Best for low-light?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by gary_anthes, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. I've been using a Canon 6D for several years and am pretty happy with it. But I can't help wondering how much technology may have improved in the past two-three years. I do a lot of hand-held, low-light photography, so good auto-focus in low light and most especially good quality at high ISO are the most important things to me. (I shoot often at ISO 3,200 and get good results with the application of a little NR in post-processing. And not bad even at 6,400) Is there any way to compare current Canon DSLR's for IQ at high-ISO? I know reviews usually look at that, but not in a systematic way that would allow me to compare cameras. I would upgrade from my 6D if I knew I would get a noticeable improvement in low-light.
  2. I think shoots the same scene with different cameras. You may have a look there and compare the 6D with 5DIII and 5DIV. Canon are improving their sensors so it might be worthwile to wait for a 6DII, whenever it will be introduced.
  3. with the 5D4 and rumored 6D2 you would probably get better low light performance (and AF) but like everything else, you gotta ask ... is it worth the extra cost
  4. From the reviews I have read, the high-ISO performance of the 6D is a bit better than that of the 5DIII (which I have). I haven't seen a head-to-head comparison of the 6D to the 5DIV, but it wouldn't surprise me if they are fairly similar in this respect.
  5. They are pretty similar pixel-wise, but as the resolution of the 5DIV is greater than the 6D, so the overall noise is a little better. I haven't had mine long enough to determine whether it is as much as a stop better: probably not.
  6. Is there any way to compare current Canon DSLR's for IQ at high-ISO? I know reviews usually look at that, but not in a systematic way that would allow me to compare cameras.​
    Choose the 5D4 in one window, the 6D in another, bump the ISO up to 6400 or 12800 whatever, and click-drag the images to compare.
    Since the size of the images is different owing to the 5D4's higher resolution, it can be hard to compare (in fact, the 5D4 will likely look worse at full resolution because everything, including noise, is larger). In that case, just download both images and downsize the 5D4 image to match the resolution of the 6D.
    Only you can decide if the difference is significant enough to justify the $2500 you'll have to add to the ~$1000 you'll get for selling your 6D.
  7. Gary, there are very, very few people who need "best", and it sounds like you know that since you say that you are "pretty happy" with the 6D. But let me point out that your description of your "issues" with the 6D seems to indicate that what you should be asking is "What newer Canons will give me a one to one-and-a-half stop improvement over the 6D for high-ISO noise?" You imply that anything better than that would not show any further improvement for the type of images that you usually produce.
  8. Why doesn't anyone seem to worry about what is "best for high light?" I have more problems in bright situations that low light ones.
  9. But the noise doesn't look worse at the pixel level, in my experience. That is why, given the increased resolution I think
    the image with the 5d4 overall is better than the 6d, but by how much I haven't decided yet.
  10. I have both the 6D and the 5D Mark IV, yes the 5D MK IV has improved low light high ISO noise but the 6D is still really great and unless you are more interested in the pro features and focusing system and jump in focal points and cross type focal points, don't sweat it. Also keep in mind the 6D has no anti-aliasing filter, so there is no filter taking away sharpness. The 5D Mark IV has a filter so there is going to be some loss in total sharpness, though at 30 mp it's not a big deal, and both cameras are high enough mp that you can reduce the image slightly to make any noise or softness vanish.
    I love my 5D Mark IV and this was a pretty impressive jump in low noise for Canon and it's an expensive camera, twice the cost of a 6D, so maybe you would want to consider spending that $3499 on some nice fast lenses to improve your photography. I am not trying to talk anyone out of buying the 5D Mark IV, you will obviously know if your photography really needs the pro features. If you are a professional, shooting weddings...yes consider the upgrade for sure. If you are a passionate photography enthusiast get it if really have to have it, but don't feel that your 6D isn't an awesome camera. There is always going to be a better camera coming out.
  11. Why doesn't anyone seem to worry about what is "best for high light?" I have more problems in bright situations than in low light ones.​

    This is exactly my issue, which I think has been addressed to some extent with the improved low ISO DR of the latest Canon sensors. Nonetheless, I'm having a hard time swallowing the exorbitant price of the 5DIV.
  12. I did a little test last night shooting the same shot with the 5D Mark IV and the Canon 6D using the same Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens. I shot under candle light and only did ISO 3200 to 20,000, maybe another time I will compare higher ISOs. It is 4:15am so I am only posting the ISO 3200 and ISO 20,000. These are both cropped around 1000x1000 pixels out of the image at 100%. RAW files were imported into Lightroom CC, no adjustments to noise at all, and looking at these in DPP with default setting, I don't see much noise. The two cameras are pretty close and this is not a scientific test.
  13. Thanks for the test, Mark. It's helpful. Despite the low light and high ISO, I assume your images are "correctly," or optimally, exposed. I'm wondering what the results would be if they were underexposed by, say, two stops. Many of my images, even when correctly exposed overall, have dark parts that I care about that are underexposed. I'm wondering about the differences between sensors when dealing with that.
  14. When you underexpose in low light at high ISOs, I would expect to get noisy images regardless of the camera. It won't increase the noise; it will just make it more visible. It's the math. When you underexpose, you are decreasing the amount of signal, and boosting the image in post will bring out the noise as well as the signal.
    My main camera is a 5DIII, but I also have a 7D (first generation) that I use for macro and long-distance shots. The 7D was considered a fairly noisy camera. I did a series of test shots at ISO 3200, first exposing to the right and then dropping the exposure and compensating in post. I did it to see the difference in visible noise. What startled me was how little noise there was in the initial shot. There had to be less DR, but maxing the exposure without clipping gave a pretty clean image.
    Unfortunately, AFAIK, Canon does not have exposure compensation with auto ISO. So, if you are in a dark environment with variable lighting (one of the few places I use auto ISO), the only way to ETTR is not to use auto ISO. However, I may be wrong about this.
  15. Here is a shot taken at ISO 12,800 with the 5D MK IV 1/100 f/4 with the 70-200 2.8L II It is far better than the 5D MK II that it replaced. I will be fun to try it at ISO 25,600.
  16. Here is a crop from the same. Noise reduction in Lightroom is 12 Luminance and 21 Color.
  17. Real-world, hand held shooting at ISO 12800, with NR applied in Raw conversion. Shot well after sundown:
    The 5D4's ability to AF in very low light blows away the earlier models, including the 6D. The question is, can you get the shot and then can you clean up the shot to make it usable. With the 5D4, the answer is, "yes."
  18. The 6D does have an anti-aliasing filter: the only Canon effectively without one is the 5DSr. I think Mark's results show exactly what is my experience with the 5DIV too, as mentioned above, the pixel level noise is much the same, but the higher resolution makes for a superior image overall at low light levels.
  19. I own the 5DS-R and the 5D4 and would not recommend the S-R for low light situations. The noise with the 5D4 cleans up much more completely and easily. I think that you have to look at files, after NR to make a judgement. None of us take a noisy Raw file and then don't apply NR.
    When applying NR with either the 5D4 or the 5DS-R, I'll tend to increase "micro-contrast", to try to offset the smoothing that happens when you try to reduce luminescence noise. I don't find "higher resolution" to be an advantage. I think that dynamic range of the pixels is more important than the pixel-size, which is where the MkIV seems to win out. I use my 5DS-R where lighting allows a proper exposure. I NEVER underexpose my Canon sensor, even the 5DMkIV, which is more tolerant, but still pretty intolerant in that regards. With Canon , ETTR still applies.

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