K10D at ISO1600

Joshua Hakin

Link Posted 10/01/2007 - 21:26
Has anyone been shooting at 1600 with the K10D???
I'd love to see some samples from other cameras at this ISO.
I shot some DNG's recently at 1600 in Tungsten colour mode in some low light.
I'm curious to hear what people say about the shadow detail/quality at this ISO.
Any takers?


Link Posted 10/01/2007 - 22:23
well I tried something a bit silly (I have a tendancy to do that to discover the limitations of my kit).

This shot was taken at ISO 1600 with -3 stops of exposure compensation

I then took the PEF file and boosted it by 3 stops in Pentax Lab

yes, it's noisey as hell, no, it doesn't look as bad here as it does full size, but there's an awful lot of detail retained there considering it is effectively pushed to ISO 12800

in case anyone is wondering, it's a penny coin wedged into the gap between two of the keys on my keyboard. Shot with a Tamron 90mm macro lens in poor light with SR on, can't actually get much worse.

Joshua Hakin

Link Posted 10/01/2007 - 22:33
do those lines show up if you shoot normal exposure?


Link Posted 10/01/2007 - 22:38
no, at least not that I've seen with my particular camera.


Link Posted 10/01/2007 - 22:41
here is the same shot taken "sensibly" at ISO 1600, if ISO 1600 can ever be called sensible

its a bit shakey because even the K10s SR struggles a bit with 180mm and 1/8th shutter speed, that is about 5 stops better than should be possible after all!

Joshua Hakin

Link Posted 10/01/2007 - 22:44
SR dont work that close huh! lol
Thanks for the post!


Link Posted 11/01/2007 - 00:05
oh it works, just try 1/8th at 180mm without SR and see what happens, it just can't perform miracles is all

no problem, always happy to help where my geekyness comes in handy. If you look very closely on the "sensible" one you can just about start to see the colour banding that was obvious in the stupid one, but a little bit of Neat Image noise reduction clears that up in no time at all.

Joshua Hakin

Link Posted 11/01/2007 - 00:12
ya I was just joking on the SR... it works great!

Neat image huh? hmmm... I'll see if I can get a trial on it and give it a whirl.
I've tried a million trick in PS to resolve it but no luck.
It's tough cuz I do a lot of low-light high ISO stuff and convert to BW... I just cant do it with this camera. Noise is no problem, I love noise! haha! Just not "banded noise". I'm hoping the firmware update will resolve it a bit better as I've heard many people concerned with the problem.


Link Posted 11/01/2007 - 00:16
the Neat Image free trial version is time unlimited and free for non comercial use. It's drawback is it can only save in one level of JPEG compression. The images it produces are generally fine, but not lossless.

If you buy the pay for version you get to change the JPEG compression level or save as TIFF if you want to, and it has batch mode.

the free trial is well worth a download and for web posting and small prints it does the job.

heres that same shot again after running through neat image

NI is very adjustible so if you want the grainy look for your BW conversions you can set it to just remove colour noise and ignore luminance noise. Here I had it set to remove about 60% of luminance noise and all colour noise, which is the default.


Link Posted 11/01/2007 - 10:53
I can't really see why there is so much fuss over the K10D's noise at ISO1600. Firstly as Goosies "proper" image shows, their ain't that much noise, secondly, software does a damn good job of removing it (and leaving the detail, as per Pentax's intentions) thirdly, there is no such thing as a free lunch, if you shoot at high ISO you have to expect some trade off, fourthly, before digital most of us wouldn't have shot at much above ISO400 (well I never did).
Tim the Ammonyte
K10D & sundry toys


Link Posted 11/01/2007 - 11:08
I agree completely Tim, in my book the K10D is a very good performer in terms of high ISO noise. It certainly outperforms the Fuji Superia 1600 film I used to use for indoor sports before I went digital.

What noise there is seems to be nice and uniform and very easily removed. Remember as well that high ISO noise gets worse with exposure time, since this was a 1/8th exposure this is probably the worst noise you'll ever see in real life, any slower than that and you'll be using a tripod anyway so you can dump the ISO right down and use a looooong shutter speed.

Joshua Hakin

Link Posted 11/01/2007 - 21:44
Ammonyte wrote:
I can't really see why there is so much fuss over the K10D's noise at ISO1600. Firstly as Goosies "proper" image shows, their ain't that much noise... there is no such thing as a free lunch, if you shoot at high ISO you have to expect some trade off

I know this issue is no big deal to people who don't do high ISO work, but I do extensive shooting in low light for bands in clubs and such and it's very important to me. Having processed hundreds of RAW images from the *istD at 3200 I have an intimate knowledge of how much it can/can't do, the K10D falls way short on this particular area of meeting the quality of the D. Again I know this is redundant to a lot of people.
Trade off is certainly expected at high ISO, but when it underproduces in comparison to the *istD I find it quite disappointing and frustrating.

before digital most of us wouldn't have shot at much above ISO400 (well I never did).

I did a lot! Tmax 3200 anyone?? Awesome stuff!
Again I say, noise and grain is not the problem in the least, it's a great look for live band photos. It's the "streaks of noise" that's the problem, that make the image look like film scanned on a garbage scanner.

But here's my disclaimer: I love love love the look of the K10D images at lower ISO and can get a fabulous film look from it. It is amazing in this regard and I am MORE than pleased with it's performance in this regard. There are WAY too many advantages to this camera to let the high ISO banding problem make it a poor product. My D can't even come close to this quality.
Solution? I'll just have to continue using the *istD for my high ISO work.


Link Posted 11/01/2007 - 22:19
Okay I'm a very inexperienced digital user so please ignore my contribution if I'm talking garbage.
I've taken a couple of shots on the K10D at 1600 and shutter speeds down to 1/8sec. Looking at these in photoshop shows that all the banding is sat in the blue channel only. The other channels don't show any banding whatsoever that I can see anyway. The banding in the blue channel seems to be quite easy to get rid of too in PS so I'm not overly concerned. Overall noise at 1600 appears to be good or at least comparable to the higher iso films I used to use when dinosaurs roamed the earth


Link Posted 12/01/2007 - 07:27
Hi all,

Neat image now have profiles for the K10D ready to download..


scroll down for them.



"Make your hands respond to what your mind demands." Jesse James

Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the 'ah-ha'. Ernst Haas


Link Posted 13/01/2007 - 11:57

Thanks for the link, just need adobe to update ACR now!


I suppose the point I was trying to make, is that the digital revoloution has opened up a lot of possibilities (like high ISO) that many people would not have bothered with before, therefore they freak out when they see some artifacts that hadn't come across before. It's like eating ice cream for tthe first time, without knowing it is supposed to be cold!

Tim the Ammonyte
K10D & sundry toys
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