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  #1  
Old 9th April 2009
mas
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Question Native ISO?

Hi,

I was reading an aside in a commentary about one of the Canons which said that the fastest ISO didn't give the best image quality. Instead it was stated that each sensor has an ISO setting which is its 'native' or 'natural' setting which would give the best quality of image.

Thinking about it I can see that that makes sense. The sensor will have an optimum position.

So. What would be the optimum ISO on a 4/3rds? Up til now I always try to have the ISO as fast as possible, only increasing it when I cant manage to handhold without shake. Should I be using a higher ISO as a matter of course?

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  #2  
Old 9th April 2009
Archphoto
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Re: Native ISO?

The best ISO is the lowest: 100 ISO
The higher you get with ISO's the more noise you get.
I see 400 ISO as a maximum working ISO for asignments and even then I have to use Noise Ninja more than I like with my E520.

I do a lot of interior shots and rather go from f:8, the optimum aperture down to f:5.6 than go to 800 ISO.
If I can not make it with these settings I use my E410 on a tripod set at 100 ISO and f:8.

Peter
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Old 9th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

To be honest, who really cares what the reviews or other sites state? What I interest myself in is checking and evaluating the performance of the camera I use at the ISO settings I wish to use it at! If I am happy with the performance at whatever ISO I choose to use, then that's fine.

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Old 10th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMusicMan View Post
To be honest, who really cares what the reviews or other sites state? What I interest myself in is checking and evaluating the performance of the camera I use at the ISO settings I wish to use it at! If I am happy with the performance at whatever ISO I choose to use, then that's fine.

John, whilst I agree with you, I think mas was seeking some guidance in what Iso's we use the cameras at as a norm.

There are a number of solutions for dealing with the noise from using higher ISO values and the saving grace is that most of the noise produced is luminence noise which can easily be removed within say lightroom or Noise Ninja and Neat Image. Detail however may be lost in a noisy image which obviously cannot be restored. Colour accuracy also tends to also be affected at higher ISOs but his can be corrected post processing.

Given the above, I rarely have the opportunity to shoot at ISO 100 as I need a high shutter speed to capture wildlife images.

With the E3 I normally set out at ISO 400. Depending on the lighting, I may increase this to ISO 800 if necessary to get the shutter speed above 1/500 when using the Bigma. ISO 800 gives me no concern but going up to ISO 1600 can be a bit dicey.

With the E500 I normally stick with ISO 400. I rarely use telephoto lenses with this camera and it seems to give me the shutter speed I want. Lack of IS leaves me to target 1/250 for hand held shots which I find achievable for most daylight conditions.

I should also say that I shoot aperture priority and try and use the range f8 to f10. Varying this only when I want to adjust dof.

Hope it's not confusing. It would be interesting to hear the opinions of others.

Peter
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Old 10th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

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Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
Hope it's not confusing. It would be interesting to hear the opinions of others.
For what it's worth I always stick to 100 99% of the time (the only exception is infrared when I readily jump to 800 or 1600 right away), I will push my luck with shutterspeed having gone as wide as I dare with aperture before pushing the ISO further than 200 (most of the time).

A recent exception was a karate competition that we had to cover where the lighting was just rubbish (also had a similar thing with dance late last year), poor lighting and not allowed to use flash combined with the need to freeze movement with a fast shutter, aperture wide open and just had to ramp the ISO through the roof and do some heavy NR in post.

I have no ideas about native ISO but there is, simply, an increase in 'noise' as you increase the ISO, readily noticeable from 400 upwards.
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Old 11th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

I'm quite happy to use up to ISO 800 with the E-420 and E-30 as long as the exposure is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMusicMan View Post
To be honest, who really cares what the reviews or other sites state? What I interest myself in is checking and evaluating the performance of the camera I use at the ISO settings I wish to use it at! If I am happy with the performance at whatever ISO I choose to use, then that's fine.

John I could not agree more especialy as some of the high ISO tests are not what they seem.

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Old 11th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

I have been testing noise and resolution on the E-3, E-620 and Panasonic G1 and there is very little to choose between ISO 100 and 200. (By the way, the E-620 scores really well for resolution across the ISO range and just edges the G1... more on FTU in a few days time.)

