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05-31-2016, 09:58 AM - 5 Likes   #1
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K-3 high ISO performance - how meaningful is it.

I've been shooting the last few days using audio bombers BiF setting (I have them programmed onto mu U1 slot, I don't even remember what they are, but basically, AFC, focus lock, largest number of AF points etc. the stop was locked a ƒ4.5, the shutter was locked at 1/2000s). Taking pictures of the newly returned humming birds.

So guess what my results were. Like, well, first I'll post the images....

Starting from the lowest going to the highest ISO

320 ISO


640 ISO


1250 ISO


1600 ISO


3200 ISO



MY conclusions, the high ISO performance of a K-3 is not the most important factor in IQ on a K-3. IN fact right to 3200 which is as much as I needed for my preferred settings, (1/2000s and ƒ4.5).

The question to be answered is which is more important out in the real world. Technically better composition etc. ro low noise high ISO. Given that the best image in the set was taken at 1250 ISO, and that both image taken at higher settings are quite manageable, I'm wondering how important high ISO performance really is. In the studio on a test set up, you could see the difference for sure. But that doesn't necessarily translate to the best IQ in the field. From these image, my guess is that ƒ-stop and shutter speed are more important than high ISO performance on a set of image like this.

My guess is that those who want better high ISO, at least for this type of shot are looking for performance over 3200 ISO. Given the K-3 performance at 3200, I'm not even sure keeping the ISO down is even a worthwhile exercise. The higher ISO didn't ruin any images. it was light, framing an timing that made the pictures. ISO was petty much a non-factor. I had to look at the exif to tell which was 340 and which was 3200.

The real world is different than the studio set up for testing.

IN answer to the big question, "is the K-1 going to bring me anything in terms of added high ISO performance without buying new very expensive lenses?" is still very much on the table.


Last edited by normhead; 05-31-2016 at 10:10 AM.
05-31-2016, 10:09 AM   #2
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.. as long as you're not looking at 100% zoom

Great write up and pics. Thanks for sharing your experience.

The K-3 is still a venerable machine, even when K-1 is already here.
05-31-2016, 10:18 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I've been shooting the last few days using audio bombers BiF setting (I have them programmed onto mu U1 slot, I don't even remember what they are, but basically, AFC, focus lock, largest number of AF points etc. the stop was locked a 4.5, the shutter was locked at 1/2000s). Taking pictures of the newly returned humming birds.

So guess what my results were. Like, well, first I'll post the images....

Starting from the lowest going to the highest ISO

320 ISO


640 ISO


1250 ISO


1600 ISO


3200 ISO



MY conclusions, the high ISO performance of a K-3 is not the most important factor in IQ on a K-3. IN fact right to 3200 which is as much as I needed for my preferred settings, (1/2000s and 4.5).

The question to be answered is which is more important out in the real world. Technically better composition etc. ro low noise high ISO. Given that the best image in the set was taken at 1250 ISO, and that both image taken at higher settings are quite manageable, I'm wondering how important high ISO performance really is. In the studio on a test set up, you could see the difference for sure. But that doesn't necessarily translate to the best IQ in the field. From these image, my guess is that -stop and shutter speed are more important than high ISO performance on a set of image like this.

My guess is that those who want better high ISO, at least for this type of shot are looking for performance over 3200 ISO. Given the K-3 performance at 3200, I'm not even sure keeping the ISO down is even a worthwhile exercise. The higher ISO didn't ruin any images. it was light, framing an timing that made the pictures. ISO was petty much a non-factor. I had to look at the exif to tell which was 340 and which was 3200.

The real world is different than the studio set up for testing.

IN answer to the big question, "is the K-1 going to bring me anything in terms of added high ISO performance without buying new very expensive lenses?" is still very much on the table.
Very good post Norm !
Actually, something I have been perusing for quite some time.
Your shots, especially the one at ISO 1250, are great .... just what I wanted to see.
Obviously, you have managed to handle the so-called-IQ quite well. The hummies pictures are all great, whatever ISO you have been using.
As a matter of fact, I have finally started to be able to manage some good images at higher ISO with my newly acquired K3 and I would dare saying that it is all in the manner in which one handles the settings. That would be when I use it with the DA*300/4.
At first, I thought I had bought a dud !!
One thing I have learned is that you have to be very careful (picky ? ) as opposed to using a K5, for instance.
Once you've nail focus with proper exposure, the results are very satisfying.

