Sunday, November 30, 2008

Panasonic LX3 at High ISO

So DPReview appears to have annoyed some people by giving the Canon G10 a recommended rating instead of highly recommended. I was a bit surprised, since the scuttlebutt (I read a lot of professional photographers) is that this camera is amazing.

Anyway, my fans (how are you both, by the way?) will remember I did a bit of a comparison a while back in hopes of finding the perfect concert camera ... one that I can actually get in (dSLR is out, Fuji F100fs is out, both much too big.) So compacts are my only hope Obi Wan ...

In that comparison, I compared the Canon G10 (leading contender at the time) against the Panasonic G1 (sort of a contender, but kind of big) and the Fuji S100fs (not a contender because of its size.) You can read my conclusions here.

Now ... at the time I didn't think of the LX3 as a contender, and I still don't. The lens simply has no reach. Since I want a concert cam, and since I am not a press photographer, I need something with a little reach.

But the subject keeps coming up, and I realized that I had the perfect basis for comparison of the LX3 to the other three I had already done. So I quickly grabbed the same shot at 800 ISO from the Imaging Resource site (very good images there for this specific purpose) and whipped up a new version of the crops and the 800px web sized images.

So, without further adieu, here are the crops:

My analysis is that the LX3 is tied with the Fuji for being easiest to look at straight from the camera. I think these two have higher sharpening by the way. But no matter, they do a decent job. Still ... none of them avoid the clumping of the hair ... there are simply no individual strands visible ... such is the problem with small sensors, and it is not avoidable with current technology.

To be drive the point home, here again are the crops from the dSLRs I used in the other comparison:

Here, you can start to see individual hairs ... there is far less clumping going on. If you want to be really impressed click over to the other comparison and look at the D700 crops ... mind blowingly clean. Every individual hair is visible.

The other thing to note is the nasty noise reduction artifacts that pepper the LX3's image after a bit of smart sharpening. They are visible in the image from the camera, but obviously are very unfriendly to post processing. The LX3 is a camera you will want to shoot in RAW.

And finally, here are two images at 800 pixels ... they are not labeled, and they are in no specific order. The EXIF is intact for the curious, but frankly I think the G10 and LX3 are quite similar as social cameras. Either takes a usable image 800ISO when processed properly.

By the way ... I bought the Canon G10 yesterday as my concert camera. It was just too tempting. I'll be blogging my first impressions shortly.

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