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E-PL1 noise at low ISO

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Grover, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Grover

    Grover New to Mu-43

    May 24, 2011
    When I returned home from my vacation, I started looking at all my pictures.
    I took lots of great pictures, or so I thought. While traveling, I had been checking my pictures out on my iPad, which converts everything to JPEG and lowers the resolution.

    It turns out that even at low ISO, even as low as 100, all my pictures have a lot of noise on the RAW versions. Granted some of them are still great, but I'm disappointed by the results of many of my pictures.

    What is this due to? I know it's a little vague without all the other details of my pictures, but it's too widespread (as far as I can tell) to be due to settings. I've been playing with the noise reduction settings from a few programs, but none of them seem to be very efficient. They either blur the picture or they just don't do anything.
  2. I've heard similar complaints on the web from many popular camera models showing noise at low ISO. So it isn't uncommon. It generally has nothing to do with the look of the image when printed or downsized to a more usable image resolution. I just opened some of my night time images that I shot at 100 ISO in Niagara Falls last week - and at 100% on the RAW files there is noise there if I want to look for it - but that's being a pixel peeper. I've never really paid attention to it. Noise reduction softwares do a great job - and I run some of my images through Nik's DFine - but you will see some smoothing which has to take place to reduce noise.

    You may find that different RAW converters can make a difference when it comes to noise. It could be more evident in certain types of subject matter - likes skies or shadows etc. You may want to watch that you aren't slightly underexposing your images and then adjusting in post - which essentially means that you are shooting at a higher ISO. The image content could make a difference in noise visibility. You may want to play with the cameras noise reduction settings to find something that suits - although this will only affect shooting in jpeg - - - however those settings do sometimes become the default adjustments depending on the raw convertor you are using. Something I had issues with one time was the noise as a result of my camera being set to Auto gradation mode for extended dynamic range appearance - but again I am presuming that is a JPEG option only. The micro 4/3 sensor is smaller than full frame and in general will be even more prone to noise at all ISO levels.
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    What program are you viewing them in?

  4. S38

    S38 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  5. tetzumaru

    tetzumaru Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 10, 2012
    can we see some pics.
  6. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I just re-tried Olympus viewer and for me it displays obvious noise - where there was none in LightRoom.
    Plus OV is very clunky.
  7. punkman

    punkman Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 30, 2011
    I think I read in an E-PL1 review that 200 ISO was better than 100/160 ISO in many cases. Newer Olympus cameras don't go below 200 at all. My E-PL3 only goes down to 200.
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    All Olympus cameras using the Panasonic NMOS sensor have a base ISO of 200, even if they allow you to go down to ISO100. ISO200 is generally a better choice for these cameras irregardless of ISO100 availability. This has been the case since the E-510 and E-410 DSLRs back in 2007.
  9. S38

    S38 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2010

    ISO100 has less dynamic range but it is cleaner.
  10. So this is the noise I see when I processed a recent RAW file from my E-PL1 shot at 100 ISO - - - is this the type of thing you are seeing? I kept the camera settings when processing - which were -2 sharpening (going to zero would increase noise even more) and Noise Filter OFF. The RAW processing was done in Olympus Viewer 2. I am putting this - just so you know that noise can be expected with the E-PL1 at lower ISO settings (just as it can with other brands) - - - when pixel peeping.

    Crop taken from 100% view on screen

    Running the same 100% view through DFine cleans up noise and slightly softens details

    The thing is that I don't care what any noise looks like at 100% on my large monitor. No one ever views images like that. In print there is zero noise evident - - - and any image that I would show anyone would have to be resized to a usable screen size. Just by resizing, the noise disappears. Even this larger 1200x900 resample with Bicubic Sharper (which would produce a perfect 5x7 print at 180dpi), shows virtually no noise when viewed at 100% on my 26 inch monitor - - - this is a websized crop of the top left corner of the 1200x900 image at 100%.


    This is the full image and how I would be presenting it in anything other than a print - resized for web to about a 650 pixel dimmension:

    All of the above are straight out of the camera - which I never use. Here is the fully processed image that I posted last week (Image #5) - https://www.mu-43.com/f56/niagara-rain-20883/#post198897

    The cure for visible noise at Low ISO - don't pixel peep - judiciously use noise reduction software :) 

    • Like Like x 1
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