Previous page Next page

ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (contd.)

In-camera High ISO noise reduction

The D3X has four different levels of high ISO noise reduction (which are only applied at ISO 500 or higher); Off, Low, Normal and High (with Normal as the default). The Normal setting offers a good balance between the desire to keep visible noise to a minimum without sacrificing fine detail, and the four settings provide a good range of options from very low to high enough to keep noise at bay right up into the highest reaches of the ISO range.

With NR set to 'High' the loss of fine detail at high sensitivities (ISO 3200+) becomes fairly obvious so you might want to avoid this setting. However, if you want to have real control over noise reduction the best thing to do is shoot RAW. Note that even in the 'Off' position some NR is still applied to the JPEGs at all 'Hi' ISO settings.

Noise reduction crop comparisons (ISO 800 - 6400)

ISO 800
NR Off
ISO 800
NR Low
ISO 800
NR Normal
ISO 800
NR High
ISO 1600
NR Off
ISO 1600
NR Low
ISO 1600
NR Normal
ISO 1600
NR High
ISO 3200
NR Off
ISO 3200
NR Low
ISO 3200
NR Normal
ISO 3200
NR High
ISO 6400
NR Off
ISO 6400
NR Low
ISO 6400
NR Normal
ISO 6400
NR High

Raw noise compared

Finally let's take a look a the raw output of the D3X next to the Sony A900 and the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. Removing any in-camera noise reduction and processing the images using Adobe Camera Raw (again without NR) gives us the nearest thing to a 'level playing field' for assessing the relative noise levels of each camera's sensor. There is not an awful lot between these cameras but at all higher ISO settings shadow chroma noise levels are higher on the Sony A900 than on the Nikon D3X and Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III - also visible in JPEG output - where the latter two's imaging engines can work with better 'raw material' to start with.

Nikon D3X
ISO 1600
A900 RAW NR OFF
ISO 1600
Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III RAW
ISO 1600
Nikon D3X
ISO 3200
A900 RAW NR OFF
ISO 3200
Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III RAW
ISO 3200
Nikon D3X
ISO 6400
A900 RAW NR OFF
ISO 6400
Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III RAW
n/a
Previous page Next page
57
I own it
56
I want it
20
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments