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High ISO performance improvement: XSi -> T3i/T4i?

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Thread started 23 Mar 2013 (Saturday) 20:27   
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brettjrob
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I shoot landscapes and weather/skies almost exclusively, and have been using an XSi for over four years now. For that type of work, I feel the XXD series and 7D offer relatively little to justify their price premiums, so I've mostly been content with what I have.

With T3i/T4i prices hitting new lows and the T5i announced, I'm thinking I probably ought to grab one before they're phased out. I'm just unsure whether to expect a noticeable improvement in IQ, particularly with regard to noise at higher ISO. Granted, there are several other new features of interest too, but not necessarily enticing enough to make me part with $500-600.

Does anyone know of a direct side-by-side comparison of the XSi with either the T3i or T4i under low-light conditions and high ISO? I shoot RAW all the time, so improvements in JPEG processing mean nothing to me. The jump from 12 to 18 MP also makes direct pixel-by-pixel comparisons a bit unfair, so it's really tough to quantify. Perhaps someone who's done this exact upgrade and shoots high ISO regularly can comment on their experience?

A majority of my exposures are at ISO 100 (tripoded if necessary), but I do sometimes dabble in night landscapes and star trails, where any significant noise improvement would be very welcome (example shot at ISO 1600external link). The 6D has me very tempted, I'll admit. Honestly, if I thought my 17-40L on FF would be the equal of my 10-22 in terms of corner sharpness and vignetting, I'd probably be convinced -- but reservations on that (and Canon's current lag behind competition in sensor tech) are likely going to keep me crop for now.

Post #1, Mar 23, 2013 20:27:59


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Rashkh
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The t4i sensor is basically the same as the one in the 60d, so if you only want the iq and noise improvements, the t4i is fine. The t4i has the digic 5 as opposed to the 60d's digic 4, which means you'll see a bit of noise improvement there as well.

If I were you, I'd sell the 450 and the 10-22 and get a used 5dII if all you're doing is landscape. I went from a 350d to a 5d2 and the difference was absolutely massive. Acceptable ISO went from 400 to 3200.

Post #2, Mar 24, 2013 00:19:37


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Sirrith
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I was under the impression that the new processors only helped JPEG noise with more sophisticated noise reduction, not RAW? Am I wrong?

The 17-40 won't equal the 10-22 in corner sharpness unfortunately (I miss my 10-22). But I don't know that the difference is big enough for me to regret selling my 10-22 and just using my 17-40 on FF. Maybe a little, actually. However, I still believe that you would be quite happy with the 6D and 17-40. It does have soft extreme corners (and I do mean corners, not borders), but unless you look for it, it is hard to notice.

You won't notice much improvement in noise with the newer crops. Perhaps 1 stop, if that. The 6D is amazing at high ISO. Weather sealing and better build is also a bonus for landscape.

Post #3, Mar 24, 2013 07:23:02


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mark2009
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OP,

You stated you shoot most of your pictures at iso 100 outside. I had a xsi for a few years, and for those conditions you are not going to see any difference with a T3/4. Of course, the xsi maxes out at iso1600, so if you are going to do low light, you will gain an advantage with those, and I think the upgrade would be worth it. I don't think you need to go full frame for what you want to shoot, cost wise it's not worth it. Just my opinion.....

Post #4, Mar 24, 2013 07:46:48 as a reply to Sirrith's post 23 minutes earlier.


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brettjrob
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Thanks for the replies thus far. A one-stop noise improvement (if such can really be expected for RAW images) at 800/1600/3200 would be sufficient for me to upgrade at the prices we're currently seeing. I'm even thinking of grabbing two and selling off the XSi to help, as switching lenses can often cost precious time with what I do.

Rashkh and Sirrith -- I still haven't completely ruled out the 6D or 5D2. I just don't know if I can justify it, though, even at FF's historically low price point. I'm just a grad student and it's really pushing beyond my budget. OTOH, I've sold images to a handful of publishers, so part of me is justifying the idea in that it could help there. A couple people I know have made the jump, but ended up switching to primes for WA because the 16-35/17-40 weren't cutting the mustard. I really don't want the inconvenience of multiple primes covering that range. I probably ought just to rent a 5D2 for a day and do detailed tests with my 17-40. We'll see, but I'm getting awfully close to just grabbing a couple T3i's and calling it good for another year or two.

Post #5, Mar 24, 2013 20:25:44


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TSchrief
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Have you eliminated the 5D? My opinion is that the 5D is about a stop better than the 60D. At ISO 3200, the 5D looks much better, not only less noise, but less annoying noise.

Post #6, Mar 25, 2013 00:58:07


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EverydayGetaway
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TSchrief wrote in post #15752082external link
Have you eliminated the 5D? My opinion is that the 5D is about a stop better than the 60D. At ISO 3200, the 5D looks much better, not only less noise, but less annoying noise.

This. Full Frame has other advantages as well, the only problem with the 5Dc as far as I'm concerned is the small rear LCD.

Post #7, Mar 25, 2013 02:25:01


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TSchrief
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EverydayGetaway wrote in post #15752214external link
This. Full Frame has other advantages as well, the only problem with the 5Dc as far as I'm concerned is the small rear LCD.

I do agree that the 5D has many use-ability disadvantages. For me, none of them affect the IQ. I just use the rear LCD for composition and histogram. It can't help you with focus.

Post #8, Mar 25, 2013 03:02:53


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brettjrob
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The 5Dc is indeed another option, but would still hinge on whether the 17-40L (or any other zoom) is truly an adequate replacement for my 10-22. I've used the 10-22 for probably upwards of 75% of my shots over the past five years, including most or all that I've sold. Really a tough call on whether the potential for softer corners, more distortion (and thus losing more UWA when correcting in post), etc. with the 17-40 will offset the sensor gains in IQ. Realistically, if I do go FF, I'm more likely just to spring for the 6D than mess with a heavily-used 5Dc.

Post #9, Mar 25, 2013 08:44:56


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TSchrief
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I saw a review about a year ago comparing the 10-22 on APS-c to the 17-40L on FF. It included lots of samples and examples. The APS-c/10-22 combination was clearly the winner for border/corner sharpness. Other factors were cited, and there were advantages to the FF/17-40 combination. The gist of the review was that the APS-c/10-22 combination was the best UWA Canon has to offer for landscape photography. I have searched, in vain, for that review, but cannot locate it. Perhaps someone else can help.

My only experience with UWA zoom is the 60D/10-22 combination compared to the 5D/Tokina 19-35 f/3.5-4.5 combination. The Tokina is a moderately well-regarded lens. IMHO, there is no comparison, the 10-22 on my 60D is the better combination of the two. The advantage of the 5D/Tokina setup is that I can shoot at f/16-22 and not see any diffraction start to soften things up. I've never used a 17-40. I don't get paid, either.

Post #10, Mar 25, 2013 09:17:41


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M_Six
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The Digital Pictureexternal link website has a noise comparison gizmo (scroll down). The XSi isn't listed, but the T1i is and you can pretty much interchange those cameras with regards to noise.

The T4i also has Multi-shot Noise Reduction (MSNR), which is simply amazing if you have a static subject.

Post #11, Mar 25, 2013 13:31:21 as a reply to TSchrief's post 4 hours earlier.


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