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Author Topic: M4/3 Noise  (Read 22747 times)

langier

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2016, 12:13:37 am »

I, too, come from FF/DX and the nose-bleed ISOs with low noise and great IQ of the past few years. I also now shoot a lot with my pair of GX7 bodies, discreetly and quietly many times at ISO 3200 and even 6400 and higher when I push the sliders. They seem to consistently underexpose but is easily handled with ACR and noise its noise reduction. My normal master image size is 19x14 from this camera. I'm shooting in monasteries and churches and become a fly on the wall with the Panasonic bodies. Though the IQ isn't the same as that of my D800 and D3s bodies, the freedom from sticking out like a sore thumb is worthwhile trade-off for slightly lower technical quality.

Compared to my previous generation of cameras from a few years ago, the GX7 is better in low light, though not as good as contemporary DX/FX bodies. Is that a negative? If you need the best image quality, chase the brass ring and keep up the GAS. But if you can think pragmatically and think differently and change your expectations, stay the course with the GX7 and relish the possibilities.

However, I come from the "dark ages" of the 20th century where pushing Tri-X to ISO 1600 and 3M 1000T were the norm. Tri-X usually did a good job but it was still hit-and-miss and don't even ask about the 3M 1000T regarding captures and IQ... Many people who I know today seem to have issues about the noise of low-light shooting, even with their high-end cameras today. When I ask them if they ever shot film, the answer is generally no. Also, few go beyond a web posting, let alone print from the files.

I do print from my files and am very content with the files from the GX7, mostly shot with slow zoom lenses and under terrible light at high ISOs, 3200 and up. With good craft, good editing and careful post processing of the raw files, I easily get master files that print easily at 16x20. One image I now have on the wall is a 30x40 landscape from the GX7 that wasn't under the best light. From normal viewing distance, over three feet, it's totally fine.

During my last journey to Serbia, I shot side-by-side,D800 and GX7 at similar high ISO and lighting. The GX7 isn't a D800 nor close to the low-light quality but the GX7 came through fine. Ask yourself, will you be showing your photos from both systems side-by-side in a gallery and will most others viewers have an issue with your photos? Will anyone care about the different looks and image quality in the end?

Since I'm aging and getting tired of packing a full D800 system with all the fixings tipping the scale at 18KG vs. 6KG with my GX7 system, I'm perfectly happy having a different look and lower IQ at high ISO for the images that I once only dreamed of capturing. Everything is a trade-off but worth it when the ink hits the paper.

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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2016, 12:46:41 am »

Good piece. Well written. I get your point and also get the great possibilities that the GX7 offers. I love much about it. The first portfolio on my website ( frankgross.com ) called 'Going Home' was entirely made on the GX7. But some files can be unforgiving. I have one image, for example, where the subject has a pointillist, noisy texture in darker shadow area and I'm grappling with having to settle for it. Trying to establis if that is the IQ limit of the camera or format. So I'm trying to see if I can refine any technique that will maximise the quality and make it as smooth and 'high dynamic range' as possible.
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Pete Berry

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A High ISO RAW Example
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2016, 02:54:12 am »

Good piece. Well written. I get your point and also get the great possibilities that the GX7 offers. I love much about it. The first portfolio on my website ( frankgross.com ) called 'Going Home' was entirely made on the GX7. But some files can be unforgiving. I have one image, for example, where the subject has a pointillist, noisy texture in darker shadow area and I'm grappling with having to settle for it. Trying to establis if that is the IQ limit of the camera or format. So I'm trying to see if I can refine any technique that will maximise the quality and make it as smooth and 'high dynamic range' as possible.

Frank, I'd like to share my RAW settings before B/W conversion/toning on the example of the young monks in the cave-monastery I posted previously, shot with my GH4 at ISO 5000. But first, what was your take on noise in the monochrome at 15x20" (on my 24" FHD screen)?

The first ACR screen shows a bit of an exposure boost, but +78 shadow boost, and an unusual combination of strong contrast at +48 and clarity decrease of -36, the reason being that clarity has a powerful effect on noise with its micro-contrast enhancement, whereas general contrast increase has much less effect in my experience.

The Sharpening/NR screen shows the image at 66% - the equivalent native image size @ 100% before uprezzing in ACR to 15x20 @ 300ppi (16>27MP). You'll note the sharpening settings are unconventional with "detail" set at 100%, which effectively changes the mode from standard USM to de-convolution sharpening as recommended by Jeff Schewe. Notice that the masking level is at 80 to avoid smooth area sharpening as much as possible.

