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Noise and JPEG processing, low ISO sensitivities

Noise and JPEG processing, mid-to-high ISO sensitivities

Nikon D7100 vs. 70D, ISO 100

ISO 100 JPEG

ISO 400 JPEG

ISO 3200 exposure, Auto Picture Style

ISO 6400 JPEG

ISO 6400 raw vs. JPEG

Default Picture Style

Color

Video, good light

Video, edge

Video, low and artificial light

Video, low light

The camera produces clean JPEGs through ISO 800, but they all look a little soft.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
You can see the beginning of degradation in the details at ISO 1600, and by ISO 3200 everything starts to look overprocessed.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
You can really see the difference the D7100's antialiasing-filter-free sensor makes for rendering more naturally sharp images. By ISO 1600, you can't do a lot with detail in the Canon's raw files, but the Nikon's still let you retain quite a bit of detail. (Nikon's default JPEG settings leave more color noise in the images than Canon's.)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Low ISO sensitivity shots look pretty typical for a consumer dSLR.

(1/125 sec, f5, evaluative metering, AWB, ISO 100, 18-135mm STM lens at 62mm)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
ISO 400 shots look about as good as ISO 100 shots. This was also part of a burst at a relatively wide aperture, which the autofocus system handled well.

(1/200 sec, f2.8, evaluative metering, AWB, ISO 400, 50mm f1.2 lens)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The contrasty exposures produced by the default Auto Picture Style can result in too many chipped shadows. I didn't make any adjustments to the raw image here. Sorry it's crooked, but that's partly from the relatively unusable -- especially in the dark -- level in the camera's viewfinder.

(1/80 sec, f4, spot metering, AWB, ISO 3200, 50mm f1.2 lens)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
ISO 6400 displays the noise and artifacts you'd expect.

(1/100 sec, f4.5, spot metering, AWB, ISO 6400, 50mm f1.2 lens)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
While I generally couldn't get decent results processing the raw files on ISO 6400 images, on this one I was able to at least get rid of the color noise and improve the detail a little.

(1/100 sec, f1.4, spot metering, AWB, ISO 6400, 50mm f1.2 lens)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Canon's default Auto Picture Style really abuses hues like these.

(1/60 sec, f4.5, evaluative metering, AWB, ISO 100, 18-135mm STM lens at 35mm)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
By default, Canon boosts contrast and saturation just a little too much for my taste, though many folks will find the colors pleasing. You just have to watch out in low light, when the contrast boost can end up clipping more shadows than you'd like.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
In good light, the video looks pretty good. Like stills, it lacks sharpness, but that's also a function of the relatively low resolution of HD. You can see some ringing (halos) on high-contrast edges, but that's pretty typical.

(1/30 sec, unknown aperture, AWB, ISO 100, 18-135mm STM lens, All-I codec)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Edges display various artifacts, notably aliasing, which become especially distracting in out-of-focus areas (look at the edge crawl on the terrace railing in upper left) and which become more pronounced as ISO sensitivity rises. This is pretty common as well, though.

(1/30 sec, f11, AWB, ISO 100, 18-135mm STM lens, All-I codec)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The general noise level isn't bad on high ISO sensitivity video, though it produces sparkling effects on nonmoving surfaces.

(1/30 sec, unknown aperture, AWB, ISO 3200, 50mm f1.2 lens, All-I codec)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The low-light dynamic range isn't bad, but note the red streaks of color noise in the upper right corner.

(1/30 sec, unknown aperture, AWB, ISO 3200, 50mm f1.2 lens, All-I codec)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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