Interesting thing that DPReview is doing for this holiday season – large “group” head-to-head tests. I’m not so sure I like the format necessarilly – I miss the in-depth reviews of each camera that also analyzed things such as shutter lag, autofocus, and styling/controls. Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to see them looking at compacts again, which the site has basically ignored for the last year+.
Some interesting results – these aren’t really the cameras I would have looked at, but perhaps they can tell you about the quality and image processing from other cameras of the same manufacturer.
The main thought I have on this is that Panasonic has come a long, long way from being a small bit player in the market. They’ve long dominated in featureset, and they do so again here, with the only 25-125mm camera in the set (the only camera wider than 33mm even). Interestingly enough they’ve seem to be addressing their Acchile’s Heel – low-light high-ISO performance – fairly well these days. To me, the ISO1600 outdoor night shots are a bit above Sony’s and right behind Canon’s, and in the indoor case it actually exceeds Canon is arguably the best. Interestingly enough, the daytime tests are way below best-in-class for Panasonic, which seems to say either the lens isn’t that good (which would mark a pretty big drop off from previous cameras) or the sensor isn’t great, as it’s always been, but some software wizardry is going on which is what gives us the improved noise performance.