Canon EOS-5D Mark III High ISO Performance « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Canon EOS-5D Mark III High ISO Performance

common-loon-molting-5d-iii-iso-3200-_a1c2573-morro-bay-ca

This Common Loon molting to breeding plumage was photographed well after the sun had gone behind the hills in Morro Bay CA with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 3200. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/80 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

Lower Central Sensor–Expand AF area/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

ISO 3200

I had a chance to create some high ISO images on the recently concluded Morro Bay IPT. I started this blog post with the ISO 3200 image above as it contains lots of black and dark tones where noise is often a serious problem for many. The very best way to minimize noise with any camera body is to expose well to the right as I did here; see the histogram lower right in the BreezeBrowser Main View page screen capture below. I exposed so far to the right that I actually had some blinkies on the breast. They can be seen below (slightly enhanced) as solid black. I made sure to click “Show Flashing Highlights” on the Breezebrowser Main View page under View. The not really “blown” highlights were easily recovered by moving the Recovery Slider to the right during the RAW conversion in ACR as described in detail in Digital Basics (along with my complete digital workflow and dozens of great Photoshop tips).

For this image I ran Noise Reduction during the ACR conversion after first enlarging the image to 100%. On the Detail tab (the third tab from left to right) I set the following under Noise Reduction by trial and error while clicking preview on and off:

Luminance: 25
Luminanace Detail: 50
Luminance Contrast: 50
Color: 25
Color Detail: 50

Please understand that I am in no way expert in this area. I simply experimented and went with what looked good at 100%.

Be sure to click on the image to see the 1280 wide version and let me know what you think of the noise levels for ISO 3200.

BTW, I went with ISO 3200 as the 1/80 sec. shutter speed is pretty much close to an absolute minimum with a slowly swimming loon…. I am often asked, “What’s the highest ISO you will use?” I always answer, “The one that gets me the shutter speed that I need.”

[Not a valid template]

As above, this screen capture of a BreezeBrowser main view page shows how far to the right I pushed the exposure in an effort to minimize noise. You can learn the basics of digital exposure and histograms in the “Exposure Simplified” section of ABP II. And you can learn why I use BreezeBrowser every day for sorting, editing (selecting the keepers), and storing my images by clicking here.

ISO 1600

The next image was created earlier in the trip than the loon image above at ISO 1600.

long-billed-curlew-iso-1600-5d-iii-ton-contr-80-_a1c1763-morro-bay-ca

This Long-billed Curlew image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Left Central Sensor–Expand AF area/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

[Not a valid template]

This is the histogram for the image above. Note the bulk of the data all the way to the right….

Noise with overall light-toned images is generally less problematic than in images with dark tones. None-the-less many of the Morro Bay IPT folks were totally amazed by the lack of noise when they viewed the original image file at 100%. Only my default Noise Reduction setting (Color: 25) was applied during conversion. Click on the image to see a larger size and let us know what you think for the noise levels. Remember, the best way to reduce noise levels is to expose to the right.

Important Contest News/Deadline Extended

While you may upload images until 11:59pm eastern time on April 30, 2012, the very last day for registering for the contest and for making eligible B&H purchases will be Monday, April 23, 2012. This will give us time to process your registrations and verify your B&H purchases and will give you time to upload your images successfully. Good luck to all.

Do save your e-mail receipts for eligible B&H purchases made after Monday, April 23 as you will be able to use them for entry into the BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition; details will be announced in several months. Please remember, only B&H purchases made using the product-specific BAA B&H affiliate links in the Bulletins or on the blog or the more general link here qualify. See additional details by scrolling down to item 2 here. If in doubt, simply start your B&H searches by clicking here:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/?BI=6633&KBID=7226

BAA Bulletin #405

BAA Bulletin #405 is on line and may be accessed in dramatic black and white format here. Be sure to scroll down and check out the two spectacular Judge’s Favorite images.

