I got my start shooting events in New York City in the late 80’s. Since then I have reduced the event coverage gigs to less than a handful per year, preferring to concentrate on the work you see on my web site.
Monday night though was Fordham’s Founder’s Dinner, an event I have covered since it began eleven years ago. It was also a good chance to push the envelope a bit more with the 5D Mark III. ISO 12,800… why not? Two other photographers at the event were pounding away with their flashes. I usually try to get something different, which in the past meant working with my 70-200 at ISO 3200 and 1/15 sec or with my 50 f/1.2. On Monday night I could work with the 70-200 f/2.8, the 24-105 f/4, and the 16-35 f/2.8 and have room to breath because the 5D Mark III’s high ISO capabilities.
How good is the 5D Mark III at high ISO? Here’s a 100% detail from above.
And for comparison, a similar detail from the Canon 1Ds Mark III, shot in 2008. 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens, ISO 3200, f/2.8 @ 1/25.
They are not a 100% match, one was processed in ACR, the other in Aperture. ACR has a bit more noise reduction built in. But you get the idea, they are very close and you are easily getting two more stops of usable ISO from the 5D Mark III.
One more example, similar to the first photo above but shot at ISO 12,800 and then pushed 1.1 stops in ACR.
That’s simply amazing, to shoot at ISO 12,800 and then to have the latitude to push the file one more stop without the noise getting out of control.
The 5D Mark III can shoot at ISO 25,600 but I have yet to venture above 12,800. It can also reach ISO 51,200 and 102,400 when in extended range mode, H1 & H2. I suspect that 25,600 may be usable for a still photo but the speeds above that, not so much.