How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Started Feb 17, 2008 | Discussions
SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

The jury seems to be in on the Nikon D3's successful implementation of significantly higher and usable ISO than I can achieve with my 1Ds3.

Has Nikon made a breakthrough in sensor design? Or, is the Nikon ISO range a result of a breakthrough in post processing?

Could Canon provide a firmware upgrade for the 1Ds3 that increased ISO to the range achieved by the D3?

Are there white papers that explain Nikon's achievement?

Many thanks for any information you might have. There are occasions when I sure would like my 1Ds3 to have the higher ISO capability. So, it sure would be nice if Canon engineers merely have to come up with a firmware upgrade.

Hope springs eternal.

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 30,549
no it can't

SDRebel wrote:

The jury seems to be in on the Nikon D3's successful implementation
of significantly higher and usable ISO than I can achieve with my
1Ds3.

pixels size. 21MP vs. 12MP. Bigger pixels get more light. If you take pixel density to the extreme you get into P&S cameras and we all know their very small pixels lead to noise sometimes at iso100 and always by iso200.

Has Nikon made a breakthrough in sensor design? Or, is the Nikon ISO
range a result of a breakthrough in post processing?

I think the d3 isensor has more microprisms.

Could Canon provide a firmware upgrade for the 1Ds3 that increased
ISO to the range achieved by the D3?

Certainly not. See my above statement about pixel size.

Are there white papers that explain Nikon's achievement?

Many thanks for any information you might have. There are occasions
when I sure would like my 1Ds3 to have the higher ISO capability. So,
it sure would be nice if Canon engineers merely have to come up with
a firmware upgrade.

No, see above statement about pixel size. The "s" in 1Ds stands for studio. It was meant as a studio camera (with proper studio lighting) or as a landscape camera used at low isos on a tripod. If you need a great high iso camera, get a 5D.

OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: no it can't

Thanks for the comments.

If I understand you, Nikon won't be able to duplicate the high ISO of the D3 if and when Nikon matches the sensor density of the 1Ds3.

As for the 5D, I don't recall it having better ISO performance than the 1Ds3 that I just traded up to.

Naturally, I hope you are wrong because I want a firmware upgrade solution.

Steingrim Senior Member • Posts: 2,044
Re: How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Well they bother to include 6400 then 2 levels of boosts. I guess Canon could have done the 6400 + 12800 boosted thing too if they had bothered. I'm guessing that the next generation of Canon cameras will catch up in terms of pushing the ISO envelope. My 400d will only do a lousy 1600 though it should be more than capable of pulling off a non-boosted 3200. As capable as the D3 is of pulling off a 25,600, for sure.

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 30,549
Re: no it can't

SDRebel wrote:

As for the 5D, I don't recall it having better ISO performance than
the 1Ds3 that I just traded up to.

I've seen iso1600 user examples from the 1Ds3 and the 5D is clearly better.

ejmartin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,274
Re: How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

SDRebel wrote:

The jury seems to be in on the Nikon D3's successful implementation
of significantly higher and usable ISO than I can achieve with my
1Ds3.

Has Nikon made a breakthrough in sensor design? Or, is the Nikon ISO
range a result of a breakthrough in post processing?

Nikon has caught up to Canon and slightly surpassed them on sensor efficiency. The D3 collects about 10% more photons per unit of sensor area than the 1Ds3, about .14 stop; not enough to bother about really. Nikon has also done its homework well on noise reduction, with a nice implementation of chroma noise reduction while keeping colors well saturated and not too much smearing luminance NR. The output of Capture NX with default settings looks a lot better than ACR with its defaults, IMO.

Notice I compared the two cameras' sensors on the basis of light collection per unit area . Most people look at noise at 100% magnification; in a 1Ds3 image compared to a D3 image, this is effectively blowing up the 1Ds3 image by 1/3 more than the D3 image, and so one is not comparing the noise grain at the same size scale. This puts the 1Ds3 at a strong disadvantage, since photon shot noise goes up at smaller spatial scales (smaller pixels sampling fewer photons). A fair comparison should resample both images to the same size (and one must be careful to resample in a way that doesn't enhance the noise).

