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Dbl

50D High ISO test

16 posts in this topic

Had a shoot cancelled today because of the rain so I decided to run a quick test on the ISO capabilites of the 50D.

There are four steps to noise reduction, disabled, standard, low and strong. I ran shots at each setting from 3200 ISO to 12800 ISO.

What I don't know yet is if Noise Ninja or Neat Image will be more effective at controlling the noise in PP or if the camera itself is better. More testing on the horizon.

The shots were taken with camera on a tri pod with the only changes ISO and NR level. Nothing has been done to these photos, they are straight from the camera untouched. You are looking at 100% crops of these shots.

I am impressed by 3200 ISO and 6400 looks to be very useable. 12800 as suspected I will use if I need to get the shot. I am going to post these a bit larger than our guidelines so you can see a bit more detail.

I noticed some banding at 6400 with a dark background and significant banding at 12800. At this point I don't know if it is this specific camera or if this will be true for all of the cameras. I will be doing some research to find that out, and this one will go back if it is not normal.

3200 ISO shots

389034591_X8GfJ-XL.jpg

6400 ISO shots

389034671_xcsQE-XL.jpg

12800 ISO shots

389034472_nA6Ew-XL.jpg

The normal shots with NR off.

3200 ISO

389034968_KaJEm-XL.jpg

6400 ISO

389035349_4zbac-XL.jpg

12800 ISO

389035840_pBZN3-XL.jpg

It appears to me that with the NR turned to strong you still retain good sharp details. I will be starting out shooting for real I think with NR to strong. My concern was the possible loss of detail with NR turned on but I think the results are better with NR in every position but low. That setting seems to produce more noise than even off.

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Thanks for doing this, Dan. I quickly pulled up some wedding images I'd taken on the 5D at iso3200, and they all seem to fall within the 50D iso3200 images between the standard and the strong settings.

For me, that puts the 50D in play as an indoor low-light wedding body instead of looking for a used 5D, not to mention of course that it has at least one more nicely usable iso stop than the 5D, and another stop that might be workable under certain conditions.

I'll look forward to more 50D images.

What lens was used for these images, and if a zoom, at what focal length?

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Should have added that as well Steve, sorry. 17-40 at 40mm. I did this to see what the different settings effects had on the shots. I don't want to shoot a gig trying to figure out what the heck results I was going to get.

I am a bit concerned about the banding, it will be interesting to see if other 50D's have the same characteristics. After a day or two of just fiddling not actually getting out and working it out I am still impressed enough to consider adding another 50D and selling the 30D. I had thought about selling the 30D for a 40D but I now am thinking I should hold out for another 50D.

Honestly I think with NR on strong that 12800 indeed will be usable. We tend to be more critical than non-photography types about what is usable. The 3200 ISO shots with no NR on blow the Mark IIN out of the water for noise. I can guarantee the 50D will get a lot of gym work this winter. Now if the focus system can keep up we have a definite winner for sure!

If there is any particular test you want me to run or a type of photo you are looking for just let me know and I will try and run the camera through it.

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Thanks Dan. That helps tremendously to have the lens data, particularly since it's a lens I use all the time and know well.

And you are exactly right, in my experience, about the level of pickiness of photogs when it comes to noise and sharpness. I'm thinking, then, that 6400 will be pretty darn usable in the real world as needed. Good to know. And thanks again. As a wedding photog, the increased highlight detail capabilities of the 50D also interest me quite a lot considering all those white dresses and such. grin

Of course, if I buy the 50D and want to use Photoshop's ACR converter, I'll need to upgrade from CS2 to CS3, which will mean I'll need to upgrade my OS, which will mean I'll have to upgrade my computer. Do you know if, because the 50D came out (marginally) before the upgrade from CS3 to CS4 will be on the shelves, Adobe will provide a final RAW plug-in upgrade including the 50D, or will a person have to get CS4 to use the ACR converter?

On the other hand, I can surely use DPP or Adobe's DNG converter to do the RAW conversion when I want to shoot RAW, and I'm doing all my wedding work in jpeg anyway, so . . . .

And I already have grips for my 20D/30D collection, so it would be a simple matter to put one of the 20D grips on the 50D and retire the 20D from my service and give it to Mrs. Catfish. Hmmmm, I sense a plan forming here. gringrin

Dan, I'm assuming the 50D takes the same BP-511 equivalent battery as the previous models? I haven't checked that.

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Thanks for the testing Dan! Keep clickin' away and let us know what you find out. I am impressed with 3200 and from what I see is far superior to my Mark II's (makes sense, I guess). There was an earlier mention of err99's. Any problems with that?

Quote:
I'm assuming the 50D takes the same BP-511 equivalent battery as the previous models?

I looked, and as I understand it the BP-511's, 512's etc are the batteries for the 50D.

