How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

Started Feb 17, 2008 | Discussions
Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,788
Re: Marianne

Shaun_Nyc wrote:

Marianne, I would have thought I would have seen your congrats to
this fella with the the IDIII ice skating photos. ???

OK, I just had a look. I'm rather baffled by the peculiar quality of the images, which do not resemble anything I've obtained. They appear to have a great deal of large-radius sharpening, with the finest details (at Nyquist limit) obliterated, as though they had been down-sampled, sharpened, then up-res'ed back.

From the spin photos, it's obvious he has been able to use a very high shutter speed, thus the lighting levels must be quite a bit higher than those under typical arena lighting. Spotlighting can easily achieve LV 8 or better, whereas amateur sports arenas are usually about LV 6.5-7.

Finally, there is no information about camera settings or post-processing steps, so there is no basis for comparison.

Maybe you could
post a few with the mighty D3 so we can see how bad it out performes
it..

I have a very strict privacy policy. If all of your subjects were under-18 females in tiny dresses, would you post them?

Btw, when are you sending yours in for recall repair so some
fair judgement can be passed on your copy ?

I was just about to do this, when Rob Galbraith posted his Feb. 3rd update about an additional AF fix. Now, I am waiting to see what comes of that.

AF fix or not, I still have thousands of well-focused Mk III images to assess. Not even the worst Mk III bodies will mis-focus every time, and mine is certainly not one of the worst.

ejmartin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,274
Re: 1D3 full well?

ohyva wrote:

ejmartin wrote:

ohyva wrote:

Second I'm still sceptic about these well capacity "measurements". No
direct measurement method AFIAK (unless you probe into the chip which
I think has not been done (and would probably to some extend
interfere with the masurement). If done indirectly based on noise
figs, then I'd really love to know how all the different noise
sources are separated. And how to ensure there is no in-sensor
digital domain NR applied - which is reported by Sony to be one of
the methods how they have reduced the noise levels in their new CMOS
sensor technology.

There are three common noise sources -- the electronic noise in the
readout and amplification circuits, thermal noise in those same
circuits, and photon shot noise. They are all independent and can
all be measured by varying the exposure.

Are they? I did study for 3 years semiconductor technologies as my
minor in university, and I'd not dare to make this sort of statement

  • but that was now close 3 decades ago when those technologies were

quite young. Perhaps you can point me some more recent technical
studies clarifying that.

Quantitative studies may be found at
http://clarkvision.com/imagedetail/evaluation-1d2/index.html
http://www.astrosurf.org/buil/20d/20dvs10d.htm

And you should not forget the dark current noise which is the
dominant noise source in long exposures.

Dark current noise is thermal noise. In the above referenced sources, average dark current is a small fraction of an electron per second, compared to read noises which are several electrons. So for exposures less than a second or so, thermal noise is totally negligible, as I mentioned.

The thermal noise is proportional to the time of exposure, and can be
measured in a series of longer and longer exposures with the lens cap
on; it is typically irrelevant until exposure times exceed a second
or more.

Have you counted the increase of thermal noise flow with exposure
time due to sensor heating? What anout all sort of paracitic leagages
which may be severy (and non-linearily) dependent on the collected
charge, the trasmitted signal level and of course sensor temperature?

All totally negligible under normal operating environment and exposure settings. See the above references.

Electronic noise is there independent of exposure, it just comes from
reading out the sensor, and so can be measured at very short
exposures with the lens cap on (negligible thermal noise, no photon
signal).

I'd not be too sure of this either, as some of the paracitic
components (being the deliver mechanisn on the intra-component
transition noise) in the chip may vary on the signal level - and thus
cause unknown quantities.

I have no idea what you are talking about here. Please be specific, rather than alluding to vague "unkown quantities" look at the data and state an effect or contribution to noise which is unexplained by the standard noise model.

