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ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (RAW)

These tests were carried out with the same methodology as the previous page however the images were shot in RAW mode and converted to TIFF for noise measurement / cropping. Below you will see the use of acronyms to denote which RAW conversion applications were used, these are:

  • PD - Kodak DCS Photo Desk 4.0.1.2
  • EVU - Canon EOS Viewer Utility 1.0
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 2.3 (early beta) via Adobe Photoshop CS

It's worth noting that Kodak DCS Photo Desk (PD) by default automatically adjusts the noise reduction method and strength depending on the ISO sensitivity of the image as per this table:

Sensitivity Noise reduction method Noise reduction strength
ISO 160 Advanced 50%
ISO 200 Advanced 52%
ISO 400 Advanced 61%
ISO 800 Expert 50%
ISO 1600 Expert 50%

Test notes:

  • Shots taken at approximately 21°C (~70°F)
  • Lighting was simulated daylight measured as 10.1 EV (at ISO 100)

Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c vs. Canon EOS-1Ds RAW (ISO 100 - 1600)

  • Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority (F3.5), Manual WB,
    Default Parameters, 50 mm F1.4, RAW, converted in PD
  • Canon EOS-1Ds: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority (F4), Manual WB,
    Default Parameters, 50 mm F1.4, RAW, converted in EVU
  Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
n/a
Canon EOS-1Ds
ISO 100
, 1/100 sec, F4
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
ISO 160
, 1/160 sec, F3.5
Canon EOS-1Ds
(ISO 160 not shot)
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
ISO 200
, 1/200 sec, F3.5
Canon EOS-1Ds
ISO
200, 1/200 sec, F4
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
ISO 400, 1/400 sec, F3.5
Canon EOS-1Ds
ISO
400, 1/400 sec, F4
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
ISO 800
, 1/800 sec, F3.5
Canon EOS-1Ds
ISO
800, 1/800 sec, F4
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
n/a
Canon EOS-1Ds
ISO 1250
, 1/1250 sec, F4
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels
  Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c
ISO 1600
, 1/1600 sec, F3.5
Canon EOS-1Ds
n/a
 Partial crop
Red Green Blue
channels

Canon's EOS Viewer Utility appears to apply some noise reduction as noise levels from the converted RAW files are notably lower than for JPEG. The graph below has two lines for each camera, the solid line represents the noise level from RAW files converted using the supplied RAW software, the dashed line represents the noise level from RAW files converted using Adobe Camera RAW 2.3 (default settings). Concentrating on the ACR plots we can see that in fact the EOS-1Ds exhibits less noise than the SLR/c throughout almost all of its sensitivity range, but especially at higher ISO's. Kodak's heavy 'Expert' noise reduction system does significantly lower visible noise, especially at ISO 800 and 1600 however as we have seen the cost is image detail and watercolor type artifacts.

Luminance noise graph (ISO 100 - 1600)

Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity (normalized) on the vertical axis.

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