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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:50 pm 
High ISO Noise fix for Image Data Converter
31st March 2010, 10:29 am
Rating 3.60 out of 5

SONY has released a new alogrithm for raw conversion (deBayer) which offers improve high ISO noise. IDC (Image Data Converter) is the program issued with all Sony DSLRs. Up to now, no maker has ever revised their ‘house’ converter to offer high ISO improvement as a specific feature. The new version can be downloaded free by existing users (download link is provided at end of story). We have direct download links now for Windows and Mac OSX versions.

What is more important for owners is that IDC has always copied, replicated or matched the behaviour of camera firmware. If Sony has acquired or written new deBayer algorithms, either future DSLRs will have much improved high ISO performance – or firmware upgrades are in the pipeline which could transform existing gear (except the poor old Alpha 100 – it was probably doing pretty well in reality anyway…).

Here are two samples quickly compared – old IDC 3 versus new IDC 3.2, on a 2500 ISO file from the Alpha 900. All settings were identical for the two files, and sharpening and NR were left at default values.



Before – v3.0

Image

After – v3.2

Image


both on Mac OSX Snow Leopard, and I can confirm a VERY much faster performance for 3.2, building a sharp preview of the A900 file rapidly and completely where 3.0 built in slowly and often only left the centre of each image previewed correctly.

We’ll know about the firmware soon, but it is significant that Sony having hinted at firmware upgrades for this Spring (documented from various trade shows, interviews etc on other websites) has first of all come out with an IDC upgrade.

Here is the full press release issued this morning:

α (Alpha) digital SLR users can now enjoy even more control over creating beautiful, low noise images with the latest release of Image Data Converter software.

Image Data Converter SR Version 3.2 now features new algorithms that significantly reduce image noise at high ISO settings when converting RAW data to JPEG files. Processing is most effective at ISO 800 and higher, delivering impressively natural results with minimised colour noise right up to ISO 12,800 (depends on DLSR model).

The new algorithm is effective when converting RAW file or cRAW files (depends on DSLR model) to JPEG files produced by all current and previous model digital SLR cameras by Sony (excluding DSLR-A100).

Image Data Convertor SR Version 3.2 is part of the Image Data Suite that also includes Image Data Lightbox SR Version 2.2. Supplied free of charge with all new digital SLR cameras by Sony, the enhanced bundle now also offers support for Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

Registered Alpha customers can download Image Data Convertor SR Version 3.2 free of charge from the Sony Europe support website in English version from 31st March 2010. Other languages will be available to download within the next 10 working days. To download the new update, please visit: http://support.sony-europe.com/dime/dig ... alpha.aspx?[img]

Source: http://www.photoclubalpha.com/

looks good, I want the A230, just 390$ in amazon :)[/img]


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:08 pm 
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while I wouldn't classify this as better noise performance, the software seems to perform some nice noise reduction (at the cost of detail, of course).

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:29 pm 
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I don't see any detail difference in that sample, but they finally calmed the chroma noise. But you could do that with other raw converters or noise reduction plugins anyway...

Do you really need to register to download it? Was thinking of playing with my old Sony files...

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:10 pm 
The true lesson to be learned is...don't shoot over ISO 800 on a cropped sensor camera. :) No software in the world will recover your shots.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:06 am 
is it the same picture? I don't see a difference really.
Thanks for the heads up...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:48 am 
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I don’t think so Razvan, you pretty much have to shoot above 1600 to see any type of deterioration.
This was shot at 800…

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:45 am 
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Pretty picture!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:38 am 
Come on guys, your pixel peeping skills are lacking if you can't spot the difference between the two photos :P. The brown area in particular has a lot less chroma noise, which brings it closer to what other cameras produce. It's a pity that this isn't a firmware update and you'll have to use Sony's own RAW conversion software.

With any cropped frame camera, you will see a deterioration in image quality the moment you go beyond the sensor's base ISO. If you amplify the signal which is what you do when you increase the ISO, you will also inevitably increase noise. This is a fact, and there is no point arguing against it.

What is up for debate, is how usable those files are for your specific purposes. I'm personally quite happy with going up to ISO 3200 on my camera. They print fine for my purposes, so long as I do not pixel peep!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:50 pm 
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pgtips, I’m curious to see what you would want to shoot at 3200?, care to post.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:50 pm 
I never go beyond ISO 800, much prefer to stay low as possible and instead use slower shutter speeds and wider apertures. Unless I ever plan to shoot bats flying from their cave's at night, can't think of any time I'd really need ISO 1600+


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:01 pm 
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I'd rather have tons of noise than a photo without much detail due to noise reduction. So thank you, but no thank you.

Used to go up all the way to ISO 6400, but nowadays I'll stop at ISO 3200. Love a little noise, love the pictures!

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:54 pm 
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Bjorn, post a pic at 3200. I've never had any use for it but I'm curios nevertheless.
No bats flying out of caves or shoes in a dark closet please. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:32 pm 
A couple of city scape shots at night. Bracketed shots, taken at ISO 3200. The EXIF was lost by Photomatix :(

Image

Image

The interior of a church, similar lighting to what you'd see at a wedding. ISO 3200, f/5.6, 1/50s.
Image

They're not amazing photos, but if I didn't push ISO 3200, I wouldn't have got the shots.


Last edited by pgtips on Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:33 pm 
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No bats, no shoes:

Image

More ISO 3200 shots on my Flickr, EXIF provided in the description of each shot.

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:44 pm 
Image

Here's one from a wedding shoot in February.
ISO 3200, f/8, 1/25s. It was pouring with rain outside, and this was an available light portrait. If I didn't push ISO 3200, I wouldn't have the shot. God bless RAW and Bibble 5 + Noise Ninja :)


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