How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Started Feb 17, 2008 | Discussions thread
bullet1 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,326
Easy: large CMOS sensor, large pixels and good electronics

The 5D has the same advantages and it can easily capture scenes at ISO6400 (ISO3200 -1EC). With the updated circuitry, the 1D3, with a smaller sensor and smaller pixels, was able to achieve 1 stop cleaner results in IS3200 and ISO6400.

With the updated electronics, larger CMOS sensor and larger pixels, it is not that big a surprise that the D3 can achieve another stop high ISO advantage over the 1D3 and 5D. Its other ISO speeds, 12800 and 25600, are really there for marketing reasons. Just look at the current P&S digicams with tiny sensors, they all have ISO1600 and many have ISO3200 listed but not usable.

With the updated electronics, the 5D follow-on will be able to achieve the same or higher ISO speeds as compared to the D3.

The 5D is not that far behind, folks. Many people would not rather write the 5D off because it is not in a tank enclosure like the D3 or 1D3 does. But it does not have the price tag or weight of the D3 or 1D3 either. If the IQ is your main concern, the 5D is a steal. If the tank shell is your main concern, there are many bodies to choose from including the noisy Nikon D2Xs which can make terrific pictures in low ISO conditions.

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Nelson Chen
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