Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp

Panasonic DMC-FZ28 vs DMC-FZ18 at high ISO
< Previous Aug 23, 2008 Next >

 - Results at 1600 ISO - DMC-FZ18 on the left, DMC-FZ28 on the right - 1/125sec @F4 - Noise reduction at +2 - Tony Karp, design, art, photography, techno-impressionist, techno-impressionism, aerial photography , drone , drones , dji , mavic pro , video , 3D printing - Books -
Results at 1600 ISO - DMC-FZ18 on the left, DMC-FZ28 on the right - 1/125sec @F4 - Noise reduction at +2
It all started innocently enough with speculation about the DMC-FZ28's image quality at the higher ISO settings. Traditionally, small cameras like the FZ28 work fine at ISO settings of 100 or 200, but the pictures get really noisy at any higher setting. The FZ18 was good at the lower settings, but started to show noise at 200 and above.

So I set the FZ28 for ISO 1600, went into my garage, and took a few shots. The results were pretty bad. Barely usable, even with lots of noise removal applied in post processing. I must be doing something wrong.

And, by golly, I was. When I went to the menus and checked my current settings, I had Noise Reduction turned off. I had used that setting as it can yield sharper images at lower ISO settings. But what about at ISO 1600? The FZ28 sports a new and improved processor called the Venus IV. Why not give it a chance and see what it can do?

So I set the Noise Reduction to +2 and got a very different result. I tried the same setting on my FZ18 and then put them side by side. Hmmm... The results are shown above. (Note: The pictures were taken from a slightly different angle as I had to go back into the studio to get my other camera. The same amount of sharpening was applied to both images in post processing.)

As you can see, the image from the FZ28 is a lot better than the one from the FZ18. Notice the amount of noise in the FZ18's picture, especially in the darker areas, or in areas where there is no detail. For high-ISO pictures, the FZ28 is certainly a noteworthy improvement over the FZ18.

Maybe it's not the same image quality as you get with a big fancy DSLR, but very, very good for a tiny camera like the FZ28.The camera certainly is very usable at its highest ISO settings. (These are the first shots that I took, and I'll post some more in the future.)

Some feel that allowing the camera to remove noise or sharpen the image will ruin the resulting image and, for many years this was true, with noise reduction that smeared images, and sharpening that left white halos around things. I was one of these people, which is why I had the Noise Reduction on the FZ28 initially turned off.

But the camera manufacturers have been making great strides with their processors. The FZ18 showed that it's possible to correct lens distortion and color fringing inside the camera. They also showed that a camera's automation can make better decisions about things than the average photographer.

The FZ28 adds a new processor that does a great job with noise removal. I tried removing the noise from some high-ISO shots from the FZ28 myself, using commercially available noise-removal software. It was it a finicky job, different for every picture. But after all my efforts, I was outdone by the camera's Venus IV Processor.

The camera's internal processor won't entirely eliminate the need for post processing -- touching up your pictures on the computer to bring out their very best. You'll still need to fix things like exposure and color balance, and don't forget cropping or reducing the image to email size.

But things like noise removal and sharpening fall under the area of "signal processing," high-speed manipulation of data in real time. This can be done better by internal processors designed to exactly match the characteristics of the camera's sensor and lens.

What's next? Well, I only tried 1600 ISO, as that was the highest setting and I figured that if it worked, lower ISOs would be even better. I only tried setting the noise reduction at +2, its highest setting. And, as I mentioned above, I sharpened the test images in the computer. Lots of variables to experiment with.

For each of the higher ISOs (400, 800, 1600), I could try different levels of noise reduction. And perhaps the in-camera sharpening will do a better job in sharpening high-ISO shots than I did on the computer. Noise removal and sharpening are two things that take up lots of time in computer post-processing. If you let the camera handle it for you, there's a chance it might do it better than you. And think of all the time that you could save if it works out.

So maybe it's time to take a Zen approach to this and try and become one with the camera rather than fighting it. Philosophy, rather than technology. Try and think like the people who designed the camera and how they imagined it would be used. Think about how much of the process has to be done on your computer and how much can be trusted to the camera.

