I looked around my home tonight and still can’t bring myself to take down the Christmas decor. It will stay up for at least another week. So I thought I would record my favorite decorations and Christmas elements before we pack them up for the year. This Charlie Brown Christmas Tree is a recent addition, but one of my very favorites. I shot it tonight in available light, with just the general can lights on. As you can see in the info detail later in this post, it is shot a very comfortable 1/250 of a second because I have my 50mm 1.2 and an ISO of 3200. On my 5D mark II, this ISO is a bit noisy, but just fine in Black and White and on my Mark III was completely impossible. But the Mark IV does a create job with the grain structure and the color noise is non-existent. Now, keep in mind, I am using this practically, I am not trying to be a scientist here, but rather a practical user. I am shooting RAW and using Lightroom to produce the final jpg you are seeing. I have added a vignette and adjusted the color to suite my taste and I have used the noise reduction in Lightroom, but nothing heroic has been done to the image. Basic Lightroom noise reduction has produced a file that I would be completely happy showing my clients. The grain looks good and the color noise is great for such a high ISO. Tomorrow, I will pump up the ISO even more and see how it fairs at 6400 and 12800 ISO.
In the detail crop you can see all of the basic setting for this Mark IV exposure and see the grain structure and look into the monochromatic background, that is where you should see the color noise, but without heroic noise reduction plug-ins (just normal Adobe Lightroom – Camera RAW color noise reduction) the file is fantastic for such a high ISO. And I am so thrilled with Canon’s grain structure, both here on the Mark IV and on the 5D mark II. Both feel so much like film, that I almost prefer shooting at a higher ISO to give my images a bit more depth and texture to them. We’ve become so sterilized with digital that we almost can’t imagine a world without smooth continuous tones. That’s why film shooters always “feel” so different. They have grain, even in the lower ISOs.
Grain is beautiful! Say it again and again! Never grow tired of that mantra.