Panasonic G7 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Panasonic G7's image quality to its predecessor, the G6, as well as its nearest rivals, the Fujifilm X-T10, Olympus E-M10 II, Samsung NX500 and Sony A6000. With the exception of the even-more affordable A6000, all of these mirrorless cameras hit roughly the same affordable price-point, but how does their image quality compare? Read on and find out!

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 were shot with our very sharp reference 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 G7, Panasonic G6, Fuji X-T10, Olympus E-M10 II, Samsung NX500 and Sony A6000 -- 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 G7 to any camera we've ever tested!


Panasonic G7 vs Panasonic G6 at Base ISO

Panasonic G7 at ISO 200
Panasonic G6 at ISO 160

At base sensitivity, there's not a whole lot of difference between the Panasonic G7 and its predecessor, the G6. That's to be expected, though, as both cameras have the same sensor resolution. Improvements in the G7's sensor were aimed at improving burst performance and high ISO noise levels. With that said, the earlier G6 shows a little greater contrast in our difficult red swatch, and perhaps holds onto just a touch more thread detail in the pink swatch. It's a close thing, though!

Panasonic G7 vs Fujifilm X-T10 at Base ISO

Panasonic G7 at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-T10 at ISO 200

The comparison against Fuji's X-T10 is a little more interesting. Fuji uses its proprietary X-Trans color filter array rather than the more common Bayer filter used by the G7. Fuji's approach yields just slightly lower noise levels at base sensitivity, but the Panasonic G7 has a noticeable advantage in terms of fine detail, especially in the pink fabric swatch, and to a lesser extent in the mosaic label too.

Panasonic G7 vs Olympus E-M10 II at Base ISO

Panasonic G7 at ISO 200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200

Olympus' E-M10 II has the same sensor size and pixel count as in the Panasonic G7, but nevertheless there are some notable differences here. Panasonic is applying less sharpening than its rival, and the G7's crops also show less contrast and saturation. To our eye, the Panasonic G7 looks more natural here, while the E-M10 II caters more to consumers craving a punchier result.

Panasonic G7 vs Samsung NX500 at Base ISO

Panasonic G7 at ISO 200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 100

The Samsung NX500 has the highest sensor resolution in this roundup, at 28.2 megapixels versus the 16 megapixels of the Panasonic G7. Not surprisingly, the Micro Four Thirds camera can't hold onto as much detail as does its higher-res, larger-sensored rival. That's most noticeable in the pink fabric swatch, but also in the mosaic label. The G7's image is also a little noisier and has slightly lower contrast, but in other respects, the image quality of both cameras is similar at base sensitivity. It's the resolution where the main difference can be found.

Panasonic G7 vs Sony A6000 at Base ISO

Panasonic G7 at ISO 200
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

The Sony A6000, too, has quite a resolution advantage over the Panasonic G7, with a sensor bearing up an impressive 24.3 megapixels. And again, that difference is visible mostly in detail-gathering, with the Panasonic camera holding onto less of the thread pattern in the pink fabric swatch, and losing more of the finer details in the mosaic label. And that's despite Sony using just a little less sharpening than its rival, too. Look at the flatter areas of the image and you'll see a bit more noise in the G7's crops, as well as a touch less contrast. We're going to give the nod to Sony on this particular comparison.

Panasonic G7 vs Panasonic G6 at ISO 1600

Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600
Panasonic G6 at ISO 1600

Moving up to ISO 1600, it seems that Panasonic has accomplished its goal of reducing noise levels in the newer camera. The Panasonic G7's bottle crop shows noticeably less noise than did the G6, yet detail levels are pretty similar to those of the earlier camera. The G6 does have an edge on contrast, though, especially in that difficult red swatch.

Panasonic G7 vs Fujifilm X-T10 at ISO 1600

Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-T10 at ISO 1600

Fuji's X-Trans technology looks to pay dividends in this comparison. The Bayer-filtered Panasonic G7 shows similar noise levels to its rival in the bottle crops, but that's achieved thanks to stronger noise processing which robs detail in the mosaic label and red fabric swatches in particular. The G7 does have a bit of an edge in the pink fabric swatch, though.

Panasonic G7 vs Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600

Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600

Now that we've cranked up the sensitivity a little, the Panasonic G7 again turns in a less-processed looking image than does the E-M10 II. The result is that there's a bit more noise in the G7's crops, but there's also more detail retained in the mosaic label. Olympus provides higher contrast and greater saturation, just as it did at base sensitivity.

Panasonic G7 vs Samsung NX500 at ISO 1600

Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600
Samsung NX500 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600-equivalent, the Samsung NX500 has lost its edge against the lower-resolution Panasonic G7. There's still a touch more detail in the NX500's mosaic label and pink fabric swatch, but the Samsung's image -- especially the pink fabric swatch -- has more muted colors than those from the Panasonic.

