Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 Review

4.0
October 2, 2012 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

Noise

Looking at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5's images in controlled light, the low ISO settings give very good results in lighter parts. Darker sections do tend to look a bit painted as though they've had some noise reduction software applied. It's doing a good job at controlling whatever noise is there, though, because it's not showing up. Edge definition is great and there's tons of detail.

Noticeable changes appear at around ISO 400 with definite blobs of colour appearing in the darker areas of the picture. Moving on to ISO 800 seems to have the biggest effect on the image quality. Picture definition becomes poorer with areas except the sharp, in focus parts bleeding colours over edges. More noise is evident with orange colour smothering the darker and mid-tones. ISO 1600 seems to take an eerily opposite approach. Image quality still isn't all that hot but colour noise has been all but vanquished. Detail is still present and images appear sharp. Kudos to the Panasonic noise reduction system. It's not perfect but it's a lot better than we were expecting.

There are 5 ISO settings available on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

When looking at the pictures taken by the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5, we were impressed with the sharpness. In fact, the sharpest parts of the picture don't need a boost. As you move out to the edges of the frame, the pictures do benefit though (not out of focus areas, obviously) as the sharp area gets expanded.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5's 10x zoom lens provides a very versatile focal length of 25-250mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

25mm

250mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration isn't something that's seen that much on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5. That's not to say it isn't absent. We did find some instances of it, but we had to look harder than normal. There were some moments when we thought we'd found it but it's actually lens flare.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 has a close focusing of 5cm which is pretty standard of a camera at this specification. In this setting, edge sharpness doesn't seem too bad. We've seen it go quite badly in normal focusing modes but our test shot shows a minimal drop in image quality.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The lens of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 produces a slight amount of vignetting at wide-angle and it dissipates to a degree as the zoom is used. Using flash doesn't eradicate it unfortunately, it simply evens out the light in the centre of the frame.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (250mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (250mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We didn't find an instance of red-eye in our test shots but the camera has both a red-eye reduction mode on the flash menu and a red-eye removal mode in the main menu.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

If you're shooting at night without using flash, it's best to use the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5's night scene mode as the auto mode vastly under exposes. Night has done it's best to get the picture looking like daylight which we think is wrong, but it does provide an overall better exposure. However with auto, you can control the ISO which could be a deciding factor.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 720p, wide-angle, beginner, wi-fi, wireless, 14 megapixel, manual, travel-zoom, travel, wifi, lumix, prosumer, 10x zoom, 25mm, wi fi, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 Review, sz5, dmc-sz5

Tracker Pixel for Entry