Now we need a way to tie all of this together and make it easy to shoot at the higher ISOs while still getting the best image quality.

Stay tuned.

< Previous Aug 23, 2008 Next >

Copyright 1957-2023 Tony & Marilyn Karp
Web Site Design
Systems Design
The Future
Recent Entries
Cine-Simulator Samples * T-Zoom
Cine-Simulator Samples * The Muse's Eyes
Geeks vs Gurus * The cinematography edition
The Zen of Zooming
Why smartwatches failed, and how to fix it - Part 3
Why smartwatches failed, and how to fix it - Part 2
Why smartwatches failed, and how to fix it - Part 1
Some pictures from my smartphone
My fix for bird strikes on my window
Goodbye, Columbus
At an old curiosity shop in Purcellville
Smartphone vs camera -- Why you need both
Raw vs JPEG with the P30 Pro's super-wide camera
At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro
A tribute to the architect, I.M. Pei
A blast from the past - Music's golden age
Green eggs and ham. And onions. And cheddar.
A blast from the past
Hidden views -- Discoveries from my drone
Will the FAA stop regulating hobby drones?
Here's a panorama from my Mavic, and two more
A quadcopter is a totally new kind of aircraft
Taking to the air -- First flights
Let's talk about the Mavic Pro's camera
A different viewpoint
The value of time in the creative process
Variations on a skink
Andy shoots raw. Ann always shoots JPEG
A butterfly in Havana -- From start to finish
Recovering highlight detail in JPEG images
A tribute to Paris on November 14, 2015
Some black and white pictures from long ago
Panasonic DMC-ZS40 pictures - Part 2
Panasonic DMC-ZS40 pictures - Part 1
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- A butterfly takes wing
Shooting for NBC
What's new at the zoo?
On being a photojournalist
Some pictures of Manassas
Finishing a picture
Watching the sunset in Adams Morgan
A night at the circus - 1966
Fortune Qwerkies (tm) -- Fortune cookies for the smartphone user
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- The evolution from flat to solid
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- Showing how the pieces fit together
Getting a grip on the Panasonic DMC-LF1
Some random thoughts about the Panasonic DMC-LF1
The Panasonic DMC-LF1 is a game-changer
Art and the Zen of QR Codes -- Making QaRt
A new process for printing art in the 3rd dimension
Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!
Photographing the Perry Como Show
Hiking at Sky Meadows with my Panasonic DMC-ZS20
Working for the union
A new take on JPEG vs raw - Panasonic DMC-ZS20
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-ZS20 - Part 2
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-ZS20 - Part 1
My new go-everywhere camera - Panasonic DMC-ZS20
My brief life in the studio
Shooting Shakespeare - The Tempest - NBC, 1960
Impressionist bees
In the studio with Roz Kelly
At the Peppermint Lounge - 1962
An evening with Gene Kelly
A portrait of Donna Mitchell - Variations on a theme
The "Sky Dream Ultimate" plug-in from Wilkington-Smythe
Post-processing: Going from good to great
Winter pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ150
Using the Panasonic DMC-FZ150's "Photo Style" Menu
A valentine for the Artist's Muse
The Panasonic DMC-FZ150's controls
Some thoughts on the Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - Part 2
The Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - A cure for DSLR envy?
Some thoughts about my Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - Part 1
The Panasonic DMC-FZ150 -- Best camera ever?
Sunglasses - What can you add to a picture?
Hey, camera makers. If my smartphone can do this
The Artmuse Variations - a look inside my new book
A tribute to George Washington on Veterans Day
A visit to the White House
The little farmhouse, the tractor, and the interesting tree
Buckminster, the baby buckeye butterfly
Memories of September 11
Happy Corporation Day!
A trip to Monterey and San Francisco
The first battle of the American Civil War -- 150 years ago
The end of an era -- The last American manned mission
Growing an Italian stone pine tree
Random thoughts on art and other stuff - From my new book
Playing with a classic - Sony DSC-R1 - Part 3, Warrenton
Playing with a classic - Sony DSC-R1 - Part 2, In the house
Playing with a classic - Sony DSC-R1 - Part 1, Winter
Some recent pictures
