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High ISO sample images from cameras old and new

RAW and JPEG image samples for you to download from ISO 800 and upwards

I'm regularly asked to provide some comparable high ISO image samples from a range of cameras so that improvements, claimed or otherwise, can be verified back to back. So I've given in and here they are, shot using the original 5MP Olympus E-1 through to the 16MP Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2, flagships past and present.

The camera line up includes:

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
  • Olympus Pen E-PL2
  • Olympus E-5
  • Olympus E-30
  • Olympus E-3
  • Olympus E-1

All cameras were fitted with a rather decent lens, the Zuiko Digital 14-35 f/2.0 ED SWD, matrix (ESP) metering used, and the lens was set to f/7.1 for optimal depth of field without significant encroachment of diffraction softening. The subject scene attempts to encompass dark and mid-tone areas, plus some highlights. There are also some sharp-edged details and less sharp edged features, plus some small text to test resolution. The (tungsten) lights were dimmed so that even at ISO 12800 at f/7.1 we're only seeing a shutter speed of 1/40th. At ISO 100 that would have been 3.2 seconds.

IS on all the cameras (all tripod-mounted), where applicable, was turned off, and JPEG noise filter setting in the Olympus cameras were set to Standard. The white balance setting was either 3000K or the tungsten artificial light preset.

I hope this exercise will generate some useful and pleasant discussion and debate!

To view or download the full size original camera JPEG image, click on its associated thumbnail* from the gallery view below: And you can download the associated RAW file via the appropriate link too.

* Olympus E-1 thumbnails are not representative of the true density of the linked JPEG or RAW images because of a peculiarity in the rendering of E-1 images in Lightroom 3.4.



Image 1: Olympus E-3
Shutter Speed: 1/3 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 2: Olympus E-3
Shutter Speed: 1/6 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 3: Olympus E-3
Shutter Speed: 1/13 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 3200
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 4: Olympus E-5
Shutter Speed: 1/3 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 5: Olympus E-5
Shutter Speed: 1/5 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 6: Olympus E-5
Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 3200
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 7: Olympus E-5
Shutter Speed: 1/20 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 6400
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 8: Olympus E-30
Shutter Speed: 1/3 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 9: Olympus E-30
Shutter Speed: 1/6 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 10: Olympus E-30
Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 3200
Focal Length: 23 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 11: Olympus E-1
Shutter Speed: 1/3 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 197408
Focal Length: 24 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 12: Olympus E-1
Shutter Speed: 1/5 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 198208
Focal Length: 24 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 13: Olympus E-1
Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 199808
Focal Length: 24 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 14: Olympus E-PL2
Shutter Speed: 1/3 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 24 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 15: Olympus E-PL2
Shutter Speed: 1/5 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 24 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 16: Olympus E-PL2
Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 3200
Focal Length: 24 mm
Link to RAW file



Image 17: Olympus E-PL2
Shutter Speed: 1/20 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 6400
Focal Length: 24 mm
Link to RAW file




Image 18: Lumix GH2
Shutter Speed: 1/2.5 sec.
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 23mm
Link to RAW file


Image 19: Lumix GH2
Shutter Speed: 1/5 sec.
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 23mm
Link to RAW file


Image 20: Lumix GH2
Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec.
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 3200
Focal Length: 23mm
Link to RAW file

     


Image 21: Lumix GH2
Shutter Speed: 1/20 sec.
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 6400
Focal Length: 23mm
Link to RAW file


Image 22: Lumix GH2
Shutter Speed: 1/40 sec.
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 12800
Focal Length: 23mm
Link to RAW file

     

 

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High ISO sample images from cameras old and new

Four Thirds User editorial team High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
It's an issue that has bugged Four Thirds users since day one - high ISO camera performance. Is it r... (more)

catkins Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Always interesting to get comparative shots like these. Out of interest to compare how the E-30 th... (more)

fluffy Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
That's very interesting. I compared the 1600ISO RAW and jpg of both the E-PL2 and the E-5 (I have on... (more)

dingenus Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Well, use an other, better, converter like Lightroom or Viewer2. The E5 has not less obvious noise t... (more)

Ian Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
All the focusing was manual and the intention was to get the lettering on the herb bottle in focu... (more)

Ian Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
I haven't yet fully examined all the results, but I did like the Olympus JPEGs more than the GH2'... (more)

Ian Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
If you are viewing any RAW file, all you are seeing is the default interpretation of the RAW data... (more)

dingenus Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Ian, I have no doubts about your positive intensions. They are very good. The problem with this thin... (more)

Ian Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
I'm sorry if there was a slight inaccuracy with the focus, but let's face it, this was never intende... (more)

dingenus Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
I understand what you mean. Sorry if I put the bar too high. Have you already overhauled the sharpne... (more)

Ian Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Yep - I have re-shot the GH2 with a 50 f/2 macro but not yet analysed the results. Will do that e... (more)

John Perriment Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
I think this test achieved what it was set up to do and is a unique comparison for Four Thirds an... (more)

Geodasher Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Thanks for the considerable effort to round up all these cameras and post the many images. It is int... (more)

John Perriment Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
That's a puzzle, I've just rechecked on my screen and I'm not getting a cast with the E-3 raws, t... (more)

fluffy Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Have to agree with John here. I'm looking at both the RAWs and JPGs on a Mac, with a calibrated scr... (more)

Clint Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Ian, Thanks much for the time and work involved and posting of the comparisons.... (more)

Ian Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
Thanks for the feedback. I see blue cast on the dark areas on the very highest ISO shots for some... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
The GH2 in this test on the RAWS seems to run 1/2 a stop behind the E-5 (ISO 6400) but other than th... (more)

allenrob Re: High ISO sample images from cameras old and new
The answer to your original question of: Is it really that bad?, is No! It's what I always thought w... (more)