PDA

View Full Version : high ISO performance


postcardcv
01-05-10, 09:34
Yesterday a friend asked me to take some test shots with my 5D mkII at ISO3200 and 6400. While doing these I was think how crazy the high ISO performance of current cameras is, the ability to shot in low light is better than it's ever been yet still we all want more. I remember being pleased when I got a camera that could handle ISO800 well enough, and even more please when i got one that shot at that level without the need for noise reduction. I'd not really tested this side of the 5D yet so was pleased to see that 3200 looks quite clean and 6400 would clearly be useable with some careful processing. I took some shots at even higher levels and the noise gets quite bad, but even at 25600 I think they'd do for a smallish print.

I'm not claiming that my camera does this better than others (I know that a D3s would be significantly better), I was just thinking how impressive all the current cameras are in this respect. I wonder just how far the high ISO performance will be pushed in the next few years...

Anyway here are my test shots, forgive the boring subject but it was justa quick test. First set of shots are shot RAW and converted to jpg with no other processing, then resized down to 900x600. The second batch are 100% crops (again with no processing) to show the noise at the pixel level.

postcardcv
01-05-10, 09:36
100% crops...

wolfie
01-05-10, 09:48
Yes extremely boring, you should have used a bottle of the malt:)

I agree with what you say. High ISO from my 5D and 7D are remarkable compared with my old 300D, but has long as we demand better the manufacturers will strive for better

surfg1mp
01-05-10, 09:50
not i boring topic at all, I wish my camera could handle iso's as high as that.......:o

andy153
01-05-10, 10:37
I'm still waiting for the camera that can take hand held pictures of a black cat in a blacked out room at midnight with the curtains drawn and no lights to become available :) and I agree with Harry - it should have been single malt :). My D3 and D700 have remarkable High ISO's as well - I posted results some time ago - but actually, where does it take us? I've played with the 100% crop at 25600 - all I've done is run it through noise ninja. But again I ask, where is it taking us? Do we really need this? Sports venues are lit for TV - I can see very little practical application for this supposed increased ISO.

Alex1994
01-05-10, 14:10
To continue andy's point, I've never needed more than 400 ISO.

But the technology is now amazing, when you consider that ISO 3200 film looks far far grainer than that ISO 25600.

postcardcv
01-05-10, 15:05
I guess the need for decent high ISO performance depends on what sort of photography you do. When photographing birds I very rarely go below ISO400 but try not to go about 1600 (it's the limit of the camera I use for birding). In a studio situation I stay at ISO100 as light isn't an issue and I want the cleanest images possible as I may need to print big. One time that I can imagine being able to push the ISO really high would be a big plus would be shooting a wedding. In a dim church with no flash allowed, a fast lens and a camera you can trust at 6400 would let you get shots that you would otherwise have missed.

I do wonder where it will end - I rember being thrilled with my 40D as I could use ISO800 without any NR and 1600 with a bit of care, I reckon that the 5D mkII is almost 2 stops better than the 40D. No doubt the 5D mkIIs performance will be eclipsed and in a couple of years we'll be able to use 12800 with great results...

yelvertoft
01-05-10, 18:05
I guess the need for decent high ISO performance depends on what sort of photography you do. [snippety snip]

One time that I can imagine being able to push the ISO really high would be a big plus would be shooting a wedding. In a dim church with no flash allowed, a fast lens and a camera you can trust at 6400 would let you get shots that you would otherwise have missed.


That's the real point Alex. The ability to take shots in interior settings without using flash and retain a usable hand-held shutter speed is a real boon.

Birdsnapper
01-05-10, 18:51
I like low light photography, and to be able to take photos without lugging a tripod around would be a great boon. High ISO would also mean that I could use my slow Tamron for bird photography. So I'm looking forward to the day when I can afford a 5DII.

Just because an individual photographer has no need for a particular feature does not mean that others do not want it.

Alex1994
01-05-10, 19:09
That's the real point Alex. The ability to take shots in interior settings without using flash and retain a usable hand-held shutter speed is a real boon.

Yeah, I guess it's useful for some more specialist applications like that. In natural light it's not really necessary.

That said, it is possible to take a hand-held picture inside a church auditorium if you have ISO 400 and a 50mm f1.4 lens.

miketoll
01-05-10, 20:04
Atmospheric internal hand held shots, hand held shots of birds with long lenses high ISO has it's place. Just hope the next thing is better dynamic range and handling of contrast.

Birdsnapper
02-05-10, 06:04
Just hope the next thing is better dynamic range and handling of contrast.

Completely agree with that.

andy153
03-05-10, 09:24
Atmospheric internal hand held shots, hand held shots of birds with long lenses high ISO has it's place. Just hope the next thing is better dynamic range and handling of contrast.

I also agree with that - what are the limits though? I think we are almost there - autofocus needs discernible edges to operate as do our eyes if on manual focus. The darker the scene the more the colour turns to grey. As for birding - I don't know enough to comment but I'd have thought that bright sunlight was the ideal and as someone once said in "the old days" :) "No sun - no pic" :D

Birdsnapper
04-05-10, 06:11
Yup, you're absolutely correct, Andy, bright sunlight is the ideal, but I'd be very grateful if you could tell me how to move a bird into the sunlight when it wants to sit in the shade. Also, it would be useful if you could explain how to stop a bird moving and flitting around.

andy153
04-05-10, 16:55
That's easy Mike - superglue on the perches then wait for the sun to come round and light them or if they are moving - superglue with worms/grubs in to bring them to the perch:D

miketoll
04-05-10, 20:55
Brilliant Andy, you would not even have to wait for the sun to come round but just move the perch complete with bird where you wanted. Choose your background at leisure too! ;)