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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EOS Digital Cameras 
Thread started 02 Jan 2014 (Thursday) 16:06
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Is a full stop good enough to justify a new camera for low light?

 
cameraperson
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Jan 02, 2014 16:06 |  #1

If I look at a camera and after reading the specs I find out it is "a full stop" better. What does that mean? Does it mean at a given ISO and f-stop, the full stop better camera lets in more light, even though both cameras are at the same settings ISO and f-stop settings?

Is a full stop good enough to justify a new camera if I want better low light (stage performances)?

Thanks for help.


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gonzogolf
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Jan 02, 2014 16:16 |  #2

What it means is that the new camera will have the same noise at 3200 as the previous model does at 1600 ISO. So whether its enough for you to upgrade is really a personal matter.




  
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cameraperson
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Jan 02, 2014 16:18 |  #3

Oh, so if I could get good shots at 1600, then it might be worth it. This assumes I was supposed to be using 1600 in the first place, but the old camera just couldn't hack it.


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Jan 02, 2014 16:21 |  #4

gonzogolf wrote in post #16572448 (external link)
What it means is that the new camera will have the same noise at 3200 as the previous model does at 1600 ISO. So whether its enough for you to upgrade is really a personal matter.

What Gonzo says here +.

Now, it is also possible that the new camera will have features your old one lacks, or perhaps a superior sensor, better ergonomics, etc. That is typically what happens with manufacturing upgrades. So in that case the extra stop gains you more capability.

In my own situation I always skipped a few models in between what I'd initially purchased, and the latest and greatest, in order to enjoy a major improvement. But that's just me watching my pennies ;).


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gonzogolf
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Jan 02, 2014 16:22 |  #5

cameraperson wrote in post #16572453 (external link)
Oh, so if I could get good shots at 1600, then it might be worth it. This assumes I was supposed to be using 1600 in the first place, but the old camera just couldn't hack it.

Those are just example but basically it means the new camera is approximately one stop better in noise performance than the camera its compared to. Since most people start to get uncomfortable around 1600 thats the place I started. Do a full reading on the review though, in the past there have been models that seem a stop better in noise, but thats comparing camera generated .jpgs from one to another. When the raw files were compared the results were not quite so clear.




  
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davidc502
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Jan 02, 2014 16:22 |  #6

Careful of what you read, especially "here". Just remember, a lot of what folks consider to be a "stop" better may be opinion (case in point being ISO performance). Always follow up by doing some research to find if opinion Is fact or fantasy :)

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Jan 02, 2014 16:34 |  #7

I don't think a single stop is worth it. When I upgraded I had 3 stops of more usable ISO(dynamic range wise 5000 was like 1600 on my old body).. I still even have 2 more stops over that if I need it. One analog and one push that I'll never use.


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JeffreyG
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Jan 02, 2014 16:55 |  #8

davidc502 wrote in post #16572471 (external link)
Careful of what you read, especially "here". Just remember, a lot of what folks consider to be a "stop" better may be opinion (case in point being ISO performance). Always follow up by doing some research to find if opinion Is fact or fantasy :)

Best Regards,

That's true. And even when the 'full stop' is real, the value depends on the situation. I can give you two personal examples.

I had a 30D at one point, and I moved to a 5D (the original) in 2008. That really was worth at least 1 full stop improvement in noise in my experience. At the time, the NR technology + the camera technology of the time meant that ISO 800 was about as high as I was comfortable using on the 30D. The 5D was good to ISO 1600 for me, and I could even push that a bit higher.

The lesson there was that a full stop was worth it, mainly because the technology of the time (2008) was often limiting even with fast lenses.

Second example - Moved from 1D Mark III and LR 2.4 to 1D Mark IV and LR 3.0. In this case I gained more than a stop. I got one stop from the cameras (the 1D4 is at least 1 stop better than the 1D3) and I got another stop from Adobe RAW processing enhancements.

So where this was key was that before the move I used the 1D3 for indoor sports and I used primes, because I didn't like the 1D3 above ISO3200. Once I could reach ISO6400 - ISO12800 I sold off my longer primes and picked up a 70-200/2.8. The improvement in noise was enough for me to change to a zoom, which sped up my work process and was a big improvement. If you have a clear barrier in light, one stop might put you past it.


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Nick_Reading.UK
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Jan 02, 2014 17:04 |  #9

I see you have a 20d. What is the potential upgrade?? What's your budget??


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Jan 02, 2014 17:13 |  #10

cameraperson wrote in post #16572426 (external link)
If I look at a camera and after reading the specs I find out it is "a full stop" better. What does that mean? Does it mean at a given ISO and f-stop, the full stop better camera lets in more light, even though both cameras are at the same settings ISO and f-stop settings?

Is a full stop good enough to justify a new camera if I want better low light (stage performances)?

Thanks for help.

If your gear sig is correct, then buying another body may not give you what you want. A lens upgrade to a larger F stop will give you noticeable results. Your 18-55 v say, the Sigma 18-35 F1.8 will get you more light then, you can use lower ISO settings with the extra light and get faster shutter speeds.


