Low light performance

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MonkeyClaw Junior Member • Posts: 48
Low light performance
1

Okay, so this is my last question before I finally order either the X-T4 or the a7iii...

The Fuji ticks pretty much every box and I am only still considering the Sony because it is FF for the same price. I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed? Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Hmm...

Photography is complicated.

Sony a7
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rich_cx139 Senior Member • Posts: 1,599
Re: Low light performance
1

Yes, with a still subject and where you have an advantage in ibis or can use a tripod then you can shoot at slow enough shutter speeds to keep you having to wind the iso up.

Otherwise FF have typically one stop advantage than Aps- which usually means you can close the ap down by 1 stop if you need more DoF or use 1 stop lower shutter speed and get the same perceived noise on the same sized print at the same viewing distance.

Obviousy noise reduction algorithms ( Tipaz ai , deep prime in dxo for example ) are good in mimicking lower intrinsic noise but you can find yourself using these and FF to squeeze the max out

It all depends on how and what and when you shoot.

Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 8,420
Re: Low light performance
7

MonkeyClaw wrote:

[...] I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

No. It means that when you shoot both at the same ISO, Sony will produce better image quality.

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed?

That is usually not what people mean when saying "low light performance". If they were, Micro 4/3 would be the king of low light, because it can do things like this without a tripod (my flickr album).

Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Exactly. So by low light performance, people usually mean a situation where you need to freeze motion when there is little light and are not limited by depth of field (as in, you can shoot as wide an aperture as you can).

So assuming the same shutter speed and same f-number, both cameras will end up at the same ISO value (in theory, in practice light metering on different cameras might produce different results in some cases). A camera with a larger sensor will produce an image with less noise, but more shallow depth of field.

As you can see from the above, a lens plays a huge part in that equation. Fuji with a 200mm f/2 will be noticeably better in low-light than Sony 100-400mm f/5.6 at 400mm.

And if you are DoF limited, meaning that you require a certain depth of focus, then you end up with equivalence and all systems that can achieve the desired DoF are equally good at low light (at least in terms of image quality, there might be other considerations like autofocus for example).

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paltu1970 New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Low light performance
2

My view based on usage of Sony FF and APSC + Nikon FF + APSC and Fujifilm xt30. Unless weight is a big issue FF is way better than APSC in almost all circumstances. You can play with your raw images much better in full frame and output under low light will always please you and appreciate the time save in taking pictures.

I use APSC as it is more convenient to carry always even at family trips without being noticed by others.

I personally tested Nikon D750 and Nikon D500 in variety of situations for 3 years and except a little advantage of autofocus, D750 FF always took better picture than D500. When D500 was prevailing in the market by mistake I carried D750 for a birding trip where light was very bad and most of my fellow birders were using D500. End of the trip when we were collating the pictures for publication in our magazine 80% of the pictures were mine as selected by the editors from all. Everybody was asking how did I got such beautiful pictures throughout bad light of the trip. I too was astonished by the magic of FF and my mistake tuned into success at the end.

Except weight bigger the censor better the picture and easier to take photo, whatever artificial intelligence is used the convention wins.

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JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Low light performance
2

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

Larger sensors can hold more photosites, or more photosites that are larger. Think of photosites as tiny wells. During an exposure each photosite will collect a certain number of photons based upon the light characteristics of the scene and length of exposure.

So the Fuji sensor for the camera you reference has a smaller sensor then the Sony FF sensor.

Therefore the smaller sensor for the same scene and exposure time will collect less photons.

You need to do something to compensate. You can increase ISO, you can increase exposure time, you can change aperture.

I have both a Canon full frame and Fuji aps-c camera. When I know I will be shooting in low light situations I use the camera with the FF sensor, and a fast lens. I have to compensate less with the larger sensor than the smaller sensor.

Saying that, I seldom shoot in low light conditions but I'm starting down the road of astrophotography where that will change.

I'm glad I have the FF sensor I have in my Canon 6D.

Good luck with your purchase. Sounds like you are real close!

I shared what my understanding is above based upon very limited knowledge at this time so treat my response accordingly.

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bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 11,371
Re: Low light performance
2

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Okay, so this is my last question before I finally order either the X-T4 or the a7iii...

The Fuji ticks pretty much every box and I am only still considering the Sony because it is FF for the same price. I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed? Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Hmm...

Photography is complicated.

From a previous post of yours:

"I will be shooting products for work and also photos of people working on our subterranean farm (i kid you not!). I will also need to film general mood stuff of the farm in action, as well as interviews with the founders and other farm operatives for the website.

So not sure if really need FF, apart from I want the best image quality I can get. I also plan on using the camera myself, mainly for travel photography/film."

In which case I think you'll be fine with the X-T4 and are over-thinking the FF advantage for your situation.

