Canon EOS 6D Ken McMahon, March 2013
 
 

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600 Noise RAW

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  Canon EOS 6D results
1 Canon EOS 6D Quality JPEG
2 Canon EOS 6D Quality RAW
3 Canon EOS 6D Noise JPEG
4 Canon EOS 6D Noise RAW
5 Canon EOS 6D Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Canon EOS 6D and the Nikon D600, within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

The Canon EOS 6D was fitted with the Canon EF 24-105mm f4L lens and the Nikon D600 with the AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF lens (the only one available to us at the time of testing). Both lenses were set to their maximum 24mm wide angle setting to provide an equal field of view.

Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and all other settings were left on the defaults.



The image above was taken with the Canon EOS 6D fitted with the EF 24-105mm f4L lens. The sensitivity range of the EOS 6D is 100-25,600 ISO expandable to 50-102,400 ISO. For the initial shot I set the sensitivity to 50 ISO and set the aperture to f8 in Aperture priority mode. To produce the same exposure as the Nikon D600 I set 1EV exposure compensation on the 6D resulting in an exposure of 1.3s at f8 and 50 ISO.

I processed both sets of files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile.These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes - as such the visible noise levels at higher ISOs will be much greater than you're used to seeing in many of my comparisons, but again it's an approach that's designed to show the actual detail that's being recorded before you start work on processing and cleaning it up if desired.

Not surprisingly, as with the JPEG results, the EOS 6D crops and the Nikon D600 crops look very similar in the low to medium ISO sensitivity range. Even with the high degree of sharpening and absence of noise reduction the 50, 100 and 200 ISO crops look pretty clean. At 400 ISO on both sets of crops you can see the texture beginning to creep in both on the detail of the memorial panel and in the background wall.

From 400 to 1600 ISO the noise increases in a more or less linear fashion fairly equally for both sets of crops. What happens after that is, well, more of the same, right the way up to 25600 ISO, though the crops look slightly different beyond the white balance, I wouldn't say that one set of crops was noisier than the other. What these processed RAW crops show is that both sensors are generating similar amounts of noise throughout the ISO sensitivity range when viewed at 1:1. This is at odds with what we saw from the JPEGs on the previous page where Canon was applying more noise reduction than Nikon, eliminating visible speckles at higher sensitivities although at the cost of some smearing. In terms of detail, I'd say both models are pretty close, but the D600 enjoys a minor edge when you're pixel-peeping.

Now head over to my Canon EOS 6D sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions, or head straight for my Verdict.


Canon EOS 6D
 
Nikon D600
     
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 ISO
51200 ISO Not available
     
102400 ISO
102400 ISO Not available

Canon EOS 6D results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise


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