>It is not an example of low-light. It is an example of mixed-temperature and uneven lighting:
Fair enough. I'm a big believer on eliminating sources of variability from experiments, so the following photos were taken using only the 60-incadescent watt equivalent nightstand lamp, at night with all other lights off. The camera was mounted on a tripod and the white balance (by the way I never said the white balance was hidden), focus, exposure, spot metering all set to automatic. The only difference from shot to shot is whether or not the camera was set to VIDEO or STILL mode (to see whether or not shooting a still from still mode is identical to shooting a still from video mode, no ongoing video being shot); low-lux on or off; and stabilization on ("active") or off (to see if electronic pixel shifting could be affecting smearing or blotchiness). All shots were centered on the instruction manual from about one meter away, with the booklet about 30 degrees incident to the light source. Image size is 10MB (middle option); to be able to reasonably upload, they were all resized to 50% of original and saved to lossless (no additional loss) jpeg.
The low lux setting cannot be a shutter speed change - or more precisely, cannot be ONLY a shutter speed change. Between pix 1 and 2 (stabilization on, video mode) turning on Low Lux brightens the picture while reducing blotchiness (but the blotches remain in the same places); but between pix 7 and 8 (stabilization off, still mode) there's no difference I can discern, and between pix 3 and 4 (stabilization on, still mode) turning on Low Lux made the image considerably blotchier. Wouldn't slowing the shutter down on a tripod-mounted still photo, ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL, consistently decrease noise? I suspect there's something else going on here.
The image is slightly different magnification in different snaps. I cannot explain how that's possible (perhaps I accidently tapped the zoom button while pressing the mode button but I was being very careful not to). Could changing settings affect the zoom level? Needs more experimentation.
>low lux mode is for video...It will not affect stills.
That's only a partially true statement. I see no difference between pix 3 & 4 and 7 & 8 (snaps taken in still mode) but a significant difference in brightness and clarity between 1 & 2 and 5 & 6 (snaps taken in video mode). A more accurate statement might be "Low Lux does not affect still MODE." Again, blotchiness decreased when turning on Low Lux between pix 1 & 2; but between pix 5 & 6 I can't tell for sure (seems to me that it got worse but it might be that it just became more obvious).
In most cases, stabilization does not seem to affect blotchiness. In fairness, pix 1 & 5 and 2 & 6 are at different magnifications (see above); Pix 5 with stabilization turned off seems less blotchy but that may not be fair since they are at different zooms. 3 & 7 look identical to me. There was a definite DECREASE in blotchiness when stabilization was turned off between pix 4 and 8. But here's something interesting: the patterns of blotchiness between pix 2 and 6 appear in identical areas of the instruction booklet (even though it is different sizes in each). That tells me that this is not a pixel issue but some sort of odd color processing.
Are these same results repeated at different image sizes? If I get a chance I'll try that or someone else can give it a go. Click on the images to open full (well, 50% anyway) size.
1. Stabilization on, Video mode, Low Lux off:
2. Stabilization on, Video mode, Low Lux on:
3. Stabilization on, Still mode, Low Lux off:
4. Stabilization on, Still mode, Low Lux on:
5. Stabilization off, Video mode, Low Lux off:
6. Stabilization off, Video mode, Low Lux on:
7. Stabilization off, Still mode, Low Lux off:
8. Stabilization off, Still mode, Low Lux on: