Canon EOS R3 – ISO Performance and Exposure Recovery Test

Flagship mirrorless cameras are finally a thing and it is now (somewhat) possible to get your hands on one without too much hassle. For Canon, the current flagship is the EOS R3.

The video specs on this generally photo-centric camera are impressive, even including internal 6K raw at up to 60p and 4K at up to 120 fps.

We are still going to want to see exactly how good the camera performs and for that we want to see some tests. And for tests, it’s great to see LensProToGo do their standard round of ISO performance and exposure recovery tests.

This test is going to be performed in both Canon Log 3 and the Neutral profiles so you can get a good look at how the camera handles the footage at all ISO settings.

Then he is going to under and overexpose the footage to see how much latitude the images have to work with. Plus, he checks out the raw profile to see if there are notable differences between it and the compressed formats.

All the tests (besides the raw test) are done in UHD 4K at 24p using H.265/HEVC compression in an MP4 container. There is a very slight corrective grade, but nothing impacting exposure.

Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera

Image Credit: Canon

Neutral Profile ISO Test

Outside of log the lowest ISO value is 100, which looks exceptionally clean. Moving up to 200 is the same and this continues up through ISO 1600 where you start to see a jump in noise. Even still, ISO 2000 is looking good though it has a slight jump which you can see in the zoomed-in window. 

ISO 3200 holds up though you can see it in the zoomed-in footage.

Noise continues to pick up though seems manageable up through ISO 8000. ISO 10,000 it is starting to see some of the shifting and showing off the limits of the camera. ISO 12,800 is where it just starts to look noisy and is falling apart. Still, this is very usable with some care.

Getting up higher is going to be judgement call but still seems to be decent.

ISO 25,600 is the highest value and looks impressive considering it is the upper limit. You are losing some detail and getting color shift at this point. Chroma noise is surprisingly well controlled.

Canon Log 3 Profile ISO Test

This test was metered at 1-1/3 stops over for best practices in creating a clean log capture.

You can start at ISO 100 though it is a low value that isn’t a true setting. These still all look great and clean. ISO 800 is the base ISO for Canon Log 3. Overexposing the footage is helping out a lot and it is virtually noise free at this point.

Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera Rear

Image Credit: Canon

Getting up to ISO 1600 is still great. Just like with the neutral profile you are making it up quite high in the ISO settings.

Noise becomes more apparent as you move up past ISO 2500. It isn’t until ISO 6400 where it jumps up a bit. Color is getting messy at this point and could be distracting. ISO 8000 and up are continuing to get weird, especially in blues.

Still, the noise pattern is pleasing and this could be perfectly good up through ISO 12,800 without too much hassle. ISO 20,000 and 25,600 are okay, but you’ll pick up on some issues for sure at this point.

Over/Underexposure Test

Working at ISO 400 for a good dynamic range he starts performing the exposure latitude test with the Neutral profile. Going all the way to 5 stops in either direction it pushes the limit of the camera.

Like most digital cameras today, the EOS R3 is much more capable in underexposure than overexposure. You’ll start losing detail much faster with overexposed imagery.

Going under you can easily go to three stops and still save detail with ease. Going to four and five stops you are going to start seeing some noisy shadows and color shifting. 

Overexposure starts to fall apart almost immediately and at two stops I think you are seeing some loss of information in the highlights. It only gets worse from there and becomes practically unusable at five stops.

Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera Top

Image Credit: Canon

Canon Log 3 is shot at ISO 800 for best dynamic range and it is “correctly” exposed per the camera metering.

This may actually hold up slightly better than the neutral profile and seems to be able to handle three or even four stops under without serious drawbacks. Overexposure fairs better as well, but it definitely loses information by three stops over.

Raw Test

Now, can you get better dynamic range with the raw profiles?

Doing the underexposure tests in raw does seem to allow some more detail to be saved but not a game-changing amount. In overexposure it is a massive improvement.

This could mean the difference between having a usable take or not since you have a good three stops of potential overexposure.

What did you think about the Canon EOS R3’s ISO and dynamic range performance?

[source: LensProToGo]

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  • Canon EOS R3 Mirrorless Camera (B&H)

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