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11-13-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
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K-3 backyard ISO test

Well, I just got my new K-3 from B&H via UPS today. I've been spending the last couple of hours configuring it and testing out some of its impressive features. One of the concerns I've been having was the reports of its ISO performance. Here are 100% crops of ISOs from 100 to 51200. Inasmuch as I photograph firearms as a free-lance writer, I took these shots of a Smith & Wesson Model 642 revolver against a box of Remington .38 special ammunition. All pictures were taken Aperture Priority at f/11, and letting the camera decide on the shutter speed. I only altered the ISO setting for each shot, taken from a tripod. These are JPEGS, as shot out of the camera. Shake reduction was on; my apologies, I should have turned it off to give the photos better sharpness. At any rate, It's too late and I'm too tired to do this whole series over again. At any rate, the objective was to show what the images look like at various ISOs. Here goes; I hope you find this useful. For myself, I'm convinced that anything over ISO 1600 is not a good idea.

John

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Last edited by PALADIN85020; 11-13-2013 at 05:26 PM.
11-13-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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Thank you for the test. I agree, it's an improvement over the k-5 but anything over 1600 is totally unusable, it's just there for show with no real function.
11-13-2013, 05:22 PM   #3
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I assume these are JPEGS SOOC, yes? If not, then at some point you might repeat the sequence with RAWs (and then turn off the SR while you're at it--a mistake I have made more than once).

Thanks for the images.
11-13-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
I assume these are JPEGS SOOC, yes? If not, then at some point you might repeat the sequence with RAWs (and then turn off the SR while you're at it--a mistake I have made more than once).

Thanks for the images.
Your assumption is correct - these are JPEGS, as shot from the camera, no attempt at correcting anything by software.

John

11-13-2013, 05:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tripodquest Quote
Thank you for the test. I agree, it's an improvement over the k-5 but anything over 1600 is totally unusable, it's just there for show with no real function.
You should be fine up to 6400 when processing raws, but yes, there's a big loss of detail at 1600 and again at 6400.

Adam
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11-13-2013, 05:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
I assume these are JPEGS SOOC, yes? If not, then at some point you might repeat the sequence with RAWs (and then turn off the SR while you're at it--a mistake I have made more than once).

Thanks for the images.
I would be interested in seeing this as well, can you also make a sequence where you apply RAW NR (on your computer) when you develop the RAWs? that would also show how much can be recovered
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
You should be fine up to 6400 when processing raws, but yes, there's a big loss of detail at 1600 and again at 6400.
I would like someone to test that claim about the 6400, but it's nice if it's true. This is not a Pentax issue alone, I've seen some pretty horrible high ISO results from CaNikon too, it's actually really disappointing, new technology being developed all the time, feels like "is this really the best they can do"
11-13-2013, 05:57 PM   #7
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Thank you for these test images.
The ISO 6400 shots should be perfectly usable with some Topaz De-noise applied.
03-18-2014, 02:01 PM   #8
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This is ISO 12,800





Last edited by john5100; 03-18-2014 at 02:08 PM.
03-18-2014, 02:23 PM   #9
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There is more than enough light and the camera seems to handle these conditions fairly well. I think, that even 6400 (RAW) after post processing and resizing might become quite usable. In demanding conditions as seen in this thread, the details are gone already at ISO 800.

@ john5100 , that image is not informative. It is resized and most likely processed. I can bet that at this size and with post processing, there would be no difference between K-5 and K-3.

Last edited by Stagnant; 03-18-2014 at 03:44 PM.
03-18-2014, 03:19 PM   #10
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Yep, gotta shoot raw if you're using hi-ISO. JPG cleanup in-camera is OK, but nothing to write home about on most cameras. (Although the Canon 1DX JPG noise reduction is pretty darned good upwards of 25,000... of course the hi-ISO quality is a slight bit better than Pentax -- just not $6000 better!)

Regardless, you'll get much better results with cleanup of high ISO noise with raw images.
I've got similar quality results as John5100 with my K5.
03-18-2014, 04:55 PM   #11
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Yeah, I might be able to get better results now because I have been playing with LR5. I'll be shooting a show tomorrow night and it will be time to test it.
03-19-2014, 05:01 AM   #12
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+1 on using RAW with high ISO. I find that the "sweet spot" with the K-3 is ISO 2500 -- with RAW conversion tools like DxO you can shoot all day up to and including ISO 2500 and never (and I mean never) worry about it. After 2500, you need to really think about what you are trying to achieve, particularly with regards to print size.

YMMV

Michael
03-19-2014, 07:24 AM   #13
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This was at 6400. It was dark. I wouldn't want to crop it. PP noise reduction applied.
03-19-2014, 07:51 AM   #14
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When I shoot high ISO for music I am on assignment. They might not be fine art shots but at least I get the shot. Not every photo needs to be perfect to be acceptable. See Rolling Stone pre full frame digital for some iconic photography.

The ones above were intentionally softened due to the ages of the musicians. If I would have cranked the sharpness, every wrinkle would be evident. Not good.

Last edited by john5100; 03-19-2014 at 08:03 AM.
03-19-2014, 08:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
You should be fine up to 6400 when processing raws, but yes, there's a big loss of detail at 1600 and again at 6400.
totally agree here. i was shooting a dance show last year with ISO as high as 3200 with my K-50 and kit lens (18-135) and got "acceptable" results once PP.
first photo is at ISO 3200 and 2nd one at ISO1600. i was a complete beginner then and was not familiar with RAW format. All photos were shot in JPEG and these 2 were also cropped.
sorry but no EXIF data in the 2nd pic since all data was removed from the photos that were taken for prints.
So considering this, with the k-3 being a far superior camera, i am sure that ISO 6400 is definitely possible, maybe even higher depending on the subject, colors, contrast etc etc.

Last edited by schnitzer79; 05-20-2014 at 01:31 AM.
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