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umphotography
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Jan 02, 2014 17:26 |  #11

JeffreyG wrote in post #16572548 (external link)
That's true. And even when the 'full stop' is real, the value depends on the situation. I can give you two personal examples.

I had a 30D at one point, and I moved to a 5D (the original) in 2008. That really was worth at least 1 full stop improvement in noise in my experience. At the time, the NR technology + the camera technology of the time meant that ISO 800 was about as high as I was comfortable using on the 30D. The 5D was good to ISO 1600 for me, and I could even push that a bit higher.

The lesson there was that a full stop was worth it, mainly because the technology of the time (2008) was often limiting even with fast lenses.

Second example - Moved from 1D Mark III and LR 2.4 to 1D Mark IV and LR 3.0. In this case I gained more than a stop. I got one stop from the cameras (the 1D4 is at least 1 stop better than the 1D3) and I got another stop from Adobe RAW processing enhancements.

So where this was key was that before the move I used the 1D3 for indoor sports and I used primes, because I didn't like the 1D3 above ISO3200. Once I could reach ISO6400 - ISO12800 I sold off my longer primes and picked up a 70-200/2.8. The improvement in noise was enough for me to change to a zoom, which sped up my work process and was a big improvement. If you have a clear barrier in light, one stop might put you past it.


I agree Jeff.

The truth is that when the MKIV came out it was indeed a game changer. A full stop let people like me push the IsO to 8000 in a pinch and get usable files. Then the 1Dx and the 5D3 hit the scene and changed the game again. Another 1/2 stop gain with the 5D3 and a full stop with the 1Dx made 12800 ISO a very usable iso....this was game changing technology for many photography fields. The 1Dx is probably 2.5-3.0 stops of better iso performance than a 40D and 5D classic. For guys in the wedding industry...........tha​ts a dam good reason to upgrade camera bodies.

This does not include what adobe did with its noise reduction capabilities and what happened with the Lightroom updates and not to mention what the 3rd party plug ins have accomplished. NOw 12800 and some minor noise clean up gets you stuff you would not have got just 3 short years ago.

This is provided is captured properly and not underexposed. Most underexposed files are crap and all the technology in the world wont save your butt. So you still have to get it right in the camera.

Im good with where I am at right now There would have to be some really big improvements to make me jump away from these 5d3's. I think i can get 3 yrs out of these bodies. I would need another full stop on a full sized raw file and big big improvements in the AF to make me consider. The newer camera are very very good.


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JeffreyG
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Jan 02, 2014 17:32 |  #12

umphotography wrote in post #16572627 (external link)
This does not include what adobe did with its noise reduction capabilities and what happened with the Lightroom updates and not to mention what the 3rd party plug ins have accomplished. NOw 12800 and some minor noise clean up gets you stuff you would not have got just 3 short years ago.

This actually brings up one other totally unrelated point. Every once in a while people will debate if it's worth the processing step to shoot everthing RAW or if jpegs are good enough.

I shoot RAW, and I only keep my RAW files. LR stores my edits, and I blow off a jpeg as needed for any prints.

So one really cool thing about being a RAW shooter and only keeping RAW files is that as Adobe has improved their software over time, my old photos have actually gotten better. I can go back to things that were really marginal for noise in 2008 and kick out new jpegs today that are better than anything I could have made in 2008.

Shoot RAW, and keep your RAW files. Who knows what will come in processing?


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Shane ­ W
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Jan 02, 2014 17:39 |  #13

JeffreyG wrote in post #16572640 (external link)
This actually brings up one other totally unrelated point. Every once in a while people will debate if it's worth the processing step to shoot everthing RAW or if jpegs are good enough.

I shoot RAW, and I only keep my RAW files. LR stores my edits, and I blow off a jpeg as needed for any prints.

So one really cool thing about being a RAW shooter and only keeping RAW files is that as Adobe has improved their software over time, my old photos have actually gotten better. I can go back to things that were really marginal for noise in 2008 and kick out new jpegs today that are better than anything I could have made in 2008.

Shoot RAW, and keep your RAW files. Who knows what will come in processing?

^^ absolutely true! But regarding if 1 stop is worth buying a new camera... If that's all it takes to convince YOU, then do your part and buy!


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Jan 02, 2014 17:43 |  #14

Great point Jeffery! I do same as you (store raw print other) but that is purely based on accident, now I have an explanation!


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Jan 02, 2014 18:36 |  #15

There are 2 aspects to the ISO performance difference. One is obviously how well the newer sensor handles the noise, but the other aspect is the resolution difference. If you go from an 8mpx to an 18mpx camera, and the hardware gives you 1 stop, the resolution difference could give you another stop, if you resize the image down.

With that much of a resolution difference, and putting a lens on that body to produce the detail for the sensor density, using steps of noise removal and resizing down will produce an image better than 1 stop in ISO performance, while having the same perceived detail.

Of course this assumes you don't want the resolution upgrade for larger prints or more cropping though, if that is not the case, then obviously this 2nd factor is moot.


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