Shooting the 1Dx at an ISO of 4000

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment

Yesterday afternoon we sat with a pride of lions until just after sunset.

They were on a kill, they were active and light was fading fast which gave me the perfect opportunity to push the ISO in the Canon 1Dx up.

Way up!

High ISO on the Canon 1Dx - Gerry van der Walt

Canon 1Dx, Canon 500mm f/4 IS II, 1/500, f/4, ISO 4000

The above image is the original RAW file as shot with the 1Dx.

Now historically, and especially if you ask Nikon shooters, Canon cameras has not been great at producing clean, low noise images at high ISOs.

So, as we were sitting with this large pride of lions the sun was close to the horizon and dropping behind a large bank of clouds.  I kept on shooting, all the time making sure to keep my shutter speed at 1/focal length.

For this shot I had to push the ISO to 4000 to achieve the desired to focal length!

This is a close up crop of the original RAW file.

High ISO on the Canon 1Dx - Gerry van der Walt

Yeah, that’s a tight crop of the original RAW file at ISO 4000 on the Canon 1Dx.

You have to admit it’s pretty impressive stuff.  Almost no color noise with just a bit of monochromatic noise in the dark areas.

I ran the image through a very basic Lightroom edit – with the goal of creating an image that shows the scene as I saw it – which included the following adjustments:

[list type=”bullet”]

  • Exposure: +60
  • Highlights: -61
  • Shadows: +2
  • Whites: +29
  • Blacks: -12
  • Vibrance: +12
  • Sharpening: 40
  • Masking: 73
  • Luminance Noise Reduction: 24
  • Color Noise Reductions: 20


This was the final result.

High ISO on the Canon 1Dx - Gerry van der Walt

Pretty close to the original, a nice and clean image and not bad considering Canon can apparently not produce quality images at high ISOs.

I reckon the 1Dx might have just busted that myth.

Does it match the D4 for image quality at such high ISO settings?

I’ll be checking on that tonight when I point them both skywards BUT…

I seriously believe that with Lightroom 4 you can turn any image, from either of these camera, into a workable, quality image if you understand how noise reduction and sharpening works but more on that next week.

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

[divider scroll_text=”Go to Top”]

Comments 0

  1. Andrew

    Nice that you can use the gear in a manner which works for you……..The rest is as always reality and a true about the reality around our gear……putting it to the test in reality and how you want is far more reliable than 425 reviews online and from a store or dealer……….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *