Compared to...

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon PowerShot A520 and the new 4 megapixel Panasonic DMC-LZ1. We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera (A520: ISO 50 and 400, LZ1: ISO 64 and 400).

Studio scene comparison (Canon A520 @ ISO 50, Panasonic LZ1 @ ISO 64)

  • Canon PowerShot A520: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance
  • Panasonic DMC-LZ1: Program mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance
  • Lighting: Six 18W Full Spectrum (>98 CRI) fluorescent tubes
Canon PowerShot A520
Panasonic DMC-LZ1
ISO 50, F5
ISO 64, F3.2
Noise, std dev: 1.5
Noise, std dev: 1.3

Typical bright, vivid Canon colors are the order of the day, and once again excellent detail and edge-to-edge sharpness from the 4x zoom lens. The Canon image has slightly more measurable noise than the Panasonic, but this appears to be down to slightly more aggressive noise reduction rather than a significant difference in the S/N characteristics of the sensor/processing systems. I think anyone buying either of these budget cameras is going to be happy with standard sized prints (say up to 5x7 inches) in terms of color and detail.