Photon noise varies proportional to the square root of the number of
photons collected, and can be measured by a set of exposures at
higher illumination levels where the other noise sources are
negligible (of course, one can subtract them out for a slight
improvement in the accuracy).

So they can all be separated from one another by varying the
exposure, since they all vary differently with exposure.

Probably true to some accuracy level. But I cannot say if that within
unit of percentages or tens of percentages.

The standard noise model is quite accurate. I've done enough sensor measurements and seen enough of others' analyses to see it verified to the level of a few percent accuracy or better.

As for whether NR is applied, all Canons and probably other CMOS
sensors use a method to cancel noise in the readout of a pixel. This
is not NR as most people think of it, ie smearing out neighboring
pixels to smooth out the noise grain; rather it is done for each
pixel independently and involves no comparison with neighboring
pixels.

Yep, the coherent doubly sampling can reduce, typically not eliminate
the transition based noise. Or when poorly designed it actually
double the noise level (2nd outcome from the same equations), but I
guess Canon has not made a bad design.

Noise reduction that involves averaging over nearby pixels
is easily detected by looking at the Fourier transform of the image;
if this sort of NR were being performed one would see the noise at
high spatial frequencies take a nose dive relative to lower
frequencies. I have examined raw images of the D3 in this way and
see no evidence of such NR -- the noise spectrum is flat all the way
out to the limits of the sensor resolution (Nyquist frequency).

As NR is typically decision controlled median type of local filtering
I very much doubt you can see that clearly in any fourier based
analysis. But I have to admit it's quite long time since my last math
lessons.

That is easily checked, I'll do an example and post it if I have the time. But median filtering is a linear averaging over neighboring pixels, and therefore will erase the noise spectrum at high spatial frequency, no question.

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OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Re: Auto ISO

Thanks. I give it a try.

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,788
Recalculation

My earlier calculations posted above were unfortunately based on certain Mk III data from Roger Clark's website which, as Emil pointed out, had not been updated with the correct value. In fairness, I have redone the analysis to reflect the true performance of the Mk III vs. the D3. The end comparison is the same - the D3 still leads - but the margin is considerably less than previously stated.

Sensor DR at ISO 200 illumination limit:
D3 full-scale e- count = 65,600 (Roger's number)
D3 read noise = 6 e- (my number, more conservative than Roger's)
Mk III full-scale e- count = 38,000 (Emil's number)
Mk III read noise = 4 e-
D3 sensor DR = 65,600/6 = 11,000 = 13.4 stops
Mk III sensor DR = 38,000/4 = 9,500 = 13.2 stops

Shot noise ratio:
Shot noise dominates at low ISO, or in light tones at higher ISO settings.

Above ISO 200, the same full-scale e- count ratio occurs (65,600/38,000 = 1.73). Thus Mk III shot noise at a given ISO is equivalent to D3 shot noise at that ISO multiplied by 1.73: Mk III ISO 200 == D3 ISO 350, Mk III ISO 800 == D3 ISO 1380, etc. This is equivalent to about a 0.8 stop advantage for the D3.

Read noise:

Read noise determines shadow noise, and affects dark, mid-dark, then medium tones as ISO settings are increased. What is the noise expressed in DN, which is what we actually see in the image?
For example, at a moderate sensitivity of ISO 800:
D3 full-scale e- count = 16,400
D3 read noise = 6 e-
Mk III full-scale e- count = 9,500
Mk III read noise = 4 e- (using an optimistic value; actual is a bit higher)
D3 read noise = 6/16,400 * 16,383 DN = 6 DN
Mk III read noise = 4/9,500 * 16,383 DN = 7 DN
Thus the D3's read noise component at the A/D converter output is
slightly lower than the Mk III's.

Cultured Vulture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,181
Re: How does the D3 achieve such high ISO?

JohnK wrote:

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
--
JohnK
Take a picture, it'll last longer.

So you're saying the "motocycle rider ad" is not a usable 6400 shot.
--
Respond to rudeness with civility, it really annoys them.

