September 21, 2010 in Test

Canon 5d mark II test: noise in high ISO setting

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Limits and possibilities in terms of noise on Canon 5D Mark II RAW files can be seen in an exposure row of this scene:

The following raw files are not retouched and the squares are only cropped and not resized:

For these shots I use a typical landscape setting:

  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon 17-40 lens
  • 2 stop ND filter (soft)
  • RAW file
  • All shots are made with f8.0

Noise limits the way you can design photos in terms of the movement of objects and in changing light conditions. Higher ISO settings  automatically mean more noise in a photo.

Importance of noise reduction

Noise reduction will be a decisive factor for consumers to buy high quality cameras in the future. Modern cameras are doing a great job and giving you a lot of resources for creative decisions.

ISO setting decisions are not only about gaining shutter speed and freezing movements. Most of the time I try to slow down shutter speed to make time exposures.

Canon 5D Mark II and noise reduction

I think the Canon 5D Mark II  works great for landscape photographerup to ISO 800 . Between ISO 800 and ISO 1600 there is insignificant noise you can deal with easily. Beyond ISO 1600 I cannot stand the noise and refuse to run noise ninja because I am worries about loosing to many details during post procession.

This is valid for landscape photography. I won‘t go beyond ISO 1000 for a portrait because the losses of details are of more importance in people photography.

I would be really interested to see comparable exposure rows from other cameras (esp. Nikon).

Anybody here who can help out?


  1. March 23, 2012 at 07:25

    Reinigungsservice Hamburg


    Irgendwie habe ich Probleme dem RSS Feed hier zu folgen

    1. March 23, 2012 at 10:19

      Olaf Bathke


      Worin liegt genau Das Problem?

  2. September 21, 2010 at 10:18



    How did you develop those RAW files?

    1. September 21, 2010 at 10:31



      the raw files where imported in lightroom without any retouchung.

      1. September 21, 2010 at 10:32



        Which Version? Noise rendering changed dramatically from 2.x to 3.x.

        1. September 21, 2010 at 11:20



          @sam:2.x I guess. but noise reduction was not enabled. the goal was to judge as original as possible.

          1. September 21, 2010 at 11:34


            Does not matter – even without enabling NR the rendering has changed. Really, you should try the very same picture and the very same settings with LR3 and the new process engine!

          2. September 21, 2010 at 11:54


            (at least this is my impression: I rendered old pictures with LR3 and they where way better than my previous renderings – but I did not do a real side by side compare yet – I really should one day)

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