Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Review
Low contrast detail & NR options
What the crops and graph on the previous page don't show is the effect of noise reduction on low contrast fine detail such as hair, fur or foliage. An inevitable side effect of noise removal is that this kind of detail is also blurred or smeared, resulting in a loss of 'texture'. The crops below show the effect of the three levels of noise reduction on such texture (fur) as you move up the ISO range.
|ISO 100 Low NR||ISO 100 Standard NR||ISO 100 High NR|
|ISO 200 Low NR||ISO 200 Standard NR||ISO 200 High NR|
|ISO 400 Low NR||ISO 400 Standard NR||ISO 400 High NR|
|ISO 800 Low NR||ISO 800 Standard NR||ISO 800 High NR|
At base ISO (100) there's little difference between the low and standard noise reduction settings, though the High setting is producing the classic smearing that robs shots of the fine low contrast detail needed to preserve the 'texture' of a scene. At ISO 200, however, the difference is stark, with the standard NR setting having a serious destructive effect on the low contrast fur detail. We saw the same problem with grass and other fine foliage, even in prints at 8x10 inches or less - Panasonic is blurring the chroma noise away, and this is the result
The low NR setting is a little better, preserving a touch more texture, though you can see noise in areas of flat color and in shadows using this setting. At the end of the day it's easier to remove noise (selectively if necessary) than to put back lost detail (which is, by definition, impossible) - so you may want to permanently turn the NR down to low, particularly if you are using anything over ISO 200.
At ISO 400 things are less clear-cut; the Low NR setting looks slightly sharper, but there's not a lot more information there (the high setting is almost noise - and detail - free), so it's going to be a matter of taste more than anything. At ISO 800 and above there's little point worrying about the NR setting.
Other Image Parameters
Although the inclusion of raw mode offers a considerably more comprehensive way to customize the output of the FZ8, there are, of course, many users who want or need to shoot JPEGs. Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities for experimentation, with NR (see above), sharpness, saturation and contrast all controllable in-camera. The examples below give some idea of the variations you can obtain (we're not talking about big changes from one setting to another here). I wouldn't recommend using any of the setting on 'high' (though on a dull day a saturation boost can be useful) - contrast 'high' is particularly unpredictable - but it's nice to know you can set everything to 'Low' and get an image that is clean enough for fairly extensive post-processing.
|All settings default||100% crop|
|Contrast Low (all others default)||100% crop|
|Contrast High (all others default)||100% crop|
|Sharpness Low (all others default)||100% crop|
|Sharpness High (all others default)||100% crop|
|Saturation Low (all others default)||100% crop|
|Saturation High (all others default)||100% crop|
|Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness Low||100% crop|
|Douaumont Ossuary by Eric 54-BNF|
from Armistice Day
|Silhouette at sunset by Jill Hancock|
from Portrait Lens (around 80mm or equivalent - please check the full rules)
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.