Could Canon provide a firmware upgrade for the 1Ds3 that increased
ISO to the range achieved by the D3?

There is really no reason why not, other than that Canon never implements new features via firmware upgrade. Anything beyond ISO 1600 is just as well implemented by "amplifying" the raw data via software multiplication rather than boosting the amplification in hardware.

Of course, a 1Ds3 is capable of this without such a firmware upgrade; just underexpose by a stop or two, and push the exposure during raw conversion. This is the way Canon implements its high ISO extension presently, so just do it yourself

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Steven Noyes Forum Pro • Posts: 12,382
9 to 10 few MP???

Did you figure that in?

Steven

SDRebel wrote:

The jury seems to be in on the Nikon D3's successful implementation
of significantly higher and usable ISO than I can achieve with my
1Ds3.

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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Honor Regular Member • Posts: 266
WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

The Canon 1Dm3 sensor has better high ISO than the Nikon D3. period.

As far as the 1DSm3 it should have same ISO as the 1dS2 since Canon stated the photodiode pitch in a pixel has been kept the same even though the pixel area is smaller. Only the light insensitive portion of the pixel was stripped out.

Here is proof of the superior ISO from the 1D3 over the Nikon D3.

Period.

ISO 3200 1DM3

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116418&stc=1&d=1199070427

ISO 3200 1D3

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116415&stc=1&d=1199070052

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=326811

jonlee1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,436
what are you smoking?

In all seriousness, I have never seen ISO1600 on a 5D better the 1DSMIII.

For that matter, even the 1DSMII.

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Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right!

gregster Junior Member • Posts: 46
Re: what are you smoking?

Essentially, the reasons why Nikon does well in high ISO right now:

-12MP on a full frame sensor - very low pixel density. This is probably the main reason behind noise, and with the 1D3 being 16.x MP in a full frame equivalent, it's clear to see their pixels are a fair bit larger.

-ISO200 base. I don't know how much this helps, but you'd think it gives them close to a stop more headroom at the top end.

-extra NR done in camera, even when the option is disabled. This has been well documented.

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 69,811
Re: WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

Honor wrote:

The Canon 1Dm3 sensor has better high ISO than the Nikon D3. period.
As far as the 1DSm3 it should have same ISO as the 1dS2 since Canon
stated the photodiode pitch in a pixel has been kept the same even
though the pixel area is smaller. Only the light insensitive portion
of the pixel was stripped out.

Wrong way round, the pixel pitch is smaller, but the microlens area is the same. Mind you, whereas the 1DIII has small gap microlenses, the D3 has gapless ones.

Here is proof of the superior ISO from the 1D3 over the Nikon D3.

Period.

ISO 3200 1DM3

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116418&stc=1&d=1199070427

ISO 3200 1D3

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116415&stc=1&d=1199070052

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=326811

This is hardly 'proof'. The 1DIII looks sharper, but has obvious sharpening halos round the letters (in any case, it seems that the D3 has quite a strong AA filter). As for noise, there isn't a great deal of difference, but then again, the image is not the best for noise assessment. I couldn't guess where the sharpening halos have come from, unless in PP, from someone desperate to show their pet camera to be superior.
--
Bob

Honor Regular Member • Posts: 266
Re: WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

If you had read the full description of the testbench that was used you would not be making stupid speculations. There was no PP used the whole point of this test was to test noise at high ISO between the 1D3 and the D3. Criticize the results as much as you want I don't care but saying the results have been manipulated is just plain stupid.

This is hardly 'proof'. The 1DIII looks sharper, but has obvious
sharpening halos round the letters (in any case, it seems that the D3
has quite a strong AA filter). As for noise, there isn't a great deal
of difference, but then again, the image is not the best for noise
assessment. I couldn't guess where the sharpening halos have come
from, unless in PP, from someone desperate to show their pet camera
to be superior.
--
Bob

PerL Forum Pro • Posts: 14,463
Re: WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

Honor wrote:
If you had read the full description of the testbench that was used
you would not be making stupid speculations. There was no PP used the
whole point of this test was to test noise at high ISO between the
1D3 and the D3. Criticize the results as much as you want I don't
care but saying the results have been manipulated is just plain
stupid.

