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Author Topic: M4/3 Noise  (Read 22517 times)

stever

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2016, 10:46:28 pm »

the Panasonic OIS works very well hand-holding.  the shutter shock vibration is higher frequency than what the OIS deals with and in my experience it is not made any better (or worse) by the lens stabilization.

for landscapes I've had good results stitching from hand held (in adequate light) and on tripod to get files for larger prints.  as far as I can tell, the shutter shock has pretty much the same effect hand-held and on tripod.  I'm not sure if the Panasonic OIS really needs to be turned off on a tripod, but I do to be safe.

I'm not sure that shots from the 14-140 prove too much - the resolution of this lens is well below the capability of the sensor
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2016, 11:26:53 pm »

Have you actually done any side by side comparison pictures using the Electronic and Mechanical shutter options, to see if in fact there is any IQ (focus, noise...) differences within the 1/60th to 1/320th sec shutter speed range?
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stever

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2016, 12:40:15 am »

I used Imatest resolution target and software to compare es and ms - a time consuming process.

I've used Imatest to compare several Canon Cameras with a fair number of lenses over the last 6 years.  When operating outside the range of shutter shock, the GX7 resolution is very comparable to that of the Canon 7D with equivalent quality/price lenses
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nma

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2016, 02:35:43 am »

Frank, I am baffled by your title, attributing your problems to M43. Why did you ascribe your problems to M43? What is the evidence for that?

I use Olympus E-M1 and E-M5ii and I do not typically notice noise in my shots. I am shooting raw, exposing to the right, relying on the histogram and highlight tests I have conducted.  I have printed many excellent 16x20 inch prints and I am sure I could go larger but for my 17 inch printer. I am very fussy and I consider the sharpness and lack of noise to be better than the best prints I made with the same printer, my 5Dii and L lenses. Most of my photos are landscape and nature, from a tripod. Are you shooting raw? Do you use a tripod? How do you focus? How do you expose your pictures? Notice that none of these questions refer to M43.

Why did you ascribe your problems to M43? What is the evidence for that?
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2016, 06:59:26 am »

@stever
Thank you for sharing your experiments to find that the Electronic shutter should be used on the gx7 between 1/60 and 1/320 (is that correct range ?).
And it's ok leave ibis on? Also ok to leave on if IS is built into the lens?

@nma
I attributed it to the smaller sensor because I have used FF, APS  without seeing the same 'grain/noise issue'.
I have to really massage the raw file in ACR (or Lr).
To paraphrase someone on a different thread/forum -" a slightly 'dirty' look in the shadows, a pointillist dotting of noise, gritty and charcoalish. This noise is far more visible when the shadows are pushed."
I am interested to learn your  ACR  / Lr capture sharpening and other workflow & do you enlarge the raw file to 15x20, or do it in PS
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 07:54:28 am by FrankG »
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2016, 10:49:40 am »

Frank, I seriously doubt that the mechanical shutter is the source of your woes. I just took six shots with my G7, tripod mounted, stabilization off at speeds of 1/20, 1/125, 1/400. Each speed was with the mechanical shutter and the electronic shutter. If I had not written which shutter was used into the keywords, you would never be able to tell the images apart, even at 300% viewing.

It may be that Olympus has a real problem with shutter shock and it may be that you can see some shutter shock in Panasonic cameras using test gear more sophisticated than what I can create on a bench and tripod, but in actual photographs, there is no difference. Put your camera on a tripod and run a series of test to prove it to yourself.

As for the noise and image quality problems you are having. Use the attached image as a reference. This is a shot taken with the GH2 in 16:9 framing at ISO160, f6.3, 1/250, hand held, OIS on. This had already been converted to black and white but is still a .dng file. The attached image is a scan of a printed crop from a 20 x 10 print. This is my procedure for creating this:

-   Import the file into Ps and resize to print size (20 x 10) at 360dpi.
-   Apply an output sharpening action based on Jeff Schewe’s process described in his book, The Digital Print, page 123.
-   Apply a custom color curve required to print UT-14, black only ink, on glossy paper. (This is not required for color prints or matte paper.)
-   Printed on an Epson 1400 with the high speed box unchecked.
-   The print is a 5.5” x 8.5” cut out of the full 20 x 10 image using the Ps settings to take a section of the full image and to not scale it.
-   The scan of the print was created at 600dpi so it will be much larger than the print when viewed at 100%.

The scan attached has considerably higher contrast than the actual print and I think it has lost some sharpness, especially in the distant buildings, compared to the print. Since the scan is at 600dpi it should be viewed at 16% (on a 96dpi screen) to get the most realistic sense of what the print looks like.

