3 assignable function buttons. An interesting "aspect bracketing" mode that shows all the aspect ratios in the viewfinder, and gives you a file of each on every shot (would eat memory like crazy if used very often.) They even made the pop up flash sit a little higher over the lens.

It seems like those are worth getting a GH2 over.

I thought so.

Thanks,
Rick

BTW. I am just an ordinary shmoe who is going on a vacation of a lifetime in Australia and New Zealand and want to upgrade from my current Nikon point and shoot to a pro quality camera for taking photos there.

On one review site I looked at, It looks like the 14-140 in this camera is MUCH better in all areas sharpness, distortion, CA, etc than all the other lenses out there. It is nothing short of amazing. It has sharpness close to primes (within limits).

I'm really impressed with the sharpness and detail my GH1/14-140 allowed during my big trip last year. Some of those shots I blew up to 60" wide and hung on my office wall (they aren't like the 200 MP stitched panoramas where people walk right up to it and stare for a while, but at a reasonable viewing distance, they hold up well at most any print size.) Actually, I've been pretty impressed with most of the m4/3 glass I've tried.
Walter

Bo Lorentzen Senior Member • Posts: 2,787
Re: GH2 vs G1 High ISO Noise Comparison - Quick Test

Thank you for posting these,

Pulled the trigger and picked one up today. it is replacing the G1.

-- hide signature --
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads