To measure and compare the EOS 30D’s noise levels we photographed the standard Gretag Macbeth ColorChecker with it and a number of rival models at each of their ISO settings.
The crops below are taken from the originals, saved as High Quality JPEGs in Photoshop CS2 and presented here at 100%. To compare typical noise in skies and dark shadows the crops were taken from patches 3 and 24 respectively.
Note: differences in tone or colour are due to each camera’s particular image processing.
Noise levels on the Canon 30D remain impressively low throughout its entire range, even at 800 and 1600 ISO. Indeed it essentially matches the EOS 5D up to 800 ISO with its big brother only coming into its own at 1600 ISO and above. As expected, it also comfortably beats the noise levels of the 10.2 Megapixel Nikon D200 and Sony A100 from 400 ISO and above. We wonder how Canon’s noise levels will be affected when it inevitably increases the resolution of its APS-C sensors in the future.
Note: we have compared 100% crops from each camera measuring 136×136 pixels. Since the Canon 30D has a lower resolution sensor, its crop therefore represents a slightly larger area relative to the others. That is, any artefacts visible on the 30D crops would be slightly larger and more obvious than the other three if each image was reproduced at the same physical size. In practice though with the models in question, this only makes a modest difference.