Thanks for sharing, very much appreciated !

JP
05-31-2016, 10:31 AM   #4
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05-31-2016, 12:11 PM   #5
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Norm, congrats on your marvellous pics. I completely agree; I often work up to ISO3200 in the wild without a second thought. Given what we used to tolerate in the film days when even pushing to ASA800 was a sphincter-tightening experience for me, I'm very happy with the K-3II's ISO performance.
06-01-2016, 02:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I've been shooting the last few days using audio bombers BiF setting (I have them programmed onto mu U1 slot, I don't even remember what they are, but basically, AFC, focus lock, largest number of AF points etc. the stop was locked a ƒ4.5, the shutter was locked at 1/2000s). Taking pictures of the newly returned humming birds.

So guess what my results were. Like, well, first I'll post the images....

Starting from the lowest going to the highest ISO

320 ISO


640 ISO


1250 ISO


1600 ISO


3200 ISO



MY conclusions, the high ISO performance of a K-3 is not the most important factor in IQ on a K-3. IN fact right to 3200 which is as much as I needed for my preferred settings, (1/2000s and ƒ4.5).

The question to be answered is which is more important out in the real world. Technically better composition etc. ro low noise high ISO. Given that the best image in the set was taken at 1250 ISO, and that both image taken at higher settings are quite manageable, I'm wondering how important high ISO performance really is. In the studio on a test set up, you could see the difference for sure. But that doesn't necessarily translate to the best IQ in the field. From these image, my guess is that ƒ-stop and shutter speed are more important than high ISO performance on a set of image like this.

My guess is that those who want better high ISO, at least for this type of shot are looking for performance over 3200 ISO. Given the K-3 performance at 3200, I'm not even sure keeping the ISO down is even a worthwhile exercise. The higher ISO didn't ruin any images. it was light, framing an timing that made the pictures. ISO was petty much a non-factor. I had to look at the exif to tell which was 340 and which was 3200.

The real world is different than the studio set up for testing.

IN answer to the big question, "is the K-1 going to bring me anything in terms of added high ISO performance without buying new very expensive lenses?" is still very much on the table.
Hi Normhead,

First of all, the pics you shot, and post here are great.

Second, I will shortly jump to your conclusion for ISO and as you said "bothering with stop down to lower ISO values, because everything is great even at 3200 "

---
That's true, but only in enough light conditions. As a matter a fact, it's true for all types of sensors as well.

In enough light, sensor can get enough informations, in low light these informations are covered with darkness, and sensor CAN NOT read colors,
and in a way to produce te final image, it will be "washed out, fake, oversaturated, noisy" look like.

So, yes, your conslusion is true, but is generally true for all sensors in enough light conditions.

If you need higher speed, and higher f values - ISO can cover that, but only with enough light.

...

For example, try to shoot your space, or any room, with ISO 100, on a tripod, with long exposure, and you will see, in darkness you cannot make colors,
because there is no light to make them.
You will get proper exposure , but without true colors....

Last edited by panonski; 06-01-2016 at 03:00 AM.
06-01-2016, 03:36 AM   #7
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Norm, was any noise reduction applied to these photos? If not, then I find the absence of obvious noise surprising. Except...

QuoteOriginally posted by panonski Quote
That's true, but only in enough light conditions.
Yes, that's what I see over and over. Negligible noise even in higher ISO, as long as there is enough light. What this means is that as soon as there is any underexposure, the noise in the shadows becomes quite obvious.
06-01-2016, 05:32 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
Norm, was any noise reduction applied to these photos? If not, then I find the absence of obvious noise surprising. Except...


Yes, that's what I see over and over. Negligible noise even in higher ISO, as long as there is enough light. What this means is that as soon as there is any underexposure, the noise in the shadows becomes quite obvious.
I did my full noise reduction protocol on the out of focus areas, but no noise reduction is applied to the actual subject.

