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Canon 200D (SL2) versus Nikon D5300

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#1 Michael Covington

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 11:12 PM

Granted that the Nikon D5300 is an excellent camera and represents a price-performance breakthrough... so much so that I bought one even though I have an extensive Canon lineup.  And it has served me well.

 

How about the new Canon 200D (SL2)?  On photonstophotos.net and DxOmark its test results look excellent -- very comparable to the D5300 -- indicating that Canon has finally made it solidly into what I call "third-generation" (ISOless) sensor technology.

 

Who among us is using a 200D for astrophotography?  Any drawbacks or hidden problems?

 

I'd like to have an all-Canon lineup again; keeping up 2 brands of cameras is confusing.  And Nikon lenses work on Canons though not the converse.


Edited by Michael Covington, 20 August 2018 - 11:12 PM.


#2 Michael Covington

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 11:19 PM

Just found this thread:  https://www.cloudyni...d5300-unmodded/

Same question, so I added a reply there.



#3 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 12:05 AM

Look for fixed pattern noise.

 

Look for focusing-pixel artifacts.

 

Jerry



#4 sharkmelley

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 02:09 AM

Sensor self-heating and the resulting problems with thermal fixed pattern noise is another issue that deserves to be taken into account for long deep-sky imaging runs. It is often overlooked.

 

Unfortunately I don't have data for the Nikon D5300, nor for the Canon 200D.

 

However, the Canon cameras I have been able to test suffer hugely from sensor self heating whilst the Nikon cameras do not.  It's not clear to me why this should be.  The Sony A7S has the lowest self-heating of any camera I have tried.  I have shown my chart previously: 

https://www.cloudyni...-a7s/?p=8666083

 

But who knows, maybe the 200D will buck this Canon trend.

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 21 August 2018 - 03:22 AM.

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#5 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 09:05 AM

Look for fixed pattern noise.

 

Look for focusing-pixel artifacts.

 

Jerry

If I had a 200D I would.  I'm hoping somebody does.



#6 SandyHouTex

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 09:28 AM

Look for fixed pattern noise.

 

Look for focusing-pixel artifacts.

 

Jerry

How would these be different from each camera's perspective.  All cameras have fixed pattern noise and what are focusing-pixel artifacts?  And why would they be different?  CMOS = CMOS.



#7 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 11:24 AM

How would these be different from each camera's perspective.  All cameras have fixed pattern noise and what are focusing-pixel artifacts?  And why would they be different?  CMOS = CMOS.

Second question first:  Some of the pixels on the newest Canon sensors have 2 purposes, imaging and autofocusing, and are specially  made to deliver 2 outputs.  The question is whether they respond to light differently than ordinary pixels, and if so, whether ordinary calibration (flat fielding, etc.) takes care of the difference.

CMOS = CMOS, but Nikon's CMOS sensors and Canon's CMOS sensors are made by different companies (Sony and Canon respectively) and have, in recent years, performed differently.  There is no reason to expect them to be the same -- absolutely any measurable parameter could be different.



#8 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 12:24 PM

Everybody's asking the right questions and saying what to look for.  But what I am wanting is answers!  Has no one tested a 200D against some competing camera doing astrophotography?



#9 sharkmelley

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 04:47 PM

Has no one tested a 200D against some competing camera doing astrophotography?

It doesn't look like it, you've been asking the same question for a while now.  A possible way forward is to buy a Canon 200D, perform a set of tests side by side with your Nikon 5300 and then sell the "loser".

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 21 August 2018 - 04:51 PM.

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#10 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 05:54 PM

Everybody's asking the right questions and saying what to look for.  But what I am wanting is answers!  Has no one tested a 200D against some competing camera doing astrophotography?

Buy me one and I'll test it... :-)

 

Jerry


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#11 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 06:04 PM

Sensor self-heating and the resulting problems with thermal fixed pattern noise is another issue that deserves to be taken into account for long deep-sky imaging runs. It is often overlooked.

 

Unfortunately I don't have data for the Nikon D5300, nor for the Canon 200D.

 

However, the Canon cameras I have been able to test suffer hugely from sensor self heating whilst the Nikon cameras do not.  It's not clear to me why this should be.  The Sony A7S has the lowest self-heating of any camera I have tried.  I have shown my chart previously: 

https://www.cloudyni...-a7s/?p=8666083

 

But who knows, maybe the 200D will buck this Canon trend.

Hi Mark,

 

I've had some personal issues here, but I'm going to eventually send you the data on the D5300 tests.

 

When you say the Canons suffer more than the Nikons from sensor heating, do you mean in terms of thermal signal, or the actual dark noise itself.

 

Roger seems to think they are doing on-sensor dark current suppression very well these days. He says "so the dark current suppression technology blocks the DC * time component, leaving only the random noise."

 

But I don't know if "random noise" means the associated dark current noise, but I suspect it does.

 

While you might not need darks, you still need more object signal to deal with this noise.

 

So it would make a difference if one camera actually had less dark current than another, even if it was suppressed in both and you didn't need darks for either. The camera with less actual dark current for a given temp would produce a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

 

Jerry


Edited by Jerry Lodriguss, 21 August 2018 - 06:06 PM.

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#12 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 06:56 PM

Buy me one and I'll test it... :-)

 

Jerry

I have several Canons (earlier models) and a Nikon D5300.  I'm trying to get out of having to buy a 200D in order to test it!  I would like to have an all-Canon lineup again.



#13 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 07:38 PM

I have several Canons (earlier models) and a Nikon D5300.  I'm trying to get out of having to buy a 200D in order to test it!  I would like to have an all-Canon lineup again.

I guess I've been around long enough to have used both brands every day professionally for sports, and astrophotography, and I've seen the pendulum swing slowly back and forth between the two for almost 50 years.

 

Nikon seems to be a little bit ahead right now for our purposes, but these cameras are so good these days, it's the skill of the user that is the overwhelming reason for success and not so much having the latest and greatest technology.

 

And Nikon (Sony) are not really that far ahead of Canon.

  -- Enough to completely switch from Canon to Nikon?  No. 

  -- Enough to completely switch from Nikon to Canon?  No.

 

Jerry


Edited by Jerry Lodriguss, 21 August 2018 - 07:39 PM.

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#14 Michael Covington

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 07:43 PM

I guess I've been around long enough to have used both brands every day professionally for sports, and astrophotography, and I've seen the pendulum swing slowly back and forth between the two for almost 50 years.

 

Nikon seems to be a little bit ahead right now for our purposes, but these cameras are so good these days, it's the skill of the user that is the overwhelming reason for success and not so much having the latest and greatest technology.

 

And Nikon (Sony) are not really that far ahead of Canon.

  -- Enough to completely switch from Canon to Nikon?  No. 

  -- Enough to completely switch from Nikon to Canon?  No.

 

Jerry

Well said.  About three years ago, though, Nikon/Sony pulled so far ahead of Canon that I bought a Nikon D5300.  I am wondering if it's time to sell the Nikon and get a Canon with comparable performance.  It seems that Canon is 90% of the way there, but maybe give them one more iteration.  It's awkward not being able to use the Canon lenses with the Nikon.

 

Or get an ASI1600MC-C and move into dedicated astrocamera work...   The second edition of Digital SLR Astrophotography is in press now.  The long-term plan is for the next revision to be Digital Astrophotography, comprising DSLRs and astrocameras.



#15 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 12:45 AM

Well said.  About three years ago, though, Nikon/Sony pulled so far ahead of Canon that I bought a Nikon D5300.

Personally, I don't think they pulled that far ahead.

 

And I don't have a horse in the race.

 

Jerry


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#16 sharkmelley

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 12:46 AM

Hi Mark,

 

I've had some personal issues here, but I'm going to eventually send you the data on the D5300 tests.

 

When you say the Canons suffer more than the Nikons from sensor heating, do you mean in terms of thermal signal, or the actual dark noise itself.

 

Roger seems to think they are doing on-sensor dark current suppression very well these days. He says "so the dark current suppression technology blocks the DC * time component, leaving only the random noise."

 

But I don't know if "random noise" means the associated dark current noise, but I suspect it does.

 

While you might not need darks, you still need more object signal to deal with this noise.

 

So it would make a difference if one camera actually had less dark current than another, even if it was suppressed in both and you didn't need darks for either. The camera with less actual dark current for a given temp would produce a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

 

Jerry

Hi Jerry,

 

Thanks - I look forward to the test files.

 

The sensor self heating affects the brightness of the thermal fixed pattern noise i.e. the thermal "fingerprint" and also the completely random noise that is caused by the dark current i.e. the noise left behind after master dark subtraction.

 

There are two aspects of "dark current suppression technology", the way I see it:

  • The DC * time component is an average level of accumulated dark current subtracted from the sensor as a whole.  DSLR cameras have always done this, at least to the best of my knowledge.  Roger gives the impression there is some new technology being used here.
  • On the whole, manufacturers have improved the uniformity of sensels so the thermal FPN is less obtrusive i.e. there are fewer hot, very warm and warm pixels than there were on older cameras.

My own testing indicates that for the last decade, at room temperature the thermal random noise left behind after master dark subtraction has been more or less constant across all models and all manufacturers, which indicates it might be something fundamental to CMOS.  However, what distinguishes some models over others is the obtrusiveness (or otherwise) of the thermal FPN and the rate at which the FPN and dark current noise increases due to sensor self-heating.

 

One other point to clear up (off topic but related).  Roger makes a big thing about the Canon 7D2 having 1/10 the dark current of previous Canons and this is a result of improved "dark current suppression technology".  But he is actually measuring the FPN because he is measuring a single dark frame.  So his measurement actually means that the thermal FPN on his Canon 7D2 is far less obtrusive than on previous Canon models he has tested.  I have tested a Canon 7D2 and I do not share that finding.  The one I tested had FPN slightly less than other Canons but not much different.  After master dark subtraction, the remaining thermal noise is no different to any other Canon. In addition, the 7D2 suffers from severe sensor self-heating just like the other Canons for which I have test results.  In fairness to Roger I should point out that we have not been able to reach agreement on the interpretation of these test results.  He continues to maintain that the Canon 7D2 is using some ground-breaking sensor technology.  And strangely enough it really does seem to be the case that the Canon 7D2 he owns has significantly lower thermal FPN than the one I tested.  So there does appear to be significant camera to camera variability in FPN for the same model.  This odd fact has led to Roger's odd conclusion, at least in my opinion.

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 22 August 2018 - 01:02 AM.


#17 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 01:05 AM

Hi Jerry,

 

Thanks - I look forward to the test files.

 

The sensor self heating affects the brightness of the thermal fixed pattern noise i.e. the thermal "fingerprint" and also the completely random noise that is caused by the dark current i.e. the noise left behind after master dark subtraction.

 

There are two aspects of "dark current suppression technology", the way I see it:

  • The DC * time component is an average level of accumulated dark current subtracted from the sensor as a whole.  DSLR cameras have always done this, at least to the best of my knowledge.  Roger gives the impression there is some new technology being used here.
  • On the whole, manufacturers have improved the uniformity of sensels so the thermal FPN is less obtrusive i.e. there are fewer hot, very warm and warm pixels than there were on older cameras.

My own testing indicates that for the last decade, at room temperature the thermal random noise left behind after master dark subtraction has been more or less constant across all models and all manufacturers, which indicates it might be something fundamental to CMOS.  However, what distinguishes some models over others is the obtrusiveness (or otherwise) of the thermal FPN and the rate at which the FPN and dark current noise increases due to sensor self-heating.

