Review Panasonic G3: Measurements

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The measurements have been carried out with the help of Imatest. For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ. Conclusion and sample images are shown in the Panasonic G3 review.

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Resolution

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We have set the Panasonic G3 to an aspect ratio of 2:3. By choosing the same aspect ratio as an APS-C camera, the measured resolution is directly comparable to the measured resolution of a lens on a camera with APS-C sensor. The Panasonic G3, in combination with with the Panasonic 14-42 kit lens, provides a jpg file with an average resolution of 1600 LW/PH. Noteworthy is the relatively high resolution of jpg files at 3200 and 6400 ISO. For this, we have no explanation. It could be having to do with the in-camera noise reduction and sharpening. Above the ISO 1600, considerable noise reduction happens with this camera.

With a standard editing of the RAW files in Lightroom, a greater sharpness impression is obtained, which translates itself into an average resolution of just over 2000 LW/PH.

Dynamic range of the sensor

The total dynamic range of the RAW files is almost constantly 12 stops throughout the entire ISO range. Which is the maximum possible for this sensor. Because Panasonic applies a 12-bit sensor in the Panasonic G3, this camera cannot realize such a large total dynamic range as SLR cameras with an APS-C sensor, as the Nikon D5100 and the Canon 60D.

More important than the total dynamic range is the usable dynamic range: jpg files ranging from ISO 160 to ISO 1600 have a useful dynamic range of 6 stops, after which the usable dynamic range is reduced to 4 stops at ISO 6400.

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The dynamic range of jpg files is seemingly better than the dynamic range of RAW files. Yet that is not the case. We are testing the RAW files without using noise reduction. Because of this, you maintain the highest possible detail, while the noise, although measurable, is not visible in a print. If you carefully optimize contrast, sharpening and noise reduction of RAW files, it is possible to achieve a usable dynamic range for RAW files that is better or equal to that of the jpg files.

Noise

Comparison of the noise in jpg files with the measured noise in RAW files without noise reduction shows that noise reduction occurs at all ISO settings in jpg files. We know from experience that if the noise is less than 2.5%, a photo can be printed on A3 + size without the noise being seen as disturbing.

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Below are examples of a gray card photographed at different ISO settings. The crops show a detail as you would see the pictures full size on your screen. By applying noise reduction, even better results can be achieved for RAW files.

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Color reproduction daylight

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Daylight color accuracy (Delta E94)

DaylightRAWjpg
Average5.98.0
Best5.57.4
Worst6.58.2
Skin tones5.17.8
Natural Colors5.010.0
Bright Colors5.99.1
White Balance3.74.6

The Panasonic G3 delivers RAW files with good color rendering. The measured saturation of RAW files is between 105 and 107%. The left illustration shows the color errors of an ISO 200 jpg image shot in daylight. The further the ideal color (square) is removed from the color reproduction of the camera (round), the greater the color difference. For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ.

Click on the image for a larger version.

Color reproduction artificial light

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Tungsten color accuracy (Delte E94)

Tungsten lightRAWjpg
Average7.88.0
Best6.77.2
Worst8.28.5
Skin tones8.67.8
Natural Colors5.98.0
Bright Colors7.77.7
White Balance7.66.2

Click on the image for a larger version.

The automatic white balance of the G3 does well in artificial light. With many cameras, for both JPG and RAW files, you should not blindly rely on the auto white balance. But the Panasonic G3 also depicts the correct colors in artificial light. Conclusion and sample images are shown in the test of the Panasonic G3 review.

 

 

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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