Why no more ISO 100?

Started May 4, 2012 | Discussions
ulfie
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Why no more ISO 100?
May 4, 2012

Several m4/3's and smaller sensor manufacturers no longer have cameras with a base ISO of 100 or even less. (Heck, my teeny LX3 has 80!) It's usually 200 or 160. Why is this?

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
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JosephScha
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

Just my theory: If you start at ISO 100, then ISO 1600 is 4 stops higher. But if you engineer the base ISO to be 200, then ISO 1600 is only 3 stops higher.

I suspect camera companies are aware of how people compare high ISO images, so they want to get better image quality there, and are willing to give up ISO 100 for it.
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Jim T
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to JosephScha, May 4, 2012

I seem to recall several threads discussing the fact that many cameras that had ISO less than 200 were actually faking it.

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ulfie
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to Jim T, May 4, 2012

What?! Like faking a climax...

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Detail Man
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

ulfie wrote:

Several m4/3's and smaller sensor manufacturers no longer have cameras with a base ISO of 100 or even less. (Heck, my teeny LX3 has 80!) It's usually 200 or 160. Why is this?

So that your camera will be more likely to blow highlights at the RAW level, of course. People like bright, cartoonish images devoid of highlight details. Makes them feel good; righteously talented ...

What?! Like faking a climax...

No. Like faking a "camax" ...

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Aleo Veuliah
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

ulfie wrote:

Several m4/3's and smaller sensor manufacturers no longer have cameras with a base ISO of 100 or even less. (Heck, my teeny LX3 has 80!) It's usually 200 or 160. Why is this?

New sensors tend to have a higher base ISO

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bobn2
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

ulfie wrote:

Several m4/3's and smaller sensor manufacturers no longer have cameras with a base ISO of 100 or even less. (Heck, my teeny LX3 has 80!) It's usually 200 or 160. Why is this?

Good observation, and a bit silly on behalf of the Four Thirds manufacturers. Really they should be aiming for a base ISO of 1/4 that of FF (25 or 50) if they want to match FF SNR with FT. That would bring the photographic capability with the compactness advantage.
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ulfie
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to Aleo Veuliah, May 4, 2012

Aleo,

You wrote, "New sensors tend to have a higher base ISO."

Ah...I know that. My question is why.

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jcharding
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

A lot of old sensors also have a base ISO of 200 - including many Nikons. ISO100 is available, but it isn't the base ISO and is more noisy than ISO 200.
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bobn2
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to jcharding, May 4, 2012

jcharding wrote:

A lot of old sensors also have a base ISO of 200 - including many Nikons. ISO100 is available, but it isn't the base ISO and is more noisy than ISO 200.

It's never more noisy. It's always less noisy, just because of the extra exposure, but it risks blowing the highlights, because it's really just increasing exposure into the highlight headroom.
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bobn2
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

ulfie wrote:

Aleo,

You wrote, "New sensors tend to have a higher base ISO."

Ah...I know that. My question is why.

There is no 'why' - designers can design the base ISO as they want, within limits. The problem is, though that moving the base ISO down will inevitably provide slightly worse high ISO performance, and high ISO performance is too big a marketing asset for manufacturers to risk it. That is probably why mFT tends to go with 200, even though they should really be using 50 or 25.
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Adventsam
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

Oly iso200 is 130!
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=41417060

ulfie wrote:

Several m4/3's and smaller sensor manufacturers no longer have cameras with a base ISO of 100 or even less. (Heck, my teeny LX3 has 80!) It's usually 200 or 160. Why is this?

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odl
odl
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to bobn2, May 4, 2012

While it would be nice for landscape shooters and studio shooters, ISO 50 and 25 have a little less use in general day to day shooting.

What would be nice, is to see cameras released as a high ISO and a low ISO model. But then, I dont know how that effects the actual manufacture of the wafer.

Ab

bobn2 wrote:

ulfie wrote:

Several m4/3's and smaller sensor manufacturers no longer have cameras with a base ISO of 100 or even less. (Heck, my teeny LX3 has 80!) It's usually 200 or 160. Why is this?

Good observation, and a bit silly on behalf of the Four Thirds manufacturers. Really they should be aiming for a base ISO of 1/4 that of FF (25 or 50) if they want to match FF SNR with FT. That would bring the photographic capability with the compactness advantage.
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Detail Man
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to Adventsam, May 4, 2012

Adventsam wrote:

Oly iso200 is 130!

I myself might be more concerned with IQ than ISO at this point ...

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MrFoopy
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to ulfie, May 4, 2012

ulfie wrote:

You wrote, "New sensors tend to have a higher base ISO."

Ah...I know that. My question is why.

One of the constraints for sensor development is the total ratio between high and low ISO values. If they "cheat" a little bit at the low end, they get higher usable ISOs at the top end. Many folks like that.

Myself, I'd love a usable ISO100 or ISO50. Saves some fiddling around with ND filters.

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PhotographicPhil
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to bobn2, May 4, 2012

bobn2 wrote:

ulfie wrote:

Aleo,

You wrote, "New sensors tend to have a higher base ISO."

Ah...I know that. My question is why.

There is no 'why' - designers can design the base ISO as they want, within limits. The problem is, though that moving the base ISO down will inevitably provide slightly worse high ISO performance, and high ISO performance is too big a marketing asset for manufacturers to risk it. That is probably why mFT tends to go with 200, even though they should really be using 50 or 25.
--

Of course there is a "why", and the "because" is exactly as you said - because high ISO sells more cameras than low ISO.

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bobn2
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to odl, May 4, 2012

odl wrote:

While it would be nice for landscape shooters and studio shooters, ISO 50 and 25 have a little less use in general day to day shooting.

They have as much use as 200 and 100 on a FF camera. The Cnaon f/4L lenses are rightly very popular. F/4 on a 5DIII at 100 ISO will give a very similar result noisewise as F/2 on a E-M5 at 25 ISO (if it had it) at the same shutter speed. Lowering the ISO and f-number provides a simple means for mFT cameras to have IQ parity with larger formats, while retaining the size advantages (though the f/2 zoom are a bit big). I guess there are a lot of photos taken around f/8 at 100 ISO on FF, which could equally well be taken at f/4, 25ISO on FT.

What would be nice, is to see cameras released as a high ISO and a low ISO model. But then, I dont know how that effects the actual manufacture of the wafer.

It means changing the capacitance in the pixel. Aptina has a sensor design which allows it to be selected.
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luisflorit
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to Detail Man, May 4, 2012

Detail Man wrote:

Adventsam wrote:

Oly iso200 is 130!

I myself might be more concerned with IQ than ISO at this point ...

IQ at which ISO? Better question: at real ISO or at fake ISO?

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odl
odl
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Re: Why no more ISO 100?
In reply to bobn2, May 5, 2012

You would need an awful lot of light to use ISO 25 with a kit zoom at f4 on a micro 43rds camera.

However, that sensor tech sounds very promising.

Ab

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s_grins
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Re: Because of inflation? n/t
In reply to ulfie, May 5, 2012
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I’m surprised how much Wikipedia contributes to the forum.

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