Review Price £299.99
As with Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds compact system cameras, the humbler Lumix DMC-FT3 offers Auto ISO and 'intelligent' ISO for those who want to leave the camera to decide, and with commendable consistency. Otherwise manually selectable light sensitivity settings are fairly standard, running from ISO100 up to a modest ISO1600, with the top ISO6400 option only available the camera itself deems it necessary via High Sensitivity mode.
As expected at the lowest ISO100 setting as expected we're not seeing any noise, though filtered daylight has provided a warmish colour cast. Left to its own devices, the camera's AF has also automatically focused on whatever is dead centre of frame - here the back wheels of our toy cars.
No discernible difference as we up the ante to ISO200, and similarly no image noise to report.
At ISO400, normally the stage at which noise begins to intrude if we're unlucky we again have a clean bill of health served up by the FT3. Incidentally ISO400 was what the camera itself chose for our test scene when left on Auto ISO.
ISO800 and looking at the rear wheels there's discernibly noise here, but again, it's hardly at a noticeable level unless you're cropping into your frame to look for it.
At ISO1600 we're noticeably losing edge definition and getting a fuzzier, softer image overall, so, as with most point and shoot compacts, the advice is to stick to ISO800 and below if you want to avoid such artefacts.
We've tried the High Sensitivity mode on our test subjects too, which results in a resolution drop in order to better disguise any increase in noise. OK, so grain has been smudged so isn't as pronounced as it is at ISO1600, and the shot has a smoother look, but inevitably it's at the expense of detail so we'd rather stick with ISO1600 anyway when all said and done.
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