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01-10-2010, 11:28 AM   #1
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Unscientific Kx ISO testing

When I get a new camera (owned K100D and Km before) I always take a couple of hours to adjust the settings to "my preferred" - aiming for minimal PP afterwards (if any).

During this process, I took a range of identical shots at different ISO's to figure out my "ISO pain limit" during daily circumstances. I thought I might as well post them here to share.

It was my last test, so they are taken with the settings I intend to use as "my default". As mentioned they are set for minimal PP, and I have aimed for a good compromise between filesize and quality.

These are (apart from default): JPEG Quality [**], 'Bright' (with 'Contrast +3' & 'Fine Sharpening'), Auto ISO, Center Point AF, and Multi Metering Exposure.


Shots were taken with a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, set @ f4.

In CS3 I only did "Auto Tone", the crop, and resizing.

For what it's worth I'm very impressed with the overall performance with these settings. I will leave the ISO for Auto [200=>1600], but I have no problem upping for 3200 or even 6400 when it's necessary...I will gladly accept the small amount of noise (speckles) to avoid/reduce blur from my shaky hands

Here are the shots:

ISO 200: (Perfect)


Original 12MP (+ Auto Tone in CS3):
http://www.kenberg.dk/diverse/forums/kx_pixpeep/ISO200.JPG

-

ISO 400: (Still perfect)


Original 12MP (+ Auto Tone in CS3):
http://www.kenberg.dk/diverse/forums/kx_pixpeep/ISO400.JPG

-

ISO 800: (Looking gooood)


Original 12MP (+ Auto Tone in CS3):
http://www.kenberg.dk/diverse/forums/kx_pixpeep/ISO800.JPG

-

ISO 1600: (Still really good(!), considering it's ISO1600)


Original 12MP (+ Auto Tone in CS3):
http://www.kenberg.dk/diverse/forums/kx_pixpeep/ISO1600.JPG

-

ISO 3200: (First 'real example' of detail compromise. Note how the stitches have almost disappeared below the red paracord in the crop)


Original 12MP (+ Auto Tone in CS3):
http://www.kenberg.dk/diverse/forums/kx_pixpeep/ISO3200.JPG

-

ISO 6400: (More detail is lost, but still amazing for ISO6400. Besides the crop it's very usable)


-

Original 12MP (+ Auto Tone in CS3):
http://www.kenberg.dk/diverse/forums/kx_pixpeep/ISO6400.JPG

-

ISO 12800: (Well - I'm glad ISO12800 is available. I'd rather have this than 'motion blur' )


Original 12MP (+ Auto Tone in CS3):
http://www.kenberg.dk/diverse/forums/kx_pixpeep/ISO12800.JPG

01-10-2010, 11:39 AM   #2
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Thanks.

I know I'm repeating myself, but the complete lack of banding has already sold me on this sensor.
01-10-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr.Turnip Quote
I took a range of identical shots at different ISO's to figure out my "ISO pain limit" during daily circumstances.

they are set for minimal PP, and I have aimed for a good compromise between filesize and quality.

These are (apart from default): JPEG Quality [**], 'Bright' (with 'Contrast +3' & 'Fine Sharpening'), Auto ISO, Center Point AF, and Multi Metering Exposure.
Cool test Mr. Turnip - thank you for sharing.

I am also a minimalist trying to get the lowest filesize for good acceptable quality -
also did my own ISO series test in Kx (jpg) ISO Performance.

May I suggest trying 10Mp as well to see if it has any effect for your usage?
01-10-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
Igilligan
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Thats it....

QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
Thanks.

I know I'm repeating myself, but the complete lack of banding has already sold me on this sensor.
I have be talking about, and posting shots at ISO 6400... always mentioning the most overused comment about every new cameras noise pattern, (more film like) although this time it is actually true.

But you are so right, beyond not seeing the color, blotchy noise that you see on the other Pentax cams at Hi ISO... there is no Banding!

When I pushed the k20 to ISO 3200 there was always banding. Even at 1600 sometimes the hint of it was there.

I am not seeing it on the Kx even at ISO 6400 and not really the few times I tested it to 12800. It is just not there...

Please forgive wb/exp as these were just shots to see what the noise was gonna look like

ISO 6400




ISO 12800



To the Op... good test series...


Last edited by Igilligan; 01-10-2010 at 01:52 PM.
01-10-2010, 01:58 PM   #5
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Banding noise? Can someone post some samples of that? I haven't seen that to be a problem.
I'm bothered by noise only when its amount starts affecting fine details I want captured. For example, in the test shots of the OP, if my intent was to retain the detail in the area of the 100% crop, I'd not push the ISO over 800.
01-10-2010, 02:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Banding noise? Can someone post some samples of that?
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/35557-k20d-vs-cano...kon-d90-2.html

Pentax K20D Review: 22. Photographic tests: Digital Photography Review (scroll down)

Pentax Photography: K10D Vertical Banding (k10d example)

Pentax 10D – A Hands-On Report (another k10d example; scroll down)
01-10-2010, 03:28 PM   #7
Igilligan
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Just check the K7 unscientific thread

QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Banding noise? Can someone post some samples of that? I haven't seen that to be a problem.
I'm bothered by noise only when its amount starts affecting fine details I want captured. For example, in the test shots of the OP, if my intent was to retain the detail in the area of the 100% crop, I'd not push the ISO over 800.

