I’m generally not inclined to test my cameras since I’m happy to go on the word of those who do this kind of thing for a living. A couple of days ago, though, taking a late night walk to get a little air I brought my X-T2 with me and took a few shots at various ISO settings to see how things looked. Generally speaking things looked very well. I didn’t go beyond ISO 6400 but the shots I took at that setting looked good to me and I would have no qualms about shooting at this sensitivity. Both of the images below were shot at ISO 6400 and are jpegs from lightly edited RAW files but no noise reduction has been applied. Click on the images for a larger version.
At ISO 3200, which was generally as high as I was willing to go with my X-E2, the images are better yet and totally usable for my standard 12×8 prints. I also think these would print well up to 18×12. The images below were shot at ISO 3200 and, again, have been edited slightly but have no noise reduction applied.
I also experimented a little with deliberately underexposing images and then recovering them in Lightroom. In the next set there are four images:
- With the camera’s selected metering on aperture priority and ISO manually set at 6400 – 1/30th, f3.2. Jpeg export from RAW in Lightroom with no adjustment other than white balance.
- Shot on manual at ISO 800, 1/60th, f3.2 – that is, four stops underexposed. Jpeg export from RAW in Lightroom with no adjustments.
- The RAW file from 2 above with +4 exposure compensation in LR and exported to jpeg with no adjustments other than white balance. There is some colour shifting, a little purple tinting in some of the dark areas, lower contrast and a little more noise in the sky. Overall, though, it holds up quite well.
- The RAW file from 2 above with +4 exposure compensation in LR, exported to jpeg and edited to match closely the first image.
So four stops is doable. What about five stops? The four images in the next set correspond to the four in the set above except that this time the difference between shot 1 and 2 is five stops and the correction in 3 and 4 is +5 stops.
To my eye this produces a similar outcome to the previous test and both the camera metered file and the corrected under exposed file are entirely usable for my purposes. But can I recover even more? How about eight stops?
That would be a ‘no’ then. Having said that, I was impressed that the file contained so much information. Despite the strange colours and gritty texture it’s perfectly clear what it is and it’s also clearly the same image as the first shot.
While I don’t shoot a lot at these high ISOs it is good to know the camera performs so well up to 6400 and perhaps beyond. It’s also good to know that I have plenty of scope for recovery of under exposure since it gives me extra flexibility in low light if I need to keep the shutter speed up. Considering this isn’t even Fuji’s latest technology I’m impressed.