Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Digital Noise

Nikon D3s; Nikon 18-200 DX Lens at 95mm; f5.6 1/80 ISO 6400 (handheld)

I have been very pleased with my Canon 1D MKIV for getting photographs in low light.  It has far less digital noise that what I had experienced up to when I got that camera body.  My switch from Nikon to Canon took some getting used to though as the digital noise is different in Canon versus Nikon.  The color noise is more readily seen and one has to be real careful about exposure to keep it at a minimum.  Joan got her Nikon D3s last week and I am absolutely amazed at the low noise in that camera.  The above photograph taken at ISO 6400 has very little noticeable digital noise.  The Canon 1D MKIV shows more noise than this at 1250 ISO.  This feature makes this camera body one that is great for wildlife photography as we are constantly "fighting" available light as fellow photographers Willard Hill and Paul Staniszewski discussed in one of Willard's excellent posts at Pa Wildlife Photographer.  The ability to handle high ISO with low noise when couples with a fast lens makes for ability to get early morning and late evening animal activity.

Many folks are all excited about high megapixel cameras.  My experience is that megapixel counts are not the important thing.  How those megapixels are used to get an image is far more important.  The D3s has 12.1 megapixels, the Canon 1D MK IV has 16.2 megapixels-yet the lower megapixel camera body far outperforms the higher megapixel body in color rendition, apparent clarity and noise.  

The following pictures are only about 6 megapixel pictures as they were taken on full frame body with a DX lens. Consider the richness of color and amount of detail in them!

Here are some more images from the D3s:
Nikon D3s18-200 @200MM f16, 1/4 ISO200

Nikon D3s; 18-200 @200MM f16 1/10 ISO200

Nikon D3s, 18-200 @200MM F16 1/10 ISO200

Nikon D3s, 18-200 @20MM F16 1/40 ISO200

The last image sure could have used a little help from a circular polarizer.  

This weekend we will be looking for some SandHill Cranes that are local and we are hoping to get some good shots of them.

Until next time

Jim and Joan Borden

1 comment:

Willard said...

A very interesting and well written post. That is definitely very impressive. The 7D really gets noisy in a hurry above ISO 400 and I am using a Rebel T3i for DSLR video because of a feature I will post about soon and it is not as good as the 7D at handling noise.

I agree about the megapixel thing and am one of the few that have never really been hung up on the higher the megapixel the better thing (which is true to a certain extent, but as you point out is not the entire story). In fact I am working with some old 10D photos in CS5 and I am really surprised just how good 6.3 megapixels is, but that camera really, really had noise problems at higher ISOs, although to be truthful photos taken at ISO 400 processed in CS5 seem to look great, while those I worked up back then do not always look so good.