Pop Photo HAMMERS Panasonic FZ30 over noise

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' started by Rich, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Rich

    Rich Guest

    They reviewed it, liked the resolution, but said that noise levels
    even at 100 ISO were "unacceptable." To give you an idea of what
    they consider unacceptable, the Rebel XT at 1600 was deemed as
    noisy at that setting. The commented that Panasonic's line all
    display this problem. Looking at the image samples on dpreview.com,
    it seems that the problem manifests itself mostly in underexposed
    areas of images when using higher ISO settings. All images even when
    exposed for properly have under and over exposed areas. Note the
    face in this image looks fine, being close to "high key", with minimal
    noise intrusion because of the illumination level. The hair shows
    considerable noise, as does the darker background.

    http://img2.dpreview.com/gallery/panasonicfz30_samples/originals/picture-165.jpg
     
    Rich, Dec 17, 2005
    #1
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  2. Rich

    Bill Funk Guest

    I see two faces in that image; the one on the right is horrible due to
    noise, and the one on the left is actually recognizable as a face, but
    not by much, the noise is so bad.
    If either of these faces look "fine" to you, I wonder what would look
    "poor."
    Are you looking at the photo in real size, or compressed?
    The noise in the building in the top half and the left of the photo is
    extremely bad.
     
    Bill Funk, Dec 17, 2005
    #2
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  3. Rich

    Paul Allen Guest

    Yes, the FZ-30 is not a DSLR. Tell us something new. That image
    was shot at ISO 400. Everybody knows what to expect from that.

    Pop Photo says all Panasonic cameras have bad noise problems, but they
    don't mention that all small-sensor cameras have noise problems? So
    much for their credibility.

    Paul Allen
     
    Paul Allen, Dec 17, 2005
    #3
  4. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Some are worse than others. Even a P&S should present a relatively
    noiseless image at 100 ISO or less.
    -Rich
     
    Rich, Dec 18, 2005
    #4
  5. Rich

    Paul Allen Guest

    Yup. Some are worse than others. The FZ30 is a bit worse than some
    at ISO 100, and really terrible at higher ISO's. To assert that
    Panasonic's whole line is as bad as the FZ30 (and to imply that no
    other small-sensor cameras have trouble with noise) is incorrect at
    best, and grossly dishonest at worst. The sample image was ISO 400,
    not ISO 100, a detail that had to be dredged out of the EXIF because
    the OP didn't tell us. I think he has an ax to grind.

    Paul Allen
     
    Paul Allen, Dec 18, 2005
    #5
  6. Rich

    SMS Guest

    They're not the first reviewer to hammer the FZ30 on the noise issue.

    dpreview wrote: "Noise is even an issue at ISO 80, a real problem at ISO
    400 or in very low light"

    dcresource wrote: "Unfortunately, noise levels are above average,
    especially at ISO 200 and 400," concluding "if the noise levels were
    lower it would easily be one of the best cameras on the market, period."
     
    SMS, Dec 18, 2005
    #6
  7. SMS wrote:
    []
    Whatever these so-called reviews write, there are many happy users of the
    Panasonic FZ30 who are using it in real-world situations to take real
    photographs of real scenes, not of some test card and measure the result
    in software.

    What these reviewers and their software don't yet seem to do is to figure
    in the way the human eye responds to noise. Looking at an image at 100%
    zoom is like displaying it 30 or more inches wide on many displays. Who
    wouldn't expect and image to show imperfections at that magnification!

    The FZ30 may be a little noisier than some, but it's a very usable camera.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 18, 2005
    #7
  8. Rich

    HornBlower Guest

    Well, I am very happy with my FZ30. In fact I junked a 20D with 3 lenses to
    get it and like it much better. The same image Rich wants you to look at is
    not typical of the camera and it was not shot at ISO 100. He didn't bother
    to tell you that in his rantings.

    r
     
    HornBlower, Dec 18, 2005
    #8
  9. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Two different sources. Images from dpreview.com, review from Popular
    Photography.
    -Rich
     
    Rich, Dec 18, 2005
    #9
  10. Rich

    Rich Guest

    It's resolution puts it (I believe) at the top of the list of
    prosumers right now. The problem with noise is that in some
    instances, it can be dealt with without wholesale destruction of
    detail, but in others, it kills the images to "clean it up." People's
    faces when suffused with noise are generally unrecoverable,
    but things like buildings can be made to look acceptable.
    -Rich
     
    Rich, Dec 18, 2005
    #10
  11. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Can you owners not inject personal sensitivities into things?
    If the camera suits you, that's all that matters. If NO ONE esle
    adopts it, it is no reflection on you, at least none that has any
    lasting consequences. People should do what you did; If the camera
    you have just doesn't suit you, get rid of it and don't take offense
    when your choice doesn't suit others.
    -Rich
     