I do not think there is any noise in the print, let alone too much. As for clarity, it is sharp even if you pixel peep it. If you can’t get your images to this level of IQ, I suspect there is something else wrong in your process. If you are getting images this good but are still unsatisfied, then I think you will need to trade in your GX7 for a full frame camera.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:12:17 am by Remo Nonaz »
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

stever

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2016, 12:03:42 pm »

yes, 1/60-1/320 (it's my understanding that this is the range that the GX8 will automatically switch to ES if so configured with the latest firmware upgrade).

the GX7 automatically turns the ibis off when using OIS lenses

you may not have downloaded the in-depth instruction manual, there's lots of information buried in there that isn't included in the printed manual - if you're patient
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2016, 12:33:27 pm »

1/60 through 1/320 is the range that the G7 will switch to the electronic shutter when in auto mode. There is no explanation of why this is in the manual.
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2016, 01:29:17 pm »

@Remo. Thanks for taking the trouble to scan and attach an image. Yes it looks decent at 16% maybe 25 max but no more. It's hard for me to learn from or relate this b/w to my own images. Oranges and apples.
I think I'd have to see a dark or shadowed 100% portion of a col GX7 Raw file with settings to be able to compare.

As I said earlier - "a slightly 'dirty' look in the shadows, a pointillist dotting of noise, .... This noise is far more visible when the shadows are pushed." Your image starts to get like that when viewed higher than 16-25 %

You also refute that there may be image degradation when using the Mechanical shutter between 1/60th and 1/320th. Yet stever has done some extensive tests to confirm this.

@stever. I know that the camera switches over to the lens based IS when attaching a lens with built in OIS. But there is still the menu option to turn it all Off. If the lens IS operation somehow interferes. But I'll take it that there is no issue with it, either in body or in lens, and just leave it on.
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2016, 01:34:25 pm »

Frank:

When you look at the scan, don't base anything on what you get above 16%. Any level above that you are looking at the PRINT grain magnified, not any actual noise in the image. I still think this shutter shock is a red herring. It may exist, but it is not the cause of your problems. Can you take some photos and post them as .dngs somewhere and send a link to download them from? I'd like to have a look a them and see exactly what you are seeing.
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2016, 02:38:55 pm »

stever
is there any reason not to just leave the GX7 on Electronic shutter permanently, even for speeds below 1/60 or above 1/320?
Unless of course you want to stop the action and avoid rolling shutter effect
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nma

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2016, 02:40:34 pm »


@nma
I attributed it to the smaller sensor because I have used FF, APS  without seeing the same 'grain/noise issue'.
I have to really massage the raw file in ACR (or Lr).
To paraphrase someone on a different thread/forum -" a slightly 'dirty' look in the shadows, a pointillist dotting of noise, gritty and charcoalish. This noise is far more visible when the shadows are pushed."
I am interested to learn your  ACR  / Lr capture sharpening and other workflow & do you enlarge the raw file to 15x20, or do it in PS

Hi Frank,

I have not done anything special in my printing of Oly E-M1, M5ii files. I use LR to prepare the files. In cases where the dynamic range is extreme I use the HDR features to capture the image and prepare a master image file. I use LR soft proofing to prepare a print file but no interpolation. I let LR do the resampling without my supervision. Most of my work (color and BW) is on smooth matte papers, such as Epson Hot Press. 

As a note, I would emphasize that I work off of a tripod most of the time. The Oly HDR features and now focus stacking lend themselves very well to this. I have tested the highlight recovery of raw exposure and usually bias my exposure +1 stop. My final exposures are also based on in-the-field pre-checks of the live histogram and examination of the post exposure in-camera jpg histogram. Very seldom do I get an exposure with noisy shadows. I use ISO 200 preferentially but also ISOs up to 1600 as dictated by conditions. It is fair to say that my techniques would be harder to apply in street or wildlife photography. 
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2016, 03:27:43 pm »

Frank, you certainly can leave the electronic shutter on - it may even be preferable. It is smooth and quiet. Just remember that the camera won't work with a flash unless you switch it back to mechanical shutter.

FYI, if you turn on silent operation, you can't shut off the electronic shutter until you find the silent operation setting, which is the C-wrench group, and turn it off. Then you can go back to the camera group and switch to the mechanical shutter. Kind of a hassle if you forget it - don't ask me how I know!
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2016, 04:03:29 pm »

I use the GX7 to do 'street photography' and family pictures of fast moving kids. It's a very quick 'shoot from the hip' style. See my website. I bought GX7 expressly for the purpose 'cos my 5d is too big, obtrusive, and unwieldy. And the GX7 has all the features I like.
So none of the careful, contemplative setup procedures apply. Or are possible.

Often I miss perfect focus, and need to lift the shadows, even overall exposure in ACR (same as Lr), and that reveals what I described as "a pointillist dotting of noise".
As per my OP, yes I can apply luminance noise reduction, but at a softening price.
I have to learn to capture sharpen even more carefully.

I was interested to learn about 'shutter shock' as I want to find any and all the small ways with which I can tweak more IQ out of the sensor.
Given my scenario, I want to max the possible IQ.
I will also try 'over-exposing' and try to bring the exposure back down in ACR to see if that helps any further. Maybe set Exp Comp to a permanent +1/2?

