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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5

By: Dave Etchells

Panasonic updates its 12x optically stabilized Leica lens digicam to five megapixels.

<<Reference: Datasheet :(Previous) | (Next): DMC-FZ5 Imatest Results>>

DMC-FZ5 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 05/09/2005

Digital Cameras - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 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 strong detail, with good color. Contrast is high, but the midtones have good detail.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.3 EV, less than average, although some midtones are a bit dark at this level.
  • Contrast/Tone: High, but almost no detail lost at this exposure setting, though the midtones are a bit dark. (I felt that the shot at +0.7 EV lost too many highlights though.)
  • White Balance: Auto is most accurate. Daylight was just a little too warm, Manual was slightly red.
  • Color accuracy: Very good, blues are just slightly purple and dark, reds pretty good. Overall color just a hint warm.
  • Skin tones: Slight pink tints, but pretty good overall.
  • Resolution/sharpness: Very good, strong definition in the finer details.
  • Shadow detail: Good, but moderate noise

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files FZ5OUTAP0.HTM through FZ5OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Closer Portrait:

Even better resolution and fine detail, though contrast is again high.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.3 EV, slightly less than average for this shot.
  • Exposure/Tone: High contrast results in harsh skin tones, but midtone detail is good.
  • Detail: Excellent, with great definition.
  • Distortion: None noticeable, 12x zoom lens avoids distortion close-in like this.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files FZ5FACAP0.HTM through FZ5FACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+1.0 EV
Slow-Sync Flash
+1.3 EV

Underexposure with the normal flash mode, but fairly good color, and exposure compensation delivers a nice shot. Brighter results with Slow-Sync mode, but a strong warm cast.

  • Exposure: A +1.0 EV results in a bright exposure, though the default exposure proved quite dark. Slow-Sync mode produced more even lighting at +1.3 EV.
  • Flash balance with room lighting?: Very good in normal mode, with no bluish cast from the flash in the highlights. Slow-Sync mode, resulted in a strong orange cast, pretty typical though.
  • Color: Slightly reddish skin tones, dark colors in bouquet, but quite good overall in the normal mode.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV in the normal flash mode, see files FZ5INFP0.HTM through FZ5INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

To view the same exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files FZ5INFSP0.HTM through FZ5INFSP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

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

Good color with the Manual white balance setting, but strong color casts with Auto and Incandescent options. Good exposure.

  • Exposure: +1.0 EV adjustment needed, about average.
  • White Balance: Auto and Incandescent settings had trouble, but Manual looks good (if slightly cool).
  • Color: Skin tones fairly pink, blue flowers are dark and purplish, other flowers good. (Good, considering the tough light source.)

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files FZ5INMP0.HTM through FZ5INMP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
The DMC-FZ5 generally showed moderate image noise with a fine grain pattern. There's noise in the blue channel, even at ISOs 80 and 100, but it's for the most part invisible when viewing the full-color image. At ISOs 200 and 400, the noise level increases, with stronger blue and yellow pixels present that are visible on-screen. Noise is most distracting at the 400 ISO setting, even though a modest amount of subtle detail is traded away to reduce it. While the noise at ISO 400 is quite distracting on-screen or in large prints, it doesn't look too bad in 5x7 inch prints, and is essentially invisible at 4x6.

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

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

Good color, though slightly cool, with the Manual white balance here. High resolution and strong detail.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Very good, strong detail.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Good.
  • Color: Manual white balance is a little green, Auto is a bit warm, and Daylight slightly warmer. (A toss-up between Manual and Auto, I picked Auto as the sample here.)
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Slight in the brick pattern.




 

Far-Field Test

Very high resolution and strong detail, but high contrast limits the dynamic range.

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: Excellent, a lot of visible fine detail in the foliage and house.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Very good, some softening visible, but much better than average.
  • Color: Very good.
  • Dynamic Range: Somewhat low, moderate loss of detail in both highlights and shadows.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: A little in the deepest shadows, little or none otherwise.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,560 x 1,920
FZ5FAR2560F
FZ5FAR2560N
2,048 x 1,536
FZ5FAR2048
-
1,600 x 1,200
FZ5FAR1600
-
1,280 x 960
FZ5FAR1280
-
640 x 480
FZ5FAR0640
-


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Color Series:

Color Series
Natural
Standard
Vivid



 

Lens Zoom Range

An excellent 12x zoom range.

The DMC-FZ5's focal length range of 36-432mm equivalents is much larger than that of most point & shoot digital cameras. This corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a very substantial telephoto. (And the FZ5's image stabilization technology lets you really make the most of that long tele.)

 

Wide Angle
12x Telephoto
4x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Daylight white balance is a little warm (albeit the best of the three choices here), but very high resolution and great detail.

  • White Balance: Manual setting was quite cool, Auto resulted in a strong warm cast, and Daylight was a little reddish, but probably the best of the three.
  • Color: Daylight WB version is warm, with yellowish skin tones. Blue robe is quite purplish in the deep shadows. Generally rather warm overall.
  • Sharpness/Detail: Excellent. (Pushing the limits of the poster though.)