Now the NR section is where the action is with this very high ISO, shadow-boosted image, The main thing I've learned about hi-ISO NR in ACR is to use the Lum. Detail slider as you would the masking slider in Sharpening: detail can be well-preserved as aggressive NR is applied to the OOF areas, leaving the fine-grained noise pattern that takes a close look with my bifocals on the finished print to see, and which has minimal detail smearing evident to me at this mag., that's simply not evident on the 15x20 print on IGFS paper.

Pete
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razrblck

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2016, 05:41:56 am »

Sure, m43 sensors will never be low light monsters, but that shot at 5000ISO can be made to look really good so who cares?

If it fits your needs, stick with it. If you shoot at high ISO all the time and need your pictures to be much cleaner, then smaller sensors are not for you.
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2016, 07:10:22 am »

Larry - Well said.

Pete - It's a wonderful image and demonstrates that one can handle low light quite well within the limitations of M4/3.
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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 #45 on: February 13, 2016, 10:15:08 am »

Pete -
"what was your take on noise in the monochrome "
when I first looked at the b/w image a couple of days ago (or so it seams) I thought  that it was a v nice shot, good quality especially considering high iso, and the low light levels. Top of his head seemed soft. Bricks behind him focused though? But to your point, It looked a bit rough in the shadows under their chins. Nothing too offensive. That's it, otherwise great.
Quite similar looking shadow/skin texture problem  actually to one of my images that I'm struggling with, but shot at 200 iso, bright sun, very fast shutter speed, 75mm (reputedly a m4/3 top performer.)

"+78 shadow boost, and an unusual combination of strong contrast at +48 and clarity decrease of -36"
Maybe it's the viewing size but this image looks even better to me than the b/w.
Amazing that you could boost shadows that much. A bit of wizardry at work there with the Clarity reduction/contrast enhancement.

"Sharpening/NR screen shows the image at 66%"
Should I view it on my display at 66 or 100%?
Ay 66 all good, at 100 all good But the shadow under his chin and ear start to look a little dodgy.
More wizardry with the settings - I'm continually amazed that you can have detail set at 100. I have tried that unsuccessfully on many images since I first read about it.

How do you feel about me emailing you an original raw file for you to comment on the skin 'pointillist texture / noise?) - frankgross[at]gmail[dot]com

How do you match your screen display size to the output print size?Can you actually make the on screen image 20 inches wide measured.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2016, 10:42:11 am by FrankG »
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Pete Berry

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2016, 01:58:43 pm »

Pete -
"what was your take on noise in the monochrome "
when I first looked at the b/w image a couple of days ago (or so it seams) I thought  that it was a v nice shot, good quality especially considering high iso, and the low light levels. Top of his head seemed soft. Bricks behind him focused though? But to your point, It looked a bit rough in the shadows under their chins. Nothing too offensive. That's it, otherwise great.

Quite similar looking shadow/skin texture problem  actually to one of my images that I'm struggling with, but shot at 200 iso, bright sun, very fast shutter speed, 75mm (reputedly a m4/3 top performer.)

"+78 shadow boost, and an unusual combination of strong contrast at +48 and clarity decrease of -36"
Maybe it's the viewing size but this image looks even better to me than the b/w.
Amazing that you could boost shadows that much. A bit of wizardry at work there with the Clarity reduction/contrast enhancement.

"Sharpening/NR screen shows the image at 66%"
Should I view it on my display at 66 or 100%?
Ay 66 all good, at 100 all good But the shadow under his chin and ear start to look a little dodgy.
More wizardry with the settings - I'm continually amazed that you can have detail set at 100. I have tried that unsuccessfully on many images since I first read about it.

How do you feel about me emailing you an original raw file for you to comment on the skin 'pointillist texture / noise?) - frankgross[at]gmail[dot]com

How do you match your screen display size to the output print size?Can you actually make the on screen image 20 inches wide measured.

Thanks for your comments, Frank,, and I'll try to reply to all your questions:

The top of the young monks head, if you look at the color full frame ACR image, was a mess of what appeared to me as a retired MD to be ringworm. So I intensively "treated" that in PS with cloning and blurring. And yes, the shadowed areas on his neck and left arm should have been given a dose of targeted NR, as I forgot to mention I did in the facial area - and also the shadowed chest of the second boy.

About viewing the second ACR screen, just expand it fully, which represents a 66% view of the large print file - very close in viewing size to the native file at 100% before uprezzing.

