Tuesday, November 3, 2009

F70EXR -- Is High ISO Good Enough to Shoot with Auto ISO 1600?

My standard recommendation for this camera is to shoot most of your images in P mode with M size set (I prefer M3:2) and auto ISO 1600. There are always people who are very unhappy with grain and go to great lengths to get grain free images, usually by setting lower ISO manually, or by shooting in Auto ISO 400 or 800 modes instead.

This is all personal preference, and who am I to tell you what ISO you should shoot at?

But let me show you why I don't really mind what I get at 1600 ISO ... I shot a pair of images at 200 ISO and 1600 ISO to illustrate the difference in grain between the two. It also illustrates how much of a difference 3 stops can make ... in this case I was shooting by the light of a bright compact fluorescent bulb 2 feet above the subject, a cable box remote.


What you see here, especially if you click on the image to get the larger version, is that the grain on the 1600 ISO crop is not obnoxious at all. It is in fact quite pleasant. Mainly monochrome grain, few color blotches ...

So why risk blur when images look so good downsized?


Beats the hell out of me ...

And for those who like nostalgia, have a look at the F11's rendition ...


Still has some magic ... reasonably clean image at 1600 in bad light, white balance also ok, but loves to blow highlights :-)

Note: If you see quite a bit of obvious grain, you are probably looking at these on an uncalibrated panel. Trust me that you will enjoy your photography a lot more if you invest in a decent MVA, PVA or IPS panel and get a hardware calibrator ...

5 comments:

Lili said...

NO obvious grain in either image.
Frankly, with my F200 and your samples what grain I see is fine and tight, with no colored blotches up through ISO 1600.
I use mine with your advised settings and adore the results.
I am amazed how fast handling it can be and how very well the OOC jpegs can be.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/colette_noir/4070368789/sizes/l/
P mode(AUTO)1600 no ev comp, Straight jpeg.
BTW in a side by side test with my now sadly unreliable Ricoh GRD, the F200 seems to have rather FOV than the 28mm-e on the Ricoh.
All in all, video excepting (and I never think to shoot video) the EXR's are quite the best small sensor cams I have ever tried.
DR alone has spoiled me terribly.

Lili said...

BTW I note LLOYDY has been quiet lately on FTF

Kim Letkeman said...

That moonrise shot is nice. Very crisp. Grain is well controlled and lots of detail present in the trees. I sure do like the EXR cams for travel and general purpose stuff. And yes, Dave has probably been off working on his gallery.

Don said...

For quite sometime, I, like many others I think, felt noise was the second greatest evil right after nuclear rain. You have transformed my thinking through logic and examples and for that I applaud you!

Pixpuppy (NC.,USA)

Kim Letkeman said...

Don ... thanks for the kind words. I hope I have not led you down the garden path ...