Compared to... Panasonic FS-20

Here is a comparison between the Sony T300 and the Panasonic FS-20 at an intermediate ISO setting (400 in this case). Because all compact cameras produce their best performance at their lowest sensitivity settings, we would hope that most people will only raise the ISO when they absolutely have to and, on that logic, ISO 200 offers too little shutter speed advantage to compensate for the loss of image quality. ISO 400 is likely to be the next setting used because it offers at least four-times faster shutter speeds for when the action is too fast or the light too low for the base setting to be used.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 400)

  • Sony T300: Program mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Cool white fluorescent white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
  • Panasonic FS-20: Program mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony T300
Panasonic FS-20
ISO 400, 1/400 sec, F4.5
ISO 400, 1/250 sec, F5.2
3,382 KB JPEG
3,594 KB JPEG

At ISO 400, where it's quite normal for image quality to begin dropping off, the T300's artifacts seen at base ISO are all emphasized to a much greater extent. Noise reduction and sharpening artifacts are more readily evident including the flat areas of color on the watchface and around the edges of the paperclips. Noise isn't overbearing but contrast and detail have both been lost to noise reduction. It's doing a better job than the Panasonic, however, which is blurring its already rather soft image with heavy noise reduction.

The reds in the Sony's image are slightly unnerving, with most of them glowing pink, rather than red. Although there isn't a manual white balance setting, one of its fluorescent settings matched our studio lights almost as closely as we'd expect setting a manual white balance to do, so it's a conscious decision on Sony's part.