Where there is some growing consensus is that ISO 200 is the optimun setting because people are seeing more over-saturated highlights at ISO 100 compared to when using ISO 200. It's a grey area, really. I haven't seen any evidence for the ISO 200 argument in technical tests (like DxoMark, for example).

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Old 11th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

I'm no expert by a long stretch however I always use an ISO value of 100 as I almost always shot on a tripod and 85% of the time bracket.

having said that the E1 at iso 400 in good light is mint (forgot to switch back to 100), even pseudo tonemapping from 1 raw file noise is not an issue.
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Old 12th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

While we all have our preferred settings that we work with and produce excellent results I think the original question could be framed...
If the Olympus cameras were not ISO selectable what would be their native ISO outof the box?
Like in the film days where a film had a native ASA in the standard development that was written on the box
FP4 125, Tri-X 400 etc
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Old 12th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
It would be interesting to hear the opinions of others.

Peter
Peter

As we shoot the same subjects I agree with you, both with my E1 and E500's Istartt off with ISO 400 and as I am shooting "A" priority I adjust the ISO setting to give me the best shutter speed 1/500 @ f/8.0 if possible and I will use ISO 800 without any problems. Neat Image is my choice for noise removal and it works very well. But I am not an expert and it depends what subjects you are taking, and I feel that for specific advice an photographing particular subjects talk to the people who are having success in that area and dont be affraid to post your work and get advice, after all that's what this forum is about. and we will all try to give advice where we can. a closing note! dont belive all that is written go out and experiment, if you are happy with the results, thats all that matters.
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Old 12th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
John, whilst I agree with you, I think mas was seeking some guidance in what Iso's we use the cameras at as a norm.
Hi Peter

Sure, I guess I sort of misread the OP's thread.

I guess the ISO setting I use is dependent on the amount of ambient lighting available AND the IQ I am after. If I am totally honest, I am tending to use higher and higher ISO settings as my defaults. For example, I was out yesterday afternoon with Jen and the dogs, in bright spring sunshine, and the ISO was set to ISO400 (check the House Sparrow shots I posted recently), and I am more than happy with the results.

On the other hand, when I want to try some HDR shots, I use the lowest ISO setting I can.
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Old 12th April 2009
mas
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Re: Native ISO?

Crimbo has pretty much nailed the question that I thought that I'd asked.

I've always tried to keep the iso as low as possible, but the comment I read made me wonder if my priorities were skewed. I think I've been pushing shutter speed too much when I should have upped the ISO. Having seen very little difference in picture quality from upping ISO, I then thought that perhaps there is a good point. And I can see (from an electronics point of view) that the 100 ISO setting - which is after all replicating something from film - may well not give the best image quality.

So I wondered if (a) olympus published any tech info which cast any light on this, and (b) if everyone just assumed that lower iso = better quality or if people had done any evaluation of this. (thanks Ian).
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Old 12th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

Here is a link to test carried out on the E500 with regards to noise at ISO settings form 100 - 16000 and the effects of in-camra noise filtering and post-processing noise filtering you may find it interesting.

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/e500-noise.html
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Old 12th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

I think we have been scared of high iso, perhaps because of all the review comments about poor high iso performance. And there is some truth in these comments, higher iso settings can be a weak point of the sensors in olympus cameras. But noise can be managed both in pp and whilst you are taking the shot.

A better shot with decent dof and good exposure at a higher iso will beat hands down a shot you've squeezed out of the camera with exposure tending to the left and a too shallow a dof (or a lens too open to be happy). And of course if you take a noisy image at iso 800, then it's hard to realise that at iso 1250 with a well balanced histogram you will actually get a better/cleaner image.

I'll regularly shoot at iso 1000 or 1250 (Canon 1600 equivalent) if it means a good shutter speed and a good exposure. So with the later sensors (at least) look at the histogram you are getting as well as the iso and the shutter speed. A good exposure opens up the higher iso values.

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  #15  
Old 12th April 2009
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Re: Native ISO?

It does depend on the lens but very often I work at 200 ISO. This usually lets me open up the lens to f2 for DoF if necessary but is probably more because I'm comfortable with it as it was my preferred film speed as well.
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