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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:44 am 
Hey all,
I keep having major noise issues at 400ISO and higher.
The other day I went to the footy here, a little overcasted so I pushed the ISO to 400. got home, uploaded and in the dark areas I have major noise.

Now I over expose at 400 like I've been told at uni, but its the same old thing.
Nikons & Canons are at least 10x better at 400ISO noisewise than the sonys and its getting to a point where I'm going to change over to a nikon because of thing.

Is there a way to fix this or what. Noise Ninja just turns my photos cartoonish, define is a little better but not to to printable standards (A4) and its killing me as I need to print at least A4 for uni.

On Sunday I used my Sigma 70-300mm lens, even my Minlota 28mm lens which is about a $1000 second hand lens has the same issues.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:32 am 
10 times better? I guaruntee that if I were to throw a 100% crop of dark area from Sony and Canikon equivalent you wouldn't tell the difference. It is only at actually high ISO where Canikon have a *very slight* edge over Sony, only even at 3200 where its noticable. To which Sony's dynamic range edges its competitors similarly.

Noise is absolutely irrelevant to the lens you use. The images you are looking at are full blown originals, you should not expect noise from your full resolution image to be better than a smaller thumbnail image from another camera.

The best way to combat noise is through photoshop layering application - usually apply one overlay high pass filter at ~ 2-8px radius (you'll see), then apply a median noise filter to the base layer. Its a lot more complex then that, but you'll get the hang of it after a while. Noise ninja is garbage, pointless fluff that doesn't even do its job very well.

I use Sony's A700 and I freely use ISO 400 with very good luck. I only barely begin to hesitate at ISO 1000. Please believe that all this hype and hearsay about Sony's "inferior image grain" at high ISO is made up at worst and wholly exaggerated at best.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:57 am 
Hmm, the A200 is no noise performance king but ISO400- 800 is still usable. If you are having such issues with the A200, no equivalent camera from Canon or Nikon will satisfy you.

Overexposing is one strategy and NR software is another, I can't think of any other. I don't think you will be able to get around this without replacing your body. You probably already do, but shooting in RAW helps a lot.

Images from Noise Ninja should not be cartoonish if done right, I'm no expert so I won't offer any advice on this but there might be some guides around with a good way of doing it.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:02 am 
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Got some samples so we're 100% sure we talking about the same thing?

Random thoughts:
Are you shooting jpeg or raw? Sony jpegs don't have nearly as much NR applied to them as everyone else does.
If raw, which converter? Under challenging situations, I've had better results with DxO more than ACR for example, although there isn't much in it on brighter scenes.
Are you doing much aggressive shadow recovery or other similar lightening in PP? That wouldn't help.
You can try turning OFF high ISO NR, although I don't think ISO400 counts as high anyway. Unfortunately in the lower Sony bodies there appears to be NR applied even in RAW leading to a blotchy noise look. Turning it off can help improve the detail level but you need to process more to control the noise.
Try other NR plugins? I went with neat image which I find works well, but since then I found another free plugin which in the little I've used it so far, seems particularly good at preserving fine detail at the cost of less strong NR in smooth areas.

On comparing it with the competition, I partially agree with Anbesol in that at ISO400 or so, there really isn't that big a difference. I do find it is much more noticeable at higher ISO.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:16 am 
In gordons review:
Quote:
As such the A200 records a decent amount of detail with low noise between 100 and 400 ISO, where it's pretty much neck-in-neck with the Canon EOS 400D / XTi.

At 800 ISO though, the A200, like its predecessor, suffers from a drop in detail due to smearing. At this sensitivity, the Canon delivers a noticeably superior result. At 1600 ISO, there's a further drop, and again a result which falls behind the Canon; indeed we'd say the 400D / XTi at 1600 ISO delivers similar results to the A200 at 800 ISO.


it is normal for that level of camera.

But can you show us an example so we can compare.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:32 am 
Perhaps a faster lens. I.e a 70-200 f2.8.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:23 am 
popo wrote:
Got some samples so we're 100% sure we talking about the same thing?

Random thoughts:
Are you shooting jpeg or raw? Sony jpegs don't have nearly as much NR applied to them as everyone else does.
If raw, which converter? Under challenging situations, I've had better results with DxO more than ACR for example, although there isn't much in it on brighter scenes.
Are you doing much aggressive shadow recovery or other similar lightening in PP? That wouldn't help.
You can try turning OFF high ISO NR, although I don't think ISO400 counts as high anyway. Unfortunately in the lower Sony bodies there appears to be NR applied even in RAW leading to a blotchy noise look. Turning it off can help improve the detail level but you need to process more to control the noise.
Try other NR plugins? I went with neat image which I find works well, but since then I found another free plugin which in the little I've used it so far, seems particularly good at preserving fine detail at the cost of less strong NR in smooth areas.

