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M4/3 Noise

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Frankgr, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    I love my Panasonic GX7 (touchscreen, silent, flip vf, menus etc) but am stumped by m4/3 noise (& puny image stabilisation). Is noise better on any other m4/3 camera? Other wise I have to sell up (20mm, 43mm & oly 75mm) & return to a larger sensor boo hoo

    I thought I should clear up a few things after receiving a pm - Most people would not find the noise very objectionable. I want to almost double the pixel dimension (ACR re-sizing) to enable good 16x20 prints. So even tiny under exposure or lifting of shadows results in noise. Which can of course be treated with the Noise reduction slider but at a softening / mushy price. I come from a full frame background so am after the smoothest most noiseless possible results
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  2. MRM

    MRM Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Jun 9, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Matt
    More information needed. What kind of pictures are you taking? What iso are you using? How are you processing? When is the noise too noticeable? I have found no problem with noise in landscape as I can use a slower shutter speed with Olympus stabilization and with shots of animals or people where you need a faster shutter speed I found that with Lightroom you can push the sharpening down to zero and use the brush to sharpen specific areas to improve overall noise. I have no issue pixel peeping at 3200 Iso on a 4K monitor. To me is the light is lower then that it's not a pic that I probably want to take.
     
  3. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    Yes, thanks. I should have added more info.
    Most people would not find the noise very objectionable. I want to almost double the pixel dimension (ACR re-sizing) to enable good 16x20 prints @ 360 ppi. So even tiny under exposure or lifting of shadows results in noise. Which can of course be treated with the Noise reduction slider but at a softening / mushy price. I come from a full frame background so am after the smoothest most noiseless possible results
     
  4. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Without knowing any of the specific situations you're dealing with, the light, the settings you're using, whether you're shooting RAW or JPEG, or any of the rest, we really can't help with this question.

    Olympus cameras have better image stabilization than the GX7, which can only really be relied on for 1 stop. I generally shoot as if I don't have IBIS with my GX7. In any situation where you're dealing with very low shutter speeds and relying on image stabilization, you are better off shooting a burst of images and then picking the sharpest one. This is common practice with any handheld image stabilization (no matter the system), and the only way to guarantee results.

    We also don't know what you're coming from. The GX7, for instance, performs fairly comparably in low light to the Sony A6000, or a Pentax DSLR up to about ISO 6400. If you're expecting results like Canon 6D, you're going to be disappointed.
     
  5. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    Thanks. Yes, I edited my original post to include a bit more info.
    I shoot Raw and process in ACR. I do capture sharpening prior to re-sizing / up- sampling from the native resolution to 15x20 @360ppi.
    When the shot hits the bulls-eye with perfect focus and perfect exposure then it looks good. But it's very unforgiving.
    I shoot mostly 400 iso and sometimes 200 or 800. Never more than 1600.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  6. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    484
    May 2, 2012
    Frank,

    Have you sampled your 300dpi prints? even noise on the IPS panel screen will minimize as you print.

    You must understand that you must choose your tools in photography for your specific preference in IQ.

    I've used my m43 as a casual enjoyable camera but for good light family documentation application. For my other application I use my Canon 5dmk2 and 5dmk3 and Pro L glass to maximize my IQ in low light. I know Nikon or Sony would perform better but I'm heavily invested in Canon.

    A canon 6d is not much more expensive than the panasonic GX8. For static and slow moving subjects the 6D in the Canon world surpasses my much more expensive 5dmk3. You couldn't compare noise control of a gx8, gx7 vs Canon 6d.

    You must know your gear's limitations. Your expectations are too high if you expect a smaller m43 sensor to perform like a Nikon/canon full frame sensor regarding noise control.

    For good light situations I enjoy my M43 alot but when light becomes challenging (no flash photography) I do not use my m43 gear. This is where tools are selected for certain situations.

    Now if your using flash/ fill the m43 will do just fine and is very comparable to many consumer grade crop sensor full size dslr's.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    Good reply Alan.
    I do have a 5D3 kit (for portraits or assignment work or slow/steady/tripod work)). I do a lot of family pictures on the GX7 and also a lot of street photography (quick snap type of photography) and the canon is just too heavy and cumbersome. I was looking for another system that was small and light (I'm an old guy and my shoulders ache :) I recently did a trip to South Africa (images on my site frankgross(dot)com) and took along a GX7 with 2 lenses. Perfect as far as weight and being discreet is concerned. But I'm even struggling with processing images that were taken in bright sun and low iso. So I'm now grappling with selling all my Canon and Panasonic and getting a kit that covers all my bases.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  8. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    贾一川
    I agree that comparing m43 SNR to a FF would most definitely be disappointing. Though pixel for pixel the 16mp m43 sensor acts quite comparably to 24mp apsc sensors, that doesn't mean going larger gets no benefits, with a 24mp apsc sensor there is roughly 1/3 more pixels, 1/3 larger sensor area, hence less magnification, good for the IQ
     
  9. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Good to know. I find that M4/3 noise-handling in ACR / Lightroom is very sensitive to the sharpening. Out-of-focus areas show noise very quickly when sharpened.

