Panasonic Lumix GF1 Review
ISO / Sensitivity accuracy
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.
We found the GF1's indicated sensitivity when shooting JPEGs (standard settings) to be just under half a stop averaging ~0.4EV) lower than the actual sensitivity (in other words, the GF1 is around a third of a stop more sensitive than it says it is). By comparison the Olympus E-P1's indicated ISO settings are an almost perfect match for its measured sensitivity (these days most digital SLRs mave fairly accurate ISO values when used at their default settings).
|ISO 100||ISO 125||ISO 100|
|ISO 200||ISO 250||ISO 200|
|ISO 400||ISO 500||ISO 400|
|ISO 800||ISO 1000||ISO 800|
|ISO 1600||ISO 2000||ISO 1600|
|ISO 3200||ISO 4000||ISO 3200|
|ISO 6400||n/a||ISO 6400|
* Approximate values, default settings (except E-P1, which has Gradation 'off').
What all this means is that at the same ISO setting the GF1 will require a little less exposure than the E-P1 to get the same result. For example the GF1 might use a 1/15 second where the E-P1 needs 1/10th (all shutter speeds are 'rounded' so these won't be the exact values). In truth you could simply under expose the E-P1 by a third of a stop and brighten a little in post-processing.
Such is the rather imprecise nature of ISO measurements when shooting JPEGs that you could also switch the E-P1's auto gradation setting on to get exactly the same middle gray value for the same exposure - in other words you'd get essentially the same ISO values). It's certainly not worth worrying about.
ISO Sensitivity / Noise levelsISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the sensor. This works by turning up the "volume" (gain) on the sensor's signal amplifiers (remember the sensor is an analogue device). By amplifying the signal you also amplify the noise which becomes more visible at higher ISO's. Many modern cameras also employ noise reduction and / or sharpness reduction at higher sensitivities.
To measure noise levels we take a sequence of images of a GretagMacBeth ColorChecker chart (controlled artificial daylight lighting). The exposure is matched to the ISO (ie. ISO 200, 1/200 sec for consistency of exposure between cameras). The image sequence is run through our own proprietary noise measurement tool (version 1.5 in this review). Click here for more information. Room temperature is approximately 22°C (~72°F), simulated daylight lighting.
Panasonic DMC-GF1 vs Olympus E-P1 vs. Panasonic LX3 vs. Canon EOS 500D
- Panasonic DMC-GF1: Olympus 50 mm F2.0 Macro lens (via adapter), Aperture Priority, Manual WB,
Default Parameters, Noise Reduction Standard (0), JPEG Large / Fine
- Olympus E-P1: Olympus 50 mm F2.0 Macro lens (via adapter), Aperture Priority, Manual WB,
Default Parameters, Normal Picture Mode, Gradation Normal, Noise Filter Standard, JPEG Large / Fine
- Canon EOS 500D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 USM lens, Aperture Priority, Manual WB,
Default Parameters, Standard Picture Style, NR Standard, JPEG Large / Fine
- Panasonic DMC-LX3: Aperture Priority, Manual WB,
Default Parameters, Normal Picture Mode, Default Parameters, Noise Reduction Standard (0), JPEG Large / Fine
|Panasonic GF1||Olympus E-P1||Canon EOS 500D||Panasonic LX3|
Up to ISO 400 there's not a huge difference in noise levels (or the visible effect of noise reduction) between any of these cameras (even the small sensor compact, the Panasonic LX3, is pretty close). Once you get to ISO 800 and above the output starts to diverge, with the LX3 falling away rapidly (high ISO performance is still the Achilles' heel of compact cameras). Comparing the three large sensor cameras it's obvious they're all fighting noise pretty aggressively, and the main differences here are down to the type and strength of noise reduction being used. The EOS 500D does best balancing noise and detail (especially when you take into account its higher pixel count, which means a little less magnification is needed for the same reproduction size).
At higher ISO the difference between Panasonic and Olympus's approach to noise reduction is immediately obvious. Presuming that the amount of noise both have to deal with is roughly the same (it's essentially the same sensor), it's clear that Panasonic has chosen to concentrate (as usual) on chroma noise, leaving quite a lot of grainy luminance noise in the image (and therefore preserving more detail). By comparison Olympus has gone for heavier luminance noise reduction, producing a far smoother, but less detailed result.
Which you prefer is mostly down to taste as long as you remember two things: firstly, it's a lot easier to increase luminance noise reduction in post processing than it is to bring back detail never captured in-camera and secondly all these cameras offer noise reduction options that reduce the differences significantly.
|Panasonic GF1 vs Olympus E-P1 vs Panasonic LX3 vs Canon EOS 500D|
Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity on the vertical axis.
Raw noise compared (ACR)
Switching to raw and converting using our benchmark developer (Adobe Camera Raw) - with all noise reduction turned off - reveals just how similar the GF1 is to the E-P1 and, for that matter, to the EOS 500D. We consistently measured the GF1 as slightly noisier than the E-P1 at anything over ISO 800, so to make sure we weren't seeing some Adobe Camera Raw issue, we tried again with several raw converters, including DCRaw. In every case the GF1 showed visibly more chroma noise, leading us to conclude that something in the signal pathway on the E-P1 is doing a better job at reducing - or not introducing - noise.
|Panasonic GF1 RAW||Olympus E-P1 RAW||Canon EOS 500D RAW||Panasonic LX3 RAW|
Four Thirds cameras compared (JPEG, default)
Before we move on let's take a quick look at how the G-F1 compares with the other two Micro Four Thirds cameras (the Panasonic GH1 and Olympus E-P1) - and the nearest Four Thirds camera, spec-wise (the Olympus E-620). Three of these cameras are presumed to share the same 12 megapixel LiveMOS sensor, with the GH1 sporting a slightly higher-spec multi aspect ratio version.
Unsurprisingly there's not a lot between them up to ISO 800. At higher settings it's all about the amount and type of in-camera noise reduction being applied (remembering these are all at the default setting), with the Panasonic GH1 probably the best of the bunch by a whisker. By default the E-P1 applies a little too much noise reduction for our liking, but this is easily changed in-camera.
|Panasonic GF1||Panasonic GH1||Olympus E-P1||Olympus E-620|
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Introduction
- 3 What's New
- 4 Specifications
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Body & Design
- 7 Body & Design
- 8 Operation & Controls
- 9 Operation & Controls
- 10 Operation (live view)
- 11 Displays
- 12 Menus
- 13 Menus
- 14 Performance
- 15 Photographic tests (RAW)
- 16 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 17 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 18 Photographic tests (DR)
- 19 Photographic tests (Kit Lens)
- 20 Photographic tests
- 21 Movie Mode
- 22 Compared to
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 30 Compared to (Resolution)
- 31 Compared to (Resolution)
- 32 Real world GF1 vs EP1
- 33 Conclusion
- 34 Samples
Oct 14, 2009
Sep 2, 2009
Oct 10, 2012
Oct 12, 2012
|Devil Rock (Stuttgart, Germany) by cornissimo|
from Neon Signs
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.
Snapchat's camera-equipped 'Spectacles' aren't so difficult to get anymore. You can now pick up a pair through Amazon for $130.
A group of thieves has made away with tens of thousands in camera gear through a carefully orchestrated scam through Venmo and Facebook Marketplace.