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ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (contd.)

In-camera High ISO noise reduction

The EOS 5D Mark II, with its expanded ISO range of 50 - 25600, also includes 4 setting for high ISO noise reduction: Disable, Low, Standard (default setting) and Strong. The low setting has very minimal effect on the measured amount of noise in the image, standard and strong settings have more effect as the ISO settings increase, being very noticeable at ISO 12800 and 25600. It's obvious from looking at the RAW files in the comparison on the next page that the 'disable' setting is still applying quite a lot of noise reduction at higher ISO settings, and that the Standard(default) setting is using fairly strong NR above ISO 800.

In-camera High ISO noise reduction settings vs RAW (ISO 1600 - 25600)

The crops below give an idea of how each of the noise reduction settings affect noise and retained detail. The Low setting appears to apply just a little chroma noise reduction, Standard and High apply progressively more NR to both chroma and luminance noise.

Visually the difference between the settings isn't pronounced until you hit ISO 3200, but as you'll see later in the review, at the default setting the noise reduction is high enough to smear the finest low contrast detail unless you stick to below ISO 400. Canon has done an excellent job of producing clean, printer-friendly out of camera output at a wide range of ISO settings, but there is a price to pay in resolution terms at higher ISO settings.

NR Off
ISO 1600
NR Low
ISO 1600
NR Standard
ISO 1600
NR Strong
ISO 1600
NR Off
ISO 3200
NR Low
ISO 3200
NR Standard
ISO 3200
NR Strong
ISO 3200
NR Off
ISO 6400
NR Low
ISO 6400
NR Standard
ISO 6400
NR Strong
ISO 6400
NR Off
ISO 12800
NR Low
ISO 12800
NR Standard
ISO 12800
NR Strong
ISO 12800
NR Off
ISO 25600
NR Low
ISO 25600
NR Standard
ISO 25600
NR Strong
ISO 25600
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