Proof That Multiples of ISO 160 Work Best on Canon HDSLRs

If you’ve tinkered around with Canon HDSLRs, then you may have heard that its best to shoot video using sensitivity settings that are multiples of ISO 160.  I’ve been doing this because I have heard folks like Shane Hurlbut and Vincent Laforet say for a couple of years now that that’s the way to do it.

Andrew Schär gave us some proof for our eyes in this test with the Canon 60D that he uploaded to Vimeo yesterday. Andrew noted on his Vimeo page the following results of his test:

The results as you can see in the video, are pretty much spot on with what Technicolor has said. Interestingly enough, it seems to me that ISO 640 has about as much noise as ISO 100.

It also seems that ISO multiples of 125 are specifically bad. ISO 1250 is pretty much comparable to IS0 125!

It clearly illustrates that best ISO’s to use for video, starting from lowest noise level to highest are as follows:

160, 320, 640, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1250, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 1600, 2500, 2000, 3200, 4000, 5000, 6400.

Of course, if you’re shooting low-light and you need a high ISO, the best ones to go for would be: 1600, 2500, 3200 & 5000.

If there’s plenty light, keep things on ISO 160.

Multiples of 160 are best, then multiples of 100 and then multiples of 125.

Check out out the test below (go ahead and full screen the HD version to get the best look at it).

[Vimeo via Gizmodo]



  1. says


    Can anybody give thoughts on if this applies to Nikon cameras as well? Traditionally, native ISO of Nikons is ISO 200. But cannot find is indications that argues that the multiples of ISO 200 is significant less noisier than multiples of ISO 250 & 320.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. says

    It would be really intersting to see this for stills too. I shoot as much as i can at 100 or 200 but it seems i might be better at 160 and 320 if this transfered to still. I am a wildlife photographer – see my website for examples of what i shoot and teh settings i use. Low light is often a problem and i am fighting with ISO settings.

    Really intersting.


    • Brad J Gerrard says

      On a Canon 5dmkII the lowest noise Iso is supposed to be 640 for stills. I’m keeping it as my main, native ISO, unless I need to bring it down for some special reason, like a wider aperture.

  3. says

    Interesting, but a lot of questions remain.

    Does this apply only to the 60D on which this test was conducted? Or does my 1D-mkIV and 7D behave in similair way? Which setting is used for high ISO noise reduction (if any at all)? I always shoot with the noise reduction turned off (both photo and video).

    What is this thing about the Technicolor Cinestyle profile? Is that a picture style which can be loaded into the camera? Or is is something you use for post production?

    And what would the results of this test have looked like of Technicolor Cinestyle profile was NOT used, which is obviously the case with most DSLR movie shooters?

    Please answer some of these questions for me.