Hi guys!

Today I begin the review of my new camera body, i.e. the Canon EOS 6D

, the small fullframe that is creating quite a stir in the world for its high quality despite the reduced price!

The review will be published in several posts, in order not to be a heavy to read. In this first episode we will analyze together one of the most important aspects of image quality, which is the resistance at high ISO, which is becoming better and better as the technology evolves, and that helps us to take home shots that we did not think even remotely to be able to achieve! Just think of how is useful to be able to shoot at ISO 6400 without making many problems about the noise when you are shooting in a dark church. This allows you to take pictures of an entire wedding without a flash (some priests do not like it much).

But let’s get to my test. I placed the 6d on a tripod and took pictures in RAW with cable remote shutter release after lifting the mirror (so as to have less vibration possible, as in macro photos). I made pictures with natural light in my house with two books, one closed, Photoshop CS6 Classroom in a book, and one open, Sketching Light by Joe McNally (find the review of both on the page What I read? If you are interested), so as to evaluate the noise on the color zones of the closed book and the level of detail on the text of that open. The pictures are made at F\8 in order not to have problems with sharpness of the lens (for the record, the 24-70 f2.8 L).

Foto del test

In the following you can find the 100% crops of both the zones (JPEG 100% quality cropped from the original untouched RAW)

Central zone of text – Evaluation of the detail

ISO 50  
ISO 50
ISO 100  
ISO 100
ISO 200  
ISO 200
ISO 400  
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 800
ISO 1600  
ISO 1600
ISO 3200  
ISO 3200
ISO 6400  
ISO 6400
ISO 12800  
ISO 12800
ISO 25600  
ISO 25600
ISO 51200 (H1)  
ISO 51200
ISO 102400 (H2)  
ISO 102400

Unfortunately, the book has moved slightly at ISO 800, or the focus was not perfect .. the fact is that the picture at ISO 800 is slightly blurred, but when I realized I had already disassembled everything. Apart from that we try to see how it behaves 6d to grow the ISO. Up to ISO 1600 there is virtually no noise. To ISO 3200 a timid noise makes its appearance and is, however, very low. This noise increases at ISO 6400, producing files however still fully usable. To ISO 12800 and 25600 the noise is more, but however the file is still usable with a careful noise removal in post-production (personal note: I find the noise to 12800 still nice, so I would trouble shoot this sensitivity, while at 25600 I find enough invasive, but in case of need is fine anyway!). To ISO 51200 (H1) and 102400 (H2) the photo is completely crushed, the noise is too much. Despite that the writing is still legible, and this is not bad, it means that in the extreme possibility of having to take a picture almost at night, we could still do it by hand and get enough detail (although without any quality). This may be important from the standpoint of journalism, which often have a subject that you see is of vital importance, and no matter if the quality is not optimal.

Uniform color zone – Evaluation color

ISO 50
ISO 50
ISO 100  
ISO 100
ISO 200  
ISO 200
ISO 400  
ISO 400
ISO 800  
ISO 800
ISO 1600  
ISO 1600
ISO 3200  
ISO 3200
ISO 6400  
ISO 6400
ISO 12800  
ISO 12800
ISO 25600  
ISO 25600
ISO 51200 (H1)  
ISO 51200
ISO 102400 (H2)  
ISO 102400

With regard to the noise of areas of uniform color, roughly the same considerations made ​​before are valid. Until ISO 1600, the file is almost perfect, while for higher sensitivity, the file is still fully usable only up to ISO 6400, maximum 12800. Over 12800 the noise is really too much, and difficult to recover in postproduction. It is valid the speech made before, i.e. that in case of need you can use the very high sensitivity, at the cost of a loss really huge, but that sometimes (in journalism) is pardoned for the photographed subject.

My conclusions

The 6d offers a truly enviable resistance at high ISO. Unfortunately I no longer have the 5d mark II to compare the yield, but with the use which I’m doing I can say that the years between the two projects are felt (as always in the technological world, where growth is exponential). To the eye and memory I can say that between the two projects there is a distance of a stop (maybe two), i.e. a photo taken at ISO 3200 on 5d mark II is equivalent to a noise like to ISO 6400-12800 on the 6d.

From these tests and field experience that I did on Saturday photographing two weddings I can safely say that up to ISO 6400 there is no fear. At ISO 3200 and 6400 noise is present, but in a much more contained and is pleasing to the eye (there are certain types of noise that are unwatchable instead). The sensitivity of 12800 and 25600 should be exploited wisely, and if possible, the 25600 is better not to use your own. The sensitivity of 51200 and 102400 are completely useless, unless you need to bring strength to bring the shot at home, and in that case obviously represents salvation!

See you at the next episode, in which I will analyze other aspects of 6d!

Bye!

Stefano

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