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OP MonkeyClaw Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Low light performance

paltu1970 wrote:

Except weight bigger the censor better the picture and easier to take photo, whatever artificial intelligence is used the convention wins.

Thanks. Weight is not an issue as I will never be carrying loads of kit. Just a camera, a couple of lenses and possibly a tripod.

I think the A7iii is probably the sensible choice. Only negative is the menu system, which I am sure I will get used to. And also the lenses can be really expensive but I don't necessarily have to buy the poshest ones!

OP MonkeyClaw Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Low light performance
1

JeffSlade wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

Larger sensors can hold more photosites, or more photosites that are larger. Think of photosites as tiny wells. During an exposure each photosite will collect a certain number of photons based upon the light characteristics of the scene and length of exposure.

So the Fuji sensor for the camera you reference has a smaller sensor then the Sony FF sensor.

Therefore the smaller sensor for the same scene and exposure time will collect less photons.

You need to do something to compensate. You can increase ISO, you can increase exposure time, you can change aperture.

I have both a Canon full frame and Fuji aps-c camera. When I know I will be shooting in low light situations I use the camera with the FF sensor, and a fast lens. I have to compensate less with the larger sensor than the smaller sensor.

Saying that, I seldom shoot in low light conditions but I'm starting down the road of astrophotography where that will change.

I'm glad I have the FF sensor I have in my Canon 6D.

Good luck with your purchase. Sounds like you are real close!

I shared what my understanding is above based upon very limited knowledge at this time so treat my response accordingly.

Thanks for this reply. I am an amateur astronomer so the Sony will probably give me an advantage if I ever want to get into wide field astrophotography photography at some point.

bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 11,371
Re: Low light performance
1

MonkeyClaw wrote:

... I am an amateur astronomer so the Sony will probably give me an advantage if I ever want to get into wide field astrophotography photography at some point.

Yes, this new information would affect my earlier answer.

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OP MonkeyClaw Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Low light performance

bclaff wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

... I am an amateur astronomer so the Sony will probably give me an advantage if I ever want to get into wide field astrophotography photography at some point.

Yes, this new information would affect my earlier answer.

To be honest it's not something I would base a buying decision on because I might never actually do it. However, it's definitely in the "nice to have" box.

Ideally I can't buy a new camera system every few years, so I want something that gives me a lot of scope for stills and video for the next 5 or 10 years.

ericbowles
ericbowles Senior Member • Posts: 1,321
Re: Low light performance

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Okay, so this is my last question before I finally order either the X-T4 or the a7iii...

The Fuji ticks pretty much every box and I am only still considering the Sony because it is FF for the same price. I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed? Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Hmm...

Photography is complicated.

Just a question - why is high ISO performance such a big deal for you when you are considering choosing an APS-C camera.  You are giving up at least 1.25 stops in ISO performance by using a crop sensor.  Among the APS-C cameras, they are all pretty close together and ISO noise would not have a meaningful difference.  Full frame cameras are all going to be pretty close to the same whether you choose Sony, Nikon, or Canon.

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mostlyboringphotog Veteran Member • Posts: 9,651
Re: Low light performance
1

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Okay, so this is my last question before I finally order either the X-T4 or the a7iii...

The Fuji ticks pretty much every box and I am only still considering the Sony because it is FF for the same price. I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed? Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Hmm...

Photography is complicated.

FWIW, I got D850 over D7500 to get more resolution at the same FOV.

After using DxO Prine noise reduction, I have decided noise is not the top concern.

But YMMV.

Top is ISO25600 D5600 (APS-C) middle is ISO25600 D750 (FF); bottom ISO12800 D5600

Left is RAW - right is NR by DxO PhotoLab2 PRIME

Other NR SW are expected to be just as good, some even better.

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mostlyboringphotog Veteran Member • Posts: 9,651
Re: Low light performance
1

ericbowles wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Okay, so this is my last question before I finally order either the X-T4 or the a7iii...

The Fuji ticks pretty much every box and I am only still considering the Sony because it is FF for the same price. I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed? Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Hmm...

Photography is complicated.

Just a question - why is high ISO performance such a big deal for you when you are considering choosing an APS-C camera. You are giving up at least 1.25 stops in ISO performance by using a crop sensor. Among the APS-C cameras, they are all pretty close together and ISO noise would not have a meaningful difference. Full frame cameras are all going to be pretty close to the same whether you choose Sony, Nikon, or Canon. - bold added

If I may add, ISO performance advantage is not linear and the theoretical 1.25 stop advantage can be realized only in very specific applications such as large size printing.

For most applications with a good NR applied, noise difference between modern APS-C and FF is very marginal if at all, imho.

I uploaded a comparison in my reply to OP, if you are interested...

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MILC man Senior Member • Posts: 4,605
Re: Low light performance
1

MonkeyClaw wrote:

bclaff wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

... I am an amateur astronomer so the Sony will probably give me an advantage if I ever want to get into wide field astrophotography photography at some point.