Regards,

JR

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OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Why? And, 1Ds3?

I'm not certain I understand the implications of all the numbers. Nevertheless, at the very least I have several questions.

First, why is the D3 producing better marks in your analysis?

Second, how the does 1Ds3 stack up (I assume you were reporting on the 1D3 numbers)?

Finally, do I understand correctly that for an ISO setting (200 or above) that your analysis means that the D3 produces a cleaner file, i.e., a file with less noise? But, what about resolution and dynamic range?

ejmartin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,274
Re: 1D3 full well?

ohyva wrote:

As NR is typically decision controlled median type of local filtering
I very much doubt you can see that clearly in any fourier based
analysis. But I have to admit it's quite long time since my last math
lessons.

OK, I took a 14-bit NEF file of a brightly exposed uniform wall at ISO 200

http://www.brisk.org.uk/photog/d3files/_DSC0206.NEF

then split off one of the two green subarrays in IRIS and did the Fourier transform of a 512x512 pixel sample, both before and after applying a mild adaptive median noise filter (the command af3 .2 in IRIS). Here is the Fourier transform without any postprocessing noise reduction

A levels adjustment has been applied to focus on the high frequency noise which appears away from the center of the pattern, toward the edges. Note the uniform speckling away from the center, indicating that the noise spectrum at high frequency is flat all the way out to the pixel level. And now the Fourier transform of the same patch, with the same levels adjustment, after the mild adaptive median filtering

The darkening toward the edges is the sign of the dampening of the noise spectrum at high spatial frequency, due to the averaging over neighboring pixels (smearing due to noise reduction, in plain terms).

The fact that the noise spectrum of the raw data is flat all the way out to the highest spatial frequencies means that no noise reduction has been applied to the D3 raw data that involves any averaging over neighboring pixels. Noise reduction on shorter exposure times such as this one, does not happen on the D3.

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Peter Carmichael Contributing Member • Posts: 727
Re: 1D3 full well?

Does the Nikon implementation in the D3 clip the black level in the NEF files?

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,788
Black clipping

Peter Carmichael wrote:

Does the Nikon implementation in the D3 clip the black level in the
NEF files?

Yes, it does. There is no bias applied ahead of the A/D converter, so negative noise values are truncated. On the D3, truncation occurs very close to true zero; statistically, I see about a 52-55% zero-value pixel content at moderate ISO settings. This is what one would expect, since in addition to negative signals being represented as zero, there will be some fractional-count positive ones as well.

On the D300, there actually seems to be a slight negative offset, as the zero-value pixel proportion is in the 85-90% range. (Note: These D3 and D300 measurements were made from 14-bit NEF files.)

For this reason, it is necessary to use bias frames rather than black frames to measure read noise on these cameras. Some astro users seem to be concerned about the implications for astrophotography, but whether or not this is an issue will depend on the degree of sky glow present. For long exposures, it takes an extremely dark sky indeed to lack adequate bias.

ejmartin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,274
Re: Why? And, 1Ds3?

SDRebel wrote:

I'm not certain I understand the implications of all the numbers.
Nevertheless, at the very least I have several questions.

First, why is the D3 producing better marks in your analysis?

Second, how the does 1Ds3 stack up (I assume you were reporting on
the 1D3 numbers)?

According to figures from

http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4784
http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4771

the electron count at raw saturation for the 1Ds3 is about 31000 electrons. The read noise is about 5 electrons at ISO 1600. Adding to Marianne's list:

Sensor DR at ISO 200 illumination limit:
D3 full-scale e- count = 65,600 (Roger's number)
D3 read noise = 6 e- (my number, more conservative than Roger's)
Mk III full-scale e- count = 38,000 (Emil's number)
Mk III read noise = 4 e-
1Ds3 full-scale e- count = 31,000
1Ds3 read noise = 5 e-

