NON-Official ISO on Canon DSLRs


We have been testing for over a month a very nice new device compatible with all Canon HDSLR cameras that will be released by the manufacturer soon.

During this testing process we discovered a very interesting and unexpected function that is available on some cameras. This option is not available using the camera menu, but only using this device.


Basically what we found is that the user can set some “intermediate” and high ISO settings that are NOT available through the camera’s menu!

The “intermediate” ISO found on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II were: 64, 80, 10000, 16000 and 20000.

We were very excited when we found ISO 64 and 80 available, thinking as another low ISO / low noise shooting option.

Unfortunately, even when the camera’s light metering shows a difference according to the ISO setting, and the LCD display also changes in brightness when choosing those ISO values, after comparing the test pictures we confirmed that they are not actually taken at the indicated ISO, but at ISO 50 instead. Weird indeed, ISO 64 (or 80) appears on the picture’s EXIF data anyway.

Why does the camera show those ISO values and light metering indications but not apply them when shooting? Well, that’s a good question to ask Canon…

HOWEVER, there are other ISO settings that DO WORK in both Photography and Video mode!

On the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the non-official “intermediate” ISO values that can be selected and do work with this upcoming device are: ISO 8000 and 10000.

The user can also select ISO 16000 and 20000 (between H1 and H2 range), but the 5D Mark II seems to take the picture at ISO 12800 anyway.

This may be different on other camera models, like EOS 1D Mark IV that is capable of shooting at higher ISO through the camera’s menu, but we can’t tell for sure since we don’t have any 1D Mark IV to test with.

HIGH ISO on EOS T2i/550D

Another VERY interesting discovery: Canon EOS T2i/550D can shoot stills at a high non-official ISO 25600 (while the maximum available through the camera menu is 12800).


These findings are ONLY some extra “bonus” of the potential of the new device, NOT the main features or purpose at all. Indeed it has GREAT features and functions that lot of Canon users will like. We can assure it is a great tool for both Photographers and Filmmakers.

The new device will officially see the light very soon. In the meantime we’ll be posting some very cool preview pictures and video samples (fully available for download) this week.

We can’t tell much before the official announcement, but we’ll publish a deep review after its official release, so stay tuned!


These are some sample pictures. They were taken keeping shutter speed, aperture and white balance at a constant value, but changing ISO to compare exposure differences. All EXIF data was kept, so you can check them. Click on the small pictures to see a 100% crop image of the central area of the photography.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II was running Firmware 2.0.8 and Canon EOS T2i/550D was running Firmware 1.0.9.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II TEST

1/800 - f/2.8 - ISO 8000

1/800 - f/2.8 - ISO 10000

1/800 - f/2.8 - ISO 12800 (H1)

Canon EOS T2i/550D TEST

1/8 - f/5 - ISO 12800 (H1)

1/8 - f/5 - ISO 25600

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