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 Post subject: Fear of Noise Grain.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:39 pm 
I lurk this forum a bit as well as Dyxum usually to see if there are any new announcements and sometimes to check out what Sony users are thinking.

One overwhelming thing I notice is what can only be referred to IMO as a "fear" of noise grain.

I'm kinda wondering what causes this. Noise grain seems pretty normal, and for the last few decades has been considered normal in low light photos. So what I'm wondering, is if people have a serious problem with noise grain, maybe they should invest in faster lenses as well as better lighting gear in low light environments.

Just a note however, I am a little biased as I am in fact a fan of noise grain in general, I feel it can add a very filmlike element to digital photography, and I welcome a bit of noise, particularly in elements in photos which are not very important. Sometimes I even add noise into photos in post.

Now, onto something I think is important. I think one problem might be a lack of understanding of actual noise control, the number one cause of "Bad" noise in my experience has NEVER been high ISO, but rather poor exposure, sometimes due to a "fear of high ISO" which ironically causes worse noise grain.

So a little test for those who are interested, next time you're shooting in a poorly light environment, go to your normal ISO setting, and then, without thinking, up the ISO an entire step, and maybe throw an exposure bias of +.3 or +.5., set to spot metering, compose and frame where there is light to begin with, Shoot raw, and check out the results.

I have never had a problem taking my gear up to ISO6400. Maybe some of that info can help you guys not have a problem with it either. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:35 pm 
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I'm not sure exactly what is the claim here.

Fundamentally, noise degrades technical quality. Maybe not an issue if you want the noise for artistic effect, but I'd consider that the exception than the rule. If the noise is low enough, it may not be noticeable or acceptable. If it's high enough, the wanted signal could become buried. Then you have to consider the noise characteristic, as some types of noise may be more acceptable than others.

On that last note, the earlier Sony CCD DSLRs were comparatively "bad" at higher ISO. On the A350, the noise had a very coarse grain which is hard to process. Most other systems, including Sony CMOS sensors, have a finer noise characteristic which is less distracting.

Beyond that, we can get into chroma vs luminance characteristics, but that's more a function of processing.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:23 pm 
popo wrote:
I'm not sure exactly what is the claim here.

Fundamentally, noise degrades technical quality. Maybe not an issue if you want the noise for artistic effect, but I'd consider that the exception than the rule. If the noise is low enough, it may not be noticeable or acceptable. If it's high enough, the wanted signal could become buried. Then you have to consider the noise characteristic, as some types of noise may be more acceptable than others.

On that last note, the earlier Sony CCD DSLRs were comparatively "bad" at higher ISO. On the A350, the noise had a very coarse grain which is hard to process. Most other systems, including Sony CMOS sensors, have a finer noise characteristic which is less distracting.

Beyond that, we can get into chroma vs luminance characteristics, but that's more a function of processing.


lol you missed my point, and went literally in the direction that photographer's shouldn't be going in, imho.

technically perfect photos sound pretty damn boring. being afraid to shoot above ISO 1600 because of some slight noise degradation that in many ways will absolutely benefit your work in many people's eyes is boring also. I actually booked a wedding at the Metropolitan in NYC specifically for the graininess in some of my photos mixed in with all the clean stuff.

i think that as a PHOTOGRAPHER and ARTIST, it helps to start ignoring technical "limitations" of the camera and start learning how to use this stuff to benefit your work. It isn't the exception to the rule, it should be the rule. Obviously this is my opinion. But on here and Dyxum I get quite a lot of PMs asking me how I'm getting what I get out of a700s, a200s, and now a900s, and the first thing I'm usually saying is stop caring and start shooting.

:)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:34 pm 
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If I need a higher shutter speed I'll happily up my ISO to 3200 on my D90 without thinking, and 6400 if I need even more.

To respond to your film grain part: chroma noise is a lot worse than luminance. Luminance is just grainy, where chroma is "digital". I don't know how this is on the sonys, but on the nikons it's 90% luminance. :)

Yeah, good noise performance is nice to have but you shouldn't stare yourself blind on it. I never apply noise reduction :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:51 pm 
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To me noise is just another one of those flaws of life. I believe that an adequate level of technical understanding is required to allow informed artistic choice.

Regular or excessive use of noise for artistic effect could also be seen as repetitive and boring too. In moderation, maybe ok. With better technical images, you have a better starting point to work from, although I'm also a believer in getting "good enough" and not necessarily "the best possible".

I'm probably higher than average ISO shooter anyway, and regularly shoot around 1600 on Canon. The same can't be said for the A350 though as the coarse grain dominates at that level.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:08 pm 
popo wrote:
To me noise is just another one of those flaws of life. I believe that an adequate level of technical understanding is required to allow informed artistic choice.

