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Noisy Images with Canon R6 (Concert Photography)


Hi all,

I’m a concert photographer and I recently upgraded from the Canon 5D Mark IV to the Canon R6, mainly for improved focus capabilities (like the advanced eye tracking) and the ability to shoot in lower light with a high ISO. I’ve heard that with a mirrorless body like the R6, photos can be taken at an ISO of up to 10,000 (or higher) without an insane amount of noise.

I shot a concert a few days ago and noticed that my photos were significantly more grainy with the R6 than with my 5D Mark IV DSLR camera. Below are three RAW files for reference (both shot under ISO 3000). Am I doing something wrong?? I feel like my settings were standard but the photos are so noisy. I can’t even imagine what they would look like at an ISO of 6,000+. Thanks in advance for any help!!!!

Note: I used a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens with the EF to EOS R adapter. 

Example 1: 

Example 2: 

Example 3: 



Skärmbild från 2023-07-17 09-39-05.png

Dark and not so much light in green channel due to the light source. This is without a tone curve applied.

Thanks for looking into it! Is there a reason that his face looks so grainy at ISO 1600 though? Should I have went up to 3000 or higher since it was so dark? I usually underexpose and then fix everything in post but this RAW is so noisy to start with.

R6 is "ISOless" from ISO 1600. Using the same exposure at ISO 1600 + 1 EV in post or same exposure at ISO 3200 should give you the same noise. Feel free to try at home. You can try ISO 1600 + 2 EV in post vs ISO 6400 also.

I would say that the cuprit is the light source (LED?)

Oh interesting! Did you see photo 1? That one is a lot more close up and shot at 2500 ISO, but her face is super noisy along with the background behind her. You think the issue is just the venue's lighting and not anything mechanical with the camera or the settings on my end? My 5D Mark IV seems to have handled low light better which shouldn't be the case, right? 


I saw all three from R6. Have you compared R6 vs 5D IV with same exposure and same motive?

Skärmbild från 2023-07-17 10-54-55.png

No tone curve applied in the print screen above.

Yes, it is noisy, but that is due to exposure (not enough light) and the quality of the light.

Skärmbild från 2023-07-17 11-01-41.png

With the profile FineDetails that I tried to copy from DPP4 to darktable.

I can't see anything wrong with your camera. It looks like my R6. If you want less noise I recommend DxO PureRAW. If you don't have it I can send you those three sample files.


Hi Peter! Thanks for all your advice! I'd love to see the samples with DxO PureRAW. I'm looking into the program now and I'm very intrigued. 

One thing to consider for the future is a wider aperture lens.  While it would not have the flexibility of a zoom, an 85mm f/1.2L lens would do quite well.  Even at f/1.4, that would be letting in four times more light than your f/2.8 lens.  So you could reduce ISO by 2 stops (e.g. 6400 down to 1600).

The distance to your subject should be far enough away so that the shallow depth of field shouldn't be an issue.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x

Yeah that makes sense! Thank you!!

Sent you a PM with the files.

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