D3 sensor DR = 65,600/6 = 11,000 = 13.4 stops
Mk III sensor DR = 38,000/4 = 9,500 = 13.2 stops
1Ds3 sensor DR = 31,000/5 = 6,200 = 12.6 stops

But here is where one has to ask what is being measured here. These figures refer to pixel capacity, pixel read noise, and pixel DR. The 1Ds3 has 75% more pixels; the higher pixel density means that its DR and the D3 dynamic range are being measured at different spatial scales. We should refer the 1Ds3 values to the coarser spatial scale of the D3 pixels to provide a fair comparison. The capacity scales as the area, so we should multiply the 1Ds3 e- count by 1.75: 31000 x 1.75 = 54,200; the read noise scales roughly linearly with pixel size when combining pixels, so the 1Ds3 scaled read noise is 5 x 8.46/6.4 = 6.6; the dynamic range of the 1Ds3 sensor, when scaled to the size of the D3's pixels, is 54,200/6.6 = 8212 = 13.0 stops for "sensor DR" as defined by Clark.

Shot noise at the same spatial scale is thus 65,600/54,200 = 1.21 = .3 stop better for the D3 over the 1Ds3. The 1D3 fares worse here due to the 1.3 crop factor (smaller sensor). Using Marianne's scaling logic to get the ISO 800 read noise (which is not wholly accurate; read noise does not necessarily scale this way)

For example, at a moderate sensitivity of ISO 800:
D3 read noise = 6/16,400 * 16,383 DN = 6 DN
Mk III read noise = 4/9,500 * 16,383 DN = 7 DN

leads us to

1Ds3 read noise at ISO 800 = 5/7750 * 16383 DN = 10.6 DN

Finally, do I understand correctly that for an ISO setting (200 or
above) that your analysis means that the D3 produces a cleaner file,
i.e., a file with less noise? But, what about resolution and dynamic
range?

The data indicates that DR favors the D3, though when referred to a level playing field by compensating for the different pixel densities, the difference with the 1Ds3 is only about 1/3 stop. The 1D3 fares somewhat worse due to the 1.3 crop factor. The D3 has better resolution as a percentage of frame size than the 1D3 due to its higher pixel count, but 1/3 worse than the 1Ds3 in linear resolution due to the latter's 75% higher pixel count.

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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,788
Re: Why? And, 1Ds3?

SDRebel wrote:

I'm not certain I understand the implications of all the numbers.
Nevertheless, at the very least I have several questions.

First, why is the D3 producing better marks in your analysis?

If you mean physically why, there are two contributions:
1. Sensel size. The D3's larger sensels occupy about 38% more area.

2. Quantum efficiency. The D3's microlens design (plus, perhaps other unknown changes secret to Nikon) gives it about 25% greater efficiency at converting photons to captured electrons.

Combining the two, the D3 will produce about 70% more electrons per sensel, for the same exposure. More electrons equate to better signal/noise ratio, since this statistical contribution to noise (termed shot noise) only varies as the square root of the number of electrons captured.

Other than the above, there is little difference between the cameras regarding noise levels, i.e., sensor read noise is not significantly different.

Second, how the does 1Ds3 stack up (I assume you were reporting on
the 1D3 numbers)?

Yes, they are 1D Mk III numbers. I haven't seen data for the 1Ds Mk III yet.

But, what about resolution and dynamic range?

Coincidentally, the D3 read noise is higher by about the same proportion as its electron count, thus DR of the two cameras comes out nearly the same.

Resolution comparisons are fraught with points of contention, and I'll not venture there. Suffice it to say that, in my type of work, I find that optical quality and user technique are more important than the sensor's pixel count, when comparing sensors in the same resolution "ballpark."

Dan Nikon Senior Member • Posts: 1,503
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.

I am on a high end advertising at this place right now:

http://www.theinnatlittlewashington.com/

We are doing a mix of full motion, timelpase, high res still interiors and low light lifestyle and detail stills.

I have a full Nikon kit including the D3, incredible Zeiss primes and the spectacular 14-24.

