One of the questions I had in my mind about going full frame is what will happen at the telephoto end. My 300mm lens will now be just that – 300mm. The way I figured it, it’s not a bad thing. Obviously we always want more reach, but the 1.6 crop factor is replaced by a two-fold increase in pixels and I think it works out just fine. And one of the problems I had with the fixed lens that it was often too much in the zoos, but now I will have margins to play with it.
With these thoughts in my head, I just couldn’t wait but wanted to see it in practice, so I drove to Järvzoo. Again. We are just a week short of the shortest day of the year and it was very overcast to boot, which meant that I had to go up to ISO 800 and sometimes even higher. Which just means that it’s an excellent opportunity to see the high ISO performance as well!
And you know the thing I always say about the zoo? There’s always something. I finally got some golden eagle pictures, this is a first! And here’s where the high pixel count really saved the picture. The net was hanging low by the weight of the snow, so it was a really tight space above the eagle’s head. I cropped to balance out the space below and above and ended up with a 10 MP picture, so at 50% crop I have the same size picture my 40D produced! As if that wasn’t enough, it’s shot at ISO 1250. Exposing to the right in a white environment definitely helps to minimise the noise but even when I was looking the dark feathers, I was pleased with the result. There is grain, yes, but I think we can make a difference between grain and noise. Grain is ok, noise isn’t.
With that said, I had a closer look at some starry sky pictures I took the other evening and then compared them to some old 40D shots. My initial thought about the 6D ISO 800 was, “oh how disappointing, there’s noise”. But then I thought about it and realised it was naïve to expect that even a full frame camera would produce completely noise free images at high ISO. And when I put the 40D and 6D ISO 800 pictures side by side, I realised this difference between noise and grain. The grain in the 6D pictures is much finer than in 40D and therefore more tolerable, plus that the 40D pictures have some artefacts, a bit like the mush you get when you compress a JPG file. Ok I realise it’s a lousy explanation so I will probably have to post some side by side comparisons, but today you just have to take my word for it!1 comment
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