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Old Oct 8, 2009, 6:05 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
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.
Thank you for the link to anandtech...finally got to check them out, and I am still seeing noise (though perhaps tolerable) at the 1600 level in all 3 of those cameras
I guess I need to see real photos, not high magnifications like that? Same thing with dpreview...
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 6:07 PM   #62
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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.
Well this one looks pretty awesome to me, too! BUT, you are right on the floor, so obviously my results from the stands wouldn't be so good.
I hate to ask what the camera and lens outfit cost that you used on this photo...
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 6:16 PM   #63
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Is it just me, or does it seem to be mixed bag? In some comparison photos, I prefer the Olympus; in some the Canon; in some the Nikon (on the dpreview link above)...as far as sharpness and detail, I mean. Why is there such a variation?
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 6:46 PM   #64
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Where am I supposed to find these photos under controlled conditions using various cameras?
Almost everything I'm seeing is outdoors, with ISO 100-400. Not much at 800 or higher, which is the area I'm particularly concerned with.
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 6:07 AM   #65
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Thank you for the link to anandtech...finally got to check them out, and I am still seeing noise (though perhaps tolerable) at the 1600 level in all 3 of those cameras
I guess I need to see real photos, not high magnifications like that? Same thing with dpreview...
Noise is always going to be worse in underexposed areas of a photo. So, the conditions you're using one in come into the equation. For example,in typical gym lighting, you're not going to have as many shadow areas as you would in a dim bar shooting live music, or trying to shoot in a typical home environment at night with light coming from incandescent table lamps (which can mean higher noise levels and/or loss of detail from noise reduction in those darker areas).

The viewing/print sizes needed also come into the equation. Yes, many reviews are showing you 100% crops so you can better judge differences between cameras at higher ISO speeds.

If you look at the sample images in the reviews here at Steve's, you can also see full size images at various ISO speeds.

If you look at the newer reviews at dpreview.com, you can click on the lower right hand corner of the high ISO studio scene to see the full size images. For example, see this page from the T1i review there:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos500d/page26.asp

Note that some areas of the images have more detail destroyed from noise and/or noise reduction. For example, look at the left bottom of the globe in the scene, where it doesn't get as much light as some of the other areas of the image.

You'll also sections in the review showing how Noise Reduction Settings impact results, and you can also download RAW files from one of the pages, so you can see how various raw converters handle the images. Keep in mind that most raw converters are applying some defaults (tone curves, black point levels, etc.), and most will apply some amount of noise reduction, even with the sliders set to zero.

If you want to see a "linear" conversion with no Noise Reduction or tone curve applied, you can use products like dcraw.c (free command line program for raw conversion). A free converter with a GUI interface that lets you do a linear converson with no tone curve or noise reduction is RawTherapee. Just keep in mind that not all new cameras are supported (as raw converters need to be updated to support each new camera model).

You're going to see noise and/or loss of detail from noise reduction at higher ISO speeds from any of these models, especially in shadow areas. Now, in camera noise reduction is getting to be *very* good. You'll have to decide if they offer the desired balance between noise reduction and detail retention (keeping in mind that you can tune the amount of Noise Reduction being applied with most newer cameras). Most reviewers use a camera's default settings (i.e., Noise Reduction set to Normal) for studio scene comparisons. You can also disable noise reduction with most newer cameras and use third party tools like Noise Ninja or Neat Image instead.

Again, print/viewing sizes come into the equation. Noise and/or loss of detail from noise reduction is not going to be as apparent at typical viewing/print sizes. When you look at images using a 100% viewing size on screen, it's like looking at a poster size print from very close range (versus typical viewing distances). IOW, it's not realistic to expect no noise or loss of detail from noise reduction when viewing images that large (or 100% crops from images).

You'll have to decide what's acceptable for the viewing/print sizes needed.

But, my advise would be to stick with the more advanced models like the Canon T1i or 50D in the Canon lineup; or models using the Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor in the Nikon or Sony lineup for better results as ISO speeds are increased. You're going to want ISO 3200 for shooting indoor sports with a zoom. Most of the entry level Canon models only go as high as ISO 1600. You do have ISO 3200 available in some of the entry level models from Nikon and Sony using a 10MP CCD Sensor. But, you really don't want to use it unless you have to. You'll get better results at ISO 3200 from the more advanced models in the Nikon or Sony lineup that are using newer 12MP CMOS Sensors.

If you want even better high ISO performance, you'll need to move up to something like the Nikon D700 or D3. These models use a 12MP full frame (35mm film size) sensor designed by Nikon, and are hard to beat for higher ISO speed use.
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 6:25 AM   #66
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Here is a real life example of what ISO 3200 looks like on the Sony A-230 model. Perhaps that will help. I apologize for butting into your exchange.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 9, 2009, 8:40 AM   #67
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OMG, I am in NE Ohio!!! I live in North Ridgeville, the gym is in Avon Lake (would that be a "club" gym? it's not hs, she's 7 )
Sorry - just saw this. It would appear you have ability to send you a private message turned off in your profile. If you don't have an objection to doing so, please turn the feature on and send me a PM and we can continue this discussion off-line (BTW, My niece does gymnastics out of Brecksville's Gymnastics World)
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Old Oct 10, 2009, 7:09 PM   #68
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Sorry - just saw this. It would appear you have ability to send you a private message turned off in your profile. If you don't have an objection to doing so, please turn the feature on and send me a PM and we can continue this discussion off-line (BTW, My niece does gymnastics out of Brecksville's Gymnastics World)
oops, I'll try and figure that out...I was gone all day today...
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Old Oct 10, 2009, 7:11 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
Here is a real life example of what ISO 3200 looks like on the Sony A-230 model. Perhaps that will help. I apologize for butting into your exchange.

Sarah Joyce
No, thank you for butting in, Sarah! I saw this photo on the other thread and thought it looked great...not too much noise on this one. Oh, it's all so confusing!
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Old Oct 10, 2009, 7:30 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Noise is always going to be worse in underexposed areas of a photo. So, the conditions you're using one in come into the equation. For example,in typical gym lighting, you're not going to have as many shadow areas as you would in a dim bar shooting live music, or trying to shoot in a typical home environment at night with light coming from incandescent table lamps (which can mean higher noise levels and/or loss of detail from noise reduction in those darker areas).

The viewing/print sizes needed also come into the equation. Yes, many reviews are showing you 100% crops so you can better judge differences between cameras at higher ISO speeds.

If you look at the sample images in the reviews here at Steve's, you can also see full size images at various ISO speeds.

If you look at the newer reviews at dpreview.com, you can click on the lower right hand corner of the high ISO studio scene to see the full size images. For example, see this page from the T1i review there:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos500d/page26.asp

Note that some areas of the images have more detail destroyed from noise and/or noise reduction. For example, look at the left bottom of the globe in the scene, where it doesn't get as much light as some of the other areas of the image.

You'll also sections in the review showing how Noise Reduction Settings impact results, and you can also download RAW files from one of the pages, so you can see how various raw converters handle the images. Keep in mind that most raw converters are applying some defaults (tone curves, black point levels, etc.), and most will apply some amount of noise reduction, even with the sliders set to zero.

If you want to see a "linear" conversion with no Noise Reduction or tone curve applied, you can use products like dcraw.c (free command line program for raw conversion). A free converter with a GUI interface that lets you do a linear converson with no tone curve or noise reduction is RawTherapee. Just keep in mind that not all new cameras are supported (as raw converters need to be updated to support each new camera model).

You're going to see noise and/or loss of detail from noise reduction at higher ISO speeds from any of these models, especially in shadow areas. Now, in camera noise reduction is getting to be *very* good. You'll have to decide if they offer the desired balance between noise reduction and detail retention (keeping in mind that you can tune the amount of Noise Reduction being applied with most newer cameras). Most reviewers use a camera's default settings (i.e., Noise Reduction set to Normal) for studio scene comparisons. You can also disable noise reduction with most newer cameras and use third party tools like Noise Ninja or Neat Image instead.

Again, print/viewing sizes come into the equation. Noise and/or loss of detail from noise reduction is not going to be as apparent at typical viewing/print sizes. When you look at images using a 100% viewing size on screen, it's like looking at a poster size print from very close range (versus typical viewing distances). IOW, it's not realistic to expect no noise or loss of detail from noise reduction when viewing images that large (or 100% crops from images).

You'll have to decide what's acceptable for the viewing/print sizes needed.

But, my advise would be to stick with the more advanced models like the Canon T1i or 50D in the Canon lineup; or models using the Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor in the Nikon or Sony lineup for better results as ISO speeds are increased. You're going to want ISO 3200 for shooting indoor sports with a zoom. Most of the entry level Canon models only go as high as ISO 1600. You do have ISO 3200 available in some of the entry level models from Nikon and Sony using a 10MP CCD Sensor. But, you really don't want to use it unless you have to. You'll get better results at ISO 3200 from the more advanced models in the Nikon or Sony lineup that are using newer 12MP CMOS Sensors.

If you want even better high ISO performance, you'll need to move up to something like the Nikon D700 or D3. These models use a 12MP full frame (35mm film size) sensor designed by Nikon, and are hard to beat for higher ISO speed use.
Thank you, Jim...that makes sense; it's a little overwhelming but it makes sense. I don't want to spend $2000, or have a bulky, heavy camera, either--or I won't really use it. So I think I'm going to have to compromise on the gymnastics situation and look for a camera that will work in the other situations, without being too bulky and expensive.
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