October 01, 2014, 01:08:06 PM

Author Topic: High-ISO confusion  (Read 3724 times)

Concertshooter

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High-ISO confusion
« on: October 17, 2013, 11:04:07 AM »
I have a Canon 550D that I use for concert photography. I don't really like the high-ISO performance of this camera so I am looking for a replacement. When I read the reviews of DPReview Canon cameras are improved in IQ with every generation. However, when I take a look at the RAW ISO graphs it shows exactly the opposite. Here is an example:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos600d/10

The 550D beats the 600D, the 600D beats the 650D and the 650D beats the 700D. The 550D is even better then the 60D which is newer and more pro-like. What the heck?!


When I checked DxO, the 550D also beats every newer Canon camera:

http://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors


How come the reviews say that the image quality is improved, while statistic 'evidence' says otherwise?

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High-ISO confusion
« on: October 17, 2013, 11:04:07 AM »

TrabimanUK

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2013, 11:43:15 AM »
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retina

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 11:50:17 AM »
The 550D beats the 600D, the 600D beats the 650D and the 650D beats the 700D. The 550D is even better then the 60D which is newer and more pro-like. What the heck?!

hmm i don't really see much "beating", they are all almost the same, which is perfectly normal considering they all have +/- the same sensor.

you won't see much upgrade (if any) in low light performance unless you step into full frame.

a second hand 5Dmk2 would serve you well i think.

jdramirez

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2013, 11:57:10 AM »
 raw should be the same across the generations,  but their jpg  might be improved because you go from digic 4  to digic 5. 

 ditto the full frame suggestion.   I'm not saying you should,  but that is when you will notice a significant gain in  iso performance
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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David_in_Seattle

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 12:22:16 PM »
I got back into photography with the Canon 550D, then eventually graduated to a 60D, then 5Dmk3 and ultimately a 1Dx.

In terms of real world ISO performance, the 550D and 60D are practically the same as they share the same sensor and image processor.  Image noise and detail basically suck at ISO 3200 and beyond.  The same is true with each successive Rebel generation as they continue to use the same (or similar) 18mp sensor.

I rented the 70D last month and noticed about a 1/2 stop - 1 1/2 stop improvement on ISO performance in low light scenarios.  ISO 6400 on this camera appears almost as good as ISO 3200 on the 60D.  With some post processing the image can be print worthy at 4x6.

If you really wanna see a difference in ISO performance then you'll need to step up to full frame cameras.  Though depending on your budget and use case it may be a better option to upgrade your lenses first.  A camera is only as good as the lens that's attached to it and with the person using it.
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Skywise

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 12:23:38 PM »
I'm with jdramirez -

RAW performance is mostly unchanged because the sensor is essentially the same among all those cameras but the in-camera processing algorithms got better.  My pictures of certain low light subjects which were downright awful with my 550d came out much better with my 650d.  But I got better pictures from both just running the RAWs through Lightroom.

Drizzt321

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2013, 12:33:06 PM »
The 550D beats the 600D, the 600D beats the 650D and the 650D beats the 700D. The 550D is even better then the 60D which is newer and more pro-like. What the heck?!

hmm i don't really see much "beating", they are all almost the same, which is perfectly normal considering they all have +/- the same sensor.

you won't see much upgrade (if any) in low light performance unless you step into full frame.

a second hand 5Dmk2 would serve you well i think.

Pretty much all the recent Rebel/60D/7D share the same basic sensor, so RAW performance will mostly be similar. The 70D with its first real new APS-C sensor from Canon in a long time. Unfortunately, from my brief looks at the DPReview comparison shots (select the RAW, and then ISO you want to compare), it seems like it's about the same as the 7D, give or take a bit. Add in even the old 5d2, and you'll see an immediate difference at high ISO.
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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2013, 12:33:06 PM »

mackguyver

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2013, 12:54:49 PM »
Pretty much all the recent Rebel/60D/7D share the same basic sensor, so RAW performance will mostly be similar. The 70D with its first real new APS-C sensor from Canon in a long time. Unfortunately, from my brief looks at the DPReview comparison shots (select the RAW, and then ISO you want to compare), it seems like it's about the same as the 7D, give or take a bit. Add in even the old 5d2, and you'll see an immediate difference at high ISO.
A year or so ago, I had a 5DII and 7D, and I bought my 5DIII.  The quality of the full frame sensors, even in good light, is so much better that I sold my 7D soon after.  I shoot wildlife, so giving up a crop sensor was tough, but the files are so much better I haven't regretted it.  I use my 1.4x a lot more though :)

You can probably pick up a used, refurbished (check Canon & Adorama) or even brand new 5DII for the cost of a 70D and if you shoot in low light, you'll be glad you did.  Yes, AF isn't great, but it's as good as any Rebel and if you use the central sensor and focus and recompose, you'll be fine.

