Nikon D300 - Nikon D300 vs Sony Alpha A700 vs Canon EOS 5D real-life noise

Nikon D300 vs Sony Alpha A700 vs Canon EOS 5D real-life noise

Nikon D300 High ISO Noise Reduction

The Nikon D300 offers four High ISO noise reduction settings which apply to sensitivities of 800 ISO and above; the Normal setting is the default. It’s clear from the crops below the Normal setting avoids visible noise albeit at the cost of smearing away ultimate detail. Set the D300’s High ISO NR to Low or Off and you can retrieve detail at 800 ISO without too much compromise in visible noise. Many may also prefer the Low setting at 1600 and 3200 ISO, which seems to be an acceptable compromise between noise levels and retained detail.

To see more real-life examples across its sensitivity range, check out our Nikon D300 Indoor High ISO results.

 
Nikon D300
High ISO NR: Off
 
Nikon D300
High ISO NR: Low
 
Nikon D300
High ISO NR: Normal
 
Nikon D300
High ISO NR: High
             
Nikon D300 at 800 ISO - NR off   Nikon D300 at 800 ISO - NR low   Nikon D300 at 800 ISO - NR normal   Nikon D300 at 800 ISO - NR high
800 ISO
 
800 ISO
 
800 ISO
 
800 ISO
             
Nikon D300 at 1600 ISO - NR off   Nikon D300 at 1600 ISO - NR low   Nikon D300 at 1600 ISO - NR normal   Nikon D300 at 1600 ISO - NR high
1600 ISO
 
1600 ISO
 
1600 ISO
 
1600 ISO
             
Nikon D300 at 3200 ISO - NR off   Nikon D300 at 3200 ISO - NR low   Nikon D300 at 3200 ISO - NR normal   Nikon D300 at 3200 ISO - NR high
3200 ISO
 
3200 ISO
 
3200 ISO
 
3200 ISO
             
Nikon D300 at 6400 ISO - NR off   Nikon D300 at 6400 ISO - NR low   Nikon D300 at 6400 ISO - NR normal   Nikon D300 at 6400 ISO - NR high
H1.0 (6400 ISO)
 
H1.0 (6400 ISO)
 
H1.0 (6400 ISO)
 
H1.0 (6400 ISO)

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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Nikon D300, Sony Alpha A700 and Canon EOS 5D within a few moments of each other using each of their ISO settings in Aperture Priority modes. The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view.

The D300 was fitted with the Nikkor DX 17-55mm f2.8 lens, the A700 with the Sony DT 16-80mm, and the 5D with the Canon EF 24-105mm f4L.

The image above was taken with the Nikon D300 and DX 17-55mm f2.8 lens at 28 mm f8 and with a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original JPEG measured 6.48 MB. The crops are taken from an area just below and to the left of the centre and presented here at 100%.

Note: the D300’s High ISO NR was set to its default Normal for this first set of results, although for examples at all NR settings, see the bottom of this page. The exposures for each camera in this first set of examples were identical – this involved applying +0.3 EV to the D300’s default Matrix metering.

All three cameras tested may share the same resolution (give or take a few pixels), but it’s clear the full-frame sensor of the Canon EOS 5D enjoys an advantage here even at 100 ISO, with finer detail apparent, especially in the foliage areas. This advantage becomes even more noticeable at higher sensitivities. So as you’d expect, there’s still noise and detail advantages to full-frame, and we look forward to seeing how Nikon’s first FX model, the D3, compares in this respect.

As to the D300 versus the A700, they’re similar up to 400 ISO, but differences emerge at 800 ISO and above with both cameras adopting different approaches to noise reduction. At 800 ISO using the default settings, the D300 has smeared out more fine detail than the A700, although the Sony has greater visible noise. At 1600 ISO and above, there’s no clear winner, with the preference down to personal taste. It is however interesting to see their quite different output at the maximum 6400 ISO setting, and also to note how the D300’s Auto White Balance is once again warmer than the Sony or Canon.

The Nikon D300 offers four different noise reduction settings which apply to sensitivities of 800 ISO and above, so we shot the same scene with each and you can see the results at the bottom of this page. In the meantime, for more real-life examples across its sensitivity range, check out our Nikon D300 Indoor High ISO results.

Nikon D300
High ISO NR: Normal (default)
Sony Alpha A700
High ISO NR: Normal (default)
Canon EOS 5D
        Canon EOS 5D at 50 ISO
50 ISO not available
50 ISO not available
L (50 ISO)
         
Nikon D300 at 100 ISO   Sony Alpha A700 at 100 ISO   Canon EOS 5D at 100 ISO
L1.0 (100 ISO)
100 ISO
100 ISO
         
Nikon D300 at 200 ISO   Sony Alpha A700 at 200 ISO   Canon EOS 5D at 200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
         
Nikon D300 at 400 ISO   Sony Alpha A700 at 400 ISO   Canon EOS 5D at 400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
         
Nikon D300 at 800 ISO   Sony Alpha A700 at 800 ISO   Canon EOS 5D at 800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
         
Nikon D300 at 1600 ISO   Sony Alpha A700 at 1600 ISO   Canon EOS 5D at 1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
         
Nikon D300 at 3200 ISO   Sony Alpha A700 at 3200 ISO   Canon EOS 5D at 3200 ISO
3200 ISO
 
3200 ISO
 
H (3200 ISO)
         
Nikon D300 at 6400 ISO   Sony Alpha A700 at 6400 ISO    
H1.0 (6400 ISO)
 
6400 ISO
 
6400 ISO not available
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