    Rich, Dec 18, 2005
    #11
  12. Rich

    Rich Guest


    You have to wonder though about reviews that show dozens of shots at
    80 ISO and virtually none at higher ISOs. Example; dpreview's review
    of it, and they still criticized it! I don't know what their review
    strategy really is. They should have had shots at 80, 160/200, 320
    and 400, an equal number, with shots of people, objects, close-ups
    and distant. 28 shots of brightly lit daylight scenes at 80 ISO do
    not a review sample make.
    -Rich
     
    Rich, Dec 18, 2005
    #12
  13. Rich

    SMS Guest

    Isn't there a market for an FZ-30 type camera with a larger, lower noise
    sensor, even if it means that the zoom range was shifted down, more
    toward wide-angle i.e. a 24-300mm rather than a 35-420mm?

    In fact, aside from the noise issue, the reason that many people would
    not consider an FZ-30 is that the zoom range is too high with no wide-angle.

    Better to buy a digital SLR with a wide-range lens, like the Sigma
    18-200mm. Sure the lens isn't the greatest, the wide-range lenses never
    are. If you want better lenses later on, you can buy them.

    For example, for $533 (after rebate) you can buy a Konica-Minolta 5D,
    and for $369 you can buy a Sigma Zoom Super Wide Angle 18-200mm
    f/3.5-6.3. Not the greatest lens in the world, but pretty good.

    Yes, it ends up costing a lot more than the FZ-30, $900 versus $550, but
    it's money well spent if you care about the image quality.

    I just don't understand spending $550 on a camera that by all accounts
    has serious image quality issues. Stick with film instead.
     
    SMS, Dec 18, 2005
    #13
  14. Rich

    Paul Allen Guest

    Time out! All of the reviewers have seen bad noise from the FZ30
    at high ISO's, but none (except apparently Popular Photography)
    are saying the noise is unacceptable at the lowest ISO. If
    Popular Photography is saying all Panasonic cameras have bad noise
    problems and the FZ30 in particular is unusable at ISO 100, they're
    not credible.

    Paul Allen
     
    Paul Allen, Dec 19, 2005
    #14
  15. Learn that just because a lab-based reviewer sees a little more noise in
    an image than they like, it may not render the camera useless for actual
    photographic work.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 19, 2005
    #15
  16. Rich wrote:
    []
    That simply would not reflect how you use the camera in practice. If you
    are concerned about noise, with a small-sensor camera you will try and use
    the lowest sensitivity possible, so the great majority if your shots would
    be at ISO 80. ISO 400 would be used only when it was absolutely
    essential, and no more light or exposure time could be found.

    In fact, perhaps it would be fairer to test cameras at particular lighting
    levels, because testing at a fixed speed does not show the gain in lens
    speed (e.g. between the f/2.8 of the Panasonic FZ20 and the f/4.9 of the
    Nikon 8800, and yes, I know the sensor on those cameras differs).

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 19, 2005
    #16
  17. Rich

    SMS Guest

    dpreview wrote: "Noise is even an issue at ISO 80, a real problem at ISO
    400 or in very low light."

    Have to agree with dcresource: "if the noise levels were lower it would
    easily be one of the best cameras on the market, period."
     
    SMS, Dec 19, 2005
    #17
  18. I don't think that anyone who has done their homework would expect a small
    sensor camera to produce noise-free images at ISO 400. By providing large
    aperture lenses and image stabilisation, you can reduce the number of
    times you need to use ISO 400, though.

    I think we would all welcome improvements in sensors aimed to reduce the
    noise level, though.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 19, 2005
    #18
  19. Well, there's nothing to stop you lowering the resolution on the FZ30 (or
    most other cameras) to something smaller than its native size. The FZ30
    offers 1280 x 960, for example. I would expect the result to be
    lower-noise with that resolution. Yes, there may be slight penalty from
    averaging four small pixels to make one big one, if the light-sensitive
    fill percentage of the smaller pixels is less.

    Of course, there are always situations where the greater sensor size of
    the DSLR will win, and you have the chance to use faster lenses, but these
    are more specialised areas requiring more expensive, bulky and heavier
    kit. Anyone who has been sold the FZ30 as being "fit for purpose" in such
    situations has been mis-sold the camera, and (in the UK) would have some
    legal redress.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Dec 19, 2005
    #19
  20. Rich

    John Bean Guest

    Are you sure you're not confusing sensor "sizes" (1/1.8" for
    example) with their dimensions?

    A 1/1.8" sensor measures about 7.2mm diagonally which is a
    long way short of 2/3" - in fact less than 1.3".

    If you meant it was almost the size of a 2/3" sensor (which
    has a 11mm diagonal) that's not true either.
     
    John Bean, Dec 19, 2005
    #20
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