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12-11-2010, 07:26 PM   #1
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Casual Ultra-Low Light High ISO Comparison

Some casual shots taken of a fixture on my wall, with 4watt light bulbs in it. The only PP to these images is cropped out a small fraction of the frame on the left and bottom, and re-sized to 1024px high.

ISO 51,200 then ISO 10,000

I don't think I'll be using ISO 51,200 very much if ever, but I've found the 10,000 region to be very usable.



12-11-2010, 07:59 PM   #2
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51,200 is noisier than a U2 concert, but I like the look of the noise (which is more than I can say about the sound of U2). I think the trick with really high ISO is to accept that it's gonna be noisy and enjoy it.
12-11-2010, 08:30 PM   #3
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Well said (other than the U2 part, but that's all subjective ). I just seriously hope the k-5 doesn't increase in chroma noise as the sensor degrades as usage & time goes by.
12-11-2010, 08:33 PM   #4
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I have to completely agree.










U2 is awful.

12-11-2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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Oooh, snap!
12-11-2010, 09:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wheatfield Quote
51,200 is noisier than a u2 concert, but i like the look of the noise (which is more than i can say about the sound of u2).
12-11-2010, 10:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
51,200 is noisier than a U2 concert, but I like the look of the noise (which is more than I can say about the sound of U2). I think the trick with really high ISO is to accept that it's gonna be noisy and enjoy it.
What's wrong with the sound of U2?

My favorite "album" is The Unforgettable Fire ...........................
12-11-2010, 10:56 PM   #8
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Perhaps a noisy Nickelback show would be more apt?

Jason

12-11-2010, 11:07 PM   #9
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"I don't believe in painted roses
Or bleeding hearts
While bullets rape the night of the merciful
I'll see you again
When the stars fall from the sky
And the moon has turned red
Over One Tree Hill"

I really like U2's earlyier albums..................
12-11-2010, 11:14 PM   #10
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I'm there w/ya. But moreso, I love the concert DVDs ... After Cream's recent Royal Albert Hall release up there w/ Steely Dan's Two Against Nature, U2's Rattle and Hum DVD as well as the Elevation DVD have seen the most rotation to show on the big screen and blast thru my horns.
12-11-2010, 11:23 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
Some casual shots taken of a fixture on my wall, with 4watt light bulbs in it. The only PP to these images is cropped out a small fraction of the frame on the left and bottom, and re-sized to 1024px high.

ISO 51,200 then ISO 10,000

I don't think I'll be using ISO 51,200 very much if ever, but I've found the 10,000 region to be very usable.
I think one of the toughest challenges in low light photography comes when dealing with low light and light sources.

Having said that, have you considered shooting to the left to adjust exposure afterward? That might allow you to maintain control over the highlights and adjusting the shadow curve afterward.

Also, I noticed the first image was taken a 1/2500s, and so I'm thinking that's a good indicator for headroom in the setup. Particular where DR is impacted along the sensitivity curve, and that this scene would benefit from from this.

Looks like a great opportunity to experiment!
12-12-2010, 12:19 AM   #12
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Yes, no doubt shooting a light directly is one of the most demanding compositions, and the dynamic range of the K-5 really shines in that case; mostly if you're shooting RAW and doing lots of manipulation in the darker tone-curves, black=level, and light-fill. And these photo's histograms already are like a log-flume ride [way to the left] as they are.

But high ISO complicates that shooting into a light. Something I often see stated on here it to over expose a tad when shooting high ISO, then reduce exposure in post thus reducing noise. But a) that would have blown-out the lights to un-recoverable levels, and b) I'm less apt to think that's necessary now with the K-5, K-r, K-x ... but there is that technique nonetheless.

On the other hand, when you shoot with a bright subject in the frame, like the sun or light, yes, you do have to consider that bright source and usually underexpose the whole frame and handle it in post if you can't do physical light-fill during the time you take the shot. ...so there's that too.

With all of that said however, these particular shots were intended to be just what they are here in this thread. A test of how the body's sensor and software handles noise at these ISOs in particularly dim lighting where one expects to use the JPG unaltered with no PP. So I was going for as a good a balanced exposure I could, knowingly making a sacrifice in over-exposing the light slightly, while knowing I'd be clipping some of the darks into black in the final photo. I did however take some 200mm shots of each light, where I did what you describe. ISO 4000, and histogram is even more to the left.

Last edited by m8o; 12-12-2010 at 12:24 AM.
12-12-2010, 12:38 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
... I did however take some 200mm shots of each light, where I did what you describe. ISO 4000, and histogram is even more to the left.
Sounds interesting!
I wonder how an ISO100 1/80'ish, f/2.8 shot in DNG then pushed in RAW would look?
12-12-2010, 12:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Sounds interesting!
I wonder how an ISO100 1/80'ish, f/2.8 shot in DNG then pushed in RAW would look?
Well, you have seen my ISO80 Light-fill thread, right? The two bottom left frames that went into the 20-shot pano on the 2nd page were basically black before the light-fill.

I would say it would look fantastically clean (but I'd tend to do ISO80 instead of 100 if I intend to push the exposure, or more accurately just the light-fill to extreme levels).
12-12-2010, 12:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
Well, you have seen my ISO80 Light-fill thread, right? The two bottom left frames that went into the 20-shot pano on the 2nd page were basically black before the light-fill.
No, I don't think I saw that one...
I'll see if I can't dig it up.

Updated....

Okay I remember now
Yes, I think that would most likely be the best solution for such low light conditions.
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