Canon 7D Tips – Noise Test Series

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Ever since news of the Canon 7D first leaked out, there has been plenty of  previews, pre-release reviews and comparisons.  Now that the 7D is actually shipping, real information is finally being released about the actual production model.

When I first heard about the 7D, my first thought was “how does it handle noise?”  I am pleased to say the “Lord of Darkness” handles noise very well.  The 7D has several built-in settings for noise reduction:

C.Fn I: Image – #1 Long exp. noise reduction

  1. Off (default)
  2. Auto
  3. On

C.Fn II: Image – #2 High ISO speed noise reduction

  1. Standard (default)
  2. Low
  3. Strong
  4. Disable

Using the default settings, I took a series of images with ISO 100 through 12800 using the Canon 7D.  The top image is the reference image containing the red outlined area for the noise test.  The following images are 350×450 pixel crops of the full-sized original 5184 x 3456 pixel photos (expanding to over 51 megs in Photoshop).

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Difference between Grain & Noise

With the increase in ISO, some grain is expected in both real film and digital photos.  Digital noise becomes an issue when it disrupts the image details with irregular static.

Based on my test series, the image detail through ISO 800 was excellent.  Even at ISO 1000 and ISO 1600, the images are relatively sharp with appropriate film grain.  I am impressed with the 7D.  Did you see the NYC Skyline photo I posted at ISO 3200?

I also posted my first YouTube video recorded at this time in HD 1920×1080 @ 24fps.

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4 thoughts on “Canon 7D Tips – Noise Test Series

  1. What are the settings you’re using on your video? As far as shutter/iso/exposure?

  2. Actually, I did a test series using all available ISO values on the 7D. It is very subjective since you never use image files “as is”. Photoshop Camera Raw 6/Lightroom 3 can virtually eliminate noise at ISO6400 with Canon 7D Raw files. Canon’s DPP also does an excellent job even using the in-camera settings. So, I am not sure how exactly to evaluate such a test series.

    The ISO is relevant for the available f-stop/aperture combo. With a digital camera like the 7D, the digital image is so capable for manipulation when shooting RAW that I am not sure anything else really matters.

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