Compared to...

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7 and the similarly specified Pentax Optio S5i. We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera (80 and 400).

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 80)

  • Panasonic DMC-FX7: Program mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Pentax Optio S5i: Program mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance*1
  • Lighting: Two 800W studio lamps with dichroic daylight filters bounced off the ceiling

*1 The Pentax S5i has a maximum exposure of 1/4 second, which resulted in a slightly underexposed image under our studio lights. These crops have been adjusted using Photoshop CS levels. The original (untouched) JPEG is available by clicking on the thumbnail image

Panasonic DMC-FX7
Pentax Optio S5i
ISO 80, 0.4 sec, F4.4
ISO 80, 0.25 sec, F4.4*1
1,769 KB JPEG
2,850 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 1.85
Noise, std dev: 1.77

At ISO 80 the FX7 produces very clean, well detailed images with good color, contrast and edge-to-edge sharpness. Although the FX7 is capturing slightly more detail - especially at the edges of the frame - than the Pentax S5i, it does have slightly more noise (though I suspect this is due to a slightly harsher noise reduction system as the cameras have an identical CCD). Note that the slight differences in color between the two cameras (more visible in the full size images) are down to differences in the effectiveness of their manual white balance functions.

Overall there's little to complain about here - the FX7's little Leica lens is certainly very good for such a compact camera, but don't expect miracles.