Lab Report - ISO Accuracy

By Rishi Sanyal

The actual sensitivity of each indicated ISO is measured using the same shots as are used to measure ISO noise levels, we simply compare the exposure for each shot to the metered light level (using a calibrated Sekonic L-358), middle gray matched. We estimate the accuracy of these results to be +/- 1/6 EV (the margin of error given in the ISO specifications). Note that these tests are based on the sRGB JPEG output of the cameras, in accordance with ISO 12232:2006, the standard used by camera manufacturers. In our tests we found that measured ISOs from the Panasonic FZ1000 fall within the accepted standards, meaning ISO 125 indicated = ISO 125 measured.

Noise and Noise Reduction (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Note: this page features our new interactive noise comparison widget. By default, we show you the default noise reduction settings of the camera tested, and three other models of the same class. You can select from all available NR options, and from other cameras. The 'tricolor' patches beneath the familiar gray/black/portrait images are taken from the same test chart, and show how noise impacts upon blue, green and red areas of a scene.

The Panasonic FZ1000 shows a rather similar noise progression with ISO compared to its rival, the Sony RX10 at ISOs up to 1600. At higher ISOs, the FZ1000's default setting of '0' sacrifices some noise performance for a bit more low-contrast detail in comparison to the more aggressive NR of the RX10.

The FZ1000 outperforms its older sibling, the FZ200, by a fair margin. This is not surprising, given the significantly larger sensor of the FZ1000. However, in our pixel-level analysis, the FZ1000 can't keep up with the larger pixels of the Canon G1X II. A normalized comparison will help the FZ1000 in a comparison against the G1X II, but even then it won't be able to keep up with the performance of the latter's larger sensor.

NR Settings

The Panasonic FZ1000 offers fine tuning of its noise reduction, with settings from -5 to 5 in increments of one. We've tested either extreme and the middle; that is, -5, 0, and 5. Higher levels of NR lead to lower standard deviations, as you can see in the graphs below. Click on 'Samples' to have a look at how our test scene is handled with these levels of NR.

Unsurprisingly, higher levels of NR lead to lower levels of noise, but at the cost of detail retention. It's worth noting that NR affects all ISOs; that is, even low ISO images show lower noise with increasing levels of NR. While this is typically the case for most cameras, we'd just like to point out that this means there's almost always some detail cost to using higher NR levels. We prefer doing context-sensitive NR ourselves in post-processing but, ultimately, what setting you use will depend entirely upon your taste.