How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Started Feb 17, 2008 | Discussions thread
ohyva Veteran Member • Posts: 6,342
Re: Very simple: LARGE photo-sensitive area and MASSIVE N.R....

PIXmantra wrote:

...The massive N.R. piece applies to .JPGs, at the expense of overall
sharpness and image quality (as all samples, images and conversions
that I have seen/worked-with from the D3 indicate).

I'd not say massive, as I see D3 to be quite good.

No exact info of the Nikon sensor, but I'd say it's quite safe to expect that to use the new Sony CMOS technology. There you have two issues I see to affect the noise performance.

1) In Sony presentation material, you can see there is a NR block in the digital domain after ADC which explain the low(er) noise but also the slight softness it seems to be there is in all the images. No info though if this NR block can be disabled to get "true RAW data" from the sensor.

2) The sensitivity of the Sony sensor is made higher and thus the base ISO value 200. This should give upto 1 stop advantage at ISO200 and above. Negative side is then the slight reduction of DR at ISO100 (and of course no ISO50).

Generally, IMHO Sony has made a good job with their new sensor technology and got quite near if not par to what Canon has.

As for true RAW data, I have seen plenty of ISO6400 that do not
really impress me at all (that is, YES, from a pure technical
point-of-view, but NO in light of the "hype").

Here is just one of them:

http://www.pbase.com/feharmat/image/89206710/original

And, just to give you an idea of what happens with D3's on-board .JPG
cooking, check this example on how that technology actually does
wonders on MUCH less-capable cams (I had access to both .JPG and RAW
files on this example, camera RICOH GRD2, from-cam-.JPG on the left,
and my best LR conversion, on the right):

http://www.pbase.com/feharmat/image/89617778/original
http://www.pbase.com/feharmat/image/89617779/original

As you can see, the Ricoh GRD2 is using an on-board NR technology
that yields in REMARKABLY SIMILAR-LOOKING files and output as the D3
does with its .JPGs.

Enjoy!

F.H.

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