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Old Oct 8, 2009, 3:51 PM   #51
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From what camera?

You really need to look at photos in controlled conditions (same subject, lighting, aperture, shutter speed, ISO Speed, etc.) on more than one web site.

You're going to see some amount of image degradation from almost any camera at higher ISO speeds.

But, you need to consider the print/viewing sizes needed versus what you see with 100% crops (which is like looking at poster size prints at close range). Also consider the amount of Noise Reduction being applied and if the camera you choose allows you to turn it off and use third party noise reduction tools (Neat Image, Noise Ninja, etc.) instead, for a better balance between retained detail and noise reduction.

I'd suggest sticking to higher end camera models (at a minimum, the Canon T1i, 50D; Nikon D90, D300; Sony A700 (or newer A500 when it starts shipping) for better performance at ISO 3200+.

If you want to stick with entry level models, most of them don't even have ISO 3200 available (the Canon XS, XSi, and XTi dont' go that high), and you don't want to use ISO 3200 unless you have to with the entry models that do have it available.

Here's a comparison of some of the entry level models at higher ISO speeds in low light (see pages 7 through 9 for comparisons):

http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3434&p=1

For comparisons with higher end models with more usable ISO 3200+ high speeds, see the reviews at http://www.dpreview.com

The newer models (D90, D5000) using a Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor do a little better with their noise reduction algorithms at higher ISO speeds compared to the older models. The new A500 looks like a good bet from what I've seen of it's higher ISO speed images, too. In the Canon lineup, I'd stick with the T1i or higher end models.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 4:06 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by javacleve View Post

Ok, so even with the reduced standards of my photographic skill vs yours, it's still a tall order? waaah.
So, I'm back to possibility getting a faster telephoto lens for my N80, and finding another camera for everything else? As you can see, I use my camera for many other situations as well...travel--landscapes, people and buildings, parties, general activities, and a bit of macro (for the flowers) and zoom (I didn't post, but I like photos of animals)
I really don't see the N80 giving you good results either. Have you ever pushed it to ISO 3200? In my experience if you're wanting ISO 1600 the best shutter speeds you're going to get at f2.8 are likely around 1/125 without a LOT of sunlight. Remember, she's going to be competing at OTHER gyms - not just the home gym where she practices.

Here's a discussion over on dgrin about gymnastics. You can see some good, bad and ugly shots from DSLRs in the thread. There's also some good (and some not-too-informed) info there.
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=130105
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 4:14 PM   #53
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looking at dpreview, I am def not impressed with the Nikon 5000 for sharpness at all ISOs, compared to the Canon T1i (not that anyone was suggesting that model, anyway). The strange thing is that the reviewer says that the Nikon 5000 has "more detail" to begin with. Not to my eyes! What do you think? http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos500d/page15.asp
What I am learning is that at higher ISO, you will either get noise or lack of sharpness from the noise filtering. I def see noise at ISO 1600 on their examples (even starting at 800), but again we are talking about worst case scenario.

Last edited by javacleve; Oct 8, 2009 at 4:16 PM.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 4:20 PM   #54
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You're seeing differences in Noise Reduction Algorithms (and most models allow you to adjust the amount of Noise Reduction being applied and/or turn off Noise Reduction).

IMO, there's very little difference between models like the D5000 and Canon T1i at higher ISO speeds, given equivalent noise reduction (and you can reduce the in camera settings for NR and use third party tools instead).

You're more likely to see differences in IQ due to other reasons (AF speed/accuracy, metering difficulties, etc.). A small difference in exposure can be more important than the differences you'll see "splitting hairs" with 100% crops from images with these models.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 4:21 PM   #55
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You will absolutely have to use noise reduction software (noiseware, neat image, noise ninja). And yes, you will lose some detail. But results will be better than in-camera noise reduction. Here's a shot from my old Canon 20d at ISO 1600. Expect the better entry level DSLRs to clean up like this at 3200:


So yes there will be loss of detail and there will be some noise left but it's definitely usable IMO.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 4:48 PM   #56
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You will absolutely have to use noise reduction software (noiseware, neat image, noise ninja). And yes, you will lose some detail. But results will be better than in-camera noise reduction. Here's a shot from my old Canon 20d at ISO 1600. Expect the better entry level DSLRs to clean up like this at 3200:


So yes there will be loss of detail and there will be some noise left but it's definitely usable IMO.
Definitely "usable," I'd be tickled to death with a shot like that!
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 4:49 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
You're seeing differences in Noise Reduction Algorithms (and most models allow you to adjust the amount of Noise Reduction being applied and/or turn off Noise Reduction).

IMO, there's very little difference between models like the D5000 and Canon T1i at higher ISO speeds, given equivalent noise reduction (and you can reduce the in camera settings for NR and use third party tools instead).

You're more likely to see differences in IQ due to other reasons (AF speed/accuracy, metering difficulties, etc.). A small difference in exposure can be more important than the differences you'll see "splitting hairs" with 100% crops from images with these models.
yes, I understand the algorithms...but even looking at the RAW data I wouldn't be happy. But, like you said, this is a 100% crop so it's not a good test for my situation.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 5:45 PM   #58
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John G, where were you when you took that photo? what was your focal length?
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 5:46 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
You're seeing differences in Noise Reduction Algorithms (and most models allow you to adjust the amount of Noise Reduction being applied and/or turn off Noise Reduction).

IMO, there's very little difference between models like the D5000 and Canon T1i at higher ISO speeds, given equivalent noise reduction (and you can reduce the in camera settings for NR and use third party tools instead).

You're more likely to see differences in IQ due to other reasons (AF speed/accuracy, metering difficulties, etc.). A small difference in exposure can be more important than the differences you'll see "splitting hairs" with 100% crops from images with these models.
I'm not sure what you mean by splitting hairs, but the difference looks pretty huge to me (again, at 100% crop I guess)
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 5:56 PM   #60
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John G, where were you when you took that photo? what was your focal length?
First it was in a HS gym with very good lighting. Not the lighting you're going to see in the gymnastic school gyms you're likely to be seeing.
I was on the floor about 15 feet from the beam - 85mm lens at ISO 1600 1/400 f2.0.

Here's one from a gymnastics gym. ISO 3200, 1/250, f2.8 at 275mm taken from about 10 feet behind the start line (with a canon 1dmkIII and sigma 120-300 2.8). The point being I had only 1/250 at ISO 3200 and f2.8. THATs a bit more like the light you're going to encounter.
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