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ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (vs. Prosumer)

Tests on this page were carried out as described on the previous page. As promised in our pre-production review we have updated this noise test page with results from the eight megapixel Sony DSC-F828 as well as the Sony DSC-F717 and Minolta DiMAGE A1.

Test notes:

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

Canon EOS 300D vs. Sony DSC-F828

By comparing the exposure values below we can state that the Canon EOS 300D is approximately 0.7 EV (three quarters of a stop) more sensitive at the indicated ISO setting than the Sony DSC-F828 at the same indicated ISO (this is exactly the same as our experience when we compared the 300D to the PowerShot G5). Thus the EOS 300D's ISO 100 would be equivalent to an ISO 160 on the DSC-F828 (although it doesn't actually allow that sensitivity selection).

  • 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
     
  • Sony DSC-F828: Aperture Priority (F3.5), Manual WB,
    Default Image Parameters, JPEG Large / Fine
  Canon EOS 300D
n/a
Sony DSC-F828
ISO 64
, 1/60 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red|Green|Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
100, 1/100 sec, F4.0
Sony DSC-F828
ISO 100, 1/80 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red|Green|Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
200, 1/200 sec, F4.0
Sony DSC-F828
ISO 200, 1/160 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red|Green|Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
400, 1/400 sec, F4.0
Sony DSC-F828
ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red|Green|Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
800, 1/800 sec, F4.0
Sony DSC-F828
ISO 800, 1/640 sec, F3.5
 Partial crop
Red|Green|Blue
channels
  Canon EOS 300D
ISO
1600, 1/1600 sec, F4.0
Sony DSC-F828
n/a
 Partial crop
Red|Green|Blue
channels

As you can see from the crops above and the luminance noise graph below there is simply no way any prosumer level digital camera with such small sensors can achieve the low noise levels of a large digital SLR sensor at higher sensitivities (because of its considerably larger well size, more signal = much better S/N ratio). At ISO 800 the EOS 300D has less noise than any of the prosumer / compact five megapixel digital cameras below have at ISO 200.

Luminance noise graph

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.

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