Panasonic G1 - Nikon D700 ISO Shootout


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Background: The Panasonic G1, which is the first Micro Four Thirds camera, has a sensor which is about one fourth of the size of the sensor in the Nikon D700. As such, it is predicted that at any given ISO, the G1 detail relative to noise will be similar to that of the D700 at four times the ISO. A deviation from this result would suggest a difference between the two cameras with regards to sensor quality per unit area.

Technical details:
<li>Both are 12MP cameras, so no resizing was done. I used a 35mm lens (Zeiss ZF 35mm f/2 Distagon) on the D700 and intended to set the Panasonic 14-45mm lens to 17.5mm for the same angle of view. I accidentally tested the Panasonic lens at 16mm, which is the reason for the slightly wider angle of view in the Panasonic crops shown below.</li>
<li>For the sake of testing with an equal depth of field, the G1 lens was set to f/5.6 and the D700 lens to f/11. At any given ISO, the G1 shutter speed was manually set to 4x the shutter speed of the D700 in order for the two cameras to have the same overall exposure in each comparison.</li>
<li>RAW files were processed in Raw Developer (Iridient Digital) with default settings other than the following exceptions: 1) Custom white balance was used to match WB as closely as possible. 2) Noise reduction and sharpening were disabled.
<li>Resulting 16-bit TIFF files were compared at 100% after D700 files were given a mild sharpen in Photoshop CS3 (Smart Sharpen, amount 15%, radius 0.5). This was done to close the gap in apparent detail, presumably secondary to a stronger antialiasing filter in the Nikon.</li>
100% crop comparisons are shown below. In each case, the D700 crop on the left has an ISO setting which is 4x the ISO setting of the G1 crop on the right." />" />

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My impression is that for any given G1 ISO, the D700 has similar detail relative to noise at four times that ISO. The Nikon file has slightly less noise, but perhaps also slightly less detail when compared this way. This suggests that the sensor quality per unit area is similar for these two cameras.

You can download all the RAW files below. There are four zip files:
D700 RAW contains ISO 200, 400, and 800 D700 files.
D700 RAW has ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400 files.
G1 RAW has ISO 100, 200, and 400 G1 files.
G1 RAW has ISO 800, 1600, and 3200 files.

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[I]Originally published on the old Serious Compacts blog. Older comments can be found here: [/I][url][/url]
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