Panasonic G7 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Once again, the Sony A6000 has an edge at ISO 1600-equivalent. The Panasonic G7 yields similar saturation to the Sony, but lags a little in detail and contrast, especially in the red fabric swatch. The G7 does manage better in the bottle crop, though, where the A6000 turns in a slightly noiser, more mottled image.

Panasonic G7 vs Panasonic G6 at ISO 3200

Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200
Panasonic G6 at ISO 3200

Finally, at ISO 3200-equivalent, the newer Panasonic G7 shows significantly less noise than did its predecessor, and its image is less mottled to boot. Contrast and saturation are similar from both cameras, with the exception of the red swatch. The G7 loses almost all detail in this troublesome hue, where the G6 still holds onto just a little.

Panasonic G7 vs Fujifilm X-T10 at ISO 3200

Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-T10 at ISO 3200

Now that we've dialed the sensitivity up by quite some way, the Panasonic G7's smaller sensor struggles to keep up with that in the Fuji X-T10, despite similar resolution. The Fuji's image has a little more detail and more appealing contrast / saturation. The G7 does best its rival in the pink fabric swatch, though.

Panasonic G7 vs Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200

Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200

Once again, the Panasonic G7 has an edge over the E-M10 II in terms of detail thanks to more subtle noise reduction processing, but the Olympus has a punchier result.

Panasonic G7 vs Samsung NX500 at ISO 3200

Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200-equivalent, the Samsung NX500 still holds onto a bit more detail than can the Panasonic G7 , but in other respects -- noise levels, saturation and artifacts -- we definitely prefer the G7's result.

Panasonic G7 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

It's harder to make a call either way against the Sony A6000. The Panasonic G7 has rather less noise and artifacts from noise processing, but the A6000 shows more contrast and holds onto far more of the pattern in the red swatch.

Panasonic G7 vs. Panasonic G6, Fujifilm X-T10, Olympus E-M10 II, Samsung NX500, Sony A6000

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 160
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
E-M10 II
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. At base sensitivity, the Panasonic G7's lower contrast holds it back just a little compared to its predecessor. The Olympus E-M10 II turns in the best result for a Micro Four Thirds camera, but it's clear that the larger-sensored Samsung and Sony cameras have the edge here. Raise the sensitivity, and the G7's result is harder to distinguish from that of the G6. We still prefer the E-M10 II over its Micro Four Thirds rivals thanks to its higher contrast, and the APS-C cameras also give a bolder, punchier result.


Panasonic G7 Print Quality

Very nice 24 x 36 inch prints up to ISO 200; a good 11 x 14 inch print at ISO 3200; a usable 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100/200 prints look practically indistinguishable from one another, and both sensitivities print very nicely up to 24 x 36 inches. As is typical for a 16-megapixel Four Thirds sensor, you can see very minor softness and subtle pixelation if you look closely, but at normal viewing distances for prints of this size, they look very good with lots of detail and pleasing colors.

ISO 400 images look very similar, but with just a subtle hint of softness compared to lower ISOs. We're comfortable calling it at 20 x 30 inches here, at which prints look very nice.

ISO 800 prints top out at 16 x 20 inches. At this sensitivity, images are now exhibiting a bit more softness due to noise and the subsequent in-camera NR processing. Noise itself is very well controlled, and there's quite a bit of fine detail despite the higher sensitivity. Colors are still pleasing, but lower contrast areas like our tricky red-leaf fabric are showing a drop in detail, for example.

ISO 1600 images show a further decrease in fine detail, however the G7 still manages a pleasing 13 x 19 inch print with nice detail and very well-controlled noise.

ISO 3200 prints show an expected increase in softness, making an 11 x 14 inch print the maximum size we're willing to call at this sensitivity.

ISO 6400 images make for a nice 8 x 10, which is rather impressive for a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds camera. Any larger and the drop in detail is apparent, but thanks to the camera's nice balance of noise reduction and detail, a print at 8 x 10 inches is certainly doable.

ISO 12,800 prints just squeak by at 4 x 6 inches. Softness due to noise is certainly an issue, and printing any larger is not advisable.

ISO 25,600 images are too soft and noisy for our liking and should be avoided for prints.

The 16-megapixel Panasonic G7 fares rather well in our print quality testing. The camera manages to impress with large, nicely detailed prints all the way up to 24 x 36 inches at ISO 100/200. Towards the mid-range of ISOs, the G7 manages to keep noise in-check, offering a nice 11 x 14 inch print at ISO 3200 and a usable 8 x 10 at ISO 6400. At the top end of the ISO scale, the Panasonic G7 manages to squeak by with usable 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800, however we'd recommend avoiding ISO 25,600 for prints.

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

Testing 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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