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Old Jan 10, 2013, 1:25 AM   #1
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Default ISO 12,800 party shots

Hi All,

I was asked to take some shots at a friend's post holiday party. I told her that I'd see what I could do, but the camera body was new, and I'd need to experiment, so I couldn't promise anything. She knows me pretty well (for over 40 years), and laughed at my pre-excuse and told me to do the best I could.

Relieved that there would be relatively low expectations, I decided that I'd shoot only at ISO 12800, all with available light, and all handheld. I shoot candids mostly and always handheld in these situations.

I chose the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 DC because she has a small house with relatively small rooms and I thought the extra width over my Tamron 28-75 f2.8 would be useful.

When I arrived, I was a bit intimidated. The living room was very dark, only lit by a 25 W CF in a corner under a Tiffany style shade and LED Christmas lights on the tree and scattered around the room. It was actually darker than this looks. I lifted the exposure, lowered contrast and significantly PP'd this with Topaz DeNoilse and InFocus.

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Old Jan 10, 2013, 1:30 AM   #2
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Here are two shots from this room. I used - Ev Comp to get the shutter speeds up, but probably should have risked slower speeds and exposed them more.

These were slightly cropped and PP'd significantly by lifting exposure, some color balance work on the first, and with Topaz DeNoise and InFocus.

The thing about the K-5 sensor is that it retains colors so well at very high ISO, and the noise is mostly luminosity noise with very little color noise. I think the K-5 II has even less color noise. . .

Also, details are retained exceptionally well on these, and with minimal NR, the look pretty natural, IMO.

BTW, everything they say about amazing low light AF is true. This was very low light, and the K-5 IIS just focused like there was plenty of light. . . pretty cool.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 1:46 AM   #3
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This was from the kitchen. It was well lit, and towards the end of the party, I decided to try exposing to the right since the shutter speeds were pretty fast. I used +1.5 and could see by chimping with the histogram that I was just barely blowing the highlights in the cup.

This was a complete surprise when I looked on my computer. I could not believe that it was ISO 12800. This shot is only cropped a little, dropped a little in exposure overall and then resized for posting. No other PP was done. It's a little soft, but I shoot jpegs and set in-camera Sharpening to -4 and Contrast to -2.

With a little sharpening and added contrast, this one would look like just another ISO 200-400 shot.

Too bad I didn't try this earlier. . . These digital cameras -- you think you've got the pretty much figured out, but I just keep learning new ways to do things every day I shoot them. . .

Scott
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 6:42 AM   #4
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Awesome! better than my K-7 at ISO800 *sigh*

Been thinking about selling my K-7 and getting the K-01 as it's cheap as chips at the moment, I think I can live without the optical viewfinder and one control dial in return for the better K-5(?) sensor.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 8:44 AM   #5
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I just got my K-30 a couple of days ago but have been playing in the higher ISO range. It really is amazing just how much things have improved in just a few short years.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 9:24 AM   #6
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Really nice captures! ISO 12,800 on the K-5 looks great!

If I were to guess at what that looks like on my K100D, I'd have to guess at about iso800-1,200?

Things have come a long way in the past few years!
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 9:51 AM   #7
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Hard to believe the ISO, nice Job Scott, way better than my Kr

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Old Jan 11, 2013, 1:10 PM   #8
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Very good shots, indeed. Your processing is brilliant, or else the K5iis is better than the K5 as far as noise.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 7:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tachikoma View Post
Awesome! better than my K-7 at ISO800 *sigh*

Been thinking about selling my K-7 and getting the K-01 as it's cheap as chips at the moment, I think I can live without the optical viewfinder and one control dial in return for the better K-5(?) sensor.
Hi Tachikoma,

From what I've heard, the K-01 is working out well for a lot of folks. If you don't need an OVF, the advantages are smaller size and dead on focus since you're always focusing with the image sensor so no calibration needed. There are slight differences in the sensors, and onboard processors, but probably more to do with specs than performance. The K-01 is currently a very significant deal to get this sensor.

Scott

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Originally Posted by gjtoth View Post
I just got my K-30 a couple of days ago but have been playing in the higher ISO range. It really is amazing just how much things have improved in just a few short years.
Hi gjtoth,

Technology marches on, and we are reaping the benefits as digital photgraphers IMO.

Scott

Quote:
Originally Posted by tacticdesigns View Post
Really nice captures! ISO 12,800 on the K-5 looks great!

If I were to guess at what that looks like on my K100D, I'd have to guess at about iso800-1,200?

Things have come a long way in the past few years!
Hi tacticdesigns,

I had a DS and K100DS, and I'd say more like 400-800. I pretty much decided to not shoot over 800 with these two cams, but have mostly limited my K-5, and now the K-5 IIs to 10,000. The higher resolution makes a difference because the individual pixels are much smaller, so the noise is a lot more grain like, and there's virtually no chroma noise, which was a always a problem for me with every sensor up to the K-5.

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Originally Posted by hnikesch View Post
Hard to believe the ISO, nice Job Scott, way better than my Kr
Hi Hans,

I shoot jpegs, so turn the Sharpness down to -4 and the contrast down to -2 to keep the in-camera processor from accentuating noise. I also turn high ISO NR in the camera so the processor doesn't smear the fine details. This way, I can apply NR first, then sharpen and add contrast without these effecting the noise much. The order in which these are applied actually makes a big difference.

AFAIK, the Kr sensor is close to the same tech as the K-5 sensor. You might try exposing to the right (overexpose to just below blowing the highlights) if you have enough room with the shutter speed. I was very surprised how clean that last shot came out. With a little PP, and no NR, I'd not hesitate to blow this one up big from an IQ standpoint.
Scott

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Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Very good shots, indeed. Your processing is brilliant, or else the K5iis is better than the K5 as far as noise.
Hi Harriet,

I don't think there's much difference in noise between the two. I've shot the K-5 at ISO 10,000 quite a bit, and it's worked out well for the most part. In this case, I wanted to try out the K-5 IIs' low light focusing more than anything, then experiment with some different techniques.

I have made some strides in processing though, but it's a whole lot easier when I know that the output is going to be only 1200 or 1024 pixels on the long side. This file size is still good for very nice 5x7 prints (145 DPI), and can be stretched to 8x10 for some of the best ones.

One tip that we already discussed a very long time ago is to resize before applying NR since the resizing smooths the overall image by itself, reducing the amount of NR needed. When I know that I'm going to downsize significantly, starting with over 4900 pixels on the long side, I can resize in steps, say first to 3500 pixels, then try NR, and if it looks good, then I can sharpen a bit to accentuate detail, then downsize to 2000 and see if it needs another application of NR and sharpening, then go to 1600 -- repeat, and finally 1200 or 1024. I touch up the final resized image with a small smoothing brush as needed to get rid of any of those funny artifacts left by TDN, and save it to a new file. This is an ongoing evolution for me. . .

Thanks everyone for taking a look and taking the time to comment!

Scott
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 7:19 PM   #10
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Very well thought-out plan for photos and for PP, and very nice results. Thanks for sharing both the photos and your methods!
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