You can see some examples of it in the K7 Unscientific ISO testing thread that was just posted.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/86432-unscientific...o-testing.html

Even at the resized for web, You can see it clearly in the ISO 3200 example. It dominates the ISO 6400, I believe you can see the first hints of it at ISO 1600.

And even after some very heavy PP NR. The banding still exists.
My K20 is exactly the same.

I am not seeing that banding on the Kx sensor.
01-10-2010, 04:44 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
You can see some examples of it in the K7 Unscientific ISO testing thread that was just posted.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/86432-unscientific...o-testing.html

Even at the resized for web, You can see it clearly in the ISO 3200 example. It dominates the ISO 6400, I believe you can see the first hints of it at ISO 1600.

And even after some very heavy PP NR. The banding still exists.
My K20 is exactly the same.

I am not seeing that banding on the Kx sensor.
Here are the full resolution samples of the iso1600, iso3200 and iso6400 images, but frankly I see the banding better when downsized and not too clearly in these large files. I included a dark background to show noise more easily. I can't see any banding in iso1600 though, and may be a hint of it in iso3200.....

FULL res 6400 (So a very large file)
Flickr Photo Download: FULL RES (3 of 3)

FULL res 3200 (So a very large file)
Flickr Photo Download: FULL RES (2 of 3)

FULL res 1600 (large file)

Flickr Photo Download: FULL RES (1 of 3)

01-10-2010, 07:23 PM   #9
Igilligan
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Must be my LCD on the laptop then! What I am seeing on your shots is the same look I was getting on my k20 when up'ed the ISO. All this time I thought it was the sensor.

I never really had a problem with the horizontal bands... if I was using Iso 3200 I knew it would be an 'art' shot anyway, so a little bit of banding, who cares.
01-10-2010, 07:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for the samples.

One thing that looks suspicious is that dpreview says only one in three K20D cameras displayed the banding, so there might also be a sample variation at work here.

FWIW, I don't see any banding on my K10D at 1600, so the K-x isn't the only camera free of banding.
01-10-2010, 09:03 PM   #11
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These look excellent! Thanks for the examples
01-11-2010, 12:16 AM   #12
Igilligan
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Thanks for the samples.

One thing that looks suspicious is that dpreview says only one in three K20D cameras displayed the banding, so there might also be a sample variation at work here.

FWIW, I don't see any banding on my K10D at 1600, so the K-x isn't the only camera free of banding.

That's a good one... K10 at ISO 1600, you had me going there for a minute! All kiddin' aside

The sensor banding can be progressively masked by the increasing random sensor noise as the Iso increases. That could be why in these photos of Pcarfan's at the full size, you do not see the banding as much. The random noise is masking it. And there is a lot of noise.
As you resize or use a NR program the random noise effect diminishes and the banding becomes more apparent.
01-11-2010, 01:58 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
That's a good one... K10 at ISO 1600, you had me going there for a minute! All kiddin' aside
No kidding. 1600 is the max ISO for K10D. Here's a 100% crop from a shot in low light - I picked an area where the noise is most visible - I don't see any banding.



You've stated that banding was an issue with all Pentax sensors before K-x:

QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
But you are so right, beyond not seeing the color, blotchy noise that you see on the other Pentax cams at Hi ISO... there is no Banding!
Maybe, by "other Pentax cams", you just meant those based on the Samsung CMOS sensor or those capable of more than 1600? I'm just not sure what those cameras were.
01-11-2010, 02:25 AM   #14
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the k10d has a ccd maybe its immune to banding?

there is certainly banding on the k20d's cmos.

banding does suck. makes the noise far worse imo.
01-11-2010, 03:22 AM   #15
Igilligan
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You are spoilin' for a fight 8^)

QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
That's a good one... K10 at ISO 1600, you had me going there for a minute! All kiddin' aside

First off... Here my "all kidding aside" comment was stating that I was kidding about the K10 not doing ISO 1600" Not that you had to be kidding about your K10!

-edit-
QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
No kidding. 1600 is the max ISO for K10D. Here's a 100% crop from a shot in low light - I picked an area where the noise is most visible - I don't see any banding.



I am not sure exactly what this shot proves. I am seeing what appears to be blue chroma noise on top of some heavy NR, but beyond that there is no detail of anything, Except what appears to be a piece of blurry human hair.

But you are right I am not seeing any banding in that section of that shot... I am not seeing anything in that section of that shot except what appears to be heavy NR. But my monitor sucks.



You've stated that banding was an issue with all Pentax sensors before K-x:

You are flat out puttin' words in my mouth. I don't believe I did say that.
What I did say was... "But you are so right, beyond not seeing the color, blotchy noise that you see on the other Pentax cams at Hi ISO... there is no Banding!" More about blotchy noise than banding really.

There rest of the time I am referencing my own K20, or the K7 examples posted in pcarfans post.

The K20 and K7 sensor can show noticeable and somewhat destructive horizontal banding at high ISO. It is not fixable with standard NR programs, at least I have never been able to deal with mine.
The K10 had problems with vertical banding.

Maybe, by "other Pentax cams", you just meant those based on the Samsung CMOS sensor or those capable of more than 1600? I'm just not sure what those cameras were.
By other, I did not mean "all"!

Please do not think because I am going on about how much I like the sensor on the K-x that I am putting down your K10 or pcarfan's K7.

I have a K20. It has horizontal banding when pushed! I was seeing the same banding in pcarfan's k7 shots. Not surprising since they are essentially the same sensor. That is all.

Last edited by Igilligan; 01-11-2010 at 03:32 AM.
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