Canon EOS 1DX MK3 RAW File Noise Tests 2020

Early today I picked up two brand new Canon EOS 1DX MK3 camera bodies from Sun studios in Melbourne (Thanks Rob!). A few weeks ago I beta tested a pre-production firmware version for Auto Focus and wrote my initial impressions online HERE. I was seriously impressed by what I saw and have been super keen to get production cameras in my hands. I have now had a chance to shoot some images and test the new cameras high ISO capabilities with full production firmware. You can download the RAW files HERE. A few notes below:

I did not bother to test 1/3rd stops since these are either push or pull in camera from the standard full ISO stops – 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12,800, 25,600, 51,200 and 102,400.  I did not test Highlight Tone Priority.

I did not underexpose the images by four or more stops and then push them since this approach does not represent real world application (at least in my world). Instead, each image is exposed correctly in camera. I still suggest you ‘normalise’ the exposures and match white balance once you import into Adobe Lightroom.

You must have the latest version of Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW or DPP to open the files. I do not use Capture One so did not test this software. Incidentally, Canon EOS 1DX MK3 files are noticeably sharper out of camera than MK2 files. Canon’s brand new AA sensor is the best I have seen in this regard. It is remarkable.

Conclusions: ISO 100-3200 are essentially noiseless in real world use and require no noise reduction. ISO 6400 is still totally ok out of camera without any noise reduction of any kind. ISO 12,800 and 25,600 are exceptional by industry standards and can be made to look as good as ISO 3200 with moderate noise reduction. ISO 51,200 and 102,400 are as expected quite grainy, but still usable with more judicious noise reduction.  This is remarkable performance that represents at least a 2-stop advantage over the MK2 and sets a very high benchmark for other cameras.

The images you are looking at below are JPEG’s that are direct unaltered conversions from the Canon CR3 RAW file in Adobe Lightroom. No noise reduction has been applied to them other than the default Adobe setting. Note that the images are scaled down (which has the effect of lowering noise) so I strongly suggest you download the RAW files linked above and view them at 100%.

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 100

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 200

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 400

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 800

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 1600

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 3200

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 6400

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 12800

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 25,600

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 51,200

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 – ISO 102,400


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