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Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (higher sensitivities)

We've seen how the D3000 performs at high ISOs when faced with low contrast targets, but here we're going to take a look at how it compares against the competition. All cameras were set to their default settings in JPEG mode, and just to recap, that means that high ISO noise reduction is automatic (off/low) in the D3000, off in the Canon EOS 1000D, and on in the Sony Alpha 230.

ISO 800

Nikon D3000
Canon EOS 1000D
Sony Alpha 230

ISO 1600

Nikon D3000
Canon EOS 1000D
Sony Alpha 230

ISO 3200

Nikon D3000
Sony Alpha 230

The sensors of all three cameras are relatively old in digital terms, but it is the Nikon D3000 that turns out the grittiest results here. That said, high contrast detail remains relatively well defined up to ISO 1600. Sony's noise reduction has delivered impressively smooth images, but at ISO 1600 and 3200 it is clear that detail is being smoothed as well, and images take on the distinctive blotchiness that we associate with heavy luminance noise reduction. The star of the three cameras is - again - the Canon EOS 1000D, which matches the D3000 for detail capture at ISO 800 and ISO 1600, whilst delivering the sort of smoothness that the Alpha 230 is attempting via noise-reduction. Although the EOS 1000D's CMOS sensor is no spring chicken, the benefits of the CMOS 'pixel level' noise reduction are plain to see here.

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