 

One other point to clear up (off topic but related).  Roger makes a big thing about the Canon 7D2 having 1/10 the dark current of previous Canons and this is a result of improved "dark current suppression technology".  But he is actually measuring the FPN because he is measuring a single dark frame.  So his measurement actually means that the thermal FPN on his Canon 7D2 is far less obtrusive than on previous Canon models he has tested.  I have tested a Canon 7D2 and I do not share that finding.  The one I tested had FPN slightly less than other Canons but not much different.  After master dark subtraction, the remaining thermal noise is no different to any other Canon. In addition, the 7D2 suffers from severe sensor self-heating just like the other Canons for which I have test results.  In fairness to Roger I should point out that we have not been able to reach agreement on the interpretation of these test results.  He continues to maintain that the Canon 7D2 is using some ground-breaking sensor technology.  And strangely enough it really does seem to be the case that the Canon 7D2 he owns has significantly lower thermal FPN than the one I tested.  So there does appear to be significant camera to camera variability in FPN for the same model.  This odd fact has led to Roger's odd conclusion.

Hi Mark,

 

It seems like the in-camera heat went way up when they introduced video, so I guess they had to come up with a way to hide the thermal signal.

 

There's always been individual unit-to-unit variations in cameras when it comes to thermal signal.  But it seems the variations are bigger than they should be. I wonder why.

 

I don't know what to make of Roger's conclusions some times. He is so knowledgeable and that carries a lot of weight. But sometimes ...

 

Jerry



#18 Michael Covington

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 06:48 AM

Personally, I don't think they pulled that far ahead.

 

And I don't have a horse in the race.

 

Jerry

Good perspective.  The down side of Nikon is clumsiness about lens mounts and accessories.  A Canon EF lens is a Canon EF lens.  Nikon has dozens of varieties of F-mount lenses.  Fortunately (though this is undocumented and I had to ask Nikon), the D5300 works with pre-AI as well as AI lenses.  Unfortunately, unlike Canon, the D5300's exposure meter does not work with non-electronic lenses, so you can't use it to set the exposure of flats through a telescope.



#19 Jerry Lodriguss

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 12:08 PM

Good perspective.  The down side of Nikon is clumsiness about lens mounts and accessories.  A Canon EF lens is a Canon EF lens.  Nikon has dozens of varieties of F-mount lenses.  Fortunately (though this is undocumented and I had to ask Nikon), the D5300 works with pre-AI as well as AI lenses.  Unfortunately, unlike Canon, the D5300's exposure meter does not work with non-electronic lenses, so you can't use it to set the exposure of flats through a telescope.

It's pretty easy to shoot a test exposure and look at the histogram to get the exposure right for the flat, but it is aggravating that the meter doesn't work.

 

Jerry


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#20 sharkmelley

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 03:31 AM

I've done it!  I ordered a Canon 200D - a standard off the shelf version and it will be compatible with all my existing equipment without buying new T-rings, new intervalometer, new connection leads etc.  It looks sufficiently different to other entry level Canons to be an interesting proposition.  For instance, as CentralDS says here ( http://www.centralds.net/cam/?p=10451 ) it is using new sensor technology where the ADC units are built into the sensor itself instead of being off sensor i.e. Canon is finally doing what Sony has been doing for ages.

 

As inidicated earlier, the PhotonsToPhotos testing certainly indicates that the sensor's behaviour is far closer to a Sony than any previous Canon.  On the down side, PhotonsToPhotos indicates that the QE at 49% lags behind the 54% of Nikon D5300 and 59% of the Canon 7DII but the difference between the Canon 200D and the Nikon D5300 isn't huge.

 

One reservation I have is that the same CentralDS page indicates that it might have far more dark noise than the 80D - I can test the dark noise. 

 

I also downloaded some sample 200D raw files from DPReview and this confirms that there is no dodgy raw data scaling causing regular histogram gaps  in the R&B channels - a problem to which Nikon is prone and which can potentially cause coloured concentric banding in exposures calibrated with flats. This problem affects my Sony A7S quite badly.

 

In any case, I'll do a whole batch of tests on it, including read noise at each ISO, dark noise and sensor self heating over a prolonged period of long exposures.  In the end, if the Canon 200D is no good to me as a back up camera I can always sell it.  I'll also check the darks for nefarious algorithms such as "star eater" (I don't expect to find any).  I'll test the QE relative to my Sony A7S and Canon 600D but I have no way to calculate absolute QE.

 

I'll start a new thread when I have some test results but the full moon needs to go away before I can take any sample astro-images.

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 27 August 2018 - 09:03 AM.

