So to start off the nerdom I wanted to share some interesting information regarding the 5D’s different ISO settings.  I can’t remember if I’ve shared this before or not, so in the name of more knowledge being good here we go:

The short of it all is that apparently the 5D reacts better, Ie. less noise, in ISO settings that are multiples of 160.  It has something to do with the fact that the native sensor is shooting always in multiples of 100 (200, 400, 800, etc.) and when you pick an ISO like 160 it is taking the ISO 200 and digitally bringing down the image to 160, which in turn lowers the amount of noise.  So in theory, ISO 160 has less noise than ISO 100, which would go against common sense, but in actuality, is true.  ISOs like 250 and 500 on the other hand should be avoided due to a ‘digital enhancement’ from their lower native ISOs (200 enhanced to 250, 400 enhanced to 500, etc) which results in more noise.

A fellow OU Alum and DP, Devin Doyle sent me this email about this information.  He got the tip from Bodie Orman, who is one of Shane Hurlbuts assistants that constantly is going out on jobs with Shane’s 5D rigs.

From Devin Doyle, who probably hates wordpress more than slow AC’s:

“5D Homies,

Some of you may know Bodie Orman – I worked with him over the weekend with some of Shane Hurlbut’s 5D gear and he dropped a little gem on me. While doing tests for Hurlbut’s Bandito Bros. Navy Seal extravaganza he mentioned that the camera’s ISO was cleanest at 160 and all settings derived thereof (320, 640, etc.). Interested I did a little research myself and found this cinema 5D thread that shed some light on the subject. This may be old news to some of you, but I thought I’d share just in case. The noise graph further on in the thread is really eye-opening. The tests also put to bed the idea of using highlight priority to preserve highlights in bright exteriors – the noise introduced in lowlights seems pretty aggressive.

Also thought I’d share this little article on using picture profile settings to gather a RAW, low-con image to paint in post. Interesting how it slightly decreases the moire…”

Interesting stuff.  I know that I’ve been keeping my ISO at multiples of 160 whenever I can since I found this out.

-John

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