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Canon EOS M Ken McMahon, Nov 2012
 
 

Canon EOS M Noise

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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 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 best quality JPEG settings 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 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.

The EOS M 100 ISO crop suffers from the same softness as was evident in the outdoor quality test, but in terms of noise there's little to find fault with. There's no noticeable texture anywhere there shouldn't be, from the light coloured wall to the dark wood of the memorial panel. At 200 and 400 ISO there is a small, barely perceptible increase in noise levels which you can just about make out as a slight graininess most visible in the panel with the text. This is a great start for the EOS M, you can use the sensitivity settings up to 400 ISO more or less interchangeably with little consequence for the quality.

At 800 ISO there's a marked deterioration though. It's not so much that the noise is significantly worse as the processing is becoming intrusive with some smearing of the detail, again, most noticeable in the text panel. At 1600 ISO it's a little worse despite the fact that the suppression isn't working so well and the noise is more evident. Despite that, though, the 1600 ISO crop still looks pretty good and I'd have no hesitation making full sized prints from it. 3200 ISO is the point of no return where the noise is concerned, still ok for viewing at smaller sizes, but the 100 percent crop doesn't look very pretty. On a more positive note, despite the predominance of noisy pixels and clumping, the larger detail looks okay and the edges are holding up well. They don't start to break up until the next step up the range at 6400 ISO. But by now we really are into 'must get the shot at any cost' territory.

Compared with the crops from the Olympus PEN E-PL5, the Canon EOS M crops look softer, but in terms of noise, there's little to choose between them. The PEN E-PL5 doesn't have a 100 ISO setting, but its 200 ISO crop compares favourably with the EOS M's base 100 ISO crop as well as the equivalent 200 ISO one. At 400 ISO there's arguably a more textured look to the E-PL5 crop, but I prefer that to the softness of the EOS M one.

At 800 ISO the PEN has a clear edge, with cleaner detail and less noise, at 1600 ISO the detail is still there, but there's a harshness to it and the edges are beginning to look a little clumpy. From there on up, to the 25,600 ISO setting neither looks particularly great. To sum up, the PEN-E-PL5 looks better in the low to mid ISO range, largely as a result of its more punchy JPEG processing and more successful noise reduction.

But the EOS M also offers Multi Shot Noise reduction to produce better quality shots in the mid to high ISO range. You can see the results from that on my Canon EOS M Multi Shot Noise Reduction page. It' also possible that, once you remove Canons in-camera JPEG processing from the equation, things could look different. To find out how much of a role processing plays in the noise quality in these crops take a look at my Canon EOS M RAW noise results page to see just how much noise is present behind the scenes. Or 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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