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10-11-2016, 09:20 PM   #1
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highest "usable" ISO.

The K-70 has a max ISO of 102400.
I'm sure at the highest setting it's really grainy and not that useful.

What's the highest ISO on the K-70, that still takes good looking photos?

10-11-2016, 09:26 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax360 Quote
What's the highest ISO on the K-70, that still takes good looking photos?
Try it yourself ot have a look at the according tests. I think 6400 and underexposing by 2 EV should be no problem
10-11-2016, 09:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax360 Quote
The K-70 has a max ISO of 102400.
I'm sure at the highest setting it's really grainy and not that useful.

What's the highest ISO on the K-70, that still takes good looking photos?
Pretty high actually. 6400, 12800, and even 25600 should be fine in a pinch.

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10-11-2016, 09:56 PM - 4 Likes   #4
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first off.... one has to define how you will be developing your shots.... how much effort you are willing to put in..... say "in camera jpegs" or maybe at the other extreme... "shoot raw, process in DXO with prime noise reduction" etc

secondly..... what are the images destined for.... web based, 10x8s etc etc

thirdly..... as hinted above.... assume exposure spot on...... or the ability to lift shadows still

fourthly..... whats you standard of ok anyway?

10-11-2016, 10:15 PM   #5
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That is a kind of unanswerable question. The shadow sections will look grainy, but what effect are you seeking and how do the shadow areas fit the picture? I have some pictures on K-3 at 52k that I like and others I took at the same event with the same lens that I would toss immediately. No rigid rules on things like that - aesthetics is involved.
10-11-2016, 10:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax360 Quote
The K-70 has a max ISO of 102400.
I'm sure at the highest setting it's really grainy and not that useful.

What's the highest ISO on the K-70, that still takes good looking photos?
Is B&Hʻs listing that the K70 has a max ISO of 204800, an error?

As others have posted, highest ISO "that still takes good looking photos" is subjective. Too many variables with RAW, jpeg settings, subject matter, and intended use. I understand your meaning, as yesteryearʻs ISO 1600 looks like todayʻs ISO 12,800.

Yes, with a max 102,400 ISO itʻs REALLY grainy and not that useful.....unless your flash is not an option and to get the best aperture and shutter speed trump pixel madness and noise.

As a shopper comparing DSLRs, I also look at the highest max ISO as an indication of that sensorʻs low light capability. In other words, I trust a K-70 that reaches ISO 102,400 will match the Nikon D7200 (max ISO 102,400) and definitely have a big edge over the Canon T6i (max ISO 25,600).

Last edited by Alex645; 10-11-2016 at 11:00 PM.
10-12-2016, 12:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Is B&Hʻs listing that the K70 has a max ISO of 204800, an error?

As others have posted, highest ISO "that still takes good looking photos" is subjective. Too many variables with RAW, jpeg settings, subject matter, and intended use. I understand your meaning, as yesteryearʻs ISO 1600 looks like todayʻs ISO 12,800.

Yes, with a max 102,400 ISO itʻs REALLY grainy and not that useful.....unless your flash is not an option and to get the best aperture and shutter speed trump pixel madness and noise.

As a shopper comparing DSLRs, I also look at the highest max ISO as an indication of that sensorʻs low light capability. In other words, I trust a K-70 that reaches ISO 102,400 will match the Nikon D7200 (max ISO 102,400) and definitely have a big edge over the Canon T6i (max ISO 25,600).
It says it’s 102400 in the manual, so B&H must be wrong.


I would personally consider this basically unusable.
http://imgur.com/LppnMV8
(shot at ISO 400 with my camera, lol)
10-12-2016, 02:36 AM - 1 Like   #8
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We're reaching a point with ISO where I wish camera manufacturers would stop competing to see how high they can go and start working on the aesthetic quality of the noise instead. Once upon a time, back in the days of films like Kodak Tri-X, grain was considered an expressive, atmospheric, and beautiful element of photography. And my own hope is that some day we'll get to a point like that with digital photography as well, where instead of constantly fighting against horrible colour noise we'll have some lovely moody grain that we can work with as a powerful creative tool.

10-12-2016, 02:58 AM   #9
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In some circumstances, celeb-journalism for example, any photo at all is better than none, so there is a case for higher and higher maximums.
However, there is more of a case for lower and lower minimums, and I personally wish manufacturers felt a pressure to achieve that.

