400D / 350D High ISO Daytime Comparison

Started Sep 5, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Häakon Regular Member • Posts: 135
400D / 350D High ISO Daytime Comparison

I got a lot of positive comments after my last test, but a few users wanted to see a comparison of 1600ISO shots taken during the day with both the 400D and the 350D as opposed to the longer shutter speed photos of the previous roundup. As we have learned that the 400D's sensitivity is quite a bit different than the 350D, there were serveral ways I could have done this test. So, in the interest of being complete (and trying to appease as many people as possible!) I have taken each set of pictures using a different method and you may determine for yourself which way you like best. I have also purchased a pbase account, so now hopefully no more broken images and you can see the full res shots if you like.

First, here are the photos I took for today's test:

Let's just cut to the chase, here are 100% crops from the first set:

In this test, I kept the shutter speed the same (1/800s) and let the camera pick the aperture it thought was exposed correctly. The 350D shot has been set with an exposure value correction of -2/3 stop to try and compensate for the difference in sensitivity. As this picture (and the others, as well) show, the difference actually looks to be an entire stop difference; 2/3 was not enough to make up for it.

In these shots, the noise again looks similar to me, though the 350D image is producing a somewhat sharper picture. It is certainly not due to any camera shake as the shutter speed is so quick, so either the camera itself is applying more sharpening by default, or the more aggressive noise reduction of the 400D is resulting in a somewhat softer image. Besides the fact that the 400D shot is less exposed, colors between the two cameras remain virtually identical (both cameras were set to AWB). In this image, the 18-55mm kit lens was used. Of additional mention is the spots of bright pink contrast in the shadow section of the upper beam in the 400D shot - I do not know what caused this and would love some insight.

Here is set two:

In this set, I forced the aperture to be constant (f4.0) and let the camera pick the shutter speed based on what it determined was correct exposure. Again, the 350D was set with an exposure value correction of -2/3 stop but the image still came out brighter. I fear that people will feel the 400D photo looks worse because it is underexposed, but the detail of the 10MP certainly shows nicely here. Again, the appearance of the noise in the 400D photo seems to be a little smoother (especially in the solid area of the sign), but the images are quite similar. What appear to be odd splotches of blue under the "H" in the sign are actually leaves of that color; they are much more defined in the 100 ISO shots.

Here is set three:

These images were taken at 80mm with a 70-300mm Canon IS lens. Shutter speed is again the same, with the 350D image being given a -2/3 exposure setting. As is visible in all of these shots, the noise in the 400D images appears less prevalent but more coarse; the noise of the 350D is finer but more chromatic. While the 400D has been said to be "underexposing" the image as compared to the 350D, it actually looks like the 350D is overexposing in many situations. Even with a -2/3 exposure setting, the contrast of the 400D image is a bit nicer, and the detail remains intact. As usual, color is almost identical in these shots.

Here is set four:

Back to the kit lens. Here is what many people have been looking for - a side-by-side shot of the two cameras at identical settings. Both are 1/100s at f6.3 and the difference in exposure is remarkably different. What's interesting to note is that the 350D was set to automatic exposure, while the 400D was set to +2/3 exposure compensation! Without it, the 400D read the scene at a 1/125s f7.1, and was much darker. Now, given the presence of a bright sky (see the full sized images for a better look) and the level of detail in the road, perhaps the 400D really is taking a "safer" (more conservative) approach to its metering, and making sure the image has less blowouts which aren't recoverable at all. At a glance, the 350D image appears to be more pleasing as it is brighter, but certainly it is lending itself to much faster overexposure and in the world of digital that is never a good thing. So I am still not quite sure which one is metering more effectively - though it's quite obvious the cameras are doing it much differently.

In this shot, however, with both cameras having identical shutter speed and aperature values, the noise in the 400D picture is certainly worse - though it is less exposed and in my opinion, not the best way to judge noise.

For anyone who is interested, I took several photos of each "scene" with both cameras and I will post links to the full resolution images for everything shortly. In each setup, I took photos of the subject at 100, 400, 800, and 1600 ISO with both cameras, and I took an additional set of pictures (at all of those ISO settings) with the 350D set to -2/3 in the first three scenes and the 400D set to +2/3 in the last scene. So if there was a different combination of images you were hoping for (800 ISO, for example), you will have all of those photos available to you for comparison purposes.

All of the full-res images will be straight from the camera and not rotated so you will have the actual, untouched images to compare. The 100% crops above have been saved at maximum quality to minimize compression problems. I did not have time or resources to shoot everything RAW, but I hope you will find this test helpful and useful for your own purposes all the same.

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