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Author Topic: M4/3 Noise  (Read 22734 times)

FrankG

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M4/3 Noise
« on: February 11, 2016, 09:23:40 am »

 I love my Panasonic GX7 (touchscreen, silent, flip screen & vf, menus etc)  but am stumped by m4/3 noise (& puny image stabilisation). Is noise better on any other m4/3 camera? Other wise I have to sell up kit (20mm, 43mm & oly 75mm) & return to a larger sensor boo hoo

I thought I should clear up a few things after receiving a pm - Most people would Not find the noise very objectionable. I want to almost double the pixel dimension (ACR up-sizing) to enable good 15x20 prints. So even tiny under exposure or lifting of shadows results in noise. Which can of course be treated with the Noise reduction slider but at a softening / mushy price. I come from a full frame background so am after the smoothest most noiseless possible results
I shoot mostly 400 iso and sometimes 200 or 800. Never more than 1600.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 11:31:22 am by FrankG »
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AlterEgo

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 10:13:01 am »

I love my Panasonic GX7 (touchscreen, silent, flip screen & vf, menus etc)  but am stumped by m4/3 noise (& puny image stabilisation). Is noise better on any other m4/3 camera? Other wise I have to sell up kit (20mm, 43mm & oly 75mm) & return to a larger sensor boo hoo

I thought I should clear up a few things after receiving a pm - Most people would not find the noise very objectionable. I want to almost double the pixel dimension (ACR re-sizing) to enable good 16x20 prints. So even tiny under exposure or lifting of shadows results in noise. Which can of course be treated with the Noise reduction slider but at a softening / mushy price. I come from a full frame background so am after the smoothest most noiseless possible results

if you check how you expose in raw with rawdigger (or even fastrawviewer) and you expose (saturate sensor) proprely then nothing can be done... above deep shadows there is no replacement for displacement and sensor size matters (when adjusted to the same mp) and in deep shadows even noisier (noisier than Sony/Panasonic in m43) sensors from Canon will improve with the higher gain to match
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AlterEgo

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 10:17:37 am »

stumped by m4/3 ... puny image stabilisation
if you are talking about __IBIS__ then Panasonic only recently ventured into that area...  try something form Olympus.
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stever

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 11:21:46 am »

I mostly like my GX7 a lot, but really don't expect to make 16x20 prints unless there's a lucky conjunction of subject, light, and technique (and of course silent shutter or mechanical shutter less than 1/60 or greater than 1/320)- if I really want big prints I shoot the 5D3.

the GX7 IS is maybe good for one stop which doesn't bother me too much as I mostly use the 12-35 f2.8 and 35-100 f2.8 which have IS that is only slightly less effective than the latest Canon IS.

I haven't done a test, but from what I've read (and my experience with crop frame cameras) I doubt the new 20mpx sensor in the GX8 and forthcoming Olympus cameras will produce what you or I would like to see in a 16x20 print - and at the present level of technology I don't really expect to see it from anything less than full frame either.
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2016, 11:36:27 am »

Thanks. Yes I agree that if exposure, focus et al are all perfect then the file looks good. It's very unforgiving.
I also agree that the 5d3 is obviously better for large prints. But of course you don't necessarily know that you're going to want a big print beforehand.
I'm not sure what you mean by "silent shutter or mechanical shutter less than 1/60 or greater than 1/320" - please elaborate
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AlterEgo

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2016, 11:39:43 am »

I'm not sure what you mean by "silent shutter or mechanical shutter less than 1/60 or greater than 1/320" - please elaborate
he is apparently alluding to the absence of EFCS and hence - shutter shock
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stever

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2016, 12:29:18 pm »

the loss of sharpness between 1/60 and 1/250 (or 1/320 for safety) from shutter shock is very noticeable even at normal focal lengths with the mechanical shutter on all interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras.  I believe the GX7 electronic shutter drops a couple bits (what's really going on seems to be well hidden) contributing to the fragility of the electronic shutter files.  The GX8 has a work-around to automatically select electronic shutter in this range.  Olympus and Sony (on newer cameras0 have electronic first curtain which I think retains full bit depth.

the camera manufacturers have gone to great lengths to remain silent on this issue
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2016, 12:37:56 pm »

I have never heard of this but if true could explain mysteriously soft results.
Let me get this straight - on my GX7 when I use the regular mechanical shutter (not silent electronic) at speeds between 1/60 and 1/250th there is loss of sharpness ?
Below 1/60th and above 1/320th this is not true?
And in silent mode (electronic shutter) it is soft for a different 'unknown' reason and at the same shutter speeds or all ?
Really? This is nuts.
Please elaborate further.
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AlterEgo

