Production EOS Mark III Photographic Dynamic Range looks good

Started Mar 28, 2012 | Discussions
bclaff
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Production EOS Mark III Photographic Dynamic Range looks good
Mar 28, 2012

Slightly higher than my original estimate.
Basically matches the D4 and D800 from ISO 1280 and up.
Appears "cooked" in the expanded high ISO range (ISO 51200 and ISO 102400)
Not so strong at low ISO, but this is not a surprise.
See:

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR.htm#EOS%205D%20Mark%20II,D800,EOS%205D%20Mark%20III,D4

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whitehat
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Re: Production EOS Mark III Photographic Dynamic Range looks good
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

Bill, great site. I've saw your graph in an earlier post too - very impressive

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stephenmelvin
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Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

In the lower ISO range, the PDR jumps up and down in your chart. Why is this? It looks like if we want the highest PDR we can get, we want to set our cameras to ISO 162. Why such a specific setting?

The camera doesn't look so bad next to the D4.

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David Hull
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Re: Production EOS Mark III Photographic Dynamic Range looks good
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

I have a similar question about the variation at the low end. I wonder if they are fiddling with an analog gain somewhere. Have you had an opportunity to look at more than one camera?
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mgrum
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to stephenmelvin, Mar 28, 2012

stephenmelvin wrote:

In the lower ISO range, the PDR jumps up and down in your chart. Why is this? It looks like if we want the highest PDR we can get, we want to set our cameras to ISO 162. Why such a specific setting?

The zigzag probably results from the fact that Canon only has amplifier settings for certain ISO values, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 etc. the 1/3 stop intermediates such as 120, 160, are done in software which hurts the dynamic range.

I think ISO 162 refers to a standardised ISO score, it's well known that different manufacturer's ISO values aren't directly comparable, one company's ISO1600 yields the same exposure as another's ISO1200. You can get round this by "renaming" the ISO settings to make them comparable.

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David Hull
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to stephenmelvin, Mar 28, 2012

stephenmelvin wrote:

In the lower ISO range, the PDR jumps up and down in your chart. Why is this? It looks like if we want the highest PDR we can get, we want to set our cameras to ISO 162. Why such a specific setting?

The camera doesn't look so bad next to the D4.

I’ll take a guess: It looks like this variation is happening in the "in-between ISO" steps. If you turn on the 5DII plot you see it was at 100, 200, 400... (a one stop ISO pitch). The 5DIII curve looks like it was taken at a 1/3 stop ISO pitch. If I remember correctly, there were comments made here at one time that Canon did something with digital gain in the in-between steps so that it acted slightly different there.

If you "french curve" the 1 stop pitch points, the curve smoothes out and looks a bit like a 5DII curve slid up a bit.

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David Hull
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to mgrum, Mar 28, 2012

mgrum wrote:

stephenmelvin wrote:

In the lower ISO range, the PDR jumps up and down in your chart. Why is this? It looks like if we want the highest PDR we can get, we want to set our cameras to ISO 162. Why such a specific setting?

The zigzag probably results from the fact that Canon only has amplifier settings for certain ISO values, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 etc. the 1/3 stop intermediates such as 120, 160, are done in software which hurts the dynamic range.

I think ISO 162 refers to a standardised ISO score, it's well known that different manufacturer's ISO values aren't directly comparable, one company's ISO1600 yields the same exposure as another's ISO1200. You can get round this by "renaming" the ISO settings to make them comparable.

I once attended a workshop on the zone system where the instructor started the first day by asking us to put our cameras on aperture priority, f8 at ISO=100. She then had us all point them all at the same scene and shout out the shutter speed we got -- the variation was surprising.

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bclaff
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to stephenmelvin, Mar 28, 2012

In the lower ISO range, the PDR jumps up and down in your chart. Why is this?

As others have already surmised, this is due to the two-stage amplifier for intermediate ISO values.

BTW, the ISO values shown are computed from EV without the aid of some hard-coded table. This is why you'll see numbers like ISO 162 rather than ISO 160. (But this is also my carelessness, I dropped a digit of precision in the EV value!)

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bclaff
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to mgrum, Mar 28, 2012

the 1/3 stop intermediates such as 120, 160, are done in software

No, but with a secondary amplifier which introduces a little more noise.

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Jaims
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Re: Production EOS Mark III Photographic Dynamic Range looks good
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

Amazing. The D4 and D800 have set the bar really high. The 5D3 is close enough to be amazed (not a base ISO though, but still).

Many thanks for all the great job done, Bill. Really appreciate it.

