Tuesday, April 5, 2011

F550EXR – Extreme ISO Ladder – Review Part 13

I finally decided to figure out why the 6400 and 12800 ISO settings were always greyed out on my camera, and the first thing I tried told me the answer. When RAW is selected, the top of the range is 3200. When JPEG only is selected, all ISOs are available. Go figure.

So I thought I’d see how well the camera worked in this mode. First, a little ISO ladder starting at 400 ISO. This camera is so clean at 400 ISO that I feel no compulsion to shoot 100 or 200 as they are essentially perfect in this sort of scenario. Besides, shooting indoors I might need to use the tripod and I wanted to hand hold. Just farting around for a moment, basically.

Note: All images posted here are straight from the cam … no processing for noise. The downsized images later on have been output sharpened a bit to compensate for interpolation.

Please click through to the rather large version of that image (1500px wide) and don’t forget to click again if you see the + cursor.

Now … what do we see? Amazingly, the background grain only starts to be really noticeable at 1600 ISO. And the detail is still fine at that ISO.

At 3200, we see some obvious luminance noise, but it remains very small grained, which is rarely objectionable. And the details are still there. Remember that this is 100% at a close distance, so these details are *small* … from 20 inches you really cannot see the gaps in the cloth. It merely looks translucent.

At 6400 we finally serious noise. Chroma is becoming a problem and we’re getting smearing and edge destruction in darker areas. But amazingly, a lot of the texture remains in the cloth.

12800 is basically a disaster. And yet we have no problem seeing what the subject is.

All in all, pretty amazing stuff again. A further note – the DR level apparently drops to 100 for the 6400 and 12800 images. That’s obvious from the brightness of the screen in behind.

Now, here are processed versions of these images so you can see how web images would look.







Wow … pretty similar to 1600 with 3200 having just a hint of background noise. 6400 is noisy, but its fine grained noise and not all that objectionable. 12800 sucks … chroma noise, banding … yuck.

Original JPEGs

Now here’s a treat for those who have been critical of my reviews … original jpegs for all of these images.

400 ISO: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/DSCF0254.JPG
800 ISO: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/DSCF0255.JPG
1600 ISO: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/DSCF0257.JPG
3200 ISO: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/DSCF0258.JPG
6400 ISO: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/DSCF0259.JPG
12800 ISO: http://letkeman.net/Photos/invisiblephotos2/DSCF0260.JPG

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