Canon 1D Mark IV Review

 
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Canon EOS-1D Mark IV High ISO Noise Reduction

As noted elsewhere in this review, the Canon 1D Mark IV delivers a noticeable advance in high-ISO image quality over the 1D Mark III. Its four noise-reduction settings also allow you quite a bit of flexibility in choosing how you want to make the trade-off between subject detail and noise levels. The combination of shooting with NR turned Off and using a good noise-filtering program after the fact can produce very clean images with lots of fine detail in them. (And of course, the 1D Mark IV's CR2 files have no high ISO noise-reduction processing applied to them at all, adhering to the true philosophy of RAW shooting.)

See for yourself how the noise reduction works under both daylight and tungsten-balanced lighting. Click on any of the crops below to see the corresponding full-sized image.

High ISO Noise Reduction Comparison
In-Camera JPEGs
Simulated Daylight
Disable
Low
Standard
Strong
I
S
O

3
2
0
0
Disable
Low
Standard
Strong
I
S
O

6
4
0
0
Disable
Low
Standard
Strong
I
S
O

1
2
8
0
0
Disable
Low
Standard
Strong
I
S
O

2
5
6
0
0
Disable
Low
Standard
Strong
I
S
O

5
1
2
0
0
Disable
Low
Standard
Strong
I
S
O

1
0
2
4
0
0

The above crops show the effects of the 4 levels of high ISO noise reduction, under the HMI lighting we use to simulate standard daylight. As you can see, the trade-off between detail and noise can easily be seen at the various noise reduction ettings.

 

To see how Canon 1D Mark IV High ISO JPEGs compare to other professional SLRs (including its predecessor) at default noise reduction settings, see the crops below.

Canon 1D Mark IV
versus
1D Mark III, Nikon D3S, Nikon D3X,
In-Camera JPEGS
Default High ISO Noise Reduction
Simulated Daylight
1D Mark IV
1D Mark III
D3S
D3X
I
S
O

3
2
0
0
1D Mark IV
1D Mark III
D3S
D3X
I
S
O

6
4
0
0
1D Mark IV
1D Mark III
D3S
D3X
I
S
O

1
2
8
0
0
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
1D Mark IV
1D Mark III
D3S
D3X
I
S
O

2
5
6
0
0
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 25,600
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 25,600
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 12,800
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 25,600
not supported)
1D Mark IV
1D Mark III
D3S
D3X
I
S
O

5
1
2
0
0
N/A
(ISO 51,200
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 51,200
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 51,200
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 51,200
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 51,200
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 51,200
not supported)
1D Mark IV
1D Mark III
D3S
D3X
I
S
O

1
0
2
4
0
0
N/A
(ISO 102,400
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 102,400
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 102,400
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 102,400
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 102,400
not supported)
N/A
(ISO 102,400
not supported)

As you can see, the Nikon D3S is the top performer when it comes to high ISOs; not only within this group, but of all digital SLRs at this time. Its easily out-performs the Canon 1D Mark IV, especially at very high ISOs. The 1D Mark IV does however improve on its predecessor, the 1D Mark III, though its default noise reduction appears to be stronger, as can be seen in the smudged red-leaf fabric.

See the RAW crops page to see how the output from the sensors compare independent from any external noise reduction processing.

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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