Saturday, March 26, 2011

HS20 – Examining the high ISO again

Well, another person has the camera and has published some images in a review on the MyFinePix site. The images look decent to me, but what I really like is that he shot an ISO ladder. Of course, it was shot in blazing sunlight, so it shows only one side of high ISO shooting, but it is interesting nonetheless.

What I’ve done is to construct an ISO ladder that is presented as a 100% crop that is animated from 100 through 1600 ISO. Interesting enough, in that it is clear that 100, 200 and 400 ISO are all very nice, and the 800 degrades but not too badly. 1600 is a real mess, but again the crops are at 100%. Let’s have a look:

Now, I’ve also downsized all the images so that you can see how well the camera handles small details at web sizes. Quite well I think. The texture of the apple is very obvious at base ISO, as is the water on the rock. I apply sharpening to each of the images, and I can tell you that it makes more and more sharpening to retain decent detail as ISO rises. The 1600 ISO image required a great deal more than the base ISO image.

But I think the camera works very well at web sizes, and it is clear to me that the base ISO images can stand up to a lot of enlargement. I will definitely make big prints when I get one to test later on this spring.

So, without further ado …

100 ISO

Remember to click through to see the 800px images. The sharpening is specifically customized for that size, so you’ll see the highest possible impact of the detail retention without seeing unnecessary artifacts.

200 ISO

See any difference at 200 ISO? I actually consider this a nicer image at web sizes. The exposure is a bit brighter.

400 ISO

Still looks good at 400 ISO, but required more sharpening.

800 ISO

Pretty hard to complain about that image. I think the rock is starting to lose some of its edge, but it still looks fine for any web purposes.

1600 ISO

And again, nothing really wrong with this image at web sizes. But I did have to run the output sharpener twice to pull out this detail. It was really soft, as you can see above in the animated crops.


Free pass at 100 and 200. 400 is fine at web sizes and can probably be used for enlargements to 8x10 with processing. Be careful at 800, and use 1600 only when you have to. Although I was able to pull out a lot of details at 1600 at web sizes, animal fur or feathers is another thing entirely.

Of course, there is always RAW.

Now, for a bit of fun, I’ll leave you with a version that includes processing. I would prefer the base ISO image with a bit more punch. YMMV of course.

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