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2016, 12:43:43 pm »

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AlterEgo

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2016, 12:46:15 pm »

at speeds between 1/60 and 1/250th there is loss of sharpness ?

might be - it is up to you to test, because that depends on many variables - for example including lens mounted, etc... but generally shutter shock is affecting approximately that range due to the duration of its effects.

shutter shock is an established phenomena, that's why EFCS exists
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eronald

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2016, 01:20:31 pm »

might be - it is up to you to test, because that depends on many variables - for example including lens mounted, etc... but generally shutter shock is affecting approximately that range due to the duration of its effects.

shutter shock is an established phenomena, that's why EFCS exists

I have a GH4, and get spectacular 4K screen grabs, but any stills are pretty yucky. I never understood why, and now simply do a moment of video rather than a still.  Shutter shock might explain the problem. I have the stabilised 12-35 which is VERY sharp, worth what it costs. 

I'm not sure that big prints are within the ability of this camera, I'd say about A3 is the limit

Edmund
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Pete Berry

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2016, 01:51:36 pm »

I love my Panasonic GX7 (touchscreen, silent, flip screen & vf, menus etc)  but am stumped by m4/3 noise (& puny image stabilisation). Is noise better on any other m4/3 camera? Other wise I have to sell up kit (20mm, 43mm & oly 75mm) & return to a larger sensor boo hoo

I thought I should clear up a few things after receiving a pm - Most people would Not find the noise very objectionable. I want to almost double the pixel dimension (ACR up-sizing) to enable good 15x20 prints. So even tiny under exposure or lifting of shadows results in noise. Which can of course be treated with the Noise reduction slider but at a softening / mushy price. I come from a full frame background so am after the smoothest most noiseless possible results
I shoot mostly 400 iso and sometimes 200 or 800. Never more than 1600.

If you're referring to objectionable noise at 15x20 print size, I simply don't see this in my GH4 prints uprezzed to 300ppi for my iPF5100 printer. I do frequently use a low degree of NR in my ACR files where I size and sharpen the images also, but see no significant softening at the resulting ~33% print size view on my 24" 94ppi HD screen after output sharpening. 100% viewed print files @ 300 or 360ppi are another matter, though!

You do have to be careful with the clarity filter, and RAW sharpening without an appropriate masking level to avoid smooth area noise - my default is 60, but at higher ISO's I'll push it to 85 while increasing the sharpening amount level. In more difficult areas- eg pushed shadows - I'll use the adjustment brush with targeted NR.

The images below, sized to display at 15x20 on my monitor, range from two GH4 images @ ISO 5000 in the 1st, 400 in the 2nd, and the 3rd, years ago taken with an 4/3 Oly E-30, renowned for shadow noise, @ 800.

Pete
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 01:56:08 pm by Pete Berry »
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Pete Berry

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2016, 02:15:14 pm »

I have a GH4, and get spectacular 4K screen grabs, but any stills are pretty yucky. I never understood why, and now simply do a moment of video rather than a still.  Shutter shock might explain the problem. I have the stabilised 12-35 which is VERY sharp, worth what it costs. 

I'm not sure that big prints are within the ability of this camera, I'd say about A3 is the limit

Edmund

Wow, Edmund, that sure runs counter to my experience with the GH4 and it's three fore-bearers, with great A2 prints even from the 12MP GH1 (whose RAW res. measured by DPRev at the time exceeded all 16MP Canikon sensors measured, including FF's!). My go-to lens for years has been the heavy, clunky, but exceedingly good adapted 4/3 Pana-Leica 14-150, but I recently got the 12-35/2.8 primarily for video, but very good for stills, just a limited range.

While I love the many 8-bit 4K captures I've done, 12x16 (in Photo 4K mode) seems pretty much the limit for these. Shot from the same vantage point the 14-bit RAW stills are clearly better and more malleable in PP, but the 4K's captured in ~10MB bmp files are still pretty good here.

Can you elaborate on the "yucky" factor in your stills?

