Canon EOS 1DX: some aspects of Dynamic range and Noise

100% crop of Golden Eagle at baitAfter blogging a review of the Canon EOS 1DX some people asked me wether I can subscribe what is written there and wether it is possible to show proof of what is said, that the dynamic range has improved significantly over the Mark IV.

Some tests in photo laboratories show, that Dynamic range of Canon EOS 1DX benefits from having “only” 18 million pixels with a full frame sensor. For this you get a high dynamic range and a better signal / noise ratio. The test showed a total dynamic range of nearly 11 stops at the low ISO settings in a RAW file. At 100 ISO RAW files, they found a usable dynamic range (while taking into account noise) of 7 stops and at a 6400 ISO jpg file still 6 stops.

The sensor of the Canon EOS 1D X use a new feature where there is no space between the pixels, and as much as possible of the incident light is actually converted into signal.  This is new in a professional Canon SLR and they call it  “gapless micro lenses.” This benefits both the dynamic range and the signal to noise ratio. The Canon EOS 1 DX produces images with so little noise, that you can safely use high ISO values. Here you see an image of an impressive Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) at the bait of a Black Grouse. The image above is a 100% image cropping of a 3200 ISO jpg file converted from RAW. It is the crop of the 5th image in the gallery .

Although the automatic white balance of the last generation EOS cameras are quite good, I would recommend to start the workflow in RAW –processing in Photoshop with proper setting the white balance. The differences in image impression can be technically improved considerably.

It’s amazing how much detail you can work out of lights and shadows. After initial scepticism, I know now, that you can use values ​​up to ISO 3,200 without hesitation. The 1 DX RAW-files you can edit perfectly without having major compromises in terms of denoising.

All in all: The perfect camera for nature photography – also in real wilderness conditions.

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