    For large prints, I would suggest not sharpening before up-ressing, and then local sharpening with a soft-edged brush only in areas that are in focus or have a lot of texture and detail.

    You might get some pointers from this thread: Noise reduction techniques

    Realistically, you should have zero problems getting good quality prints at 16x20." That's well, well within the capabilities of M4/3.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  10. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    Thanks. Good info in the thread. But the Sharpener sliders (4x) on the Adjustment brush are very different to the 4 sliders + NR in the Details panel (perhaps I will post this to that thread)
     
  11. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    If you find this magic item let me know, I want one too :). The choice is big and large sensor or small and cropped sensor. There are not many options. The Sony A7 could be slightly smaller then the Canon, the APS-C sensor are slightly bigger then m43, but the big choice remains there.

    You may try better denoise tool, DxO 10 Prime Denoise is the best I've seen. Or making selective denoise, stronger in the shadows.

    This is another thread with Lightroom denoise suggestions:

    how to Improve 2 stop Better High iso and color rendition from our OMD
     
  12. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    Thanks. I will follow up on this although it's Oly based and I have a Panasonic GX7 (different sensor)
     
  13. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would not recommend using ACR or photoshop to resize for prints. You simply cannot create detail that isn't there and any method you use to interpolate will be inferior to the print driver's methods.
     
  14. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    I shoot with a Canon 6D system and an Olympus M4/3s system. I I love the quality of the 6D files, but am sometimes dissatisfied with the quality of the M4/3s files. But when it comes to a choice of higher quality or lower weight, my aging (and aching) back tells me I can live with M4/3s.

    The Sony A7 series cameras are relatively small and light, but their lenses are not. I read good things about the Fuji X series, but many who shoot both Fuji-X and M4/3s say the image quality of the Fujis is little, if any, better. As Klorenzo says, if you find the magic system, let me know.

    Here are a couple of links you may find of interest.

    The Online Photographer: The And Now For Something Completely Different Print Offer

    The Online Photographer: The $19.95 Micro 4/3 Print Offer
     
  15. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    Are you saying to leave the file at it's native size which in the case of my GX7 is 15.8MP or 4592px x 3448px. And then tell my Epson (or a lab for c-types) to print 15x20 inches ? Even though the ppi at that size would be a fraction of the recommended 300 or 360ppi ?
     
  16. Frankgr

    Frankgr Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 18, 2014
    It seems there are others in the same boat with me :)
     
  17. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yes, that's exactly what I am saying. The printer doesn't care what the actual DPI is. It automatically interpolates to the printers DPI. You will never create additional detail by using your own resize method.

    As for comparisons to FF sensors, remember that you are enlarging an m4/3 image about twice as much. Printing FF at 16x20 is nearly the same as printing m4/3 at 8x10. Or going the other way, printing m4/3 at 16x20 is like printing 32x40 on FF. You are magnifying the actual image area projected by the lens twice as far in each direction when you print m4/3 the same size as FF. That means your noise is magnified twice as far, too.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Going back to the original question, in bold ;
    In my opinion, Yes.
    The E-M5-sensored cameras seem to do the best, until this new breed of 20mpx ones are properly tested,
    and their stabilisation is very much better than your GX7.
    So ;
    E-M5
    E-M10
    E-M5 MkII ?
    E-M10 MkII ?
    (and others without viewfinders)
    Regarding this list I don't mind if I'm wrong, just a quick think.

    The uprezzing for print stuff had me scratching my head ... but if it works in the final results better than less arduous methods, it works : but I think this whole method is giving the OP most of his headaches regarding seeing the dreaded noise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  20. I don't understand why you're up-ressing the files since 20" isn't a particularly large print and as print size increases then so does viewing distance.

    Re: noise, the use if the sharpen mask feature was one of my biggest processing relevations when I was learning how to use Lightroom a few years ago.