Pete
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2016, 02:18:50 pm »

might be - it is up to you to test, because that depends on many variables - for example including lens mounted, etc... but generally shutter shock is affecting approximately that range due to the duration of its effects.

shutter shock is an established phenomena, that's why EFCS exists

I will certainly try &  test. I cant find EFCS in my GX7 menu.
So, if I understand correctly, avoiding that 'shutter shock' range of shutter speeds in Mechanical mode is a toss up vs the loss of data 'bits' using the Electronic shutter ? What are experienced GX7 users opting for?
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2016, 05:31:44 pm »

Noise is a funny topic.  I still own a 5DkII, and also own a phase one back.  My main setup now is an Olympus E-M1.  There is a slight...not noise...but texture, very slight at all ISOs.  This a m43 thing.  However, real noise is very minimal.  Even up to 5000 ISO.  I have printed to 30" with no problem, even from ISO 5000 and i get excellent results.  Upsized, and non- upsized.  It's a matter of careful prep.  I do very different sharpening with the E-M1 than with other cameras.  I do much less.  That being said, if you are upsizing, I highly recommend Alien Skin Blow Up as the means of resizing.  It is much better than photoshop or ACR in my opinion if you need large prints. 

I did a shoot for a client the other day that has a lot of moderately dark areas, and then selectively lit sections.  ISO 400 was used with a 1/4 second ambient exposure to get the mood before the strobes came in.  You won't believe how much noise is in the photo...and this is a full frame DSLR.  I can get excellent clean results even from high ISO on m43.  Again, this is pixel peeping.  This is noise that won't even show up in a print.  And if it does...the viewer is a bit too close for the size. 

M43 can fully deliver however.  E-M5 was the first generation that was decent however.  Everything before that was a bit hard to live with.  All the latest stuff is excellent though.  Especially with the good glass.
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AFairley

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2016, 07:55:31 pm »

Well there's noise and then there's processing artifacts.  I was never bothered by noise in deep shadows with the E-5 or the E-M5, but if I tried to lift those shadows using PS or LR, things would get blotchy pretty fast and even a lot of noise reduction couldn't overcome it. 

(But I run into the same problem with the D800E when I start doing heavy shadow lifting, it just comes on more slowly.)
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stever

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2016, 08:01:01 pm »

the GX7 has an entirely electronic shutter option - electronic shutter - which is also switched on when you select silent shooting (it doesn't have electronic first curtain)

I don't notice see loss of resolution from the electronic shutter (even in comparative resolution tests) - more like a subtle loss of dynamic range, "fragile" files.  The other issue is "jello" effect shooting fast moving subjects, so I've set up a custom function with manual shutter at 1/400 action shots.

The latest versions of Lightroom (and probably other editing programs)  have very good noise reduction and sharpening tools and local editing options that can really improve print output (with experience) - but there's still a print size limit that will depend on a whole lot of factors including personal judgment and viewing distance - and the size limit (all other things being equal) is probably no more than half that of full frame.
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2016, 08:21:35 pm »

Thanks Stever.
I have experimented with the Electronic shutter (love it's silent operation). Any fast moving subject for example, a vehicle, or bicycle, or child running, is a disaster. Perhaps a person walking would be ok. I was not aware until your first post that the Mechanical shutter, when set between 125th and 320th, could result in a 'softer' image due to 'shutter shock'. I will try to limit it's use to 1/400th & above or below 1/125th. I assume it's ok to keep Image Stabilisation on in the menu?  I have the Panasonic 42.5mm/1.7 which has built in OIS and wonder if this could aggravate the problem?
Anything I can do to tweak IQ is welcome.
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2016, 08:59:28 pm »

I have been  shooting a GH2 for over four years and recently upgraded to a G7. I've never been concerned with shutter shock in either camera. (Not much of an option with the GH2!). I took some quick shots with the G7 at speeds from 1/30 to 1/400 and have compared them in Lr. As you can see from the image below, the 1/125 shot is actually very slightly sharper than the 1/400 shot, which is probably due to the fact that the 1/125 shot is at f5.0 and the 1/400 is at f2.8. I think this shutter shock issue is greatly over stated.

As for the noise, I believe the G7 uses the same imager as the GX7, so it should be comparable. I've attached two screen grabs of the same photo. One is at 100% resolution and the other is full frame in Lr. The shot was shot at ISO800. I pulled up the shadows slider in Lr to deliberately increase noise as much as I could - I don't think it is too bad. I would agree that the sharpness in this image is a bit weak, but then this is the 14-140 lens at the long end - it's not a lens noted for great sharpness at the extremes.  I certainly would not consider this too much grain at normal shadows levels and I don't think it would be unusable with the shadows pulled 100%. But then I don't print to 16 x 20 and your standards may be higher than mine.

I think the M4/3 is a very practical format, but as in every compromise you have to give up something to get something. What your are willing to give up depends on your needs.
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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!

AlterEgo

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2016, 09:32:24 pm »

I have been  shooting a GH2
if I remember correctly GH2 has 1/160s x-sync which makes the shock less vs faster moving blades (1/250s x-sync) of modern m43 cameras
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