 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A very small macro area with great detail. Flash has a *lot* of trouble up close though.

  • Minimum Macro Area: Very small, 1.59 x 1.20 inches (40 x 30 millimeters).
  • Softness in corners?: Some, but about average. (Most cameras get fairly soft corners in macro mode.)
  • Flash performance in macro mode?: Ineffective due to the close range and large lens barrel. (Definitely plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots.)



 

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

Nearly accurate color, and a good exposure as well (though contrast is slightly high).

  • White balance: Manual setting produced excellent results, though Auto wasn't too far off (just slightly warm). Daylight was much warmer.
  • Color Accuracy: Very good color accuracy. Strong additive primary colors (red, green, blue) are all somewhat oversaturated, but pretty hue-accurate. Other, less-saturated colors are rendered quite accurately. (Better than average.)
  • Shadow detail and noise: Moderate detail in the briquettes, moderately low noise.




Now, for the REAL technoids, Imatest!

I've recently begun using Norman Koren's excellent "Imatest" analysis program for quantitative, thoroughly objective analysis of digicam test images. For those interested, I've prepared a page summarizing what Imatest showed me about the Panasonic FZ5's images.

The images series below duplicate examples of various camera controls we've already covered above. I include them here though, for our more analytically-minded readers, who'd like to see the effect of various camera controls with a well-known target like the MacBeth Color Checker (tm).


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Color Series:

Color Series
Natural
Standard
Vivid



 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance. Good color and exposure, with low image noise. Good low-light autofocus, but somewhat limited viewfinder capability.

  • Exposure limit: 1/16 foot-candle at ISO 400. (About 1/16 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.) 1/8 foot-candle at ISO 200, and 1/4 foot-candle at ISOs 80 and 100.
  • Autofocus Limit: About 1/6 foot-candle without the AF assist light, in total darkness (on nearby objects) with the AF assist enabled.
  • White Balance: Pretty good.
  • Noise Levels: Fairly low in most shots, though higher at ISO 400 at the lower light levels.
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: Minimal at one foot-candle, noticeable at 1/4 foot-candle.
  • General Notes: The Panasonic FZ5 is a very good low-light shooter, able to focus in pretty dim lighting, and with the exposure flexibility to handle quite dark conditions. Its biggest limitation for after-dark use is its EVF/LCD viewfinder, which is really only usable down to about 1/4 foot-candle. Still, that's about 1/4 the brightness of typical city street lighting at night, so you'll be able to use the FZ5 for after-dark shooting in most lighted areas with little problem.

(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
80
Click to see FZ5LL0803.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL0804.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL0805.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL0806.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL0807.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see FZ5LL1003.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL1004.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL1006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL1006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL1007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see FZ5LL2003.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL2004.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL2005.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL2006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL2007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see FZ5LL4003.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL4004.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL4005.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL4006.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see FZ5LL4007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Average flash performance, strong to about 9-10 feet with the lens at its telephoto setting and ISO set to 80.

  • Flash range at telephoto lens setting: 9-10 feet at ISO 80.
8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see FZ5FL08.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.2
ISO 80
Click to see FZ5FL09.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.2
ISO 80
Click to see FZ5FL10.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 80
Click to see FZ5FL11.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 80
Click to see FZ5FL12.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 80
Click to see FZ5FL13.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 80
Click to see FZ5FL14.JPG
1/60 sec
f3.3
ISO 80



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

High resolution, 1,300 - 1,400 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion at wide angle, low pincushion at telephoto. Good corner sharpness and chromatic aberration at wide angle and normal focal lengths, about average at telephoto.

  • Resolution: 1,400 lines horizontally, 1,300 lines vertically.
  • Artifacts begin at: ~1,100-1,200 lines.
  • Extinction point: ~1,650 lines.

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: 0.8 percent barrel at wide angle, 0.2 percent pincushion at telephoto.
  • Chromatic Aberration: Fairly low, only about two pixels.
  • Corner Sharpness: Very good at wide angle, some softness at telephoto.



Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,560 x 1,920
FZ5RES2560F
FZ5RES2560N
2,048 x 1,536
FZ5RES2048
-
1,600 x 1,200
FZ5RES1600
-
1,280 x 960
FZ5RES1280
-
640 x 480
FZ5RES0640
-


 Resolution Test, Zoom Series
2,560 x 1,920
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
FZ5RESW
2,560 x 1,920
(Fine,
Telephoto)
FZ5REST



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

An accurate "electronic" optical viewfinder.

  • Electronic Optical Viewfinder (EVF) Accuracy: 99 percent at wide angle, likely about 99 percent at telephoto as well (measurement lines cut off).
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: Identical results to the EVF.
  • Flash Uniformity: Very slight falloff at wide angle (better than average though), none at telephoto (12x zoom was too long for flash use on this shot though).



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<<Reference: Datasheet | DMC-FZ5 Imatest Results>>

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