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Digital Cameras - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ4 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with all that detail, we're posting the thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

"Sunlit" Portrait:
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)

High resolution and good detail, though color is slightly warm and contrast on the high side.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.7 EV, about average.
  • Contrast/Tone: Fairly high, but reasonably good midtones.
  • White Balance: Though just a hint warm, preferred Auto. Manual has more accurate white value, but less appealing skin tones (too red). Daylight setting is quite warm.
  • Color accuracy: Though slightly warm, pretty good overall. Blues are dark and purplish, and the bright reds a little hot and magenta-tinted.
  • Skin tones: Pretty good, but lower midtones get very pink.
  • Resolution/sharpness: Good detail, with slight softening in some areas.
  • Shadow detail: Moderate, with moderate noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files FZ4OUTAP0.HTM through FZ4OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Closer Portrait:

Higher resolution and stronger detail, with good definition. Contrast is again slightly high though.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.3 EV, about average.
  • Exposure/Tone: Contrast is high, creates harsh skin tones with strong highlights.
  • Detail: Stronger detail with good definition.
  • Distortion: Good, 12x zoom lens avoids distortion close-in like this, though some softening in the lower corners is noticeable.

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV, see files FZ4FACMM1.HTM through FZ4FACMP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+0.7 EV
Slow-Sync Flash
+1.3 EV

Acceptable exposure with normal flash mode and a relatively small EV boost. Slow-Sync mode has better coverage, but stronger warm cast.

  • Exposure: Pretty good results at +0.7 EV (less than average required), though default exposure is dark. Slow-Sync mode results in better coverage, but a very strong warm cast at +1.3 EV.
  • Flash balance with room lighting?: Very good, no blue tints from the flash anywhere in the frame.
  • Color: Skin tones are quite red, but other color pretty good considering the strong color cast of the room lighting.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV in the normal flash mode, see files FZ4INFP0.HTM through FZ4INFP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

To view the same exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files FZ4INFSP0.HTM through FZ4INFSP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Slightly cool, but still very good color with the Manual white balance setting. Auto and Incandescent strongly colored. Average exposure.

  • Exposure: +1.0 EV adjustment needed, about average.
  • White Balance: Manual best overall, though a hint cool. Auto and Incandescent settings were too warm.
  • Color: Skin tones rather pink, blue flowers dark and purplish, though overall color still good considering the light source.

 

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files FZ4INMP0.HTM through FZ4INMP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
The FZ4 produces some image noise even at its lowest sensitivity setting, increasing to very high levels at ISO 400. Shots at ISO 200 can be used to make good-looking 8x10 inch prints, but those captured at ISO 400 are really only usable to 5x7. (This isn't all that unusual relative to competing models though.)

ISO Series
ISO 64
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good color and strong detail, though some blurring in the corners.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Strong detail with good definition.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Some softening in all four corners, strongest in the top.
  • Color: Manual white balance most accurate overall though a hint cool, Daylight and Auto settings warmer.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: A moderate amount in the shaded brick areas.





 

Far-Field Test

High resolution and strong detail, but very limited highlight detail.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance, and to present a near-infinite range of detail to the camera. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Very good, a lot of fine detail in the foliage.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Slight softening in the top corners, but bottom corners look pretty good.
  • Color: Good, but greens are more yellowish than in real life.
  • Dynamic Range: A little low, moderate loss of detail in the highlights, though the shadows are bright. (It was rather hazy when these shots were taken, so the contrast of the lighting is lower than usual. This makes for brighter shadows, but should also help the highlights somewhat. Bottom line, the dynamic range is on the low side.)
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: A small amount in the shadowed bricks.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,304 x 1,728
FZ4FAR2304F
FZ4FAR2304N
1,600 x 1,200
FZ4FAR1600
-
1,280 x 960
FZ4FAR1280
-
640 x 480
FZ4FAR0640
-


ISO Series:
As before, some noise even at ISO 64, but not noticeable at that level. Noticeable but acceptable at ISO 200, high at ISO 400.

ISO Series
ISO 64
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Natural Color
Vivid Color
Cool Color
Warm Color
Black & White
Sepia



 

Lens Zoom Range

Great 12x zoom range.

The FZ4's focal length range of 35-420mm equivalents is much larger than most consumer digital cameras, and quite generous. It corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a really long telephoto.

Wide Angle
12x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Cool to magenta color balance, but high resolution and strong detail.

  • White Balance: Though a bit cool overall, Manual setting was best. Auto and Daylight settings both too warm.
  • Color: Cool, magenta skin tones. Blue robe and background both purplish.
  • Sharpness/Detail: Excellent detail, with good definition. (Close to the limits of the poster though.)





