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ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (vs. D-SLR's)


Standard Test

ISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the sensor to enable faster shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light. The way this works in a digital camera is by "turning up the volume" (gain) on the CCD's signal amplifiers. Nothing is without its price however and doing so also typically increases visible noise (random speckles visible all over the image).

We are now using a more reliable, repeatable and neutral method for evaluating noise. Shots are taken in daylight lighting in our studio. Noise is measured as the standard deviation of the medium gray patch on a Gretag MacBeth ColorChecker chart. The image is normalized before measurement of noise to remove the possibility of figures being affected by image contrast (one method of masking noise). Note that noise numbers shown on the graphs below can not be compared to those in older reviews.

Test notes:

  • Shots taken at approximately 21°C (~70°F)
  • Lighting was simulated daylight
  • Manual white balance
  • Aperture Priority

Canon EOS 300D vs. Canon EOS 10D

In the comparison below don't forget that the EOS 300D's standard parameter set (Parameter 1) has higher sharpening (by the equiv. of two EOS 10D levels) which will affect noise as well as higher saturation which will make color noise more visible.

  • Canon EOS 300D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority (F4.0), Manual WB,
    Default Parameters (Parameter 1), 50 mm F1.4, JPEG Large / Fine
     
  • Canon EOS 10D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority (F4.0), Manual WB,
    Default Parameters (Standard), 50 mm F1.4, JPEG Large / Fine
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
100, 1/100 sec, F4.0
Canon EOS 10D
ISO 100
, 1/100 sec, F4.0
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
200, 1/200 sec, F4.0
Canon EOS 10D
ISO 200
, 1/200 sec, F4.0
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
400, 1/400 sec, F4.0
Canon EOS 10D
ISO 400, 1/400 sec, F4.0
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
800, 1/800 sec, F4.0
Canon EOS 10D
ISO 800
, 1/800 sec, F4.0
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
1600, 1/1600 sec, F4.0
Canon EOS 10D
ISO 1600
, 1/1600 sec, F4.0
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
n/a
Canon EOS 10D
ISO 3200
, 1/3200 sec, F4.0
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels

The EOS 300D's higher default sharpening leaves images with slightly more visible noise than the EOS 10D (although it's still negligable), dropping the EOS 300D's sharpening down to more 'normal levels' by choosing Paramter 2 (P2 - the same as the EOS 10D's Standard) would deliver almost identical results as the EOS 10D (as we can see in the luminance noise graph below).

Canon EOS 300D vs. Nikon D100

  • Canon EOS 300D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority (F4.0), Manual WB,
    Default Parameters (Parameter 1), 50 mm F1.4, JPEG Large / Fine
     
  • Nikon D100: Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority (F3.5), Manual WB,
    Default Parameters, JPEG Large / Fine
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
100, 1/100 sec, F4.0
Nikon D100
n/a
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
200, 1/200 sec, F4.0
Nikon D100
ISO 200
, 1/200 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
400, 1/400 sec, F4.0
Nikon D100
ISO 400, 1/400 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
800, 1/800 sec, F4.0
Nikon D100
ISO 800
, 1/800 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
1600, 1/1600 sec, F4.0
Nikon D100
ISO 1600
, 1/1600 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
n/a
Nikon D100
ISO 3200
, 1/3200 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels

Luminance noise graph

Hardly shocking results but they do go a long way to confirming that the EOS 300D's sensor, analog board and processing systems are certainly not inferior to those found in the EOS 10D. The slightly higher noise here can be easily attributed to the higher sharpening of the Parameter 1 setting.

Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity (normalized) on the vertical axis. Note that we have standardized on a 0-10 scale.

RGB noise graph

Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of each of the red, green and blue channels (normalized) are on the vertical axis. Note that we have standardized on a 0-10 scale.

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Comments

Total comments: 3
Charlie Medina
By Charlie Medina (2 weeks ago)

I purchased an EOS 300D in Bath, 2003, their first EOS product as I had been stolen my professional NIKON in Liverpool. It isn't too bad and using Photoshop you are able to improve pictures' quality. I am a freelance journalist/photograph.
Now, when I asked CANON for a copy of the lost original Firmware/software they refuse to deliver one. "No software is available" they said. My God! CANON forget old customers! Has any one a copy of original CD for an EOS 300D? PLEASE....I pay for that copy.
Tell me at ipanewsuk@eircom.net

Regards
Charlie

0 upvotes
Django1
By Django1 (1 month ago)

my camera wont do anything when turned on,no image on the sscreen no lights on, tried everything
Peter Rix
Tasmania

0 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (3 weeks ago)

that's weird :(

0 upvotes
Total comments: 3