Panasonic FZ7 Noise ?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' started by Diogel, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Diogel

    Diogel Guest


    I am looking into buying a new digi camera. The Panasonic DMC-FZ7
    looks a good bargin now (end of line ?) with all the features I need.
    However, I have read a few reveiws which all seem to agree that there
    is a noise problem, some say with all ISOs others say only the 400 up.
    Again some people say the noise is not a noticeable problem with 4X6
    prints and the lower ISOs, others say it is.

    Any opinions here ?, looks a really good camera for the price.

    Diogel, Mar 13, 2007
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  2. I have the earlier FZ5 camera and like, /all/ small sensor cameras, it
    shows some noise. However, I tend to use it at ISO 100, and noise is not
    a problem with the display and print sizes I use. Be aware that noise is
    somewhat "unfashionable" these days, whereas it can actually add character
    and atmosphere to some shots.

    The FZ7 camera and lens are excellent, and I would not let the noise issue
    put you off. If low noise is absolutely essential, you will need to go to
    a large-sensor camera such as a DSLR.

    David J Taylor, Mar 13, 2007
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  3. Diogel

    J. Clarke Guest

    4x6 at ISO 100? No, there is no "noise problem" with the FZ7 under that

    Note that many self-proclaimed "experts" base their opinions on reviews,
    not on personal experience with the camera. Read the reviews that
    actually incorporate tests and provide comparisons with the results from
    other cameras and you should get a pretty fair assessment.

    It does have higher noise at all ISOs than an APS-C DSLR and at higher
    ISOs it uses very aggressive noise reduction that cuts down on
    sharpness, eventually going to binning which cuts down on resolution as
    well. All of this means that at any ISO, and all else being equal, the
    image will be noisier or less sharp than that from a DSLR. But whether
    this is a _problem_ depends on how you intend to use the resulting
    image. For the web and for small prints if you aren't going to crop
    heavily the results can be very satisfactory at lower ISOs and can still
    be usable for some purposes even at 1600.

    Note that I have an FZ7 and a 30D--at large print sizes and when
    pixel-peeping one can clearly see the difference between the two, but
    under the same conditions and at the same magnification at low ISOs it's
    difficult to see any difference in a small print unless you take a
    magnifier to it and actively look for it knowing what to expect.

    Even with a DSLR the FZ is convenient for those times when you need to
    travel light or don't want to put the DSLR in harm's way.
    It is. But I'd look really hard at the FZ8, which has RAW mode,
    allowing you to address the noise in postprocessing rather than
    in-camera, which gives you a lot more control and usually yields better
    J. Clarke, Mar 13, 2007
  4. Diogel

    Diogel Guest

    Thanks Robert, David and John for your reassurance on the FZ7 noise
    issue. I guess the reviewers might always be comparing against DSLR.

    I do appreciate that a camera with a larger sensor will exhibit lower

    I want a camera which I can stick in my pocket (well almost), but want
    more features than a compact, hence the interest in the FZ7, and the
    price ;-)


    Diogel, Mar 13, 2007
  5. Diogel

    Guest Guest

    I've noticed that "large sensor" and "DSLR" invariably go together when
    noise is being discussed. Are there no large sensor camera with fixed
    lenses? I would a camera similar to the Panasonics, but with a large(r)

    Norm Strong
    Guest, Mar 13, 2007
  6. There's the new Sigma DP-1 (fixed wideangle f/4 lens); not sure it's
    shipping yet. And Sony had one, the DSC-R1. And then there are a
    couple of models that, quibblingly, aren't DSLRs because their digital
    interchangeable-lens rangefinders instead, like the Leica M8 (which has
    the sort of price you'd expect of something called the M8).

    So, what it comes down to, is that Sony tried it once (with a camera
    that sold for $1000), and Sigma is trying it now with a *weird* feature
    mix that I don't understand, and nobody else has done anything like it.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 13, 2007
  7. Diogel

    J. Clarke Guest

    There are two, the Sony DSC-R1 and the Sigma DP-1. The Sony is no
    longer being produced and the Sigma with a rather wide fixed focal
    length lens looks like a nonstarter.

    There's no way to make a camera with an APS-C sensor that has the same
    capabilities as an FZ-7 and is the size of an FZ-7--it would necessarily
    be about the size and weight of a DSLR with a 270mm f/3.3 lens attached
    and would at best cost only slightly less to make.
    J. Clarke, Mar 13, 2007
  8. Diogel

    John Sheehy Guest

    I've found that my FZ50 is actually a lot noisier at ISO 1600 than it needs
    to be; apparently, the camera uses a very pathetic amplifier that has no
    value, as simply pushing ISO 100 gives less noise. That's only useful if
    you push RAW; if you push JPEGs, you're going to be pushing noise reduction

    John Sheehy, Mar 14, 2007
  9. For the price you can't beat it.

    If you're concerned about the noise then why not go to the review on and download the sample images to print. I doubt you'll
    notice anything to worry about at 6x4.
    Jack Torrence, Mar 14, 2007
  10. Diogel

    Guest Guest

    I can't stand noise (graininess in film cameras) and poor resolution. In
    order to get decent results on film, I was willing to use a medium format
    camera and ASA100 film developed in a phenidone developer. I frequently
    used only the center half of the negative and blew it up to 11 x 14. This
    will give you an idea of how important noise will be to me. Speed is a
    secondary issue; most of my photography is posed portraiture.

    My issue with DSLR is dust on the sensor. Unlike film, where you get a
    brand new "sensor" for each exposure, there would seem to be an accumulation
    of dirt on a sensor exposed to the atmosphere.

    Guest, Mar 14, 2007
  11. It's a complete and total non-issue; working with old negatives I
    processed myself, I spend *far* more time eliminating gunk embedded in
    the emulsion than I have ever spent retouching marks from dust on my
    digital sensor. Especially in your case, doing posed portraiture, it
    doesn't look like you'll be giving dust that much time to get in.

    Given your use of medium format for 11x14 prints, and it sounds like B&W
    and special developers, resolution is more likely to be your issue, at
    least with anything affordable.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 14, 2007
  12. Diogel

    Fred Guest

    On the contrary, it's a major consideration when deciding what type of
    camera to buy. I have a friend with a Canon DSLR where every single picture
    exhibits several blemishes across the sky (in the same area every time).
    Certainly it's not a major issue if you never change lenses, but in the real
    world of SLR phototography you may be changing lenses frequently, and you
    can't always chose dust-free laboratory conditions to do this in, lens
    changing takes place anywhere and everywhere in real world situations.

    Noise on the Panasonic FZ series is a complete and total non-issue for
    normal screen viewing, and print sizes for pictures taken up to ISO 100. How
    many people view their photos at 100% on a monitor? I'd heard all this
    scaremongering about noise before I purchased the FZ5, then when I viewed
    the photos on the screen I thought what noise! Certainly if you zoom in to
    100% it may be visible in areas of plain colour like skies, but it's only a
    problem for pixel counters, not ordinary people.

    Note, I own several makes of digital cameras, including a couple of Canons,
    and while the Panasonic may arguably produce the 'noisiest' pictures, the
    Leica lens is really sharp, and the images aren't processed to the point of
    losing highlight detail like on the Canons. It's all horses for courses
    really, you have to decide what's more important for you, over-processed
    pictures, or pictures retaining more detail information.
    Fred, Mar 15, 2007
  13. Diogel

    Diogel Guest

    I have just done that very thing Jack, and I agree with your comment.

    Diogel, Mar 15, 2007
  14. Some people *make* it a major consideration, but for most types of
    photography it's a trivial issue. Yes, sometimes if you miss cleaning
    when you should you'll get some visible spots. They are easy to retouch
    out; in particular, they are easier to retouch out, and there are far
    FAR fewer of them, than on *every single* film scan I've ever worked
    with. So it's a non-issue.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 15, 2007
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