I understand your comment about good light, what you are talking about is reciprocity. But reciprocity applies to all cameras and even all films. So I'm sure It's not just a K-3 thing. The real issue in high ISO shadow detail is the lack of Dynamic Range. All systems lose dynamic range as they increase ISO. It is certain that the larger formats have more dynamic range at higher ISOs as a rule. As far as I know, no one has strung together a series of photos showing just how meaningful that is. I tend to believe what I see.

06-01-2016, 05:52 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
it was light, framing an timing that made the pictures.
Light is always the key for me. In decent light the ISO can gain me speed without noise...but the same shot in bad light even with proper speed and aperture is not going to be nearly as good.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
IN answer to the big question, "is the K-1 going to bring me anything in terms of added high ISO performance without buying new very expensive lenses?" is still very much on the table.
I do find the K1 much better at very high ISO ranges......again, depending on the degree of light. There is no question it beats my K5IIs, which was already very good.

1/250 f7.1 ISO 4000 @ 420mm K5IIs + Bigma


1/160 f6.3 ISO 5000 @ 500mm K1+ Bigma


For birds, where more detail is needed, my cut-off with the K5IIs was generally ISO 1600...though with decent light I could often go a couple of stops higher.
With the K1 6400 is pretty safe in the same light.

For the three weeks I've had my K1 the ISO has impressed me, and made a difference in many of my shots...but I don't consider it a game changer for the bulk of my shots. Your results are a good example that there is much more than ISO involved in getting great shots.

My biggest thrill with the K1 is the superb AF...fast and accurate, even in low light. I don't know how it compares to the K3....but it trashes my K5IIs by a long shot!

Those are great hummer shots BTW! Of course, they won't satisfy the "purists" because they were "feeder" shots. Too bad you couldn't spend a week crossing the peak of Everest to get to the other side, trek through danger infested jungles and snake infested underbrush to get a hummer "in the wild".

Regards!
06-01-2016, 06:03 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
Of course, they won't satisfy the "purists" because they were "feeder" shots. Too bad you couldn't spend a week crossing the peak of Everest to get to the other side, trek through danger infested jungles and snake infested underbrush to get a hummer "in the wild".

Regards!
06-01-2016, 10:31 AM   #11
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If you can tolerate these with no noise reduction at all, then you can shoot the K1 all day at ISO 6400. In Crop Mode ...as is my usual. No...I don't do billboard printing and ""decent" is plenty good for me!

All 1/125 handheld f7.1 @ 500mm ISO 6400 K1+ Bigma 50-500







The Bigma is not going to deliver fine detail unless you are outside and up close, then it can do pretty good. But.....I don't care for hiking over the Himalayas and trekking through dense and dangerous jungles either! Even out in the Woods of Otis I can get a little shaky at times....all those beady little eyes on you can rattle your nerves!
Regards!
06-01-2016, 07:24 PM   #12
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To my eye the K-1 at 6400 ISO looks pretty good, and I suspect your K-5II was better than my K-3 for high ISO. I'm just pretty happy with what I'm getting right now. I'm guessing both cameras are pretty similar 100 to 800 ISO, and that's where 95% of my shooting is. I'm not sure it's worth an extra grand for the last 5%. But then if I had 3k CAD lying around in the bank, I'd be tempted.

Last edited by normhead; 06-11-2016 at 07:51 PM.
06-02-2016, 07:03 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Given the K-3 performance at 3200, I'm not even sure keeping the ISO down is even a worthwhile exercise.
I usually start at 400 and shoot anywhere up to 6400. If I am using ISO 100, I am most likely not shooting birds or other wildlife.

The higher your ISO, the less you can crop. Another way to say it, the higher your ISO, the more you need to try and fill the frame, or compose in a way that cropping isn't necessary.

Some examples from my Flickr:

1600





3200





6400

06-02-2016, 08:33 AM   #14
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That is great
The closeup 3200 images is awesome

Without TaV I wonder if I'd still be stuck on 800 ISO.

Last edited by normhead; 06-11-2016 at 07:51 PM.
06-02-2016, 08:50 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Without TaV I wonder if I'd still be stuck on 800 ISO.
Sounds like an old hound learning new techniques. Just think of all the contraptions and compromises you would need to get the same shots with film. Great pictures by the way, and in some ways are better than what you can see with the naked eye..
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