Camera Settings

Here I present my observations and experience in comparing a few of the many recording profiles for photos and videos in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 camera. The Standard profile for photos and videos has a zero setting for the 4 user adjustable parameters for Contrast, Sharpness, Noise Reduction and Saturation. Settings values range from -5 to +5 in steps of 1. The user adjustments can be saved to a Custom profile. Additionally, there are 2 Cinelike video recording profiles for the Cinematic look aspiration. Cine D achieves a low-contrast result with high-dynamic range while Cine V is for high-contrast video recording.

The photos and videos were shot using my Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm lens. I typically shoot photos in 4:3 aspect ratio (4592x3448 resolution) while 4K Ultra HD videos are in 16:9 (3840x2160 resolution). If I plan ahead to incorporate photos into my 16:9 video footage, then I will switch to 4592x2584 photo resolution.

I use CyberLink PhotoDirector 7 for photo editing and CyberLink PowerDirector 14 for video editing.

The following image compares Standard, Cine D (all -5), Video Enhancement and Color Adjustment of the Cine D (all -5). Video Enhancement is a preset in PowerDirector while my Color Adjustment involves 25% boost to contrast and sharpness with 40% saturation boost.

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The following image compares Standard, Custom (all -5), Video Enhancement and Color Adjustment of the Custom (all -5).

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The following image compares Standard, Cine D (all 0), Custom (all -5) and Cine D (all -5) both with Video Enhancement.

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The following image compares photos taken with Standard, Custom (all -5) at two different aperture settings and saturation boost for the Custom (all -5).

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The following video shows the above images in action.

From my experimentation with the shown results, my general conclusions are as follows:

  • For photos, use Custom (all -5 except for Saturation 0) for brightly lit scenes to provide higher dynamic range (more detail in shadows and dark areas). This can be applied to both photos and videos in-camera. Use basic contrast and sharpness (or Video Enhancement) in post-editing.
  • For video, use Cine D (all 0) over Standard - it produces a better video (colors). If I need dynamic range to show more detail in dark areas, use Cine D (all -5 except for Saturation 0) and apply Video Enhancement or Color Adjustment (contrast and sharpness) if VE is too much.

I am sure I will find exceptions to my generalizations above but I at least need to establish guidelines for consistently good results for photos and videos shot with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 camera.

Sept 18, 2016
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Despite my experimentation and conclusions above, I took this photo using the Standard setting. I neglected to take any pictures using Custom (all -5). There was wash out of the back scene as well as the sign which was corrected in post-editing.

This following video shows the enhancement of the photo by adjusting exposure, contrast, sharpness and saturation - and by applying a subtle but significant color grade to improve the overall look of the photo from a Toronto Music Garden performance. I used DaVinci Resolve to make the adjustments.

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