Yes, this new information would affect my earlier answer.

To be honest it's not something I would base a buying decision on because I might never actually do it. However, it's definitely in the "nice to have" box.

Ideally I can't buy a new camera system every few years, so I want something that gives me a lot of scope for stills and video for the next 5 or 10 years.

e-mount has much better lens selection, and since sony makes the sensors, it's probably the best long-term platform choice on the market today.

for example, looking at the history of milc innovation in the last few years, benchmarks like the a9/a9ii stacked sensor, sony real-time af, sony eyeaf, a7siii lowest rolling shutter numbers on the market today, six e-mount powered zooms for video, etc., sony leads in many categories.

as far as astrophotography goes, the latest sony bodies have so-called "star eater" issues, that some people do not like for serious astro work... you'd be hard-pressed to see it as an issue with the nightscapes that most people shoot, because that's not serious astro work, but it's worth researching for yourself.

OP MonkeyClaw Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Low light performance

ericbowles wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Okay, so this is my last question before I finally order either the X-T4 or the a7iii...

The Fuji ticks pretty much every box and I am only still considering the Sony because it is FF for the same price. I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed? Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Hmm...

Photography is complicated.

Just a question - why is high ISO performance such a big deal for you when you are considering choosing an APS-C camera. You are giving up at least 1.25 stops in ISO performance by using a crop sensor. Among the APS-C cameras, they are all pretty close together and ISO noise would not have a meaningful difference. Full frame cameras are all going to be pretty close to the same whether you choose Sony, Nikon, or Canon.

I am not sure if it is a big deal to me - that's what I have been trying to figure out.

It's moot now anyway as I have ordered the a7iii

Cato1040
Cato1040 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,967
Re: Low light performance
1

MonkeyClaw wrote:

It's moot now anyway as I have ordered the a7iii

Congrats on the purchase! I'm a bit late to the party, but seeing as your main complaint was the menu system, I'd say that's one of the least important factors to consider. Partly because you can get used to it, and partly because you can avoid going into it much. With all the custom buttons there are as well as the 'fn' menu, you pretty much never need to go into the real menu of the A7III. Plus, if there's anything else you think you'd use (like to format your SD card), you can put that into the custom My Menu.

Regarding lens prices, I find that (though it does depend on what lenses you'll buy) lenses for Sony's full-frame E-mount cost about the same as ones for Fujifilm's APS-C mount (especially if equivalence is taken into account (though I'd rather not go into the equivalence rabbit-hole)). A large part of this is due to third-party support. Tamron offers amazing value for zoom lenses and Samyang/Rokinon offers fantastic value for prime lenses. There are quite a few other options too.

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JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Low light performance
1

MonkeyClaw wrote:

ericbowles wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

It's moot now anyway as I have ordered the a7iii

Congratulations on your purchase!

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OP MonkeyClaw Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Low light performance
1

JeffSlade wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

ericbowles wrote:

MonkeyClaw wrote:

It's moot now anyway as I have ordered the a7iii

Congratulations on your purchase!

Thanks! I can't wait to start shooting!

poipoipoi_2016 Contributing Member • Posts: 888
Re: Low light performance
2

MonkeyClaw wrote:

Okay, so this is my last question before I finally order either the X-T4 or the a7iii...

The Fuji ticks pretty much every box and I am only still considering the Sony because it is FF for the same price. I get that the IQ is intrinsically better with a bigger sensor but I keep hearing about the associated great low light performance from the Sony.

Am I right in thinking this translates to not having to use such high ISO when shooting in low light? So on the Fuji I would need to shoot higher ISO for a similar result?

But if the Fuji has better IBIS surely I can shoot same ISO as the Sony but a slower shutter speed? Obviously that's not possible with a moving subject.

Hmm...

Photography is complicated.

"Low-light performance" is conflating two topics.

1) With static subjects, the degree to which you can handhold certain shutter speeds at extreme ISO's. IE: Do I particularly like using a tripod as a cane walking around Zurich late at night on work trips?

2) With moving subjects, the degree to which you can drop ISO quite hard to have extremely *fast* shutter speeds.

In both cases, they're basically saying "ISO 12800, how usable is it?"  And at *that point*, the a7 III will end the X-T*3*. And I've never personally tested an X-T4

Also, you might not like the weight and price, but a 70-200/2.8 _exists_ for sports shooting or a 16-35/2.8 *exists* for night street photography.  Whereas APS-C will use the 10-24/4, which is a 15-36/5.6 equivalent because of the smaller sensor. At which point 2 stops of light run into much denser pixels with higher pixel noise.

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paltu1970 New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Low light performance
1

Full frame is always better than crop for light gathering. Except size and portability crop has no advantage over full frame. My D850 after cropping gives much better pictures than d500 with cropping especially with respect to crisp, detailed, background blur and colour depth because of high iso performance.

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