I also have a brand spanking new 1DS-III I borrowed from a buddy in D.C. with a 24 T/S, 35 1.4 and 85 1.2.

I have the 1DS-III for the interiors due to the fact that the Nikon 24 T/S is not quite out yet.

Here is what we are seeing as professional photographers, motion shooters, art & creative directors:

While the 1DS-III files are wonderfully sharp and large, it is simply no match for the D3 above ISO 1,600. By 3,200 the D3 is still holding it's color and contrast not to mention being very sharp when simply exporting the NEF files right out of NX View.

The reason I am using View is that with the D3, I find I rarely have to tweak the files if I nail the exposure so one large batch export while shooting other things has proven to be extremely time and resource efficient.

The other thing is that while the 1DS-III files are larger sharper, I am using the Nikon 14-24on the D3 over the Canon 24 tilt shift due to much better corner sharpness, color, contrast and resistance to flare. The 1DS-III is simply not being used much, I am having an assistant drive the kit back to my buddy.

I love the larger files of the 1DS-III, but in seeing how this is playing out in actual use, the D3 is a much better camera to use on this shoot, and this is thousands a day high end advertising.

When I used to have a 5D, I found that the D3 needed a tiny bit more PP to get it as sharp as the 5D at low ISO's.

Also, the remark posted below by Pixeldork that the Hi 1 and Hi 2 settings are hype is ludicrous. I have shot one magazine article and one ad campaign at ISO 25,600 using it in greyscale, red filter, full contrast boost had have got results that rival Tri-X pushed to 800!! Those settings are not only more than hype, they are outstanding when used in this manner.

I have to say, this client blown away by the low light stuff we have gotten thus far, it has simply set this campaign on fire.

Don't get me wrong, the 1DS-III is an outstanding rig and puts out some great files, but when we are looking at the images from this shoot as the total take, we all like the D3 files much better. We can live with a few inches of difference when going to print, the D3 files are simply that good.

Besides, Nikon will no doubt give me a fine 20+MP FF camera very soon...:-)

Mike K Veteran Member • Posts: 5,525
Re: agreed, noise reduction

Yes, this came out a few years ago from Chuck Westfall. At the time we were a bit stunned. All consumer Canon dSLRs have a bit of processing, even in the RAW. There is a bit of sharpening and at higher ISOs some noise reduction. How do you think a 40D keeps up the S/N with a 5D which has bigger photosites?
Mike K

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OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
25% greater efficiency!

That's what I was wondering, has Nikon made some sort of breakthrough?

Getting a 25% boost in efficiency seems like quite a breakthrough.

What I wonder is whether or not Canon can do the same with the next iteration of the 1Ds3. That would definitely comport with Moore's law.

And what about Sony? What will it be able to demonstrate when it makes its new 25Meg sensor public for hands on testing?

The future, as usual, is worth looking forward to.

Thanks.

OP SDRebel Senior Member • Posts: 1,489
Thanks

Fortunately, I'm pleased with my 1Ds3.

Yet, your report confirms that Nikon is now providing extraordinary competition.

A year or so from now, if Canon can respond in kind, it sounds as though we will be arriving at a truly new plateau in digital photography.

Many thanks for the response.

ohyva Veteran Member • Posts: 6,342
Re: 1D3 full well?

ejmartin wrote:

Dark current noise is thermal noise. In the above referenced
sources, average dark current is a small fraction of an electron per
second, compared to read noises which are several electrons. So for
exposures less than a second or so, thermal noise is totally
negligible, as I mentioned.

Nope. Dark current is mostly caused by different leakeges in the chip.
We now talk about real wordl devices, not any abstrated ideal models.

I have no idea what you are talking about here. Please be specific,
rather than alluding to vague "unkown quantities" look at the data
and state an effect or contribution to noise which is unexplained by
the standard noise model.