Regular or excessive use of noise for artistic effect could also be seen as repetitive and boring too. In moderation, maybe ok. With better technical images, you have a better starting point to work from, although I'm also a believer in getting "good enough" and not necessarily "the best possible".

I'm probably higher than average ISO shooter anyway, and regularly shoot around 1600 on Canon. The same can't be said for the A350 though as the coarse grain dominates at that level.


Yeah I definitely agree with you on the CCD sensors, those do produce grain that is essentially unusable. However with CMOS sensors, it seems that at their worse, it's still pretty awesome and film like, so the crazy pixel peeping is silly to me, also the fear of actually exposing images properly due to noise. I saw you in the other thread about ISO and agree with what you were saying completely.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:38 pm 
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What if noise isn't our real "enemy", but lower detail, dyn. range and saturation is?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:12 pm 
i look forward to see examples of those pictures mentioned above having a film like effect...

:D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:00 am 
lomer18 wrote:
i look forward to see examples of those pictures mentioned above having a film like effect...

:D
huh?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:15 am 
First of all, I think it's great that you are able to turn one of a camera's biggest weaknesses into an artistic tool.

I agree with you for the most part but noise is still an undesirable thing. Noise can be added in a controlled way but cannot be fully and effectively taken away. It reduces saturation, detail and contrast.

Noise might work in some shots but I most definitely would not want it in all my photos. It might just be me, but the grainy look, IMO, doesn't work in anything more than 1% of my shots. I think the important thing here is choice, with a camera that produces clean images by default, you can have noise as and when you please and in whatever way you like, a noisy camera will only give you one look.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:55 pm 
vpell wrote:
lomer18 wrote:
i look forward to see examples of those pictures mentioned above having a film like effect...

:D
huh?


mhh i just like you to post some picture. here what you mean by film like pics but as ive seen those picture in your site i understand now...


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 Post subject: Re: Fear of Noise Grain.
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:25 pm 
vpell wrote:
One overwhelming thing I notice is what can only be referred to IMO as a "fear" of noise grain.

I'm kinda wondering what causes this. Noise grain seems pretty normal, and for the last few decades has been considered normal in low light photos.


I don't think it has anything to do with "fear." There is avoidance of grain when capturing because removal of it sometimes results in a loss of detail. It can always be added later and their are programs that even provide different grain charecteristics, such a tri-x or different color films. I don't care for NOISE at all. I avoided it when I was in photography school to the extent that I used a 4"x5" camera. I believe that grain or noise either shows the limits of film, camera, and technique. It is occasionally used creatively but for most its just that the photographer didn't take the trouble to avoid it. Its only normal for those who don't take the trouble to avoid it. Noise, color noise in particular, isn't very aesthetic, it just gets in the way. I think there is a misconception out there that Sony cameras are noisy, but I think that is because too many people shoot jpeg and then others pixel peep and are alarmed with what they see in a 1:1 view when really they should be looking at prints. My experience with the Sony a850 is that it can be used at up to ISO 1600 as long as one shoots RAW and does a little noise reduction.
If you are deliberately pre-visualizing and grain is part of what you see for the picture than go ahead. But if you ask me it is no different than having an out of focus picture because of carelessness.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:43 pm 
Sorry guys/gals i was just going out. Before i shut down my Pc, here is one of our very own, Bjorn's wonder :lol: (Without permission from Bjorn :wink: To prove a point that noise can be your friend :lol:)

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:01 pm 
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I'll admit it: I love noise.

... when the situation is right, of course, and not out because I "didn't take the trouble to avoid it" (quote Theresa), but because it often suits the mood of the photo. That is, given the photo shows such a mood or atmosphere, which only applies to certain kinds of photography, available light being the most obvious example.

Thanks Rizwan for posting my shot here, I don't mind! :wink:

- Bjorn -

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:30 pm 
vpell wrote:

i think that as a PHOTOGRAPHER and ARTIST, it helps to start ignoring technical "limitations" of the camera and start learning how to use this stuff to benefit your work.

that's somewhat true,but ignoring certain things will ruin the photo all togheter. I for one never shoot with ISOs higher that 640-800 because...the details are simply destroyed. On most croped sensors,it's the same story. On more advanced CMOS sensors,you can base on ISO 1600 for some ocasions. But you lose important details,color accuracy & other things by increasing the ISO to the roof. :)
The "mood" of the noise is a fake judgement...if the shutter allows you,it's better to use lower ISO-s & add the noise later. This way,your details will be preserved & you can also control the quantity & quality of noise you need for that photo's general mood.


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