How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Started Feb 17, 2008 | Discussions thread
Mike K Veteran Member • Posts: 5,525
Re: agreed, noise reduction

Nikon has made great strides in lower noise CMOS sensors, but thats not the key difference.

Canon's general philosophy is to have relatively little or no noise reduction, particularly with the 1D series bodies. Thus it doesn't sacrifice resolution and detail for noise, it figures that the user can do this if they want, though a more sophisticated program such as noise ninja or neat image, etc. Note that all Canon consumer dSLRs, all RAW images actually have some processing done, like sharpening. Raw processing on a D40 also carries some degree of high ISO noise reduction for the S/N to keep anywhere near the level of the 5D.

The general practice of Nikon is to include noise reduction embeded into its image. This was very much in evident in the D2x where the smaller pixels simply could not keep up. Thus the high ISO images from the latest Nikons dSLRs have more noise reduction built in to every high ISO image, thus the unusually high ISOs. However, they have done a pretty decent job and the loss of resolution is only obvious at the very highest ISO settings.

Eventually cameras will have enough processing power to build in a Noise Ninja into a default processor for high ISO images. Alternatively it could save the raw on one card and noise reduce the JPEG in the background.
Mike K

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