You get accurate print size viewing in PS6 by putting your screen resolution in PPI in PS Edit > Preferences > Units&Rulers > Screen Resolution. Eg, my 24" FHD monitor has a 1920px width, and I measured the physical width at 20.375". Divide 1920/20.375 = 94.232 pixels/inch and put this into the screen res. box. Then for print size display, right-click on the image and select "Print size" or select it on the top tool bar, and the image size is precise. For my 15x20 print files @ 300ppi, this shows up as a 31.33% view of the 27MP file, but since viewing files in PS & ACR are soft except at the 12.5, 25, 33, 66, and 100% views, I'll view it at 33% for print size detail.

And yes, I'd like to see your original RAW file - plberry850(at)comcast.net - and a 100% crop of a problem area in your processed file?

Regards, Pete
« Last Edit: February 13, 2016, 02:04:05 pm by Pete Berry »
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #47 on: February 16, 2016, 08:43:50 pm »

@pete
Could you please let me know if you received the file/s  - frankgross[at]gmail[dot]com
Thanks
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Pete Berry

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2016, 12:53:07 pm »

@pete
Could you please let me know if you received the file/s  - frankgross[at]gmail[dot]com
Thanks

Frank, I missed the e-mail of 2/14, but in opening it last nite, only JPG 0f 1200x900 size with a zoom window to maybe half-size, and the "RAW" could not be saved in a form that would open in ACR or otherwise.

Dropbox probably the best way to go to preserve original file structure.

Pete
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nma

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #49 on: February 29, 2016, 08:57:48 pm »

This is a follow up to and attempted revival of a long thread.  One of the issues raised is the noise in m43 shots. Accordingly, I am posting an image taken recently of waves breaking on the north shore of Hawaii at Laupahoehoe Point.

The purpose of these images is to demonstrate the noise or lack thereof of a high contrast m43 image.  This image was made with the Olympus EM5ii and the Panasonic 35-100 mm Zoom. The basic image details are F=35mm, f/5.6, ISO 200 and SS=1/500. Notice in capture1 that there is direct sunlight in the foreground, deep shadows in the middle ground encompassing the rocky shoreline, and bright highlights on the foamy waves breaking off shore. The histogram, visible in the first screen capture shows slightly blown highlights and dark shadows, just the sort of image the OP thought impossible to capture with M43.



Capture2 shows the image after post processing.


Notice the main adjustments are contrast=-29, highlights=-69 and shadows=+46. Not shown is that the camera  profile is set to muted, which often helps when dealing with contrasty images. Also not shown is dehaze=12 to add a little contrast back to the midtones. A click white balance was obtained from the large rocks out in the ocean.
 
Capture 3 is a 100% crop including both an area of deep shadow and sunlit tree bark.



Noise reduction is at the default settings luminance=0. The color noise settings are also at default.

Capture 4 is a 100% crop of a highlight and midtone section of the image.



There is no attempt to produce optimal results, since I am working on an uncalibrated laptop screen. Nevertheless, those familiar with Lightroom will see that the sliders are not maxed out, meaning there is considerable room to refine this treatment. Local adjustments of highlights and shadows would be easy to accomplish.

IMO this shot is somewhat challenging but I believe it is well within the capability of M43.

Thoughts?
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Remo Nonaz

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #50 on: March 01, 2016, 08:11:06 am »

Many of us have complete confidence in the M4/3 cameras to shoot in difficult situation and this is a fine example. You comment that you used a camera profile of "muted'. Does this imply that the shot was taken in JPG and not RAW? If JPG, you would probably have even more latitude by taking a RAW shot and working with that.

It's a very nice photo and a fine demonstration of M4/3 capability. Now all you need to do is photoshop in a surfer on the wave, LoL.
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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!

Bob Rockefeller

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #51 on: March 01, 2016, 08:45:13 am »

And this is Lightroom's conversion. Some believe, as I do, that Capture One Pro does an even better job with camera that have no AA filter and with noise reduction/sharpening at the default settings.
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nma

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #52 on: March 01, 2016, 12:26:02 pm »

Many of us have complete confidence in the M4/3 cameras to shoot in difficult situation and this is a fine example. You comment that you used a camera profile of "muted'. Does this imply that the shot was taken in JPG and not RAW? If JPG, you would probably have even more latitude by taking a RAW shot and working with that.

It's a very nice photo and a fine demonstration of M4/3 capability. Now all you need to do is photoshop in a surfer on the wave, LoL.