 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A very small macro area with great detail. Flash is blocked by the lens at close range though.

  • Minimum Macro Area: 1.54 x 1.15 inches (39 x 29 millimeters), very good.
  • Softness in corners?: A fair amount, slightly more than average. (Most cameras get fairly soft corners in macro mode.)
  • Flash performance in macro mode?: Long lens barrel blocks flash. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest shots.)





 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good overall exposure, color is more oversaturated than average, with some hue errors.

  • White balance: Manual setting very good. Auto and Daylight settings both warm.
  • Color Accuracy: Primary colors (red, green, and blue) are all more oversaturated than is typical (blues in particular). Cyan is shifted far toward blue, more so than average.
  • Shadow detail and noise: Limited detail in the briquettes, with moderate noise.



The results in the tests below mirror those seen above in other test shots. The test series are repeated here without further comment, for the benefit of our more quantitatively-oriented readers.


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 64
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Standard Color
Natural Color
Vivid Color
Cool Color
Warm Color
Black & White
Sepia




 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance with good color, though noise is high. Autofocus system works to a bit darker than 1/8 foot-candle, fine for average city night scenes.

  • Exposure limit: 1/16 foot-candle at ISO 400. (About 1/4 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.) 1/8 foot-candle at ISO 200, 1/4 foot-candle at 100, and 1/2 foot-candle at 64.
  • Autofocus Limit: About 1/8 foot-candle. (About 1/8 the brightness of typical city street lighting.)
  • White Balance: Good.
  • Noise Levels: On the high side, particularly at lower light levels.
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: Minimal at one foot-candle, but more noticeable at 1/4 foot-candle and darker.
  • General Notes: The Panasonic FZ4 does well at low-light shooting, exposing properly down to half the light level of typical city night scenes, even at its lowest ISO setting, and much darker at higher ISO values. Its autofocus system works well down to 1/8 the typical brightness of city night scenes, a very good performance. The biggest drawbacks of the FZ4 for after-dark shooting is its relatively high noise levels, particularly at ISO 400, and unimpressive flash range at lower ISO settings. All in all though, it should work just fine for typical city night scenes, so should meet the needs of most consumers in this area.

(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
ISO
64
Click to see FZ4LL06403.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL06404.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL06405.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL06406.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL06407.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see FZ4LL10003.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL10004.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL10005.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL10006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL10007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see FZ4LL20003.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL20004.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL20005.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL20006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL20007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see FZ4LL40003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL40004.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL40005.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL40006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ4LL40007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Slightly underexposed at eight feet, with decreasing intensity to 14 feet.

  • Flash range at telephoto lens setting: Eight feet.
8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see FZ4FL08.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.2
ISO 64
Click to see FZ4FL09.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.2
ISO 64
Click to see FZ4FL10.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 64
Click to see FZ4FL11.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 64
Click to see FZ4FL12.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 64
Click to see FZ4FL13.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 64
Click to see FZ4FL14.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 64



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Fair resolution, 1,100 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion at wide angle, very little distortion at telephoto. Moderate to high chromatic aberration, strong softening in the corners at telephoto.

 

  • Resolution: 1,100 lines both vertically and horizontally. (You could argue for 1,150 or 1,200, but artifacts start to overwhelm the target details at those levels.)
  • Artifacts begin at: ~800 lines.
  • Extinction point: ~1,600 lines.

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: 0.8 percent barrel at wide angle, 0.1 percent pincushion at telephoto.
  • Chromatic Aberration: Moderate at wide angle, much stronger at telephoto.
  • Corner Sharpness: Pretty good at wide angle, though top corners are slightly soft. Telephoto focal lengths produce stronger softening in all four corners.



Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,304 x 1,728
FZ4RES2304F
FZ4RES2304N
1,600 x 1,200
FZ4RES1600
-
1,280 x 960
FZ4RES1280
-
640 x 480
FZ4RES0640
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
2,304 x 1,728
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
FZ4RESW
2,304 x 1,728
(Fine,
Telephoto)
FZ4REST



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

An accurate EVF and LCD monitor. Slight flash falloff at wide angle, too weak for use at full telephoto.

  • Electronic Optical Viewfinder (EVF) Accuracy: About 99 percent at wide angle and telephoto.
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: Same as EVF, since essentially the same view on a larger screen.
  • Flash Uniformity: Slight falloff at wide angle (better than average though). At full 12x telephoto, flash isn't strong enough to reach the test target, but lighting is very uniform.



FZ4 Review
FZ4 Test Images
FZ4 Specifications
FZ4 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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