a23 May 2014

Magic Lantern Dual ISO - first impressions

Magic Lantern Dual ISO - first impressions

Dual ISO is a great feature of Magic Lantern firmware for Canon DSLRs that can increase dynamic range of your camera to about 14 EV from original 11 - 12 EV. I wrote more about this feature earlier in this post. However, up to now I didn't use it very often because I didn't properly test it and so I was a bit anxious to use it for production work. I was simply afraid to loose a shot.

However, just a few days ago during photo shoot with my friend +Matthias Haeussler he was really recommending it so I decided to give Dual ISO a try and start testing it finally.

Today I would like to show you one of my first photos taken with Dual ISO - it's from the same sunset as this one.

Please note that I intend to do more serious testing in the next few days and I will definitely share my findings here on the blog.

Ok, so here is the final processed shot:
Sunset in Warsaw

Above photo probably isn't the most impressive photo I took (although I really like colours in the clouds). What is impressive, however, is how the RAW photo straight from the camera looked:
Straight from the camera
Wow! The shadows are almost completely black in the RAW file but they still contain a lot of information! If I didn't use Dual ISO and would brighten them up, I would end up with a very noisy and almost unusable image. But thanks to Dual ISO image is pretty clean despite heavily brightening the shadows. And I used just a little of noise reduction here. Almost none. Amazing!

So what do I like about Dual ISO so far? A lot! Having so much detail in a single frame is simply amazing. It's really useful when you don't have tripod with you or when you aren't allowed to use one as taking bracketed photos in such case is much more difficult. It's also useful when you prefer to take a single shot due to a lot of movement in the scene (like some busy street photos for instance).

Another great thing is that it fits my existing workflow pretty well (it just requires additional step but more on this on different occasion). I can use Photomatix to do tone-mapping, luminosity masks to improve colour and contrast, Lightroom and all that stuff that I've been using for years.

One of the drawbacks of Dual ISO is that resolution in shadows and highlights can be lower than in midtones but so far I haven't noticed this much but maybe I'll confirm this in my more detailed tests.

Finally some EXIF info for the above image:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review here)
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 47 mm
Aperture: f/5.0
Exposure time: 1/40 s
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: no
Filters: no
Technique: tone-mapping, luminosity masking
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.4, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity

Where was this photo taken:

Post a Comment