OMD - Beautiful Noise? (High ISO / Low Light)

Started May 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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texinwien
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OMD - Beautiful Noise? (High ISO / Low Light)
May 6, 2012

I went out with some friends on Friday night and took my OMD along. Since I was along to have fun, and not primarily to take pictures, I shot a few at 3200 ISO, then bumped it up to 25600 ISO. I figured it'd be a good chance to have a look at 25600, plus it enabled me to take pictures without having to put a lot of thought into it.

I was pleasantly surprised when I went through my pictures the next day. I'm used to ugly, very digital-looking noise (even at 1600 ISO) from my old Canon DSLR. The noise on these 25600 shots looks very much like film to me. Grainy, random, not digital looking, no banding or patterns. Here's an example - I shot in RAW, lifted shadows and suppressed highlights. Also applied minor noise reduction (luminance in Lightroom).

Example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurtmilam/7145349603/in/photostream/lightbox/

So, is it just me, or is that some pretty pleasing noise for a digital? Note - this was my first round of RAW photos to post-process, so I'm a total noob on that front. I think with a bit of additional forethought (maybe exposing to the right) and more refined post-processing, 25600 might actually be usable for some situations (as opposed to the mostly unusable 1600 ISO on my old Canon).

Engadget also mentioned 25600 ISO in their review:

"With a native ISO range of 200-25,600, there's quite a bit of flexibility in the sensitivity department, which will certainly come in handy for long-zoom captures with the f/3.5-6.3 kit lens. Images shot throughout that spectrum are usable at any size. ISO 25,600 looks quite fantastic, as you'll see in the 1:1 pixel views below."

Link: http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/01/olympus-om-d-em-5-micro-four-thirds-camera-review/

Side Note: Focusing and shooting from the tilt-screen is SICK Candid shots are always better. My old DSLR was simply too noticeable - viewfinder to eye, everybody posed (or hid). Most of the shots I took Friday night, I had the camera on my lap and used the tilt screen to take my shots. My friends hardly even noticed the camera.

 texinwien's gear list:texinwien's gear list
Canon EOS 300D Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS +14 more
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