Unknown quantities means something we cannot "calculate" from simplified ideal models. Parasitic components are due to non-idealities in the silicon process and is something that vary from sensor to sensor. To some extend the effect of these can be studies with simulators like Spice and statistic methods like Monte-Carlo type stimulus.

As NR is typically decision controlled median type of local filtering
I very much doubt you can see that clearly in any fourier based
analysis. But I have to admit it's quite long time since my last math
lessons.

That is easily checked, I'll do an example and post it if I have the
time. But median filtering is a linear averaging over neighboring
pixels, and therefore will erase the noise spectrum at high spatial
frequency, no question.

Averaging or "intelligent peak cutting" or something else.

As everywhere there are the simple text-book methods and then the more advanced intelligent methods.

Please, provide us the examples.

ejmartin Veteran Member • Posts: 6,274
Re: 1D3 full well?

ohyva wrote:

ejmartin wrote:

Dark current noise is thermal noise. In the above referenced
sources, average dark current is a small fraction of an electron per
second, compared to read noises which are several electrons. So for
exposures less than a second or so, thermal noise is totally
negligible, as I mentioned.

Nope. Dark current is mostly caused by different leakeges in the chip.
We now talk about real wordl devices, not any abstrated ideal models.

Really? Googling "dark current noise", the first listing
http://www.roperscientific.de/tdark.html

states quite clearly that it is thermal noise:

"Dark current arises from thermal energy within the silicon lattice comprising the CCD. Electrons are created over time that are independent of the light falling on the detector. Said electrons are captured by the CCD's potential wells and counted as signal. Additionally, this increase in signal also carries a statistical fluctuation known as dark current noise. "

I have no idea what you are talking about here. Please be specific,
rather than alluding to vague "unkown quantities" look at the data
and state an effect or contribution to noise which is unexplained by
the standard noise model.

Unknown quantities means something we cannot "calculate" from
simplified ideal models. Parasitic components are due to
non-idealities in the silicon process and is something that vary from
sensor to sensor. To some extend the effect of these can be studies
with simulators like Spice and statistic methods like Monte-Carlo
type stimulus.

I invite you to look at the references I gave
http://astrosurf.com/buil/20d/20dvs10d.htm
http://clarkvision.com/imagedetail/evaluation-1d2/index.html

and state why you think that the "simplified ideal model" is a poor fit to the data. Sometimes simple models are just fine, containing the essential physics and stripping away irrelevant details.

As NR is typically decision controlled median type of local filtering
I very much doubt you can see that clearly in any fourier based
analysis. But I have to admit it's quite long time since my last math
lessons.

That is easily checked, I'll do an example and post it if I have the
time. But median filtering is a linear averaging over neighboring
pixels, and therefore will erase the noise spectrum at high spatial
frequency, no question.

Averaging or "intelligent peak cutting" or something else.
As everywhere there are the simple text-book methods and then the
more advanced intelligent methods.

Please, provide us the examples.

I did if you'd care to look:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=26861064

Noise reduction of this sort, be it median filtering, wavelet based, whatever, involves removing power from high spatial frequencies; that's why there is a tradeoff between noise reduction and detail preservation.

I have to say you have an inexhaustible supply of red herrings.

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DSPographer Senior Member • Posts: 2,483
Re: Who doesn't get it

Sensor noise for Canon and and Nikon D-SLR cameras comes from the photosite pre-amplifier not from dark leakage (dark leakage is negligible for exposures faster than 1s). This means that sensor noise is independant of photosite area so bigger photosites are more sensitive.

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Hans Kruse Veteran Member • Posts: 3,432
Re: Thanks

SDRebel wrote:

Fortunately, I'm pleased with my 1Ds3.

Me too.

A year or so from now, if Canon can respond in kind, it sounds as
though we will be arriving at a truly new plateau in digital
photography.

Do you really think that Canon will respond in a year with a new 1Ds3 followon? This is highly unlikely. 3 years is more realistic. What is it that you think Canon can suddenly make better than the 1Ds3?

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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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