I am linking you to 2 different images - for each there is 1. a small jpeg showing the entire frame and 2. a dng of a cropped section at 100%.
This just so you can see what I'm talking about. In particular, look at the black skin/faces.
I have another image where the same is visible on a white skin.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/99evuu5g111egje/AAATh7rOEA4qn0m177AdQsc0a?dl=0

Keep in mind these were from the original/native files. And my intention had been to enlarge/up-res/interpolate them further to make 15x20 in prints
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2016, 05:10:21 pm »

Frank:

Your problem is not your camera, it's your subject: dark subject, full daylight, bright background. That's a tough lighting situation. I suppose a camera like a Sony A7II would help - it has a wider dynamic range. But do not despair. I think you can get where you want to be. You do have headroom to the right of your histogram, so over exposing a bit will help. I have always found with my GH2 that +1/3 or +2/3 EV is usually needed. The G7, so far, seems to be about the same.

I realized that your down loads can be restored to their original files. After looking at your settings, I created a virtual copy and reset everything and started over. Here is where I wound up:

In the Basic Panel:
-bump exposure
-push highlights down
-bring shadows back down a bit from where you have them
-push blacks up
This will recover your shadows with less 'pointillist' noise. Also bring up Clarity to around 15-20 to give the image more snap and add a little vibrance. This almost always needed. I also put a gradient over the shadow on the bottom so that could be brightened up a bit.

In the Details Panel:
-increase Sharpening to about 70, it could go a bit higher
-your other setting were about right, Masking usually needs to be about 70
-Luminance noise reduction can be brought up a bit more without killing the detail, say about 20, but this is not a noisy image. Color noise reduction should rarely, if ever, be needed. (But it needs to be on its default of 25.)

Overall, I’d say that this image is pretty typical for an M43 image in this lighting. It is about as sharp as you are going to get. The shot was taken at 1/2500, so I would suggest bringing the ISO back to 200, which would still provide a shutter speed over 1/500. This will reduce noise in the shadows. Also, you are at f8. Most M43 lenses are sharpest at around f4 and since M43 has a two stop depth of field advantage over full frame cameras, your depth of field at f5.6 would still be very deep.

Every camera has a learning curve. It took me at least two years to fully figure out my GH2. Even then I had to refer to the manual once in a while. Keep working with the GX7. People say it is a great camera and I know that I am very pleased with the G7. You can get great images with the gear you have.

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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2016, 05:16:50 pm »

Here's the other shot with similar changes after resetting it.
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I really enjoy using old primes on my m4/3 camera. There's something about having to choose your aperture and actually focusing your camera that makes it so much more like... like... PHOTOGRAPHY!

petermfiore

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2016, 05:40:58 pm »


Often I miss perfect focus, and need to lift the shadows, even overall exposure in ACR (same as Lr), and that reveals what I described as "a pointillist dotting of noise".
As per my OP, yes I can apply luminance noise reduction, but at a softening price.
I have to learn to capture sharpen even more carefully.

I use the GX7 for street with a pre focused zone... f/8-11 focused at 9 feet with a 17mm lens. Plenty of depth of field to work with and to assure good focus.

Peter

FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2016, 05:52:02 pm »

Thanks for doing this. It is very helpful to see another persons take.

I have gone back to my original files and applied your settings (except I think your interpretation of the moving van/movers is too light & I like the 'exposed for highlights' darker effect better. But that is a simple reduction of the Exposure slider.
I think some of the main differences are that you have been liberal with the LNR slider, I was hesitant because of it's inherent softening effect.
And you have made good use of the Blacks & Whites sliders whereas I'd only really used the Highlights/Shadows sliders.

I have one more image I'd love to see what you do with. But I can't post it publicly. May I send it directly? I'm at frankgross[at]gmail[dot]com
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 06:01:06 pm by FrankG »
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stever

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2016, 06:10:45 pm »

I agree with Remo's setting and development recommendations.  I usually have exposure comp set to +1/3 or + 2/3 (and use the histogram preview a lot).  Custom settings to deal with shutter, flash, etc for your common shooting situations are useful - however one of the GX7 annoyances is that if it goes to sleep in a custom mode it wakes up with the default custom settings without preserving changes you may have made to exposure comp, etc.

After initially testing the camera, I used ES almost exclusively (I bought it for travel and more discrete use than a DSLR). I've made a few architectural and landscape prints from these images which don't give cause for complaint.

More recently in testing the GX7 vs full frame that I noticed a slight difference between ES and MS.  I still have the camera set for ES most of the time, but if I'm shooting a thoughtfully composed landscape image i'll switch to MS if lighting allows (and set it on MS for fast action - I don't really find human to be a problem for ES)
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2016, 06:47:55 pm »

stever, I think there is a menu option whether you want Exposure Compensation to reset or not.

petermfiore, "reet with a pre focused zone... f/8-11 focused at 9 feet with a 17mm lens. "
Curious how you set this up?
Do you measure something at this distance and then switch to manual focus?
Aperture priority mode or Manual mode. Auto iso ?
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