Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Started Dec 6, 2009 | Discussions
mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

These 100% crops were taken moments ago from my balcony. They are the centre of images collected at base iso from each camera. The FF effect was accounted for by using a 50mm f/8 on the Canon 5D and 35mm f/5.6 on the sony aps-c's. All shot in raw and converted using LR2.6RC no sharpness applied, no luminance NR, 25 color NR.

I did this test as I want to sell something, and decide what to take on vacation to SW USA next week. What do you think? They seem very close to me, apart from the A550 having more noise. Perhaps the IQ order would be 5D> A350> A550. How would you rank them?

Canon 5d, ISO50, 1/60s f/8 50mm (Lens 50mm f/1.8 mk2)

Sony A350, ISO100, 1/250s, f/5.6 35mm (17-50 f/2.8 Tamron)

Sony A550, ISO200, 1/500s, f/5.6 35mm (17-50 f/2.8 Tamron)

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Rockhound Regular Member • Posts: 413
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Well while the 550 is a bit noisier than the 350, I think it is showing more detail. Look at the brick wall lower left. You can make out the bricks on the 550 shot. They don't even look like bricks on the 350.

My ranking is 5D> 550> 350

Ralf B
Ralf B Veteran Member • Posts: 8,639
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Rockhound wrote:

Well while the 550 is a bit noisier than the 350, I think it is showing more detail. Look at the brick wall lower left. You can make out the bricks on the 550 shot. They don't even look like bricks on the 350.

I second the observation that the A350 shot is a tad softer. Why don't you try the A350 at ISO 200, too? Why stick to the dogmatic "base ISO" when using ISO 200 gives you twice the shutter speed which may have helped in making the A550 shot look sharper?

Beyond that, I see the 5D shot as the softest. Sharpen it up to the A550 detail and see what noise you get from there.

My 2 cents anyway.

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maurus_e Senior Member • Posts: 1,693
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Also, before deciding, try adjusting the exposures so the brightness of the captures is the same. The 5d shot is exposed higher which usually leads to less noise.

Michel J Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

...the native ISO of A350 is 200 ISO not 100 ISO.

Regards,

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OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

I'd be surprised if the IQ were better at iso200 than iso100. The idea is to test them with the lowest possible iso, which in my experience delivers overall the best IQ.

I'm struck by the LACK of difference between them, to be honest. I did the test with objective of making decisions about what to sell easier, and it's not really helped much.

Michel J wrote:

...the native ISO of A350 is 200 ISO not 100 ISO.

Regards,

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Shimbabwe Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Ralf Bliesener wrote:

Rockhound wrote:

Well while the 550 is a bit noisier than the 350, I think it is showing more detail. Look at the brick wall lower left. You can make out the bricks on the 550 shot. They don't even look like bricks on the 350.

I second the observation that the A350 shot is a tad softer. Why don't you try the A350 at ISO 200, too? Why stick to the dogmatic "base ISO" when using ISO 200 gives you twice the shutter speed which may have helped in making the A550 shot look sharper?

Beyond that, I see the 5D shot as the softest. Sharpen it up to the A550 detail and see what noise you get from there.

I agree with these observations; however, the darker exposure of the A-550 will give it a slight advantage in apparent sharpness but at the cost of more noise. The 5D should have the lowest noise and less apparent sharpness, as it is exposed brighter than the other two.

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Cheers,

Shimbabwe

OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Well, the exposure is the same in all of them, in terms of light and iso:

the 5D at iso 50 and f/8 needs 1/60s. The A350 at f/5.6 and iso 100 is one stop more sensitive and one stop more light, so the correct exposure should be 2 stops faster than the 5D, or 1/240s. And it's 1/250s, so all OK. The A550 is one further stop in sensitivity so we have 1/500s. All is well with the world...

maurus_e wrote:

Also, before deciding, try adjusting the exposures so the brightness of the captures is the same. The 5d shot is exposed higher which usually leads to less noise.

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OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Well, the sharpness ought not to be an issue at 50mm and 1/60s, and indeed it's not, the brick work on the building in the lower left corner seems to be best shown in the 5d shot.

Shimbabwe wrote:

Ralf Bliesener wrote:

Rockhound wrote:

Well while the 550 is a bit noisier than the 350, I think it is showing more detail. Look at the brick wall lower left. You can make out the bricks on the 550 shot. They don't even look like bricks on the 350.

I second the observation that the A350 shot is a tad softer. Why don't you try the A350 at ISO 200, too? Why stick to the dogmatic "base ISO" when using ISO 200 gives you twice the shutter speed which may have helped in making the A550 shot look sharper?

Beyond that, I see the 5D shot as the softest. Sharpen it up to the A550 detail and see what noise you get from there.

I agree with these observations; however, the darker exposure of the A-550 will give it a slight advantage in apparent sharpness but at the cost of more noise. The 5D should have the lowest noise and less apparent sharpness, as it is exposed brighter than the other two.

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maurus_e Senior Member • Posts: 1,693
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Rated iso's do not always correspond to actual sensitivities. Check the histograms and you'll see that the exposure differs.... (or just look at the pics).

OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

Remember, I'm doing this to test performance for sunny landscape shots, I will always be using the lowest iso each system can provide.

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Shimbabwe Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

mike_2008 wrote:

Well, the sharpness ought not to be an issue at 50mm and 1/60s, and indeed it's not, the brick work on the building in the lower left corner seems to be best shown in the 5d shot.