  • MIDWAY 2013
  • CONTEST UPDATE
  • THE BLOG IS THE BOMB
  • POSSE NEWS/ROBERT AMORUSO
  • IPT UPDATES

Earn Free Contest Entries and Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

More and more folks are earning multiple contest entries with their B & H purchases. See here for details on that. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here to visit the competition home page.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Except when I need extreme focal length, I have been using my 5D III on the 800 a ton. And loving it.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

41 comments to Canon EOS-5D Mark III High ISO Performance

  • Fabrizio said:

    It happens to me relatively often to use high ISOs because (a) I don’t own a f/2.8 long tele, (b) I definitely don’t master low shutter times, so I need to go high with this parameter to minimize chances of blurs. Unfortunately, I don’t own camera bodies from the upper segment (my top body is a Nikon D7000) and their noise performance doesn’t match the top ones. Furthermore, I don’t have your experience to evaluate my results after post-processing from a photographic point of view, so my comments compared to yours sound a lot as apples vs oranges 😉 while I can do some comments from an “engineering” point of view.

    Given that, I second all your statements in this post and they are what I usually do when I have to use high ISOs. The only doubt I have is exposing to the right. Your statement is absolutely true for achieving the best signal/noise ratio for a given ISO; but for instance you could expose one-stop-less-than-the-right and use, say, 1600 rather than 3200 ISO (with the same shutter speed and aperture). This won’t deliver the best signal/noise ratio for ISO 1600, but it could be better than the best signal/noise ratio of ISO 3200. Actually, this depends a lot on the specific camera body and sensor and I think that the only way to know whether is a good idea or not is to spend one hour with a pretty static subject and constant light condition and make experiments. I’ve never found the time.

    For what concerns film vs digital, I second Shaw’s statement (even though I’d put the border higher than 4mp): the “myth” is due to the fact that the two different tools have different “feelings” and people acquainted to one often have some resistances to acquainting to the other. It’s the same phenomenon that happened when digital music has replaced the old vinyl stuff. The amount of noise, distortion, the dynamic etc… of the vinyl players are just terrible when compared with , but some people just like the resulting “feeling”.

    There are a lot of myths flying around on the internet. Let me try and clear some things up.

    First ISO. Digital cameras have only one sensitivity. When you change ISO, you are not changing sensitivity. An analogy:

    You have a measuring cup that holds 1 liter. Let’s say ISO 100 is measuring the full cup. ISO 200 is measuring 0.5 liter but calling it 1 in the number it reports to you. ISO 400 measures 0.25 liters but calls it 1. ISO 800 measures 0.125 liter but calls it 1. ISO 1600 measures 0.0625 liter but calls it 1. ISO 3200 measures 0.03125 liter but calls is 1. Each time the data is scaled by the high ISO, it magnifies a weaker signal and magnifies the noise too. So when you change ISO, you are basically changing post sensor gain and telling the meter to change the exposure time.

    How much light the camera (the pixels) collect has NOTHING to do with ISO! Three and only 3 things control how much light you record from a given scene: 1) Diameter of the lens collecting the light, 2) the angular area seen by the pixel, and 3) exposure time. Note pixel size is not an inherent factor here, but the angular area seen by a pixel is a function of both focal length and pixel size. So calling a camera noisy because it has small pixels is a gross error because it is the system (lens diameter, focal length, pixel size, sensor area, and exposure time as a system) that determines noise and detail. A 7D is no more noisy than
    a 1D Mark IV, 5D Mark II, or 5D Mark III when the same exposure time is used with a lens of the same aperture diameter and the same pixels on the subject
    (e.g. a distant bird). Most comparisons violate one of the equalizing factors.

    Having said that, using ISO 1600 and the same exposure time as ISO 3200 (meter one stop faster at ISO 1600 so underexpose one stop) with the same lens collects the same amount of light and the photon noise would be the same. In principle it is a good strategy as you have 1 stop more dynamic range, except for one problem that is camera dependent: fixed pattern noise (FPN).

    At low ISO some cameras (Canons in particular) have a lot of noticeable fixed pattern noise. That apparent FPN noise decreases with increasing ISO. So the use
    one stop lower ISO works if fixed pattern noise is not objectionable. Once camera manufacturers solve this problem (Nikon apparently is doing much better
    in this area), and we get 16-bit A/D converters, we can choose “ISO” in post processing!

    At ISO 1600 FPN is pretty low on many cameras. I see it a little on my 7D and 5DII, and am not happy with star field images unless I’m at ISO 3200. If you are not too fussy with FPN, then exposing the same shutter speed at ISO 1600 as metering at ISO 3200 gives, then the strategy should work well. But if you try this at lower ISOs. the results will probably be less satisfying because FPN will be more objectionable.

    Further reading: Telephoto Reach, Part 2: Telephoto + Camera System Performance (A Omega Product, or Etendue) (Advanced Concepts) http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/telephoto.system.performance

    Pixel Size, ISO and Noise in Digital Cameras: http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso

    Roger Clark

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thank you Roger. How can we distinguish Color Noise, Luminance Noise, and Fixed Pattern Noise?

      • Hi Artie,

        Fixed pattern noise in bird and other daytime photography is mostly
        apparent as striping or banding along rows and columns of pixels.
        Examples can be seen at:
        http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/night.and.low.light.photography/
        Figure 7 shows fixed pattern noise as striping/banding.
        An uneven background can also be annoying, especially in night
        photography as shown in Figures 12 and 13.

        Pattern noise can usually be calibrated out by taking a frame
        with the lens cap on and subtracting it and newer cameras suffer
        from it less than older cameras.

        Color and luminance noise are more random. People tend to be
        more tolerant of random noise than the pattern noise.

        Roger

        • Thank Roger, but I don’t see where I wrote something that is a myth 🙂 I roughly know how sensors work, and in fact my whole comment was not related to that. In fact I didn’t write *anything* about how many photons hit the sensor, the sensor of the pixels, etc… In my comment the camera is pretty much a “black box”: I can set different values on the dial labeled ISO (not caring how it is actually related to physics), the aperture and the shutter time and get different results. The signal/noise ratio of the resulting photo depends on these values, and my point was that in order to optimize it there are some considerations calling for exposing to the right, others calling for the opposite and we should understand where’s the optimal trade-off. I read your post as a confirmation of my comment, with many interesting technical details; in particular, the fact that there can be relevant differences between different manufacturers and models, so probably the only practical way to deal with the problem is by experimenting. Right? Please let me know if I’m understanding something wrong.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Arash Harzeghi wrote via e-mail:

          I have to point our Roger Clark’s explanation is not very accurate for nature photographers. It is relevant to astronomy and ideal photo-detectors but not to the image sensors used for photography. A CMOS image sensor is not like the common photo-detector that is used for astronomy. The electronic circuits are very complex and affect the output. Plus he ignores the the fact that the image processing and RAW conversion steps that affect visual noise are as important as the sensor itself.

          For e.g. his claims that 1D4 has the same noise (SNR) level as the 7D is something that is very inconsistent with this photographer’s experience (and many others as well) because the way he measures and compares things is not relevant to CMOS image sensors and photography.

  • avatar Joe Moran

    Art;
    The other day I said I shot a tri-colored at 10600 iso i went back and looked at it and the ISO 25600 . guess I am getting old or absent minded. That was shot on a D-700 Full frame and 200-400 f4 at F-19 1/500 of a second. with the bird fluffing his feathers and there is no blur so keep testing your high ISO . IT s amazing. Joe Moran

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: As I said, in my experience, digital is better. I was just guessing about large format.

  • Art, for the record I’m not sure too. 🙂 It’s based on generic knowledge back from the university, but practice can be completely different than reality (otherwise it won’t be fun, reality I mean). So I’m pretty interested in the feedback you’re going to collect from professionals.

  • It happens to me relatively often to use high ISOs because (a) I don’t own a f/2.8 long tele, (b) I definitely don’t master low shutter times, so I need to go high with this parameter to minimize chances of blurs. Unfortunately, I don’t own camera bodies from the upper segment (my top body is a Nikon D7000) and their noise performance doesn’t match the top ones. Furthermore, I don’t have your experience to evaluate my results after post-processing from a photographic point of view, so my comments compared to yours sound a lot as apples vs oranges 😉 while I can do some comments from an “engineering” point of view.

    Given that, I second all your statements in this post and they are what I usually do when I have to use high ISOs. The only doubt I have is exposing to the right. Your statement is absolutely true for achieving the best signal/noise ratio for a given ISO; but for instance you could expose one-stop-less-than-the-right and use, say, 1600 rather than 3200 ISO (with the same shutter speed and aperture). This won’t deliver the best signal/noise ratio for ISO 1600, but it could be better than the best signal/noise ratio of ISO 3200. Actually, this depends a lot on the specific camera body and sensor and I think that the only way to know whether is a good idea or not is to spend one hour with a pretty static subject and constant light condition and make experiments. I’ve never found the time.

    For what concerns film vs digital, I second Shaw’s statement (even though I’d put the border higher than 4mp): the “myth” is due to the fact that the two different tools have different “feelings” and people acquainted to one often have some resistances to acquainting to the other. It’s the same phenomenon that happened when digital music has replaced the old vinyl stuff. The amount of noise, distortion, the dynamic etc… of the vinyl players are just terrible when compared with , but some people just like the resulting “feeling”.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Fabrizio. I am not sure that your reasoning is correct. I will ask two folks more knowledgeable than I to comment.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Fabrizio,

      Talented young photographer Arash Harzeghi responded:

      1) Exposing to the right is not equal to over exposing by one stop. In fact it is not overexposing at all. So I think he is confusing exposing to the right with overexposing.

      2) Overexposing ISO 3200 by exactly one stop vs. dropping the ISO to 1600: It depends on many factors including camera model and whether ones needs to pull any shadows or not. Because of the specific architecture of Canon sensors they do not handle underexposure very well so making sure shadows are exposed to the right is very important. If shadows are pulled at 1600 ISO noise will be intrusive. Nikon sensors used in D7000/D3s/D800 and D4 cameras have a specific way of extracting the signal such that raising shadows does not cause too much shadow noise or banding noise. For those cameras dropping the ISO will have similar results to overexposing a higher ISO.

      Hope this helps, Arash

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    On this site http://www.imaging-resource.com you can compare in the comparometer images from digital cameras side by side, by clicking on the image once and clicking again to bring it to full size. When using ISO 3200 and 6400 with the 5D Mark111,it out performs the Mark1V by at least 2 stops and by a lesser degree the top Nikon cameras. Artie can you tell me if this is a meaningful test?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ted. I could not find the comparometer… There are a lot of items on that page…. It sounds as if they might be comparing JPEGs. If so, the tests would be meaningless to me. I never conduct tests and I never shoot comparisons. I just go out and create images and see if I like them. As I did here.

      See the relevant BPN thread here as well as my comments in Pane 18.

      • avatar Ted Willcox

        yes Artie they are JPEGS. To get to the comparometer you click on cameras at the top of the page and then click on compare images from the drop down menu

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks Ted, but for me comparing JPEGs is meaningless as I use only RAW capture. The improvement there is far less.

  • Art,

    I was perfectly happy with my 5D Mark II, and then you had to start raving about your 5D Mark III. You convinced me (and then I had to convince my wife) that I NEEDED the Mark III. It finally arrived last week, and it turned out to be even better than I expected. However, it has the most difficult to decipher menus. The largest Canon camera manual that I’ve ever seen was only marginally helpful, so now I’m anxiously awaiting your 5D Mark III Users Guide. (I still refer to your guides for the 1D Mark IV and the 7D from time to time.) Please hurry!

    Bob

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am working on the 5D III Guide as we speak. But it will be a while. Can you believe all of those menu items????

      What do you like best about your 5D III?

      • avatar Bob Schwartz

        There’s so much to like, but if I have yo pick favorites, I’d go with the sharpness of the images in general, the quality of the high ISO images, the new focus system, and of course the 6 fps, which makes it much more useful for shooting birds in flight thann the Mark II was. Of course, now I have to decipher the instructions on how to change the myriad possibilities for changing the focus point settings. Bob

        I am working hard on the various AF settings…. Myriad is a good word for them! artie

    • avatar Geoff

      I think the 5D3 has the best menus I’ve seen in a Canon Camera. Finally all the AF stuff is moved out of the Custom Functions and has its own home. I also have the 7D and 5D2 which have too much AF fine tuning buried in CF menus. I haven’t tried a 1 series so maybe those menus are better? As far as I can tell they are even more convoluted because they have even more CFs. Also if you have a 7D (sounds like you do) you should be really familiar with the way to customize all the buttons from one screen (accessed by Q button).

      I think the only confusing thing would be when to use the 6 new AF options and the different AF modes (spot, expansion etc).

      So far the only birding I’ve been doing is Trumpeter swans in flight and have had success using AI Servo, 8 pt Expansion, AF Mode #2 with it set to prioritize focus first over taking the picture. Of course shooting at full 6FPS. Make sure you are only using CF and not writing to 2 cards or the buffer drops off alot. I’ve seen some amazing speeds and buffer results from tests on the internet for the new Lexar 1000x UDMA7 cards.

      I never used the Q button with my 7D bodies or with my 5D III…. I never go by tests; I will be getting tw of the new Delkin 64gb 700X CF cards in a day or two and cannot wait to try them in my D III because I was filling the buffer on occasion with my older red, white and blue Delkin cards… Delkin has been a BAA sponsor for years and is a generous sponsor of the contest as well. artie

      • Thanks for your suggestions for setting the AF. I’ll give them a try….at least until Art publishes his. As for my comments about the menus, I hope tongue in cheek intent came through. BTW, I also have a 1D Mark IV, and it’s menus are no better than the 7D, 5d Mark II, etc.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Details on my 5D III AF preferences will be detailed in the 5D MIII User’s Guide that I am working on as we speak. But there are lots of clues for the observant in the image captions….

  • Great picture! Thanks for sharing.

    When I take your advice and expose to the right, even my 7D images (which people like to dog on for noise) look pretty good at 3200, if I can get the subject into the light side of the histogram.

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Maybe a better term would have been, “lacks detail” rather than not sharp

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I would expect that an image made at ISO 3200 would have less fine detail than images made at ISO 400 for example. But as I said below, the image is very sharp.

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Hi Bill,

    re:

    Don’t know how to post a reply so I am just posting again.

    All that you needed to go was hit the Reply button in the box with my comment.

    The loon looks mediocre to me because it is not sharp which may be from the low shutter speed or the noise reduction or simply because it is low res (yes I looked at the full res version).

    Sorry. The loon is sharp. Actually razor sharp. At 1/80 sec. with an 800mm lens….

    Shooting brackets does work if done right.

    It has nothing to do with doing it right. You can do everything perfectly but if the subject moves, and they almost always do even when they are sleeping, the plan fails.

    It is useful in harsh light. Subject must be still, like a resting royal tern for example.

    Or dead or totally sound asleep 🙂

    Photos must be shot in 2 exposure bracket at high shutter speed to minimize movement.

    You need also to make sure that the big lens is perfectly still. In addition, your technique seems flawed: you need to be in Av mode so that the d-o-f is consistent….

    The CS5 layer align tool will match things up and you only blend in the dark areas so any mismatch does not show. Try it, you might like it better than trying to bring detail out of blacks and showing noise. It is fast and effective when no fill flash is possible/desirable and the light is harsh.

    In rare situations it can work but there are far too many limitations to employ the technique in your everyday bird photography. And I have tried it. Without much success.

