Last Friday an anonymous poster on the photography board of 4chan sparked a discussion that rippled into the blogosphere after freezing their camera to see whether ISO performance improves at lower temperatures.
They stuck their Sony A350 into the freezer for 15 minutes, and posted the following before and after comparison of noise at ISO 3200:
Regardless of whether or not these results were fabricated, it has long been (though perhaps not widely) known among photographers that digital cameras have better ISO performance (i.e. less noise) at lower temperatures, which is why sensors are often cooled for astro-photography. Other photographers also report improved ISO performance when shooting in very cold environments.
Zodiac Light did an interesting experiment in which a Canon 350D was cooled, and the amount of noise measured. They found that cooling the sensor resulted in a 40% drop in the amount of noise.
Obviously you shouldn’t freeze your nice camera to test this out yourself, but it’s an interesting fact to know, and could be useful if you’re interested in long exposure photography.
(via The Phoblographer)
Thanks to Nathan Yan for briefing us on thermal noise.