Panasonic G5 Noise Reduction

The Panasonic G5's 5 noise-reduction settings provide quite a bit of flexibility in choosing how you want to make the trade-off between subject detail and noise levels in JPEGs. The Panasonic G5 applies NR to its JPEGs at all ISOs, so we've included crops from the base ISO on up in the tables below.

The crops below show the effects of three (-2, 0 and +2) of the Panasonic G5's five levels of noise reduction available, under the studio HMI lighting we use to simulate daylight. We've also included RAW crops converted using Adobe Camera Raw with noise reduction and sharpening turned off, to show what the sensor output is like. See for yourself how the noise reduction works under daylight-balanced lighting. Click on any of the crops below to see the corresponding full-sized image.

Noise Reduction Comparison
Daylight-balanced illumination
NR = -2
NR = 0
NR = +2
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

1
6
0
NR = -2
NR = 0
NR = +2
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

2
0
0
NR = -2
NR = 0
NR = +2
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

4
0
0
NR = -2
NR = 0
NR = +2
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

8
0
0
NR = -2
NR = 0
NR = +2
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

1
6
0
0
NR = -2
NR = 0
NR = +2
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

3
2
0
0
NR = -2
NR = 0
NR = +2
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

6
4
0
0
I
S
O

1
2
8
0
0

To our eyes, the default (0) level of noise reduction strikes a good balance between noise and subtle subject detail, although the red fabric swatch presents a real challenge, as it does for virtually all cameras we test. Cranking the noise reduction setting up to +2 produces very smooth-looking images, while still maintaining good detail in areas of high local contrast (as seen in the circular scale), but a lot of detail is lost in areas of subtle contrast (the red fabric swatch is a particularly challenging subject, and the detail loss there is worse than you'd find in most real-world examples). Color bleeding is also an issue at higher ISOs with all three NR levels, particularly evident in the smeared shoulder of the bottle. As you'd expect, the -2 noise reduction setting leaves the most noise in JPEG images, but also leaves more subject detail, though you can easily see by comparing to the RAW crops that the lowest NR setting still applies aggressive noise suppression at moderate to high ISOs.

 



Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate