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Canon EOS M Ken McMahon, Nov 2012
 
 

Canon EOS M Noise RAW

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  Canon EOS M results
1 Canon EOS M Quality JPEG
2 Canon EOS M Quality RAW
3 Canon EOS M Noise JPEG
4 Canon EOS M Noise RAW
5 Canon EOS M Multi Shot NR
6 Canon EOS M Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Canon EOS M and the Olympus PEN E-PL5 within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

The EOS M was fitted with the EF-M 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit zoom and the PEN E-PL5 with the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit zoom

The zoom on both cameras was set to its maximum wide angle, 18mm (29mm equivalent) on the EOS M and 14mm (28mm equivalent) on the PEN E-PL5, providing an approximately equivalent 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 M. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f4 and the sensitivity was set to 100 ISO. The EOS M metered an exposure of 2 seconds at f4 and the Olympus PEN E-PL5 selected 1.3s at its base ISO sensitivity setting of 200. The file size was 5.59MB and, as always, the red square in the image above shows the cropped area, which is shown below at 1:1.

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. To further reduce any distracting visual differences between the crops I also set custom white balance to 4500K and tint to 0.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.

Once again, these files processed in Adobe Camera RAW using the same settings reveal far more about the noise performance of these two sensors than the JPEG results alone. In the absence of the EOS M's in-camera JPEG processing the results from the two cameras look much closer at the lower ISO sensitivity settings. The PEN E-PL5 crops look a tiny bit sharper, but there's really very little to choose between them up to and including the 400 ISO crop.

In the JPEG results, 800 ISO was where the EOS M took a definite downward turn and the crop from the RAW file gives a clue to the possible cause, there's a lot more colour noise in this crop than the previous one and indeed from here on up the sensitivity scale colour noise appears to be more of a problem for the sensor in the EOS M than the PEN E-PL5. As with the outdoor RAW results, these RAW noise results confirm that it should be possible to squeeze a better quality result from the EOS M RAW files than shooting JPEGs, at least at the lower ISO sensitivity settings.

But wait, there's one more page of results, showcasing the Canon EOS M Multi Shot Noise Reduction mode. Alternatively head over to my Canon EOS M sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Canon EOS M
 
Olympus E-PL5
100 ISO
100 Not available
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


Canon EOS M
results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise / RAW Noise / Multi Shot NR


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