Panasonic FZ2500 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Panasonic FZ2500's image quality to its shorter-zoom sibling, the FZ1000, as well as to its nearest 1"-sensor rivals, the Canon G3X, Sony RX10 III and Sony RX10 II. We've also included the Panasonic FZ300 as an example of a smaller-sensored camera based on a 1/2.3" sensor, to illustrate the advantages of the larger 1"-type sensor the FZ2500 and others in this group have.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison have fixed zoom lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Panasonic FZ2500, Panasonic FZ1000, Panasonic FZ300, Canon G3X, Sony RX10 III, and Sony RX10 II -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Panasonic FZ2500 to any camera we've ever tested!

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Panasonic FZ1000 at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 125
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 125
Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 125

Here we compare the FZ2500 with its 20x 24-480mm eq. f/2.8-4.5 zoom to the Panasonic FZ1000 which has a 16x 25-400mm eq. f/2.8-4 zoom lens. These two siblings share the same or very similar sensors, so the slight differences we see here at base ISO are mostly due to revised processing, as the FZ2500 uses a newer processor. Noise levels look slightly lower from the FZ2500 but so is detail in our tricky red-leaf swatch, however that's mostly due to updated noise processing as noise in the matching RAW files looks nearly identical. The FZ2500 also produces more pleasing colors also due to updated processing.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Panasonic FZ300 at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 100
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 125
Panasonic FZ300 at ISO 100

Above we compare the FZ2500 to its baby brother, the FZ300. The later has a 24x 25-600mm eq. f/2.8 lens coupled to a much smaller 12-megapixel 1/2.3"-type sensor. As you can see, the 20-megapixel FZ2500 clearly out-resolves the FZ300 here at base ISO, and it also produces lower noise levels even though base ISO is a bit higher. Colors are also more pleasing from the newer FZ2500.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Canon G3X at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 125
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 125
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 125
Canon G3X at ISO 125

The Canon G3X also uses a 20-megapixel 1"-type sensor, but it's coupled to a 25x 24-600mm eq. f/2.8-5.6 zoom lens. Here at base ISO, image quality is comparable between these two rivals, however the FZ2500's image is a little cleaner as well as a bit crisper and contrastier, though the G3X does a better job with the subtle detail in our troublesome red-leaf swatch. Interestingly, the FZ2500 does better with the pink fabric.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 III at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 100
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 125
Sony RX10 III at ISO 100

This is a comparison with another camera sporting a 1"-type 20-megapixel sensor, the Sony RX10 III. It has a 25x 24-600mm eq. f/2.4-4 lens which is both faster and longer than the FZ2500's. Here at base ISO, both resolve about the same amount of detail in most areas, but the Sony produces a crisper, more contrasty image, however fine detail appears a little more natural from the Panasonic in the mosaic crop. Noise levels from the Sony are a bit lower, but notice the slightly lower base ISO as well. The Sony also does noticeably better in our tricky red-leaf fabric, and colors are arguably more pleasing from the Sony as well.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 II at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 100
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 125
Sony RX10 II at ISO 100

The Sony RX10 II has a 1"-type 20-megapixel sensor as well, however with only an 8.3x 24-200mm eq. f/2.8 zoom, it has by far the shortest zoom range of the group, and is thus not a direct competitor for some. It's still a DSLR-styled all-in-one in roughly the same price category, though, so we thought we'd include it anyway. Unsurprisingly, the Sony RX10 II's image quality is very similar to its bigger brother, the RX10 III, and so the differences compared to the FZ2500 are also very similar.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, the FZ2500's revised processing does yield marginally better detail as well as more pleasing color, however image quality is otherwise very similar. Both cameras really struggle with our tricky red-leaf swatch, blurring out almost all detail.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Panasonic FZ300 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ300 at ISO 1600

Above at ISO 1600 we can see the FZ2500's much larger sensor is paying major dividends in terms of image quality, producing much better detail as well as lower noise and fewer noise reduction artifacts. Color also remains better from the newer FZ2500.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Canon G3X at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 1600
Canon G3X at ISO 1600

Luminance noise is noticeably higher from the G3X here at ISO 1600, which gives the Canon image a very grainy look. The higher noise from the G3X also interferes with the rendering of fine detail in the mosaic crop, as the FZ2500 is able to hold onto more detail there. The Canon however does better than the Panasonic in the red-leaf fabric, but the Panasonic manages a bit better with the pink fabric.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 III at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 1600
Sony RX10 III at ISO 1600

The Panasonic does a much better job at retaining fine, fairly crisp detail in our mosaic crop while producing much lower noise levels in flatter areas here at ISO 1600. And while the Sony appears to do better in the red-leaf fabric, much of the detail is badly distorted and false. The Sony does however continue to produce better contrast and more neutral colors.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 II at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 1600
Sony RX10 II at ISO 1600

Again, a very similar comparison between the FZ2500 and RX10 II here with the Panasonic producing a cleaner, more detailed image except in the red-leaf fabric.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 3200
Panasonic FZ1000 at ISO 3200

Apart from improved contrast and colors, image quality from these two siblings is similar, with both obviously struggling to retain fine detail at ISO 3200.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Panasonic FZ300 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 3200
Panasonic FZ300 at ISO 3200

There's just no contest here at ISO 3200, with the FZ2500 producing a much more usable image than the FZ300 in every regard.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Canon G3X at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 3200
Canon G3X at ISO 3200

High luminance noise continues to hold the Canon G3X back, with a much grainer, blurrier image than the FZ2500 here at ISO 3200.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 III at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 3200
Sony RX10 III at ISO 3200

The Sony RX10 III's noise reduction algorithm renders fine detail as very soft and blotchy while leaving behind more luma noise in flatter areas. Contrast is generally better from the Sony, but otherwise the Panasonic comes out ahead in this battle.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs Sony RX10 II at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic FZ2500 at ISO 3200
Sony RX10 II at ISO 3200

Similar to the previous comparison, it's the Panasonic that produces a better image here, although both are stretched in terms of usable sensitivity for a 1"-sensor.

Panasonic FZ2500 vs. Panasonic FZ1000, Panasonic FZ300, Canon G3X, Sony RX10 III, Sony RX10 II

100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 125100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic FZ2500 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Panasonic FZ1000 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Panasonic FZ300 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon G3X test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony RX10 III test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony RX10 II test image taken at ISO 6400
Panasonic
FZ2500
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
FZ1000
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
FZ300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
G3X
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
RX10 III
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
RX10 II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it too. Here, the FZ2500 performs very similarly to the FZ1000, though the latter looks perhaps marginally more contrasty because of a slightly dimmer exposure. As you can see, the 12-megapixel FZ300 struggles to resolve any of the fine lines within the lettering even at base ISO, and image quality degrades very quickly at the higher ISOs. The FZ2500 compares nicely with the Canon G3X at base ISO, however as ISO rises, the Panasonic pulls ahead with better contrast, detail and fewer false colors. The Sony RX10 III arguably performs the best at base ISO and it produces the best contrast as ISO rises, however the Panasonic FZ2500 and FZ1000 hold on to more detail at higher ISOs. The Sony RX10 II is very similar to the RX10 III, except contrast isn't quite as high.

 

Panasonic FZ2500 Print Quality Analysis

Very nice, large 24 x 36 inch prints up to ISO 200; Good prints up to 13 x 19 inches until ISO 800; A usable 5 x 7 inch print at ISO 6400.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISOs 80 through 125 yield very nice prints up to 24 x 36 inches, with fine detail and bright colors. 30 x 40 inch prints are also possible for wall display purposes given the 20-megapixel resolution.

ISO 200 also delivers a good print at 24 x 36 inches, still retaining crisp detail while not yet introducing any signs of noise into the print.

ISO 400 prints at 24 x 36 inches are fine for less critical applications, but a reduction in size to 20 x 30 inches is recommended to ensure against noise, of which we experienced only a trace of at this size in a few flatter areas of our test target.

ISO 800 produces a fairly good 13 x 19 inch print, with enough fine detail to pass our good grade here. There is a hint of mild noise in a few areas of our test target, but it is still well-controlled.

ISO 1600 shots are good at up to 11 x 14 inches. At that size we see a trace of softening occurring in the red channel, and similar mild noise reported at some larger print sizes from lower sensitivities, but not enough to warrant a further size reduction here.

ISO 3200 delivers an 8 x 10 that is usable for less critical applications, but is a bit too noisy to warrant our overall good seal. The 5 x 7's tighten up here, and are fine for most general print purposes.

ISO 6400 also delivers a good 5 x 7 inch print that just passes our good seal. Noise is well-controlled and there is still enough color saturation to pass the grade here. Anything larger is simply too noisy to be usable.

ISO 12,800 yields a muted 4 x 6 inch print that may be usable for less critical applications, but for reasonable prints this setting is not recommended.

ISO 25,600 does not deliver usable prints and is best avoided.

Given the 1"-type sensor housed within, the Panasonic FZ2500 delivers print sizes we've come to expect from this sensor size. You can expect reasonably large prints with good fine detail and well-controlled noise up to about ISO 1600, after which the sensor and processor can't keep pace with the rising ISO and noise and softening both take their toll on the prints.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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