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#21 Michael Covington

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 05:04 PM

Excellent!  I look forward to your test results!



#22 sharkmelley

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 07:47 AM

Initial testing on the Canon 200D showed higher thermal noise than expected, higher than any camera I've ever tested. I need to repeat the test because this was a surprise. I now doubt if I'll keep it. So I now have a Nikon D5300 on order. I'll do a complete set of side by side testing before selling one or both.

Mark
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#23 Michael Covington

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 08:42 AM

Initial testing on the Canon 200D showed higher thermal noise than expected, higher than any camera I've ever tested. I need to repeat the test because this was a surprise. I now doubt if I'll keep it. So I now have a Nikon D5300 on order. I'll do a complete set of side by side testing before selling one or both.

Mark

Interesting!



#24 fmeschia

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 10:40 AM

Initial testing on the Canon 200D showed higher thermal noise than expected, higher than any camera I've ever tested. I need to repeat the test because this was a surprise. I now doubt if I'll keep it. So I now have a Nikon D5300 on order. I'll do a complete set of side by side testing before selling one or both.

Mark

The Nikon D5300 has in-camera automatic dark current subtraction, so the only way to estimate thermal noise is by measuring not the mean value of dark frames, but their standard deviation. This is made more complicated by the fact that the firmware tries to move the black point to 600 ADU, but clips to zero anything that would fall below 588 ADU. For sufficiently long exposures, the left tail of the histogram will definitely be clipped (see attached picture for a 15-minute ISO 400 dark). So, you can't just calculate std deviation as the square root of the average of the squared differences. I had to prepare a Python script to group ADU values into histogram bins and fit them with a Gauss function.

 

Does the 200D have the same issue with automatic dark current subtraction and clipping?

 

Francesco

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 8.38.16 AM.png


Edited by fmeschia, 29 August 2018 - 10:41 AM.


#25 sharkmelley

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 02:56 PM

The Nikon D5300 has in-camera automatic dark current subtraction, so the only way to estimate thermal noise is by measuring not the mean value of dark frames, but their standard deviation. This is made more complicated by the fact that the firmware tries to move the black point to 600 ADU, but clips to zero anything that would fall below 588 ADU. For sufficiently long exposures, the left tail of the histogram will definitely be clipped (see attached picture for a 15-minute ISO 400 dark). So, you can't just calculate std deviation as the square root of the average of the squared differences. I had to prepare a Python script to group ADU values into histogram bins and fit them with a Gauss function.

 

Does the 200D have the same issue with automatic dark current subtraction and clipping?

 

To the best of my knowledge every DSLR subtracts the average level of accumulated dark current before writing the raw data.  Certainly the average photographer would find it quite confusing if the shadows became brighter as the exposure became longer!

 

Thanks for the reminder about Nikon's clipping of low value data. I've never seen a Canon clip at the low end.  As you say, it does complicate the calculation of thermal noise.  Similarly to you I had to use a distribution fitting algorithm when I did my analysis of the Nikon D7000: https://www.cloudyni...-thermal-noise/  Incredible that was over 5 years ago!  The D7000 was one of the first Nikons without the dreaded "star eater" spatial filtering and allowed Nikon to make a path into the astrophotography market.

 

Getting back to my Canon 200D/SL2 vs Nikon D5300 comparative test, I plan to do the following:

  • The standard read noise and gain tests - these ought to match the results at PhotonsToPhotos.  If not, I'm in trouble!
  • Evaluate thermal noise and how it increases with successive long exposures (typical of a deep sky imaging session)
  • Calculate the relative QE (quantum efficiency) of the two cameras.  However, I don't have the means to calculate the actual absolute QE
  • Calculate the relative H-alpha response (unmodified)
  • Check for amp glow issues

One thing we already know is that the Nikon does not have an anti-alias filter whereas the Canon does.  I hope to create an astro-image of the same target from both cameras using dithered acquisition and Bayer drizzled processing.  The expectation of course is that the Nikon should produce a sharper image.  It does depend on getting a clear night of course!

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 29 August 2018 - 03:02 PM.

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