gf2 picture quality problems :(

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by bee, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. bee

    bee Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 27, 2012
    I just bought a gf2 and the highest iso I can go is 400 for usable pics of decent size. Is this realistic? I was looking at some pictures I took with a nikon D5000 in auto mode, and I have out of camera jpegs at iso 1250 that i could print.

    GF2 iso 400 = nikon D5000 iso 1250

    Please tell me I am doing something wrong. And for those not familiar a Nikon D5000 is an older entry level dslr with same megapixels as the gf2.
  2. bee

    bee Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 27, 2012
    Okay I think I jumped the gun on the panasonic being really crappy with noise I just took some pictures at high iso and they weren't that bad. Not quite as good as the nikon, but acceptable.

    So here is my question what causes noise besides iso? Are there certain situations where it shows up more? Are there steps when editing that will make it more obvious or worse?
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    Typically noise shows up in dark areas, because the signal to noise ratio is poor. As far as Panasonics, I'm not very fond of their JPEG processing, including how NR is applied. Try shooting RAW and cleaning up the photos in SilkyPix or Lightroom instead.
  4. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Bee, underexposure also increases digital noise. --Warren
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    Well. lots of things. Type of sensor, sensor temperature, design of sensor, ...

    But underlying it is pretty simple physics. When you make an exposure, each pixel of the sensor collects some light, individual photons. The brighter the light, the more photons are collected. The bigger the pixel (the collection area), the more photons are collected. The longer the exposure, the more photons are collected.

    When the sensor pixel collects just a few photons, the result is "noisy" -- just like looking at a few grains of sand where each is a slightly different color.

    When the sensor pixel collects a lot of photons, the result is an average -- like looking at a beach.

    So: More photons=good. Less photons=bad.

    You get more photons from longer exposures and bigger apertures (i.e., lower ISO setting) or from a bigger sensor pixel area.

    The fact that collection area is so important for reducing noise is the reason that, all other factors being equal, sensors bigger than our little M43 ones will produce better low light results. And remember that "bigger" refers to collection area not linear dimensions. So a sensor twice as big in liner dimensions will collect four times as much light.

    (To the purists: Yes, I know this is highly simplified and ignores intrinsic sensor noise. My undergraduate degree is in physics. But I hope it is accurate enough to provide some understanding of the issue.)
  6. bee

    bee Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 27, 2012
    Ok thanks for all the quick replies. I took some more test photos and it turns out that it was under exposure in that initial image that caused me to overreact.
    I am still not particularly happy with the gf2 performance at higher iso even with raw files.

    I have started shooting RAW but my editing skills are poor. I am on my second day of using the lightroom 4 trial. I have already managed to break the upload function in it. It doesn't let me see all of the pictures I have on my card?

    Is the noise reduction in lightroom considered really good or should I be looking at plugins or a different program for nr?
  7. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    1. The sensor in the GF2 can generate a lot of noise. I don't know if it's the image processor, sensor, JPEG engine, or what have you (or a combination thereof) but it's one of the noisier m43 cameras, IMO.

    2. Noise reduction in LR is quite good, from what I've seen.