Compared to... Ricoh R8

Despite its shorter 7.1x zoom lens the Ricoh R8 is currently the Panasonic TZ5's closest competitor in the market place. Like the Panasonic it comes with a 28mm wide angle. While the tele end is a little shorter (200mm vs the TZ5's 280mm) at 10MP the Ricoh sports a marginally higher resolution. The cameras are almost identical in size (the Ricoh is even a tad smaller) and feature a similarly well built metal body. In this section you'll find studio comparisons at ISO 100 and ISO 800.

Studio scene comparison (TZ5 @ ISO 100, R8 @ ISO 64)

  • Panasonic DMC-TZ5: Program AE mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation

  • Ricoh R8: Program mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Panasonic DMC-TZ5
Ricoh R8
ISO 100, 1/80 sec, F4.4
ISO 64, 1/52 sec, F4.2
4,228 KB JPEG
3,518 KB JPEG

At first sight the Ricoh appears to produce much sharper output than the TZ5. However, this is only half the story. The image processors in both cameras apply quite a bit of noise reduction even at base ISO. While the Panasonic then leaves the image as it is, the Ricoh applies some very heavy-handed sharpening.

This gives a crisp appearance to the photos but in some areas goes too far; there are quite a few visible sharpening artifacts (easily seen on the paperclips). You can reduce in-camera sharpening on the R8, although only to a certain degree. The Panasonic leaves more options to the user in so far that you can always apply sharpening to your taste in post processing.

The Panasonic/Leica lens beats the Ricoh's by a tiny bit, offering better edge-to-edge sharpness.