How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Started Feb 17, 2008 | Discussions
MirkoK Contributing Member • Posts: 741
Re: How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

well its said to be the advanced microlenses.

but i think after seeing all the high iso sample pictures, the loss of quality is simply too big.

even our big friend and nikon fan boy KR said that once in a report.
well he maybe didnt say "too big" but that the loss is there!

cheers

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jonlee1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,436
Still not with you...must be smoking different brands? :-)

If you look at the bell next to the star shaped design, it appears to me that all the 5d is doing is darkening the image by maybe a half of a stop. In the D3 image, you can see the reflection of the room.

The D3 image looks like it was taken at closer range, but it still appears that the 5D is just darkening the shot to "reduce noise."

Depending on the shot, I can use one that has a tad bit of noise but still shows detail versus one that just darkens the shot. Could be the difference of making $50 on a shot versus not.

Just my opinion folks...

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Barugon Veteran Member • Posts: 9,199
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.

Well, I totally disagree with you on that point. I've seen enough raw files from both to know that the D3 has at least a half stop better noise performance at equivalent ISOs.

Also, your sample is bogus.

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,788
Do your own testing, please

Honor wrote:

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

I own both cameras, and have tested both extensively. I do not rely on other's test results, which are too easy to misinterpret.

Fact #1: Quantum efficiency is significantly higher on the D3, yielding greatly reduced shot noise.

Fact #2: Read noise levels are nearly the same on the two cameras, across the ISO range.

Fact #3: The D3 has in-camera NR which significantly improves IQ of its JPEG output.

The result: The D3 is superior across the board, in its RAW output, and its advantages regarding JPEG output are even greater.

If you insist on continuing to believe the Mk III is the equal of the D3, you are entitled to your opinion, but I see you as no wiser than those who continue to insist that the earth is flat.

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.

This same argument was made regarding the 1D Mk III vs. the 1D Mk II. The truth is that the Mk III ended up with a smaller full well capacity.

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

If you think that is proof, you obviously had your mind made up before you even read it.

Shaun_Nyc
Shaun_Nyc Senior Member • Posts: 2,325
Re: Do your own testing, please

Marianne Oelund wrote:

Honor wrote:

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

I own both cameras, and have tested both extensively. I do not rely
on other's test results, which are too easy to misinterpret.
Fact #1: Quantum efficiency is significantly higher on the D3,
yielding greatly reduced shot noise.
Fact #2: Read noise levels are nearly the same on the two cameras,
across the ISO range.
Fact #3: The D3 has in-camera NR which significantly improves IQ of
its JPEG output.
The result: The D3 is superior across the board, in its RAW output,
and its advantages regarding JPEG output are even greater.

Is nef even a true raw file ?

http://www.astrosurf.com/buil/nikon_test/test.htm

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Paul Kowalow Regular Member • Posts: 210
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.

it was a joke not a "testbench". And there were visible halos in canon samples indicating heavy manipulation. PERIOD.

find a better "proof" of your hot-air statement.

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.

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D3 pusher Regular Member • Posts: 250
Re: Do your own testing, please

yes...

D3 pusher Regular Member • Posts: 250
Re: How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Loss of quality as compared to what might I ask??

Anastigmat Forum Pro • Posts: 12,686
Re: no it can't

Nikon's high ISO is done through aggressive noise reduction through software. Nikon learned to use heavy handed noise reduction on APS-C cameras like the D200, D2X, D80 and D50. It applied what it learned from those exercises to the high ISO settings in the D3. Canon has traditionally not applied as much noise reduction because its sensors have clean high ISO images. But as sensor resolution increases in the future while sensor size stays unchanged, Canon would almost certainly use more aggressive noise reduction. One Canon exec. hinted at that. We may see that in the upcoming 450D.

There is more noise in the images of the 5D at ISO 3200 than in the Nikon D3 at ISO 3200, but the 5D images retain more detail, especially color detail. Nikon tends to wipe away color noise with its noise removal software. The D3 is no exception.

SDRebel wrote:

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.

dwterry Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: Still not with you...must be smoking different brands? :-)

You don't see the room in the bell from the 5D shot, because the angle of the shot is obviously different (I say "obvious" because the light pattern in the 5D shot of the bell is so completely different from the other light pattern that it has to be a different angle).

To me, it's not darkening the shot and losing the room. It's simply at a different enough angle that the room doesn't show up as part of the reflection in the bell.

Furthermore, the dark strip underneath the bell is obviously lighter in the 5D image and even shows some detail not visible in the other image. Therefore the 5D image is not darker.

OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
No free lunch?

Thanks for your comments.

I've conducted a quick test at ISO 1000, 1250, 1600, and 3200 with the 1Ds3 in M so I could have an identical shutter speed and aperture.