Drizzt321

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2013, 01:01:55 PM »
Pretty much all the recent Rebel/60D/7D share the same basic sensor, so RAW performance will mostly be similar. The 70D with its first real new APS-C sensor from Canon in a long time. Unfortunately, from my brief looks at the DPReview comparison shots (select the RAW, and then ISO you want to compare), it seems like it's about the same as the 7D, give or take a bit. Add in even the old 5d2, and you'll see an immediate difference at high ISO.
A year or so ago, I had a 5DII and 7D, and I bought my 5DIII.  The quality of the full frame sensors, even in good light, is so much better that I sold my 7D soon after.  I shoot wildlife, so giving up a crop sensor was tough, but the files are so much better I haven't regretted it.  I use my 1.4x a lot more though :)

You can probably pick up a used, refurbished (check Canon & Adorama) or even brand new 5DII for the cost of a 70D and if you shoot in low light, you'll be glad you did.  Yes, AF isn't great, but it's as good as any Rebel and if you use the central sensor and focus and recompose, you'll be fine.

If you can manage it, the 6D is a great choice as well, and the center AF point is better than the center AF on 5d2. That said, the price (at least from B&H and Keh.com) on a good condition 5d2 is pretty high, especially compared to a few hundred dollars more for a new 6D body.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2013, 01:03:17 PM »
I'm with jdramirez -

RAW performance is mostly unchanged because the sensor is essentially the same among all those cameras but the in-camera processing algorithms got better.  My pictures of certain low light subjects which were downright awful with my 550d came out much better with my 650d.  But I got better pictures from both just running the RAWs through Lightroom.

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mackguyver

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2013, 01:07:55 PM »
If you can manage it, the 6D is a great choice as well, and the center AF point is better than the center AF on 5d2. That said, the price (at least from B&H and Keh.com) on a good condition 5d2 is pretty high, especially compared to a few hundred dollars more for a new 6D body.
Forgot about the 6D - been staying up late working on a new photo book I'm trying to finish.  Need more sleep, but yes, the 6D is an awesome choice and probably a better one than the 5DII if the OP can afford it.

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2013, 02:12:27 PM »
raw should be the same across the generations,  but their jpg  might be improved because you go from digic 4  to digic 5. 



Is this correct ? Doesn't the digic processor have any influence on the RAW capture ?

David_in_Seattle

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2013, 02:36:41 PM »
raw should be the same across the generations,  but their jpg  might be improved because you go from digic 4  to digic 5. 



Is this correct ? Doesn't the digic processor have any influence on the RAW capture ?

The digic processors have little affect on RAW image quality, but they do impact the noise reduction capabilities for jpg.

The digic processors DO impact over all image quality by the following:
  • A Digic 5+ processor is 17 times faster at calculating AF algorithms vs. the Digic 4 and can handle more complex noise reduction algorithms for jpg.
  • The Digic 5 and 5+ processors are more accurate in calculating correct exposure vs. the Digic 4.
  • They also support 14-bit RAW images that enable more color fidelity and tonal range.  This can lead to less noise in shadow transitions for high ISO images.
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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2013, 02:36:41 PM »

captainkanji

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2013, 02:54:18 PM »
You should definitely rent/borrow a 6D. I saw a significant improvement in image quality at higher ISO from the 7D.  I don't even think about using NR until I get to 3200 (shooting RAW of course).  Throw a nice prime on it. I'm dying to try the 135 f2 next month.
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dtaylor

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2013, 02:57:09 PM »
I would have sworn that my EOS M was producing better RAW high ISO shots then my 7D, yet comparisons at DPReview and Imaging Resource do not confirm this. So it looks like there really isn't much change among the 18 MP sensors from Canon. (My initial impression was probably due to the exposure being consistently optimal on the M. I shoot manual on the M and it is incredibly fast and simple to ETTR off the screen.)

The 70D is Canon's first truly new APS-C sensor in a while, and to me it does look a bit better in RAW. But not by much, maybe 2/3 stop?

On the flip side, for all the wild claims about Sony and Nikon sensors, they look no better. And they also show no difference as you flip through recent camera model iterations. Yet we constantly hear how Canon is "stuck" with old sensors, and how much better Sony/Nikon sensors are at high ISO. The comparison images expose the myth. A myth which is driven entirely by DxO nonsense.

I think the whole industry is at a point of diminishing returns on high ISO when it comes to crop sensors, though a new fabrication technique or other technology could change that in the future.

To be honest...and this is going to ruffle feathers...there isn't that much difference between the crop sensors and the 5D2 either. It's there, but not huge. The IR samples show it better then the DPReview samples (not sure why). From the times I've shot with a 5D2, the difference is amplified if exposure is less then optimal. And 5D2 RAW files are able to take more NR at high ISO.

The 5D3 and 6D improve on the 5D2, and to me the jump from crop to 5D3/6D is much more substantial in terms of high ISO. For that reason I tell crop shooters who want better high ISO to skip used 5D2's and go straight for the newer models.

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Re: High-ISO confusion
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2013, 02:57:09 PM »