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Real world-FF vs Crop ISO

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by CanonGary, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. CanonGary

    CanonGary Member

    I've got a Canon 7D MkII which I love but I'm all about image quality and I just can't get over the fact that as soon as I start putting the ISO up full frame cameras have better image quality hands down.

    I'm very tempted to get a 5D MkIII but I'm wondering how much this would really help me in real world situations.

    What I want to know is what other people do when their camera wants to start putting the ISO up. Do you just not worry about it because your camera handles high ISO well or are you all ready to start using a flash?

    The kind of situations I'm thinking of are being outside on a cloudy day or in an area where your camera starts knocking the ISO up above 1600.

    So for example you're at a wedding, you're inside, do you just let your ISO go up or do you start using a flash, or an f/1.2 lens or something?

    From what I can see FF cameras can go to 10,000 and get great images where I'd stop at 3200 and even then not be happy with the result. I could use a flash I guess but that's not going to give me the same result as a FF camera at higher ISO.

    I'd be very interested to know peoples individual experiences with this to help me to decide where to go from here.

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Personally I'd take the high ISO stories with a pinch of salt. Certainly today's iso 3200 is yesterday's 1600 and the day before's 800 but I wouldn't go expecting noise free performance and good dynamic range much above 1600 - there is a world of difference between usable and excellent. it all depends on where you draw the line. The max on my camera is 6400 and for 6400 it is unbelievable in my eyes but I would only use above 800 in extremis.
    peterba likes this.
  3. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    I completely concur with PeteRob's post. As I read the OP, I had the sense that you might be expecting a little too much. Yes, the high-ISO capabilities of the latest cameras make impressive reading, and they do, of course, offer a degree of improvement in low-light situations, but there is always some degree of degradation. The fact that you can take a photo at ISO 51200 (or whatever) doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good idea. :rolleyes:;)
  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I use my 7D II professionally at ISO 16,000 if necessary - but it's not as good as my 6D. But it gets the job done.
    daft_biker likes this.
  5. CanonGary

    CanonGary Member

    Ok so perfect you have both FF and crop. I get what you're saying 'gets the job done' I'm just wondering do you hit a point where regardless of ISO you start using a flash. I'm just trying to determine if there's a point where most people would just start using a flash based on light conditions regardless of how well their camera handles ISO.
  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

  7. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Some people never use flash, some people always use flash, some people use flash when they think the circumstances need it. This has been true for 50 years at least. To get a useful answer you need to be more specific about the circumstances under which you would need to make the decision.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  8. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    To horribly paraphrase Edward Weston who said “Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.”

    "Any shot needing more than ISO 400 just isn’t photogenic". ;)
    SqueamishOssifrage likes this.
  9. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ on both counts, perhaps we have different standards.
    Learning likes this.
  10. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Personally I do not like flash dominated pictures although I occassionaly use flash for a little fill in. to lighted the shadows
    Anything else and the atmosphere is completely spoiled so I really value the ability of my 6D to go up to ISO25,000 if the occasion demands.

    Of course if I was a professional sports photographer I would be using a 7D especially for the frame rate so (as always) its horses for courses.
    Andrew Flannigan and spinno like this.
  11. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    I upgraded to full frame and I do think there is quite a significant real life advantage. There hasn't been a quantum leap forward in noise handling, but the gradual improvements make a difference. The extra megapixels mean that, when comparing same size images between ff and crop, the ff noise becomes finer grained. Also, I find my camera handles chroma noise really well, it's not particularly apparent until iso 12800. Luminance noise can appear quite film like and can add to a scene (depending on what you are phtoographing).

    In terms of image quality then I would prefer to stick at iso3200 (ideally less). When there is no alternative then iso6400 is not a problem. I wouldn't really want to go above iso12800 but you can still get highly usable shots there and above. Dxo mark rates my camera at around iso3200 for max 'quality' usage, and I agree with them.

    I think Canon's big weakness has been how they have handled noise. The Sony sensors were simply much better. They have finally caught up with the 5D mark IV - well almost. The mark iv is a huge improvement over the mark iii, which sits at the back of the class with a dunce hat on. So I wouldn't upgrade to a mark iii.
  12. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It isn't that simple. It isn't just the amount of light it is the direction of it. In a studio complete control of light is the objective. Outside the studio on and off camera flash can help separate foreground from back ground, eliminate shadows from top-lighting etc. For casual portraiture one could make the argument for always using flash even if just to provide catch-lights and shaping. The high ISO really applies when you are too far away to exercise control over the light, e.g. with sport and the acceptability of the results goes with the context.
  13. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    Maybe, and different humour (the clue is in the emotion.)
    Gezza likes this.
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    If I'm shooting at those ISO levels, it's because flash is not an option - either as Pete suggests, or more typically for me, conferences and the like where i have to get the shots as unobtrusively as possible. No flash, no tripod, and the best shots are when the subject is moving a little. And fairly long lenses for the most part. Where I do have the flash option then it's a case of which provides the best light - flash or ambient.
    When I think back to ISO 1600 film, makes me think that the 7D II's H2 setting isn't that bad. ;)
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    A lot depends on the camera too. With fewer but bigger pixels, there's less noise. I am astonished, on a regular basis, by what my Nikon Df (16 megapixels) can deliver at very high ISO speeds.


    cliveva likes this.
  16. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Ok you got me. Not always obvious when a reply is meant to be humorous, with or without the emotions!
  17. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Especially if it's not funny. ;)
    Gezza and Learning like this.
  18. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    There's only less visible noise, until you resize the larger MP image to be the same resolution. If you compare a 16mp image with a 24mp image, at native resolutions, the 24mp image may show more noise. If you resize the 24mp image to be 16mp in size, the level of noise will reduce (as will sharpness, down to similar levels as the 16mp image).
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Fair point (I suspect: I don't know enough to argue). On the other hand, "visible noise" is the only kind there is.


  20. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Yes and no. An image *file* could have noise present, but the presentation of that image happens in a way which masks the appearance. For example, if you view what is a full size image (say 24MP) on a screen at 800x600, you might not see any noise. Does the image have noise? It's the same effect of seeing a shot on the LCD on the camera, being happy, getting home, looking at it on a 2700x2000 monitor and noticing that it's not in focus. Looking at it again on a 6x4 print and it looks in focus. Is the image in focus?

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