As the Leica D-Lux 4 field review continues, I explored the High ISO settings last night. This little camera delivered some results that pleased me and that also made me gawk at the images on screen. It’s really up to you and your own judgement. As a point-and-shoot with a larger sensor, we can’t expect it to have 5D Mk II type image quality but some of the images that come out will still be very usable, especially with use on Flickr. The images here have been resized specifically to be with Flickr’s Large setting. More analysis after the jump.
The opening photo was taken at ISO 800. As you can see, the image quality isn’t so bad if you’re going to upload it to the web. You surely do see some noise but it’s manageable. If not, it’s nothing that a bit of noise reduction in Photoshop can’t fix at all.
ISO 800 actually gave me my favorite results because it balanced image quality with low light sensitivity. I love shooting in low light and out in NYC at night. So it’s only natural that I’d want clean images as well. What also really helps with this is the F2.0 lens.
After a while, I tended to notice that noise is more prevalent and noticeable in some areas vs others. Since this is the case, I really can’t tell how the D-LUX 4 processes images but I can say that results can sometimes be unpredictable. This goes double for higher ISO settings.
If you think that ISO 800 delivers poor results then I’d advise you to stop here. However, ISO 1600 still does offer some very usable and pleasing results as well.
This was the only picture I shot at ISO 1600. Why? Because I thought it to be too much noisier than ISO 800 but I still did like the results. The luminance noise looks nice, but I can see too much chroma noise for my liking to publish the shot. I’d use it for a personal site though. If you’re confused on the noise types, go here.
This one was a bit tricky. In the photo above, I’d say no. Just no. There’s way too much chroma noise. It would require lots of photoshopping and perhaps conversion to black and white. In the photo below though, the results aren’t bad.
To be fair, this photo has better lighting so perhaps the camera did a better job with this. But towards the right of the photo, one can start to see banding. This is the worst type of noise to try to edit.
And sometimes, it can give you some really nice artistic looks to them. This looks like one of the art filters on the Olympus EP-2. If you’re using it artistically, it can be used just fine. Publishing though, I’d think twice.
Why wasn’t flash used for any of these? As a street photographer I try to avoid flash as it draws too much attention towards you and can offer some uneven results at times. However, I will put the flash to the test. So for best results, hold your breath and shoot at ISO 800 unless you can shoot at a lower ISO.