True, but it could certainly look sharper yet, in the scenario I described. Take a series with + - .3 EV to see what I mean regarding apparent contrast and sharpness. You already know this, I'm simply clarifying my point.

Shimbabwe wrote:

I agree with these observations; however, the darker exposure of the A-550 will give it a slight advantage in apparent sharpness but at the cost of more noise. The 5D should have the lowest noise and less apparent sharpness, as it is exposed brighter than the other two.

Cheers,

Shimbabwe

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Cheers,

Shimbabwe

OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: Low iso comparison: Sony A350, A550, Canon 5D

I've looked through the pictures again. I've been very surprised by how different parts of the scene look better for the A550 and other parts the A350 is nicer. Perhaps overall the A550 gets a better result. The luminance noise in the A550 cleans up very nicely, so with a little pp delivers an overall slight but noticeable improvement over most of the scene compared with the A350 at iso100.

The 5D can take a lot of sharpening, and produces a slightly nicer IQ than the A550, not surprising given the FF format. It's certainly not a walkover though...

So, anyone in the market for a used A350?

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Sarajean Senior Member • Posts: 2,988
Re: You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

mike_2008 wrote:

I'd be surprised if the IQ were better at iso200 than iso100. The idea is to test them with the lowest possible iso, which in my experience delivers overall the best IQ.

Then your experience is 100% wrong like the other poster mentioned.

OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

This forum is bizarre at times. So, you are saying you get better IQ at iso 200 than iso50?

I'm sorry, but I've simply never observed this. Can you show me a link which demonstrates this effect?

Sarajean wrote:

mike_2008 wrote:

I'd be surprised if the IQ were better at iso200 than iso100. The idea is to test them with the lowest possible iso, which in my experience delivers overall the best IQ.

Then your experience is 100% wrong like the other poster mentioned.

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OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

I imagine this troll will not reply, so I'd simply like to point anyone reading this misguided comment to look at any of the iso vs noise plots shown in this review site, as well as dxomark etc.

This is an example from the dpr review of the A380

So this sarajean troll is both offensive and totally wrong, all in one sentence...

Sarajean wrote:

mike_2008 wrote:

I'd be surprised if the IQ were better at iso200 than iso100. The idea is to test them with the lowest possible iso, which in my experience delivers overall the best IQ.

Then your experience is 100% wrong like the other poster mentioned.

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maurus_e Senior Member • Posts: 1,693
Re: You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

Sarajean is not a troll. And noise is just one of the image parameters that is relevant here. Another will be dynamic range. Yet another will be how easily the raw file responds to PP treatment. And so on. What might be the best ISO for one purpose (noise in jpgs) might not be the best for other purposes..... Since you are interested in sharpness/resolution in your comparison, you should look for the best detail, not just the lowest noise. You can always have low noise by smearing detail....

OP mike_2008 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

Oh, give me a break. I cannot believe that anyone can seriously think that with good technique at 35mm with SSS on and shutter speed of 1/250s or faster that there is anything other than optimal possible sharpness.

Many parameters improve with lower iso; colour, DR and noise. The only problem might be a slower shutter smearing details, but this is certainly not the case either in the examples I posted or on how I will be shooting.

I'm starting to think that you must be joking; hard to believe your serious.

maurus_e wrote:

Sarajean is not a troll. And noise is just one of the image parameters that is relevant here. Another will be dynamic range. Yet another will be how easily the raw file responds to PP treatment. And so on. What might be the best ISO for one purpose (noise in jpgs) might not be the best for other purposes..... Since you are interested in sharpness/resolution in your comparison, you should look for the best detail, not just the lowest noise. You can always have low noise by smearing detail....

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maurus_e Senior Member • Posts: 1,693
I give up :) /nt
Michel J Veteran Member • Posts: 4,009
Re: You can't compare because 2 of 3 are underexposed imho BTW...

mike_2008 wrote:

I'd be surprised if the IQ were better at iso200 than iso100. The idea is to test them with the lowest possible iso, which in my experience delivers overall the best IQ.

I'm struck by the LACK of difference between them, to be honest. I did the test with objective of making decisions about what to sell easier, and it's not really helped much.

Michel J wrote:

...the native ISO of A350 is 200 ISO not 100 ISO.

Regards,

mike_2008 wrote:

Many parameters improve with lower iso; colour, DR and noise.

I'm starting to think that you must be joking; hard to believe your serious.

Hi Mike,

How are you !?

Thank you for posting your samples.

We are not trolling or something, we just would like to help you for finding the best way for you and/or other friends.

1) that you specified before: ‘noise is only a part of the problem’, is correct!

2) if the higher range is available at native ISO you can't improve dynamic range with a lower ISO (it's just a tricky way ..in case off — if the photographer are living on the border about speed or aperture limit...) only it's sure that you loose about 1 EV ...if so visible in the Low Lights détails. It's true you can be absolutly sure of this, no problem. It's nothing "personnal" at all.

BTW, it's important to check it with the same exposure, because if you are under, the noise will increase, dynamic will be limited in the low light, so the saturation can't be perfect because of a higer level of noise and less range in the place of you need it...

Paradoxically, ISO amplification, does not lose dynamic (except for very high sensitivities)

Regards,

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