Light Sensitivity boost is the ability for some cameras to boost past their normal max ISO level, often the file size is lowered as a consequence of this. Lowering the file size allows the camera to use the full sensor in order to capture enough light for fewer pixels helping reduce the noise per pixel. The boost levels can be extremely high but they do come with a subsequent increase in noise. Boost modes are still useful especially when you can't use a flash and you have no other choice.

Example of Super High ISO Boost

The following is an example of light sensitivity boosting on a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, one photo shows the resultant image resized down from 16MP to a web size print and the other shows a full crop (cropped portion is the black square. As you can see even after resizing down to a very small photo the noise cannot be hidden. Whether this is still usable depends on the use - but for some work, especially when converted to BW where the noise is less offensive, this is acceptable. The 100% crop clearly shows that most of the sensors resolution is being shedded in exchange for sensitive 10 stops over 100 ISO - allowing exposures of 1/1000 the length - very impressive!

Resized - Canon EOS 1D Mk IV 102400 ISO Example
photo of art gallery taken on a Canon EOS 1D Mk IV at 102500 ISOPhoto via SlvrScoobie taken with a Canon EOS 1d Mk IV at 102,400 ISO.
100% Crop - Canon EOS 1D Mk IV 102,400 ISO Example
photo of art gallery taken on a Canon EOS 1D Mk IV at 102500 ISO - 100% crop100% crop of photo via SlvrScoobie taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mk IV at 102400 ISO detailing noise levels.

High ISO Digital Cameras

The following SLRs provide the highest ISO sensitivity boost.

Nikon D4s
Nikon D4s
from $6,497
Low light performance Low noise at high ISO Help
3,074 ISO
Battery life Great battery life Help
3020 shots
Overall image quality Great image quality Help
89.0

Learn more about the Nikon D4s

Nikon DF
Nikon DF
from $2,700
Low light performance Low noise at high ISO Help
3,279 ISO
Overall image quality Great image quality Help
89.0
Screen size Large screen Help
3.2"

Learn more about the Nikon DF

Canon EOS 6D
Canon EOS 6D
from $1,668
Low light performance Low noise at high ISO Help
2,340 ISO
Viewfinder size Large viewfinder Help
0.71x
Sensor size Large sensor Help
Full frame 36.0x24.0mm

Learn more about the Canon EOS 6D

Pentax K-3
Pentax K-3
from $1,030
Low light performance Low noise at high ISO Help
1,216 ISO
Cross type focus points Many cross-type focus points Help
25
Screen size Large screen Help
3.2"

Learn more about the Pentax K-3

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