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Archive 2012 · ISO sweet spots
  
 
Tapeman
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p.1 #1 · ISO sweet spots


I have seen a post here with a chart showing the "best" ISO settings with regard to noise for a Canon 5D2 and wondered where I can find a similar chart for my 1D4. I have been using full stop incraments for ISO as I read that 1/3 or 1/2 stops were not as good overall.


Dec 05, 2012 at 12:02 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #2 · ISO sweet spots


Tapeman wrote:
I have seen a post here with a chart showing the "best" ISO settings with regard to noise for a Canon 5D2 and wondered where I can find a similar chart for my 1D4. I have been using full stop incraments for ISO as I read that 1/3 or 1/2 stops were not as good overall.


The good news is that if you are worrying about which half or third stop gives you a "better" image, you can stop worrying about it. The differences are truly trivial and, at worst, are only barely visible in side by side comparisons at 100% magnification if you go looking for them.

For the most part, you can simply shoot at whatever "full stop increment" ISO (100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc) you need to the photograph you are making and not bother introducing this additional complication into your work process.

Dan



Dec 05, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Speter
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p.1 #3 · ISO sweet spots


I never noticed any compromises when shooting at 1/3 or 1/2 stops...


Dec 05, 2012 at 12:21 AM
rolette
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p.1 #4 · ISO sweet spots


Bad data... On most Canon bodies, -1/3 stop is better than the traditional full stops for noise.

Here's the chart for the 1D4...

Edit: hmph, the direct link isn't working right. Just click on the 1D4 on that page and you'll get the graph.

Jay



Dec 05, 2012 at 01:52 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #5 · ISO sweet spots


rolette wrote:
...On most Canon bodies, -1/3 stop is better than the traditional full stops for noise.


Interesting; according to that site, on my 7D I'm better off shooting at ISO 200 -1/3 (159, specifically) than at ISO 100; and 400 -1/3 is better than 200 +1.3 (though not as good as 200).



Dec 05, 2012 at 02:28 AM
coibeo2610
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p.1 #6 · ISO sweet spots


Same to me when I never pay attention to the different of full stop or 1/2, 1/3 increment for ISO on my 1D IV. Maybe I'm just not pretty anal on pixel peeping. ISO 1600 is kinda no noise to me though.

-MC



Dec 05, 2012 at 03:35 AM
umihoshijima
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p.1 #7 · ISO sweet spots


I believe the rationale is that there are several "true iso's" that the sensor is drived at. All the others are arrived at by pushing/pulling the true ISOs (like the ISO expansion feature, which underexposes then pushes).

I don't know if this is true, but it's the thinking behind the fact that there are better stops than others. I remember this was a big deal with the 5D2, and I have a friend who only shoots video on ISO's that are multiples of 80. heheh.



Dec 05, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #8 · ISO sweet spots


See this discussion -

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=56947.msg463071#msg463071

and

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=56947.msg463097#msg463097



Dec 05, 2012 at 04:39 AM
BluesWest
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p.1 #9 · ISO sweet spots


The differences are truly trivial and, at worst, are only barely visible in side by side comparisons at 100% magnification if you go looking for them.

Listen to Dan.

The "tests" for the 7D supposedly show differences between certain ISO settings, but in practice I see no differences whatsoever. I have no doubt that this will be the case for every other camera, including the 1DIV.

As already suggested, just use whatever ISO setting is appropriate to capture the image, and try to avoid obsessing about trivialities.

John



Dec 05, 2012 at 05:35 AM
n0b0
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p.1 #10 · ISO sweet spots


How about the lowest ISO you can get away with in whatever lighting condition you're shooting.


Dec 05, 2012 at 05:42 AM
 

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Evangelos
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p.1 #11 · ISO sweet spots


It's funny, I just spent the last hour looking at different iso stops in pictures I've taken with my 5D3 (now sold) and now I find this thread. Its quite evident to me that 160, 320, and 640 are the best iso's through 800. Beyond that it seems to make no difference. ISO 100 has more evident banding than and blotchiness in the shadows than 160, while 125 is the biggest offender. The same holds true 1 stop up from each of these 1/3 stops. Is it a huge difference? No. But if you feel you may be manipulating the shadows at all, stick to 160, 320, 640 and definitely stay away from 125, 250, and 500.

These are my findings after looking at my pics. I believe the same holds true for the 5D2

Evan



Dec 05, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Evangelos
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p.1 #12 · ISO sweet spots


Oops! I see now you were talking about the 1D4...my bad.

Evan



Dec 05, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Tapeman
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p.1 #13 · ISO sweet spots


I have the 5D2 and have been using 160, 320, and 640. That is why I was hoping to find a chart for the 1D4.


Dec 05, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #14 · ISO sweet spots


rolette wrote:
Bad data... On most Canon bodies, -1/3 stop is better than the traditional full stops for noise.

Here's the chart for the 1D4...

Edit: hmph, the direct link isn't working right. Just click on the 1D4 on that page and you'll get the graph.

Jay


Thanks for the chart. It is helpful, but it does depend on the Canon body. For example my old 5D MKI was best on whole ISO value (e.g., 100, 200, 400, 800), but my new 5D MKII is better on - 1/3 values (e.g. 160, 320, 640, 1280).



Dec 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Evangelos
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p.1 #15 · ISO sweet spots


Here is a very good chart :

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/

Evan



Dec 05, 2012 at 02:34 PM
ratsnest74
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p.1 #16 · ISO sweet spots


makes it look like the 5DIII is worse than the 5Dc, the 1DsII, the 1DIII, the 3Ds and the D4, going backward Canon!


Dec 05, 2012 at 02:57 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #17 · ISO sweet spots


Evangelos wrote:
Here is a very good chart :

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/

Evan


A truly fascinating set of charts and analyses. Thanks for the link. Several general observations: (1) Nikon models are fully represented whereas Canon's are spotty. Would be nice if the data could be collected to fill out the chart)s) (2) For a camera model era (i.e. those models introduced in the same time frame) there isn't much difference between Nikon and Canon. The one notable exception is that the Nikon models hold an edge in low ISO, say <=ISO 200. (3) The differences between the 5DII and the 5DIII are remarkably small and I wonder if the human eye can detect them. The exception of course is the 5DIII's addition of extremely high ISO capacities. (4) With the exception of Nikon's seeming greater DR at very low ISO, it's difficult to say one brand is particularly different than the other. Camera choice is apparently made more on other factors such as familiarity, lens ownership, etc. (5) What is not apparent from this discussion is just how much difference these measurements make in real world photography. I've read his technical explanations, and while I follow them my expertise is not in this area. Just studying the charts with a statistician's eye, it seems to me that there is quite a lot of uproar over what is measurably very little difference. Again, the Nikon superiority at low ISO being the exception.

Would really like to know how much difference these measured artifacts make in real world photography. Also Dan Mitchel's observation that part ISO stops aren't really important is borne out by these charts. Yes, there are inflections between whole numbers but they are unlikely to be statistically different.

Very interesting data, but for me, raises more questions than it answers.

Robert



Dec 05, 2012 at 04:01 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #18 · ISO sweet spots


n0b0 wrote:
How about the lowest ISO you can get away with in whatever lighting condition you're shooting.


Exactly.

Evangelos wrote:
It's funny, I just spent the last hour looking at different iso stops in pictures I've taken with my 5D3 (now sold) and now I find this thread. Its quite evident to me that 160, 320, and 640 are the best iso's through 800. Beyond that it seems to make no difference. ISO 100 has more evident banding than and blotchiness in the shadows than 160, while 125 is the biggest offender. The same holds true 1 stop up from each of these 1/3 stops. Is it a huge difference? No. But if you feel you may be manipulating the
...Show more

I've shot a 5D2 for a bit more than four years, making tens of thousands of exposures, and producing many prints in sizes up to 24" x 36". This whole "fractional ISO" business impresses me as measurebation of the most bizarre type. Here's the deal. I could show you two 24" x 36" prints of extremely high quality produced from images shot on the 5D2, with one exposed at ISO 100 and one at ISO 200, and you would be completely unable to tell which is which. I could likely include one shot at ISO 400 and absolutely no one could tell which it was unless they were challenged to figure it out, looked extremely closely at the prints side by side... and then they might have a sort of hunch ("is it this one maybe?") as opposed to seeing a clear and definitive difference. Heck, I could even toss in a very fine ISO 800 shot that had been carefully and appropriately post-processed and you would be very impressed with the quality... and it wouldn't occur to you to wonder about the ISO.

Of all that things that might actually make some difference in one's photographs, aesthetically or technically, worrying about which partial ISO value to select for optimal image quality is... not even on the list.

OntheRez wrote:
Would really like to know how much difference these measured artifacts make in real world photography. Also Dan Mitchel's observation that part ISO stops aren't really important is borne out by these charts. Yes, there are inflections between whole numbers but they are unlikely to be statistically different.


Or, more importantly, unlikely to be visibly different. ;-)

Dan



Dec 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Eyvind Ness
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p.1 #19 · ISO sweet spots


OK, Dan. Let's have a real world example. You and I both have a perfect shot of a truly unique moment, but we both missed the exposure by quite a bit, somehow, in the heat of the moment, say by 1 full stop. However, I managed to use ISO 160, while you were at ISO 400. Now, which shot would you rather try to save during post processing?


Dec 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Tapeman
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p.1 #20 · ISO sweet spots


Small things add up. If I get a few of them right it may improve my images.

Being short on the artsey/creative abilities at least if I can get the technical aspects nailed maybe it will help when I get lucky and capture a realy nice image.

Overall I am not much of a pixel peeper, but I am a gear guy and I try to get the best performance out of any tool I use.

I don't see a downside to minor adjustments that may improve my pics.



Dec 05, 2012 at 04:53 PM
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