This is hardly 'proof'. The 1DIII looks sharper, but has obvious
sharpening halos round the letters (in any case, it seems that the D3
has quite a strong AA filter). As for noise, there isn't a great deal
of difference, but then again, the image is not the best for noise
assessment. I couldn't guess where the sharpening halos have come
from, unless in PP, from someone desperate to show their pet camera
to be superior.
--
Bob

There has been a long discussion about that test before, both on this and the Nikon D3 forum. If you want to find out which has the best high ISOs, try to find posts from people who have both, or have used both. There are many around now.
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Henrik Herranen Senior Member • Posts: 1,732
Re: agreed, noise reduction

Mike K wrote:

Note that all Canon consumer dSLRs,
all RAW images actually have some processing done, like sharpening.

What?

Kind regards,

  • Henrik

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D3 pusher Regular Member • Posts: 250
Re: WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

this is sad..... I have both D3 and 5D ask me which cam I use the most, there are plenty of people who have both now. For entry level 1+1 Canon still is the only game. D3 you get what you paid for in build and "picture quality" its as sharp as any camera contrary to what many here will lead you to believe and what you can do in postprocessing is quite extraordinary.

I can tell you having had it for over two months now side by side D3 does not do more processing in camera then 5D to contrary 5D does, colors are certainly more enhanced "IE" not what I see and its sharpened more incamera then D3(although its probaly weaker filter). and when you turn noise reduction "off" its off

When you start to play in shadows even in low ISO shots D3 just is amazing. Having said all that dollar for dollar 5D still is the king if you want 1+1.

OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
1+1?

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the term 1+1. What do mean?

Second, do you know of any sites that explain how it is that Nikon is achieving its high ISO (e.g., 6400, 12800) results; and is there a firmware solution to increase Canon's ISO?

Many thanks.

D3 pusher Regular Member • Posts: 250
Re: 1+1?

Full frame and not a crop is what I meant. Also others on the thread I think did well explaining simply D3 has larger sensor area to collect more light meaning its more about choices and what you are trying to achieve. By design D3 was designed as an all purpose camera kinda like a all wheel drive cars. With I-DS you have a race car while it excells in HIQ it gives up certain things but not by much if you take in to acct what you can do in PP.

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 30,549
are you smoking?

jonlee1 wrote:

In all seriousness, I have never seen ISO1600 on a 5D better the
1DSMIII.

For that matter, even the 1DSMII.

5D iso3200
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E5D/FULLRES/E5DDBI3200.HTM

1Ds3 iso3200
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E1DSMK3/FULLRES/E1DSMK3LL32003.HTM

What you'll notice is the 1Ds3 with newer firmware is obviously removing the color noise that the 5D isn't. The 5D has great detail at iso3200 compared to the 1Ds3. See how the words Red, Blue, etc. are much sharper from in the 5D image compared to the 1Ds3 along with the resolution chart and there is sharp detail in the black box as well.

I'm surprised to see Canon following suit after nikon to remove every spec of color noise from high iso images which seriously robs the image of detail. Even Phil stated in his a700 report that the 40D had recorded better resolution at high iso than the d300 which has 2 more MP.

blackhawk13 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,742
Re: WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

Honor wrote:

The Canon 1Dm3 sensor has better high ISO than the Nikon D3. period.
As far as the 1DSm3 it should have same ISO as the 1dS2 since Canon
stated the photodiode pitch in a pixel has been kept the same even
though the pixel area is smaller. Only the light insensitive portion
of the pixel was stripped out.

Here is proof of the superior ISO from the 1D3 over the Nikon D3.

Period.

ISO 3200 1DM3

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116418&stc=1&d=1199070427

ISO 3200 1D3

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116415&stc=1&d=1199070052

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=326811

-- hide signature --

That continues to be my suspicion as well. The D3 AF isn't as sensitive as the MK-3's, and I'm pretty sure there's truth to that.

Either way it doesn't really matter, Nikon has a long way to go in order to displace Canon, or even make me take notice.
Does the D3 take L glass? ha!

-tyrants and cowards hide behind censorship-

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