    You missed my question about whether you ordered your 5D MIII with a B&H link.

    later and love, artie

    • avatar cheapo

      Hi Bill, you can just click on the word ‘Reply’ next to the time and date of any post to reply to it. 🙂
      Hope that helps,
      Pete.

    • avatar Ted Willcox

      If an image is sharp it should also have detail. The Loon looks very sharp on my monitor, check out the eye.

  • avatar David Policansky

    I used to shoot Ilford B&W film at 3200 ASA (as we said back then, more than 50 years ago). I got lovely, albeit grainy, images doing that. You could even push it in developing it to 6400, but I never did (and perhaps I already was pushing it to get 3200, I don’t remember). IMHO, the quality of modern digital images blows away any film I ever used, even my beloved Kodachrome, although I’d guess that in the hands of a skilled photographer, medium- and large-format film still is better than any consumer digital camera for ultimate resolution and dynamic range.

    I disagree. Especially on the dynamic range issue. Every film image that I have has toasted WHITEs and too dark BLACKs. Digital has tons more latitude than film could ever dream of. I am not sure where that myth started. Consider also that John Shaw said the following: “A sharp image from a 4mp camera will blow away a print from any 35mm film….” And he has sold more than a few prints over the years. artie

  • avatar cheapo

    I can see nothing to complain about considering the high ISO setting. But without that knowledge, I would say it’s ok. But in either case I would be asking when are you going to start working your magic on the image file. 😉 OMG did Joe mention 10600 ISO? Wooo! That’s stratospheric! I hadn’t realized how high available ISOs had gone. my little camera is maxed at 400. But I did shoot nighttime shots back in the late 70’s early 80’s using that Ilford XP1 B&W that I mentioned a while back, very low grain and usable images hand held in street lighting.
    And as Joe also mentioned, the Curlew is just beautiful. Elegance exemplified.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Wonderful images as always. Is it not the case that exposing to the right costs you shutter speed? In other words, if you didn’t expose to the right, would you not be able to use a faster shutter speed?

    David

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Thanks Artie for the images and the info. Both images look good to me. By looking at sites on the internet, it looks like the 5D Mark111 is, at this point in time, the best of all cameras at high ISOs.

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    I am still waiting for my 5D3. 🙁 1600 ISO looks great, 3200 ISO looks kind of mediocre. Have you tried Niks Dfine instead of the ACR noise reduction? I use an ACR preset with minor sharpening and noise reduction in ACR and then run Dfine with good results up to 1600 on my 1D4 but never shot at 3200. I think the ACR noise reduction is really improved in CS5 but still like to use Dfine when the noise is really bad. As you know, the big problem here in Florida is high contrast so I have been trying putting my 1D4 in bracket mode on black and white birds which are stationary and then blending the layers. I shoot 0 compensation followed by +2 compensation for detail in the blacks. Of course it works best in decent light and motionless birds but it works great then. Probably would not have worked on your loon since you were already at a slow shutter speed and it was moving.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Did you order from B&H using our link? I have helped several folks who did get an early copy.

      I have never tried Dfine but need to. The noise in the RAW loon image was not what I would call “really bad.”

      “Motionless” birds are rarely still enough for your plan to work…. And that certainly would not have worked on the loon. With most birds in most light if you get some data in the 5th box of the histogram there will usually be none or very little BLACK clipping…. And that has been true with my 5D III even when I try to keep the WHITEs below 230.

      You say that the 3200 image looks kind of mediocre. It is not supposed to be a great images. Are you seeing noise? Have you looked at the large version? The image does not look at all noisy to me…..

  • avatar Joe Moran

    Art;
    I love the Long billed curlew, It takes your breath away. I enjoy experitmenting with high ISO’s And have a shot of a tri colored heron at 10600 ISO and like you I use Nik color effect 4 to enhance. Look forward to your blog every day. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
    Joe Moran

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your kind comments. I will have to try the super-high ISOs on the 5D III when I need them.