ISOless sensors, read noise and photography - many questions!

Started Oct 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
RussellInCincinnati Veteran Member • Posts: 3,201
Lightroom-pushed ISO not only "as good as" firmware, it's better

RussellInCincinnati wrote: To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

WilbaW wrote: Make sure you try this idea before you buy it.

RussellInCincinnati wrote: Well am going to restate your comment a tad more diplomatically as "Russell could you show us an example of easily pushing an ISO 800 raw file to ISO 4000, as you so conveniently did in one of your other threads ? " And the answer is, of course why not, when nowadays examples are so easy to post?

WilbaW wrote: You've missed the point entirely. The question is not, can it be done?, the question is, can it be done without penalty?

Yes for a Nex C3 that is limited to ISO 800, and allowed to underexpose raw images that need any higher ISO than that.

My current experience "pushing" the ISO yourself in something as easy and well-equipped as Lightroom 4.x or higher is that it's not only trivial, and "as good as" selecting say ISO 6400 in camera, it is far better.

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If you have a camera such as a Nex C3 with plenty good Lightroom support, and good read noise at ISO 800. Because you get to decide where to place the highlights, what highlights to "let blow" and which to preserve.

To determine that for yourself you'd have to compare an ISO 4000 shot with an ISO 800 shot pushed to 4000 and matched to the appearance of the 4000 shot.

Well I haven't bothered with doing that precisely because that would be a considerable downgrade of the ISO 800 photo. But by all means will do just that soon, and post it, limiting myself to less than 30 seconds of manipulation of the pushed ISO 800 image.

If you can't see any meaningful difference between the two then it doesn't matter for your purpose, and the only penalty is a few seconds in LR.


Like you, after a bit of playing around with dark raw files... You probably did what I did 3 years ago...

No, I carefully followed the coaching of several experts using multiple standalone and integrated raw converters (including LR), doing things like linear conversions and creating tone curves from scratch, and we were not able to match the IQ of the higher ISO shot. But that was my camera and my test shots. YMMV, so try before you buy.

What you did some time ago sounds like way too much work to push raw ISO, compared to the tools we have in Lightroom as of 2012. Speaking only from experience with the Nex C3 case. Happily the 'C3 is about the cheapest APS-C sensor camera body you can buy, at $200 US dollars or so on  e.bay.

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