Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 Concise Review
With tiny, high pixel count chips noise is always going to be an issue, and to a large degree this is more a test of the effectiveness (both measurable and visible) of a camera's noise reduction system. Designers have to balance the desire to produce smooth, clean results with the need to retain as much detail as possible (if you blur away the noise, you blur away image detail too).
Like its predecessors the TZ5 has very low measurable noise at all ISO settings. Of course this is not the result of some superior sensor design but due to the application of strong noise reduction even at low sensitivities. Panasonic has slightly changed its noise reduction with this new TZ generation and the adoption of the Venus IV engine. While noise reduction is still strong compared to most of the competitors it is not as heavy-handed as it was on the TZ3. The result is a fairly soft image (although not as soft as the TZ3's output) that unfortunately even at base ISO shows a touch of noise. While this is acceptable for normal printing / viewing sizes from ISO 400 upwards the images start lacking a large proportion of fine detail and get visibly softer and noisier.
If the scenes you capture include a lot of fine detail and textures you're stuck with very small print sizes, the image quality is simply not good enough for anything bigger than postcard size. ISO 1600 is so noisy, blurry and full of artifacts that frankly I cannot see the point of even offering this setting.
Like its predecessor the TZ5 has a special 'high sensitivity' mode that offers higher than ISO 1600 sensitivity, but since it uses pixel binning the results are very, very low resolution, and have not been included in our test procedure.
|ISO 100||ISO 200||ISO 400||ISO 800||ISO 1600|
Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity is on the vertical axis. The graph indicates very low noise levels at all sensitivities, in fact black luminance noise even decreases from ISO 400 onwards. This of course has nothing to do with Panasonic's sensor but is all down to its in-camera noise reduction software which at higher ISOs generates soft, blurred images which are lacking most of the fine image detail. It's not significantly worse than most other compact cameras but we definitely have seen better results.
Low contrast detail
What the crops and graph 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'. In this test the crops below show the effect of the noise reduction on such texture (hair) as you move up the ISO range.
|ISO 100||ISO 200||ISO 400|
|ISO 800||ISO 1600|
The detail blurring caused by noise reduction is pretty evident at ISO 100 already and only gets worse from there. At ISO 200 the smearing will be visible even in smaller prints and at ISOs higher than that our subject hair has been converted into an undistinguishable yellowish mess.
The smearing of fine detail is common to almost all compact cameras but the TZ5 (like its predecessors) is located towards the worse end of the spectrum. If fine details and textures are important in your images you should really stick to base ISO, otherwise you won't be happy with your results. High ISO output is good enough for the occasional party picture but certainly not for any type of serious photography.
Apr 22, 2008
Jan 29, 2008
Apr 14, 2011
Apr 14, 2011
|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
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
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.