As for the original question. The maximum usable ISO is the one beyond which you are not happy with the outcome.
10-12-2016, 05:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax360 Quote
What's the highest ISO on the K-70, that still takes good looking photos?
I have not seen any real tests of this. The highest two ISO settings on most DSLRs are not useable and should be avoided. But as mentioned, sometimes even a grainy image is better than no image.
The other thing is what you do with it. If you use ETTR and PS, then some good NR software and sensible post-processing (lower contrast and saturation, very subtle sharpening), then even a high ISO photo can look good.
Finally, the end product is important as well. Will this image be posted as a small jpeg online? Will it be printed as a poster, in a small room? Because if the image will be sized down, then a lot of the noise will become invisible. But if you will size up, make a large print where people can see it up close, then the noise will be more noticeable.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 10-12-2016 at 06:18 AM.
10-12-2016, 07:31 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax360 Quote
The K-70 has a max ISO of 102400.
I'm sure at the highest setting it's really grainy and not that useful.

What's the highest ISO on the K-70, that still takes good looking photos?
This all depends on the target of the image. If you are going to make a small 4" x 6" then you can use very high ISO. Noise and artifacts will average out in a print that small. If you print the image 24" x 36" then your maximum ISO may be lower in order to achieve proper quality. A lot also depends on the amount of light. ISO 6400 in bright light is better than ISO 6400 in dim indoor light. Color quality will be poorer in dimmer light.

Try sizing/zooming the image on your monitor to the destination size, even if that means you end up cropping the view because your monitor is too small (unless you have a 24" x 36" monitor). A 4" x 6" print is tiny. ISO 12k and ISO 25k is plenty fine. Then do a 100% view to simulate a larger poster sized print. Yuck! The simulation isn't perfect but it will give you an idea of how it may look - and this simulation doesn't cost the price of a test print.

Imaging Resources usually list the maximum print size for various ISO. For example, for the K-3 go to Pentax K-3 Review - Image Quality and scroll down quite a bit. Here is the start of the text.

"Excellent 30 x 40 inch prints at ISOs 100 and 200; a nice 11 x 14 at ISO 1600; a good 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100/200 prints are terrific at 30 x 40 inches, with rich colors and super sharp detail. Wall display prints are possible at 36 x 48 inches. Note that most Pentax cameras oversaturate our ..."

You can read the rest online.
10-12-2016, 09:11 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
We're reaching a point with ISO where I wish camera manufacturers would stop competing to see how high they can go and start working on the aesthetic quality of the noise instead.
Ricoh is doing exactly that. Not only did the K-70 push the ISO range higher, but the "accelerator" chip added in addition to the Prime MII processor has really cleaned up the higher ISO ranges. This is what I've discovered and what I'm sure Adam is also speaking too, namely 6400 and up 25600 is a lot more like the lower high ISO ranges on older cameras. I'm able to take pictures at 6400 that looked like 3200 or much less on my K-50 did (want to say 1600 and lower but even I find that unlikely while I contend with the RAW footage, after all it's the same subject but a different dates and possibly lighting conditions. Sure is pretty good though!). While I don't have that camera any more I certainly have the RAW images in LR for comparison and the noise is less on the K-70.

At this time other than the K-1, the K-70 has the best high iso range with great noise control in my opinion. I'm waiting to see, but I expect that the "full" review that is pending this week will help confirm. Personally, I'm excited to see manufacturers continuing to see how "high" they can push the range as it's always likely to help improve the lower range in terms of noise quality.

I don't own a K3 or K3 II, but I wouldn't be surprised if the K-70 ISO performance is better. Granted, a professional body camera will have other benefits to recommend it's purchase beyond ISO range/noise quality, so I'm not saying one should purchase a K-70 over a K3 II but it is a nice camera.
10-12-2016, 09:15 AM   #13
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After testing various high ISO RAW samples from Imaging-Rsesrouce, DPReview, & other sites, I'd have no problem setting the auto ISO from 100 to 25600 on the K-70 if I had one. I'd use ISO 51200 in a pinch. I wouldn't bother shooting past ISO 51200. I would be converting all images at ISO 25600 & beyond to black & white, though.

If I had a K-3/3II, I'd be 1 stop down. I'd set the auto ISO from 100 to 12800 & use ISO 25600 in a pinch with the black & white conversion starting at ISO 12800.

The K-70's sensor is pretty impressive, but I can't wait to what improvements Pentax will implement on the next APS-C flagship. It should have the same IQ of the K-70 or a tad bit better.
11-25-2016, 03:45 AM   #14
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All of the pictures taken of UFOs and Bigfoots use high ISOs.
11-28-2016, 08:29 PM   #15
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ISO is even less of a factor with the Prime 2016 noise removal in DXO OpticsPro 11. Picked it up now that it supports the K-70 and the results are quite amazing. Works stand alone, but it also works well as a plug-in to my Adobe Lightroom CC edition.

Only thing missing is the recognition of the 55-300mm PLM lens, but I'm sure that will be added soon.
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