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