On comparing it with the competition, I partially agree with Anbesol in that at ISO400 or so, there really isn't that big a difference. I do find it is much more noticeable at higher ISO.


I know noise when i see it, I've been at a photography uni for now 8 months full time in a pro level course.

I've posted a number of times on this site about noise and the sony a200, its been a major issue with me since I've had the camera.
My girlfriend is a photoshop pro and she can't believe the noise of some of the photos.

I haven't shot in JPEG since I got the camera.


When I talk about changing over I'm talking about brands all together, I'm saving for a full frame camera and if this keeps up it won't be a sony.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:40 am 
Could you still post some samples? What's intolerable noise to one may be barely noticeable to another.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:50 am 
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Hi sdowden,

It sounds as though your camera is producing worse results than other users expect at ISO 400. I think a couple of 100% crops would be useful as that may allow those that also have the same model to reach a conclusion about whether your camera is faulty.

I'd also suggest sharing your camera defaults (NR, sharpness etc) and also your post-processing defaults (software used and, again, NR, sharpness etc). Extra work, I know, but I think the community would like to help but it's difficult without more information. :?

Bob.

P.S. Without getting too far off-topic can you share why it's a good idea to over-expose at ISO 400 when, presumably, the same exposure time at a lower ISO would reduce the risk of blown highlights and, I assume, also potentially reduce the high ISO noise in the shadow areas? I'm just a happy snapper at heart so I genuinely don't understand why, as a matter of habit, one should over-expose at any ISO. :?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:14 pm 
Bob, speaking from experience the A200 tends to underexpose by about 0.3 to 0.7 stops. This can be corrected in post processing, particularly if you're shooting RAW. However, doing so will cause shadows to contain more noise. This is also likely to be the source of the A200/A300/A350's reputation for poor noise handling.

If you expose to the right (i.e. mildly over exposing), you're trading off some highlight detail for less shadow noise. Given that the A200 has fantastic dynamic range (better than my 50D according to various reviews) this can be very beneficial.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:16 pm 
Bob Andersson wrote:
Hi sdowden,

It sounds as though your camera is producing worse results than other users expect at ISO 400. I think a couple of 100% crops would be useful as that may allow those that also have the same model to reach a conclusion about whether your camera is faulty.

I'd also suggest sharing your camera defaults (NR, sharpness etc) and also your post-processing defaults (software used and, again, NR, sharpness etc). Extra work, I know, but I think the community would like to help but it's difficult without more information. :?

Bob.

P.S. Without getting too far off-topic can you share why it's a good idea to over-expose at ISO 400 when, presumably, the same exposure time at a lower ISO would reduce the risk of blown highlights and, I assume, also potentially reduce the high ISO noise in the shadow areas? I'm just a happy snapper at heart so I genuinely don't understand why, as a matter of habit, one should over-expose at any ISO. :?

Firstly here is an example

cropped
http://dowdenphotography.com/002.jpg

A4 Size
http://dowdenphotography.com/003.jpg

* both images are at 360DPI for printing.

This is the master exported as a JPEG
http://dowdenphotography.com/004.jpg

I've used just about every setting you can think of, but these were taken like most of my photos these days on abode RGB style, 0 changes, NR on, manual exp. (anyone who shoots in anything else at uni gets in trouble), for post processing I use Aperture then export into photoshop where my girlfriend helps me out with the major editing in some cases.
Sometimes I will use sharpen & NR plug ins in aperture or photoshop when needed.

Its been a issues since I first bumped the ISO up to 400 more than a year ago.
BTW thanks all for the help, fixing it would help me out more than any of you know.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:31 pm 
That photo is underexposed by at least 2 stops. Load it up in Photoshop and see how all the data is clustered to the left of the histogram? Do an auto-levels and see how bright and washed out the photo looks. That's classic underexposure.

Expose correctly and your photos will turn out alright. With sports photography, manual exposure is not workable unless you're very quick at changing aperture + shutter speed (the camera will do this better and faster, tbh) or you meter for one particular area of the field and wait for the action to enter that area.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:24 pm 
As what pgtips said.. its a bit underexposed.

using my a200, i only notice noise at around iso 800, but even at 1600 its still useable for me for blow up prints, but then again im not shooting sports and im not going to photography university.

i hope you get a solution for this soon...

good luck.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:40 pm 
pgtips wrote:
Given that the A200 has fantastic dynamic range (better than my 50D according to various reviews) this can be very beneficial.


http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/DxOMark-Sensor

not so :) by 0.1


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:59 pm 
It depends on whose benchmark you view, there isn't a standard way of measuring dynamic range. But Imaging Resources gives the A200 a 0.5 stop advantage over the 50D. More importantly, if I tone mape a single RAW file I find that the A200's RAWs look better than the 50D. Admittedly, this point it rather moot since the 50D has a 6.3 fps shooting speed so I can easily auto bracket :)

Still the A200 is a very decent camera, and the issue with the posted images appears to be some very severe underexposure.


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