Image Quality Compared

Our latest test scene simulates both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget switches between the two. The daylight scene is manually white balanced to give neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests. Raw files are manually corrected. We offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Comp', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons by using matched viewing sizes. The 'Comp' option chooses the largest-available resolution common to the cameras being compared.

Raw performance

In terms of detail capture, the LX10 performs very similarly to its 1-inch sensor peers, and much of the difference in that respect are likely to be attributable to variations in lens design and the construction of the specific samples we've tested. There's a little bit of moiré to be seen, suggesting a very light anti-aliasing filter, if it has one at all. This is generally likely to be kept in check by the lens and the relatively small equivalent aperture (it'll have the same amount of diffraction as a full frame F7.6 lens when shot at F2.8).

In terms of noise, the LX10 appears to be a touch noisier than its immediate peers but the differences are less significant than the differences between the RX100 Mark I and II (where those models switched from Front Side to Back Side Illuminated CMOS technology), which suggests the differences are down to slight differences in Raw converter profiling. At higher ISOs, the difference appears to grow but this is probably the result of Sony applying noise reduction to its Raw files.

JPEG output

The Panasonic's JPEGs feature reasonable (but not outstanding) color. Yellows, as we've become used to from Panasonic, are a a tiny bit green: nothing like as bad as the original RX100 Mark I and closer to the rather likeable Canon result. Caucasian skin tones are likely to be a little less 'rich' than the Canon but again ahead of the Sony.

The LX10's default sharpening is very heavy-handed, with very visible halos on high-contrast edges (such as the edges of each color on the color target). The sharpening has quite a small radius, so it emphasizes quite fine detail but its rendering is much less natural-looking than the similarly detailed RX100 V's version.

There doesn't seem to be too much noise reduction being applied at base ISO, with the low-contrast color detail being well represented. At high ISO the noise reduction sits somewhere between the Canon and Sony approaches: color is slightly desaturated, like the Canon but the amount of detail retained is similar to the RX100 V. Like the Sony, it's taking a context-sensitive approach, smoothing noise in areas it interprets as having little real detail.

The Panasonic's noise reduction and sharpening can produce fairly chunky but plausible renditions of some elements in the scene but can smudge away other types of finer detail by mistake where the algorithm doesn't recognize them as texture, rather than noise.