Fixing a Panasonic DMC-FZ18/FZ28/FZ35 problem
Into the world of shadows
A walk through Warrenton
Partly moony with my Panasonic DMC-FZ35
My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 3 - Video
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 2
Happy birthday to muse...
Pixels and parking lots -- The Panasonic FZ35
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ35
My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 2
My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 1
On our way to Warrenton
Evolution of an Iris
A new feature in Adobe Camera Raw 5.4
A tribute to the Apollo 11 astronauts
The pole dancer - Variations on a theme
Restoring lost highlight detail in JPEG images
A short course in photography in ten easy lessons
Kodachrome memories
A walk in the woods on my birthday
Mythbusters - More raw vs JPEG myths
Restoring lost shadow detail in JPEG images
Expose for the highlights, develop for the shadows
Something new -- Interchangeable cameras
Honey, I shrunk the newspaper - The "Nano" NY Times
Mistaking evolution for revolution
Some pictures from the artist's muse
Photography becomes art -- Daibutsu Buddha at Kamakura
Happy House-i-versary
25 random things about the artist's muse
It happened at the Met
Some pictures and some settings - Part 4 - DMC-FZ28
Some pictures and some settings - Part 3 - DMC-FZ28
Some pictures and some settings - Part 2 - DMC-FZ28
Some pictures and some settings - Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Noiseography -- A new photographic technique
Shooting infrared with the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
You're never too young
One month with the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
A trip to Berryville - Panasonic DMC-FZ28
It's the Hobbitt's birthday
On September 11th
Shooting Tri-X with the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
A shot in the dark - Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Sunset and the far-up lens -- Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Further musings on the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Customizing your camera for high-ISO photography
Panasonic DMC-FZ28 vs DMC-FZ18 at high ISO
Some musings about the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Hummers, SUVs, DSLRs, and my DMC-FZ28
Panasonic DMC-FZ28 -- At the Flying Circus
Panasonic DMC-FZ28 -- The journey begins
Farewell, my Panasonic DMC-FZ18
More about the settings for the DMC-FZ18
Dealing with the modes and settings of the DMC-FZ18
Photography becomes art - Bird on a wire
The artist's muse at sunset -- DMC-FZ18
Do you need fancy equipment?
Now here's my plan
Good cookie, bad cookie
But seriously, folks...
Post-processing Mr. Squirrel
A museum of one's own
We need new words to describe what's happening
Going over to the dark side
Shooting the moon
Happy Anniversary, Hobbitt
The view from my window - DMC-FZ18
My favorite museum
A toast to the artist's muse
The DMC-FZ18, a sunset, and a glass of beer
Remembering Herbert Keppler
Shooting abstracts with the Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Fixing a Panasonic DMC-FZ18 problem
More pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ18
The journey of a thousand Melvins
Stairway to the stars -- Extreme post processing
DMC-FZ18 - Raw vs JPEG - The JPEG Manifesto
Chromatic aberration and the DMC-FZ18
Raw vs JPEG, the DMC-FZ18, and a mystery
Some pictures from my Kodak P880 - Part 2
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Some pictures from my Kodak P880 - Part 1
DMC-FZ18 - Don't be afraid of the dark
Shooting in "Medium" - DMC-FZ18 - The right exposure
Shooting in "Medium" and the Panasonic DMC-FZ18
In-use review -- Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - Part 2
In-use review -- Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - Part 1
Photography becomes art - Fantasy at Ida Lee
Photography becomes art - The chefs at Little Washington
My new old camera - the Kodak Easyshare P880
Photography becomes art - Variations on a theme
All the (art) news that's fit to print
The museum becomes art - #1
Photography becomes art - Making an angel
How to test a camera
Hitting the wall
Extreme post-processing - Working with infrared
Blogging 2.0 - A new interface
A funny thing happened on my way to the blog
In the beginning...