Friday, February 1, 2013

Canon EOS 5D Mark III at ISO 25,600 in Action

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, f/4 @ 47 mm, 1/125, ISO 25600, No Flash, AWB
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, f/4 @ 47 mm, 1/125, ISO 25600, No Flash, AWB
EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Lens
In-camera JPEG – no edits

I ran across this scene with my Canon 5D Mark III that had the new Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Lens on it. I’m testing that lens for B&H and it just so happened to be with me at the right time.

With little time to react, I put my camera into manual mode and set the camera to settings that I felt would be sufficient to capture the moderate pace of the firefighters (1/125) and the smallest f-stop. I left my camera in auto ISO in the hopes of getting a shot, and it turned out that I needed my max (non-extended) ISO to get the shot.

I could easily take the raw image and clean it up for a nice image, but I thought for fun I’d post the original in-camera JPEG with zero modifications. No cropping, no nothing.

This is the size image you’d see printed in a newspaper and you’d typically see in a web article, so while the full-size image does have a fair amount of noise this image is publishable (and news sources were very excited to see this shot).


In these days of pixel peeping and going nuts about noise, I thought I’d toss this out there as a reminder – it’s the image first and foremost that makes the most difference. ISO 25,600 also gave me what I needed to get a nice exposure for the scene so instead of a black mess that I would have got with an older camera at ISO 6400, I got a shot that made the photo editors excited.

Where to order

I’ve been extremely happy with my Canon 5D Mark III and the new Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Lens has been fantastic (much better than I expected). You can pick up both from B&H by clicking the links in this article.

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Unknown said...


Could you do a blog post on what you would do to process the 25.6k raw better than the in-camera jpg?

I've been unable to make something noticeably better. But... I'm relatively new. said...

I'll try to do that sometime.

The key thing is to start with Noiseware to reduce the noise in your image and then process as normal.

25.6k is going to lose a lot of detail, so don't expect ISO 100 sharpeness and detail - especially if you pixel peep. However, if your alternative is not to get the shot at all then it's worth it (which is the purpose of this article).

You can also check out my 5D Mark III review where I show a before and after of some high res images. said...

BTW Greg, you have a great name:

Unknown said...

Yeah. It was interesting watching his face when I walked up to him at the Imaging USA Expo in Atlanta and said, "Hello! I'm Greg Gorman."

Our initials are the same too, GKG.

Since I don't want to detract from his work in anyway I use the name 2G Photography. Which conflicts with a few others but oh well.

Someday I may use Greg Gorman for my photography.