Remo,

The last widget in the Lightroom UI is the camera profile. This image was shot in raw. Adobe provides a default profile that I find is  too contrasty and way too high in saturation. There are several additional "Olympus" profiles, including muted. Muted is not that severe, it just means that I get to adjust the contrast and saturation from a more useful starting point.
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razrblck

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2016, 01:02:00 pm »

I guess Muted is the equivalent of Nikon's Neutral profile in LR (and in camera). I too have always found Adobe Standard to be very limited. It's ok for general use, but I much prefer a more neutral starting point that I can bend to my will. Sometimes I don't even have to change anything, other times it's just a little bit of contrast. Color is always much more accurate with manufacturers' profiles, and it looks like they use a lot more of the AdobeRGB gamut available while Adobe Standard profile feels much more compressed (you get banding much sooner while moving sliders).

As for noise, I'd say that is just perfect. One would have to pixel peep real hard to find any major noise issues in that picture.
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #54 on: March 01, 2016, 02:37:30 pm »

I wish I got those Shadow results nma. I find it unforgiving if I have to lighten exposure or lift shadows. Subjects look like they have spotty measles. I'm going to try and 'over'-expose a little & see if that helps
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nma

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #55 on: March 01, 2016, 02:45:12 pm »

Frank,

Good technique helps no matter what format you use. I find, and others report, that the camera's exposure system is tuned for jpeg. You will see that if you use your jpeg exposure, your raw images are under exposed by at east one stop.

Unless the scene is super contrasty I "overexpose +1". If you really want to be sure, how much does it cost to turn exposure bracketing on. I can assure you that results like I showed above are routine, not the exception. I get good results up to ISO 3200. There is an IQ difference between ISO 200 and ISO 3200, no doubt. But the high ISO images are usually very satisfactory, assuming full exposure.
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SZRitter

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #56 on: March 01, 2016, 02:48:02 pm »

I wish I got those Shadow results nma. I find it unforgiving if I have to lighten exposure or lift shadows. Subjects look like they have spotty measles. I'm going to try and 'over'-expose a little & see if that helps

Using an E-M5, I found that one to two stops overexposure definitely cleaned up a lot of noise. It does seem to have a "color shoulder", so at two stops, some things shifted (i.e. blue skies went too cyan), so keep that in mind. Mileage may vary by sensor/camera, so just experiment a bit.
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FrankG

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #57 on: March 01, 2016, 03:10:06 pm »

Interesting note about exposure  based on jpeg not raw (which is what i always shoot).
I will definitely experiment with the bracketing to check it out.
However, when I open my files (in ACR) the exposure does seem ok. It doesn't 'look' underexposed / dark.
If you're 'over' exposing a stop or more, then are you routinely having to bring exposure down in ACR / Lr?
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SZRitter

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #58 on: March 01, 2016, 03:20:50 pm »

Interesting note about exposure  based on jpeg not raw (which is what i always shoot).
I will definitely experiment with the bracketing to check it out.
However, when I open my files (in ACR) the exposure does seem ok. It doesn't 'look' underexposed / dark.
If you're 'over' exposing a stop or more, then are you routinely having to bring exposure down in ACR / Lr?

Yes.

Look up ETTR (expose to the right) to get a basic idea (there is a good article on the site to get you started).  The basic theory, by my understanding, is the higher you can saturate the physical wells on the sensor with light, the more reliable and complete the data can become.
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nma

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Re: M4/3 Noise
« Reply #59 on: March 01, 2016, 03:25:04 pm »

Interesting note about exposure  based on jpeg not raw (which is what i always shoot).
I will definitely experiment with the bracketing to check it out.
However, when I open my files (in ACR) the exposure does seem ok. It doesn't 'look' underexposed / dark.
If you're 'over' exposing a stop or more, then are you routinely having to bring exposure down in ACR / Lr?

Hello Frank,
I think you have just explained why you are having trouble with your M43. It is the jpeg. When you open the jpeg in LR you DO see that it is exposed correctly. But if you were shooting RAW and exposed to the right, you will have one to two stops more exposure headroom without burning the highlights. And yes, you might very well want to adjust the exposure in LR. The basic RAW exposure is linear. Adobe might fudge that a bit but it will be close to linear. As a practical matter adjusting the exposure with linear rendering just shifts the brightness down or up without affecting the relative values between shadows and highlights.

Another tip for successful exposure: Set your jpeg contrast, saturation, sharpening, etc. to the most neutral settings, not the one that makes the prettiest jpeg on the screen. Then the in camera histogram derived by sampling the jpeg image will be a more useful guide to RAW exposure.
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