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Same batteries, same grip, all those things that I had for my 20d work perfect on the 50D. All those batteries I thought I might not need very often just came back into play. Ken not one error at all. Thing keeps on ticking.

I am using CS2 as well Steve, I am hoping for just a plug-in for the RAW converter. I haven't spent much time looking at that but will now.

I am off to catch a little sunset with the camera see what it will do.

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Dan, Adobe won't upgrade the CS2 RAW plug-in for the 50D, unless they do an abrupt about-face. Their policy has long been that once a new camera hits the shelves, they won't offer a updated ACR plug-in for older versions of Photoshop.

At best, they'll offer a CS3 plug-in upgrade. At worst, they'll ignore it for CS3 and make it available only in CS4. That's one reason I'm starting to like these other RAW converters like DPP.

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Those look pretty good Dan, the new 50D seems to be a solid step forward from the previous generation. How was the lighting when you took these shots? Was it fairly dark and you needed 1/2 second exposures or decently light and you had to go to 1/4000th and a small aperture to get the ISO up?

It looks like the 50D could work well for indoor sports, those high school gyms are brutal to shoot in!

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JohnK, the lighting was fairly poor by design. I was hoping to simulate some of those dark gyms. I also shot at f4.0 DOF wasn't a factor. The slowest shutter speed was 1/100s and went up from there as I increased the ISO.

I hope it works well for indoor sports, that was my main reason for buying it!

On the RAW converter sounds like you are right on Steve, no plug for CS2, and possibly not CS3. My slightly older version of DPP also won't open it but I have the new version waiting to install.

I found some discussion on DPP being a better RAW converter than Adobe for the 50D files. I won't be able to compare but like you said there are other ways to convert the files. Just another tweak to the work flow.

Ken I did hear of a few error 99's so my guess is a firmware update is on the horizon. Mine has worked perfect so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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Taken this evening it shows the ALO capabilities. ALO is the auto lighting optimizer which will try and even out your exposure from the shadows and highlights. It did a fairly good job with the foreground being fairly dark and sky lighter.

The other feature this demonstrates is the Peripheral illumination correction. It knows that I had a 17-40 on the camera and applied a correction to eliminate the vignetting commonly found when shot at 17mm. Did a decent job in this case I see no dark corners like I normally see at that focal length.

389271650_Gbfyg-L.jpg

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Dan,

Your initial results on ALO are encouraging. Hope you can push the test further in the coming days. Even exposures with harsh lighting (dynamic range) has always been a problem photographers have had to deal with. I'd be surprised if the entire problem would be worked out before several more generations of technology, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction.

Most of what I've heard about the 50D has been positive. Still holding my breath - none around to buy anyway unless you were on the top of the list for pre-orders. Good thing, if one were available it would be hard to not pull the trigger. Probably best to sit back and see how it works for you! grin

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Well, it looks good enough that the 50D has replaced the current 5D as my next body. The high iso performance upon further review is better than the wedding images with the 5D, and with the larger file size and all the other features, especially the highlight-detail feature and the others we've seen evidence of, it seems the one to get for me.

Then, of course, I can drool over the 5DII when it comes out, and how neat it would be to have the 5DII and 50D as a one-two punch. gringrin

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I will try and post a few more photos as I get around to them that tests the ALO, the Peripheral illumination, etc. with them turned off and turned on. I should have some more time this weekend to put these features through their paces. I agree this was one small test it needs to be pushed harder to see how well it works. I also think we are a few generations away from really making this work well.

Ken, I think the 50D should not be that hard to get in a week or two. This is not like the Mark III where they made limited amounts of cameras because it is such a small niche market. The 50D is for the masses, production is ramped up on this camera.

Steve, you are in a tough spot, 5D or 50D. Would be nice to have all of them. Why not a 1Ds Mark III as well! I wish I had the disposable income to get all the toys I want and really could use. That might set me back another $25,000....not going to happen.

I am encouraged by my initial brief results with the camera. It has some real potential, especially at this price point. One thing prevelant is the banding at high ISO, I hope to get more information on that in the next week or so. This camera or all of them it will be interesting to see how that shakes out.

More to come.....

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Very interesting review Dbl, keep up the good work.

Thanks

Dan

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Dan (Dbl), can you look at your Canon CD that came with the 50D and containing the DPP software to see if it's compatible with Mac OS 10.3.9? That's two OSes ago, and it's possible it'll only work with OS 10.4 and up.

If I can't install DPP because my OS is too old, that would tip the scales back to a used 5D, potentially.

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Steve I'm on the road but will check when I get home tomorrow night. A check on Canon's site says Mac OS 10.4 or higher with DPP 3.5. I did find a program that will work with 10.3 and higher with the 50D so I'm guessing there might be a few out there.

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