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Mike Kobal

April 1, 2012

Extreme High ISO, low light test: 200-25600 on Canon 5D mark III and Sony Nex-7 up to 3200 ISO

Filed under: Gear Reviews — mike.kobal @ 10:47 pm


Four candles in a pitch dark room. I wasn’t sure what to expect and if this would work at all. I wont spoil it for you, sit back and enjoy :)
if you like what you hear, “meltingclocks” twistedtracks.com
more after the break (including 100% screengrabs)

updating…..
The most challenging part during this test was keeping focus on the eyes, Cineroid EVF attached to the Canon 5D3 with Kit lens, shot at 105mm at f4, wide open,
a vintage Minolta 35-70mm f4 wide open on the Sony Nex 7 (via LA EA2 adapter). Ungraded footage, Color style, Neutral, Color tone -4, Saturation -4, contrast -4, sharpening 0, noise reduction and highlight priority turned off. no adjustments in post – footage looks even better at 50mbps, highest output for H264 in pp, however, the result would be a +1GB file. I am really impressed with the level of detail all the way up to 25.6k and the lack of noticeable color shift up to ISO 20k, only at 25.6k reds turn magenta! I can’t wait to start shooting with this camera!

Some of you already emailed asking about the softness issue on 5D3 files. I haven’t had a chance to shoot much yet. Based on this test I think the files will be perfect for glamour, beauty and fashion work, landscapes, cityscapes or anything detail rich, will need post sharpening, probably lots of it. I did notice focus is very critical and had to reshoot most of the clips, missing the mark by a few millimeters is unforgiving, take a look at the eyes, we have very good definition between pupil/iris and on eyelashes (and we are looking at un-sharpened files).

As for the Sony Nex 7, there is not much to be excited about when your only light source is a candle :) I love the camera and was curious how it would perform at high ISO, the clips and screen grabs below confirm what we already knew, not very good and looking at ISO 3200 we have a nice example of what high compression codecs do to the image……..
canon5d3_iso200_100percentcrop
canon5d3_iso400_100percentcrop
canon5d3_iso800_100percentCROP
canon5d3_iso1600_100percentcrop
canon5d3_iso3200_100percentcrop
canon5d3_iso6400_100percentcrop
canon5d3_iso12800_100percentcrop
Canon5d3_iso20000_100percentcrop
canon5d3_iso25600_100percentcrop
Sony_nex7_iso200_100percentcrop
sonynex7_iso400_100percentcrop
sonynex7_iso800_100percentcrop
sonynex7_iso1600_100percentcrop
sonynex7_iso4200_100percentcrop

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19 Comments »

  1. [...] forget. In this extreme settings the NEX 7 can no longer compete with the EOS 5D Mark III. Read Mike’s post clicking here (more samples [...]

    Pingback by More EOS 5D Mark III ISO performance tests and comparisons (NEX 7, D800) | CanonWatch — April 3, 2012 @ 12:48 am

  2. great test, thanks Mike! I can’t wait to see a D800 comparison from you!

    Comment by HansHD — April 3, 2012 @ 5:27 am

  3. wow, impressive

    Comment by goth1651 — April 3, 2012 @ 5:28 am

  4. [...] A pretty “unfair” comparison between a new Canon 5DmarkIII fullframe camera and the APS-C NEX-7 by Mike Kobal (Click here). [...]

    Pingback by sonyalpharumors | Blog | New Sony NEX-7 reviews (Fuji main compeitor now for sale) — April 3, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

  5. What is the price difference between these two cameras?

    Comment by Chadavitch — April 3, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  6. Very interesting piece. I especially liked the intro… …very entertaining. Thanks for sharing

    Comment by Stefan — April 3, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  7. I liken that test to being something akin to comparing a station wagon to a motorbike and concluding that the wagon holds more luggage.

    Comment by Jim — April 3, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  8. and the funny thing is many people are interested to see how these two cameras hold luggage, uh, I meant compare :) this comparison is a lot less dramatic then comparing a hacked Panasonic GH2 against a RED

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 3, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  9. Fork handles?

    Comment by Two Ronnies — April 3, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  10. Hey Mike, I’ve been doing my own low light tests, the MKIII native ISOs are cleaner just like the MKII. 8000 ISO is particularly bad and noisier than 12800.

    Comment by squig — April 3, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  11. Despite the class&price difference of the two cameras, I also like how the comparison was made by screenshots with the candles constantly moving…very scientific I must say lol

    Comment by Rock — April 3, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

  12. Hey Rock, most readers are aware of the fact that I test the gear I use for personal and professional work and that my approach is unscientific, looking at sensor data and mtf charts can be helpful but wont show me how it effects a challenging real life situation, I need to know how far my cameras can be pushed and how good the results are relative to much more expensive gear.

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 3, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

  13. I’m not at all trying to say such comparison is useless/invalid. I’m simply trying to point out it’s really hard to see the “real” results when you have screenshots with the two candles being in the different spot hence the difference in the amount of light that’s shining on the face. Maybe if you did the comparison with the candles being stationary we could see a more accurate result.

    Comment by Rock — April 4, 2012 @ 3:39 am

  14. shooting this with stationary candles would be too boring and movement in a video clip is crucial, it can tell you a lot about motion artifacts, you can click though to vimeo and download the video file for your own frame to frame comparison.

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 4, 2012 @ 4:34 am

  15. Why don’t you just compare the Canon to the Sony pro video stuff? If price ratios aren’t very important, your readers would learn a lot about what separates pro video stuff from the Canon’s SLR-adaptations.

    Comment by Beachrider — April 4, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  16. Hi Beachrider, I am planning to do that

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 4, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  17. Boring? I guess the purpose of ur test is to entertain rather than scientific or simply just being ‘realistic’

    Comment by Rock — April 5, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  18. Hey Rock, take it easy, buddy, otherwise we’ll have to start calling you Angry Rock- motion in video is important to check for motion artifacts, usually high compression codec’s really struggle with motion

    Comment by mike.kobal — April 6, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  19. [...] The clear winner for me is the Canon 5D mark III. Despite the overall softness right out of the camera (fixable in post to a certain degree), there are no aliasing and moire problems, records at a very descent variable bit-rate of 91megabits/sec in All-I mode and if that’s not enough, the 5D3 is also king after dark. [...]

    Pingback by [Video] Moiré Comparison: Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs Nikon D800 vs Sony NEX-7 | CanonWatch — July 6, 2012 @ 3:35 am

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