5d Mark III low iso poor performance.

Started Jun 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
gdanmitchell Veteran Member • Posts: 7,730
Re: Take it back

Alexandros Trichos wrote:

Come on guys! This is not a matter of taste of if it bothers someone or not. A camera of this league should not demonstrate lo iso noise. This is not a super feature that I am asking, this is basics. And I hardly doubt It has to do with underexposure... Even in other decently exposed images the problem lurks in the shadows...

All digital cameras produce noise - there is no such thing as a noise-free image from a DSLR. If you go looking for noise in shadows at 100% magnification, you will find it. But it doesn't matter one bit. I print large (in-house Epson 7900) and noise from a 5D2 has never been a problem - not once is a well-exposed image.

The camera doesn't make decisions. The photographer does. If you want the lowest possible noise and the highest possible image quality you must make smart exposure decisions - no matter what camera you use and regardless of whether you shoot digital or film.

You still seem to want to go with the assumption that the 5D3 is somehow so deficient as a breed that it is incapable of producing images without terrible noise problems. If that were true, it would seem that all 5D3 images (and yours are supposedly typical in terms of ISO and subjects and so forth) would exhibit this deal-busting problem that you seem to have. Unless you can find evidence that 5D3 cameras in general seem unable to produce low noise images in reasonably challenging circumstances - and there area a lot of photographers who seem to be able to make this work - you are giving the appearance of being obsessive in your belief the Canon has produced a defective product. Let's be blunt - you aren't making a lot of sense here.

The questions are:

  • is the noise visible in your intended output format? (as opposed to when you go looking for it at 100% on your monitor)

  • what decisions does a wise photographer make who wants to minimize noise? (Such as exposing to the right and so forth.)

If you want a dark and dramatic look, do what photographs have done for many decades - capture the best possible image data regardless of what the capture itself looks like, and then apply post-processing techniques to produce the best possible print. In order to produce a dark print, there is a right way and a (usually) wrong way:

Wrong way - Expose the image to look dark in camera. This means underexposing, perhaps radically, which increases noise and creates other issues such as limiting the available dynamic range of the capture. The lure of "getting it right in camera" is powerful, but this does not mean making it look right in camera.

Right way - Expose to the right so that you capture the largest possible dynamic range and keep as much of the tonal range of the image out of the very darkest luminosity levels, thus maintaining a large signal to noise ratio. In post , modify the image in ways that get the "look" you desire. If you start with a capture that looks overly bright compared to the original scene, and you then darken in in post, you will end up with a very clean print.

(I learned this the hard way many years back with my first DSLR. I was shooting in Death Valley - at the Racetrack - at night under a full moon. I ignorantly trusted the image display in the LCD of my camera. Hey, it looked just like my surroundings - e.g. very dark. This was a terrible mistake since all of the tones were in the lowest luminosity range and I had to tremendously boost everything in post. I was barely able to salvage some of the photos, but I had to engage in tons of noise reduction shenanigans.

I learned my lesson. Since that time I have done a lot of night photography. (see http://gdanmitchell.com/gallery/v/HumanWorld/NightPhotography/ ) I alway trust the histogram, and I get exactly the look I want in post.

Take care,


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