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Christmas Gift Guide

JPEG vs. Raw

Low ISO Noise

High ISO noise

Distortion

Sharpness

Fringing

Exposure

Color

On the left is the JPEG version of the image; on the right, the raw version opened with Adobe Camera Raw (both zoomed to 200 percent for easier viewing). You can see the JPEG version has quite a few color artifacts that don't appear in the raw file, which seem to appear mostly in indoor shots, and which seem to be caused by compression artifacts in the blue channel. I don't see them in shots taken outdoors in brighter light.
Caption by / Photo by CNET Labs
Taking into account the artifacts mentioned in the previous slide, the LX3's noise doesn't increase much at low ISO sensitivities up to and including ISO 400. At that sensitivity, you start to see just a slight bit of degradation on small details, like the tiniest ticks on the tape measure.
Caption by / Photo by CNET Labs
You begin to see obvious degradation at ISO 800, and for highly detailed shots, ISO 1,600 and 3,200 aren't that usable.
Caption by / Photo by CNET Labs
Despite its relatively wide 24mm-equivalent lens, there's fairly little distortion--just a bit of vertical squeezing as you head to the left side of the photo. This is partly because of post-shot distortion correction that Panasonic applies automatically to its JPEGs and to raw files opened with the bundled SilkyPix software and Adobe Camera Raw. Also note the tendency to underexpose. (1/80 sec, f6.3, 24mm equivalent, ISO 80)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin
The LX3's lens can produce some very sharp photos. (1/30 sec, f2.0, ISO 80)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin
The photos show barely any fringing at all; the most I saw was a slight magenta halo on the edge of the book (but for some reason it's almost invisible in the crop). Furthermore, while many cameras make a complete mush of the net above the door, the LX3 resolves the detail very well. (1/80 sec, f2.2, ISO 80)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin
Despite a tendency to underexpose, the LX3 handled the exposure of this shot very well. However, the three different metering modes--spot, center weighted, and multi--produced identical exposures on this. (1/80 sec, f8, ISO 80)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin
Unfortunately, there's not a lot of bright colors outdoors in NYC in February. However, the LX3's outdoor white balance is exceptionally cool, and probably exacerbated by its underexposures. In general, our quantitative test results for color showed the LX3 had the greatest tendency to err in blues and yellows. (1/80 sec, f2.4, ISO 80)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin
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