Thursday, 6 September 2012

Canon 600D Max ISO & How to Reduce Noise In Low Light

How to set the Maximum ISO setting for the Canon 600D and 60D.

Most of us are not so fond of having to read the manual of this camera. Mine is in Japanese so I couldn't even comprehend a word from it. For the ISO settings, the Canon 600D or Rebel T3i could go to maximum of ISO 12,800. It is very high and very sensitive indeed. In factory reset, the maximum setting is set at ISO 6,400. To 'release' this setting from its hiding place is fairly easy. Oh even 60D users can follow this too.

First, turn on the camera and press the 'MENU' button to go to the menu. Then scroll to the second last tab of the settings page. You can see it is like this;

Press 'SET' to go into the 'Custom Functions(C.Fn)' setting and navigate between the tabs to the second tab, until you see 'C.Fn I :Exposure ISO expansion'.  Press 'SET' and select '1:On' by using the 'SET' button again.

And exit by pressing the 'MENU' button. Go to your ISO settings page by pressing 'ISO' button on the top of the camera and you can see there is a 'ISO H' setting.

Congratulations you now have the option of using ISO 12,800. Sorry for the slanted horizon pictures.

How to Reduce Noise in Low Light

Although the camera has the option of going to very high ISO, it is still not night vision. Actually the low light photos you see is not so low light as it seems, they always captures something that has light, and the other stuff is in darkness. Cameras captures light. It can't do its job if there is no light. Look at the photo I took in the dark of night, but I was witty enough to find objects that is illuminated enough to be the subject. It is a meaningless photo I know LOL. I am just trying to show you how low light photos are shot.

The Canon 600D is capable of producing very clean photos until ISO 800 and tolerably clean at ISO 1,600. At ISO 3,200 it is still usable. Then at ISO 6,400 and above, the noise is just overwhelming. You can see how the noise my Canon 600D produces here in my post; 

In normal days I would never go beyond ISO 1,600. If I really have to I would opt to the ISO 3,200 setting if there is not much light to use and I need the faster shutter speed. If I were forced to go even with less light, I have two options;

1. I would not use the PAS modes. I would switch to the M mode.
When there is not much light to use, on PAS modes it will suggest you a very slow shutter speed than what you would need. I would just dial in the exposure that I need and be grateful of what I get in the photos. But make sure you use the rule-of-thumb rule. The shutter speed should be 1/'focal length value'. For example, if you are using a 50mm, go for 1/50s. But keep in mind the 1.6x cropped field of view of these 'not-full-frame cameras'. For best results use at least 1/80s. I managed to get some very sharp photos on a 50mm with 1/30s, with controlled breathing and stabilization though.

2. Shoot RAW.
With RAW, it opens up many post-processing possibilities as it is just a raw unprocessed photo. With so much detail to work with I can reduce the noise without losing too much detail on the photo in programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. You can see what I mean by detail smudging in the post I linked above. So de-noise carefully. I would surely use RAW when I am using ISO values of 3,200 above.

There you go. Hope I helped. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more stuff as I learn more.


Praveen said...

That's a valuable piece of informatio... :)
Thanks a lot

darvenblog said...

great explanation, bravo

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