Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 Review

3.5
February 26, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

Noise

Low noise results from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 seem pretty good when viewed from a normal distance. Zooming in to full magnification shows green colour present even at ISO 100, which is a great shame. Interestingly, edge definition seems sharp enough and the noise isn't interfering with the overall colour of the image.

Moving up to ISO 200 doesn't appear to make any change either for better or worse, so if we were to look for a silver lining, it would be that you can push the ISO to 200 and get similar results than ISO 100.

In fact, there's no definite change in the image quality until ISO 800 when noise reduction starts to smooth the image out, suggesting that the sensor is starting to fail. The last two settings are more art work than photography as the noise reduction gives the image a painted look. Not a brilliant performance from a manufacturer that has made ground breaking achievements in the past.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9's pictures suffer from noise a little bit too much for our tastes when it comes to sharpening. We used a simple pre-set Sharpening tool in Adobe Photoshop CS4 and found that the problematic noise was exacerbated in the image.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The focal length of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 is 4.5mm – 45mm. It's a 10x optical zoom which, in 35mm terms, is a 25-250mm.

25mm

250mm

Chromatic Aberrations

While we found evidence of chromatic aberration, it was very low compared to other cameras at this level. This goes to show the increased quality that comes with an alliance with Leica.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

Close focusing is a mediocre 5cm. It's not bad, but nothing to write home about. It gets in close enough, but it's easy to over step the mark. A couple extra centimetres would have been nice as a buffer.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

There's an ever-so-slight amount of vignetting when a flash isn't used at wide-angle. Add flash and it increases ten fold, resulting in dark corners in the images. Zooming out to full magnification, the problem goes but is still faintly observed.

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

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 didn't have any trouble with red-eye in our tests, so using red-eye reduction wasn't necessary as we gleaned the same results.

Forced On

Forced On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9's night shots were interesting. They were both shot during the snow and we used the snow to do a white balance check. The results were a strong green cast, meaning the camera didn't have the range to deal with the strength of the light. The night scene shot was more realistic to the actual light available. Both shots are sharp and well exposed. The camera chose ISO 100 for the night scene and exposed a 1 second image just like we did in Program.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, wide-angle, 16 megapixel, beginner, manual, travel-zoom, travel, lumix, 10fps, prosumer, 10x zoom, 25mm, sz9, dmc-sz9, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 Review

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