The lighting conditions were identical, but to get a print I had to boost exposure on all the shots. I used PS auto exposure on all files.

There was more noise and less detail as ISO increased, but the 3200 ISO file was certainly acceptable for a shot in low light.

I try the same test using flash next.

Unfortunately, I don't have a D3. But, from your comment what I understand is that as the ISO goes up to 6400, etc., I'll simply see incrementally more noise and loss of detail.

At this point my thought is that I wish Canon would provide the option of ISO 6400, 12800, and 25600 and let me worry about whether the result is or is not acceptable.

In other words, that's what I understand from your comment Nikon has done, i.e., simply provide via software the option of these high ISO settings.

Two questions remain for me. One, could Canon provide this option with a firmware upgrade? Second, if the option was provided, would the 1Ds3 results better those of the D3?

In a sense I don't care about the second question since I'm not going to be switching to Nikon at this point.

I'm just learning what the 1Ds3 offers and so far the results have been delightful.

D3 pusher Regular Member • Posts: 250
Re: no it can't

lets not even go to high ISO's take a low ISO shot with lots of shadows and lets see what you will find in the shadows. You will find more color and detail in D3 phots. You dont have to take my word for it there have been number of mag articles talking about this. Most recent being Swdish I believe but there have been a German and Japanese article as well.

degsy_safc Senior Member • Posts: 1,374
Re: WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

blackhawk13 wrote:

Does the D3 take L glass? ha!

What a most peculiar thing to say - I suppose you are trying to say that Canon 'L' lenses are far superior to the Nikon equivalents

This thread has got quite a few interesting and logical comments apart from your statement above - LOL

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Cheers Derek

JohnK Veteran Member • Posts: 7,161
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.

You can believe "the jury", I'll make up my own mind. I think so what if Nikon cranks up the gain, the image quality at ISO 6400+ is not usable, IMO. Have you seen samples such as these? I'll pass.
http://www.pbase.com/swen67/inbox
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Take a picture, it'll last longer.

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OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
I'd like to think you're correct

Given what I paid for my 1Ds3, I'd like to think that it outperforms every camera on the market in all respects.

The good news is that so far I am delighted with the camera.

However, as regards high ISO, a number of loyal Canon users have seemed to conclude that the D3 produces excellent results at 6400 and 12800, e.g.:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/nikon-d3-d300.shtml

Your evaluation may well be correct. If it is, then the D3's high ISO capability is a nonissue. But, that isn't what I'm seeing in the reviews.

So, my questions. How did Nikon do it, whether or not it works to everyone's satisfaction? And, can Canon provide us 1Ds3 owners with higher ISO via a firmware upgrade?

Those two questions remain unanswered in any definitive fashion; although, some folks have provided considerable information in their replies to my post.

Anyway, my own initial testing of ISO 3200 leads me to believe that for night urban work of people on the streets, etc., that the results are perfectly usable. I'd just like Canon to give me the opportunity to set the camera at the 6400, 12800, and 25600 choices offered by the D3 and thereby allow me to decide if the results are acceptable and usable.

JohnnyRX7 Senior Member • Posts: 1,853
Re: WRONG Canon 1D3 has better ISO than the D3

degsy_safc wrote:

blackhawk13 wrote:

Does the D3 take L glass? ha!

What a most peculiar thing to say - I suppose you are trying to say
that Canon 'L' lenses are far superior to the Nikon equivalents

This thread has got quite a few interesting and logical comments
apart from your statement above - LOL

that is your Nikon defensiveness taking over... it could also mean that he does not want to buy new glass ... right ? I know if I didn't have to buy new glass I might already be using the D3 too.
--
Johnny

OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Glass is a huge issue

Having a few Canon lenses myself, that is a major consideration when thinking of switching.

However, switching isn't my issue. Rather, I just want Canon to provide the ability to set the higher ISO available with the D3 -- if it could be done with a firmware upgrade.

Whether extra ISO settings can be provided via firmware is one of the questions I've been trying to get answered.

Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 7,033
Re: How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

JohnK wrote:

You can believe "the jury", I'll make up my own mind. I think so what
if Nikon cranks up the gain, the image quality at ISO 6400+ is not
usable, IMO.

I've seen several D3 shots at ISO 12800 that were acceptable for many uses like newspaper photography, surveillance, private investigation and even small prints.

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Eric Sorensen
Eric Sorensen Veteran Member • Posts: 4,641
Reduce your 1DsIII image to 12MP (about 50%)

...then compare with the D3 and tell us how the noise looks at the new and equal 100% level. This is the difference you will see when the same framed image is printed the same size. I bet it's close, if not in Canon's favor.
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PIXmantra Senior Member • Posts: 1,637
Very simple: LARGE photo-sensitive area and MASSIVE N.R....

...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).

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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