Best regards

bclaff wrote:

Slightly higher than my original estimate.
Basically matches the D4 and D800 from ISO 1280 and up.
Appears "cooked" in the expanded high ISO range (ISO 51200 and ISO 102400)
Not so strong at low ISO, but this is not a surprise.
See:

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR.htm#EOS%205D%20Mark%20II,D800,EOS%205D%20Mark%20III,D4

Regards
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cm71td
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

bclaff wrote:

the 1/3 stop intermediates such as 120, 160, are done in software

No, but with a secondary amplifier which introduces a little more noise.

So, would you recommend that we turn off our 1/3 stop intermediate ISO's?

By the way. Thank you very much for doing all these tests!

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jffielde
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to cm71td, Mar 28, 2012

I had the same question. Would it be wiser to use full stops only. Half stops? I assume half-stops would have the same issue?

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bclaff
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to cm71td, Mar 28, 2012

would you recommend that we turn off our 1/3 stop intermediate ISO's?

No. Personally, I wouldn't agonize over such as small variation is what is already a very high dynamic range.

BTW, certain Nikon models do the same thing although the effect is less extreme due to a different design.

I use Nikon's "ISO Auto" quite often without regard for the exact ISO that I will get.

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iwannabesedated
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

bclaff wrote:

would you recommend that we turn off our 1/3 stop intermediate ISO's?

No. Personally, I wouldn't agonize over such as small variation is what is already a very high dynamic range.

BTW, certain Nikon models do the same thing although the effect is less extreme due to a different design.

I use Nikon's "ISO Auto" quite often without regard for the exact ISO that I will get.

Thanks, Bill. I've always wondered about this, as I too use auto ISO in certain situations. Now I won't stress over it!

Another similar (but slightly OT) question: is your opinion the same regarding the usability of intermediate f-stops, such as f6.3, f7.1, etc.? Regards. -iwbs

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yabokkie
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interesting it looks like D4 uses a hybrid D800-5D3 design
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

Nikon says automatic RAW NR from ISO 1600 for D800 and D4 may be doing the same?

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bclaff
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Re: Why the zig-zags at low ISO?
In reply to iwannabesedated, Mar 28, 2012

Another similar (but slightly OT) question: is your opinion the same regarding the usability of intermediate f-stops, such as f6.3, f7.1, etc.?

Aperture operates in a different fashion. Intermediate stops are never a problem.
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bclaff
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Re: interesting it looks like D4 uses a hybrid D800-5D3 design
In reply to yabokkie, Mar 28, 2012

Nikon says automatic RAW NR from ISO 1600 for D800 and D4 may be doing the same?

For Nikon, even if all NR is "off", minimal NR is performed over a certain ISO. For the D4 it starts at ISO 1600, for the D4 I think (if memory serves me) it's ISO 6400.
I assume Canon does something similar. Perhaps someone else knows the specifics.

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Daniel Clune
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Re: Production EOS Mark III Photographic Dynamic Range looks good
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

looks interesting. I have no ide how you made this test but it does show there is more dynamic range at lower iso's for D800 which is exactly what a landscape shooter would want. Not many landscape shots over iso 200 let alone 1280.

I also read above that the iso wasnt the same not sure who wrote that above it was something like 100 compared to 160 for 5D3 unless I read that wrong?? Wouldnt that make the iso at like 3200 on d800 then equal to iso 5000 on 5D3 or did I miss understand that? Again not sure who wrote that or were that came from.
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schwoofi
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Canon doesn't do such things
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/RN_ADU.htm

D800 noise reduction at ISO > 1600
D4 noise reduction at ISO > 12800
Canon no noise reduction

Best regards

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cs hauser
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Re: Production EOS Mark III Photographic Dynamic Range looks good
In reply to bclaff, Mar 28, 2012

bclaff wrote:

Slightly higher than my original estimate.
Basically matches the D4 and D800 from ISO 1280 and up.

As much as I'd like to believe your findings, I have my doubts. According to your graphs, ISO 25600 on the 5D3 has the same PDR as ISO 12800 on the 5D2. I personally don't think that is true. Perhaps there is an error in your measurements, or perhaps there's something funky going on in RAW.

Two interesting things you've noted though.

First, if Canon is "cooking" RAW files above ISO 25600, then it would mark the first time they have committed such a sin. Unlike Nikon, Sony, and Pentax... Canon has never tried cheating with precooked RAW files on dSLRs before. If they do it on the 5D3, I would be disappointed even if it was only on the expansion ISOs. It sets a very bad precedent.

Also, it looks like Canon is applying analog gain on the intermediate ISO settings. That would mark the first time they have done that on a non 1-series camera. I would be ecstatic if that proves to be true. I've been avoiding intermediate ISO settings since forever; and it would be strange to finally be be able to use them.

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