One of the biggest complaints about the Panasonic FZ200 is the presence of artifacts in JPEG image files. With a few minor setting changes, the problem will improve to a observable degree.
If you’re a Panasonic FZ200 owner and don’t shoot in the RAW file format, and like to edit your own images, consider these settings to get the best out of your JPEG images.
What the heck are JPEG artifacts?
JPEG artifacts are caused by image compression and, in many cases, when camera sharpness and noise reduction are set too high. They are areas in an image that look oversharpened, smeared and/or have “halos” at edges of objects in the scene. The artifacts are most visible when viewing images at 100% or making large sized prints.
You can eliminate artifacts by shooting RAW instead of JPEG and processing images in special software. For me, this is not an option as I find processing RAW files too tedious. I prefer to control the amount of sharpening, noise reduction and contrast when editing photos rather than let the camera arbitrarily do it.
FZ200 Intelligent Auto vs. other exposure modes
If you use the Intelligent Auto exposure mode, there is not much you can do about artifacts. The mode is fully automatic, most settings are predetermined by the manufacturer and few can be changed by the user. I typically use P Mode, also an automatic exposure mode but you have much more control over a wide variety of camera settings.
FZ200 setting to eliminate JPEG artifacts
After much research and experimenting with camera settings, I’ve found these to be best for eliminating artifacts.
- Set the camera to the highest image quality setting and size (12 megapixels for the FZ200)
- Whenever possible, avoid shooting over ISO 400. You’ll get the cleanest images shooting ISO 100, if lighting permits
- Shut off the following features, which can increase artifacts: iZoom, digital zoom, i-resolution, i-dynamic
I use the Standard photo style, and set sharpness to -2 and noise reduction to -1. I also set Contrast to 0 and Saturation to +1 but the latter two settings are a matter of personal preference rather than help eliminating artifacts.
My FZ200 camera settings*
Standard photo style
Sharpness to -2
Noise reduction (NR) -1
*you can change these camera settings in the photo style area.
Who many not need to change camera settings
For those who prefer not to edit, and who print primarily small sized images or post photos on the web, the original camera settings may work for you. As you can see in the following example, when reduced in size you can hardly tell the difference in the effects of changing settings from the camera default.