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New to the Forum and New to Micro 4/3rds - a GX8 question

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by MDR Foto, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. MDR Foto

    MDR Foto Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Oct 11, 2015
    Mark Rigsby
    Hello Folks, I'm new to the Micro 4/3rds world and so I decided to jump in feet first. I purchased the GX8 to accompany my sony kit (aerie, RX1 and rx100iV) and I'm a bit torn about it. The GX8 is an incredible camera tech wise, image quality, while good, seems to lack a little contrast and at medium ISO (What I consider Medium now) is very noisy. I understand this is a characteristic of the smaller sensor but I wanted to see if anyone had any tips for cleaning the picture up in Camera so that post is a little easier with high ISO. Besides that, I love the camera, the focusing is lighting face (as fast as, if not faster than my A7rii) and low light focusing is amazing. I absolutely love the touch screen. Only physical thing I'm not a fan of is button placement, I'm usually a back button focusing guy but the AE lock is awkward and I often hit the display button a ton. I'm including a picture form a wedding I shot last night, setting were, Lumix 12-35 f2.8, 28mm, f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/25 sec

    No flash since I don't have one yet (also, any flash recommendations would be welcome)

    This picture was processed from raw in Lightroom, Photoshop using Noiseless Pro (best software I've used for noise control) - It still took some work to get it this clean but the contrast and colors are several effected.

    i-wVZhGpq-L.
     
  2. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Iso 1600 should be fine. That photo looks like it has way too much NR for me. It's not going to be as clean as your a7rii but should be acceptable. I wouldn't call ISO 1600 pushing the m43's sensors.
     
  3. MDR Foto

    MDR Foto Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Oct 11, 2015
    Mark Rigsby
    It has a ton of NR, something I try not to do...but this picture was heavy with noise. It wasn't the most ideal of situations either being a very dark wedding. Maybe I'm spoiled with the A7 high ISO handling. Either way, this camera is a keeper

    Here's straight out of camera without noise reduction

    i-cz38xWh-XL.
     
  4. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    I actually prefer the one without NR and retains the details. It doesn't seem bad to me. I bet it prints without any noticeable noise.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. MDR Foto

    MDR Foto Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Oct 11, 2015
    Mark Rigsby
    I prefer the detail as well, but to me it's noisy, very noisy. I took it to the wedding I shot last night for a test run...It's focusing system is amazing in low light, butt the noise is heavy(that includes color noise). So, does anyone have any setting suggestions or flash suggestions? This is to be my third body that will hold my zoomed, ultra wide, 12-35, or 40-150. The Sonys will hold my super fast primes.
     
  6. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Well your post #1 upload is clearly better for the PP, but I too think the NR in your PP is very close to Plastic Face Syndrome. :)

    Which brings me to my first tip: the more exposure you give to the key subject areas, the better the SNR. In the example given, the facial features are probably not throwing many photons onto the sensor. I would give it more exposure.

    Another tip: when I get a new camera, I shoot some raw+JPEG for a short while. Then, if I cannot get the raw to have a better combination of detail and low noise than the camera's own JPEG files, then I know I haven't mastered the PP for my new camera yet....
     
  7. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Coming from the A7rII, you will not be thrilled with the noise characteristics or ยต4/3 sensors. The GX8, with its new sensor, probably has the same amount of noise at ISO 1600, as the Sony at 6400, and maybe worse. For OOC JPGs, I would suggest bumping up the contrast and maybe the saturation. Also, I'm using a calibrated monitor, and the WB is off in your pictures. The skin tones have a pink/magenta shift. If you shot RAW, then I would use WB dropper on the top of the white table cloth in the background, the woman's dress and the man's collar and see what looks best (if you're calibrated, or see which WB give the most equal RGB values.

    I would be very cautious about raising exposure levels to lower noise levels when photographing people; go just a little too high and the red channel will be clipped and skin tones will be rubbish. There are many things that are worse than noise.
     
  8. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Agreed. Although there is a fair gap between what he did and clipping, enough for me to slip in the middle like Goldilocks and still have headroom.

    Definitely. While I am sure that some people can tolerate it more than others, I also think that it's a common mistake to assess noise at the pixel-peeping level. Yes, work at 100%, but assess at final image size and distance. Once we do that, the m43-love just grows all by itself.....
     
  9. MDR Foto

    MDR Foto Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Oct 11, 2015
    Mark Rigsby
    I'm not worried about the White balance at this point, that is something I would take care in a full post mode. Also, I would never give a client anything close to what's processed in the first post I should have said that this is where it leaves me after experimenting with noise reduction on post. I understand everything you guys have said and I agree with them. Noise can be your friend in the right situation, but this was a High ISO test after buying the system. This was shot without any lighting besides hall lighting which is pretty impressive for the size of the sensor. I'm just trying to glean as many tips and tricks since I've never used a Panasonic micro 4/3rds before. I think this is a fantastic companion to my sony kit and I like the ability to capture full light at 2.8 (even if the DOF is compromised a bit). So far, I'm very impressed with the camera...and a touch screen! A touch screen! I was just wondering wht could be done in camera that would give me a bit more to work with if needed. I do appreciate the suggestions though.
     
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  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I think it's better to denoise with the raw file only and not later. Sharpening usually increases noise you can try to set it lower/tune it.
    ISO 1600, 1/25, f2.8: it was quite dark.

    Here is an example of denoise tuning for the E-M1, the difference from the default settings is quite impressive in the machine shot: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/76508/

    Do you have a sample raw file that you can share to play with?
     
  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    m43 is something like 1/4 the sensor area size of full frame(?). IMO, the noise characteristics and high ISO at the same ISO are not comparable. Full frame is cleaner for the reasons already stated. So, does that mean it's not workable? My personal thoughts:

    m43 (right now) has faster AF lenses overall. For example, there is no 2.8 lens in that zoom class for the a7 series, so you should compare 1600 to 3200 ISO. Doesn't mean m43 IS1600 is better or as good as FF 3200, but start on the same footing first.

    Also consider the quality of the lenses themselves (distortion, etc.). I haven't looked that closely, but I'm wondering if your 2.8 panny zoom isn't better than the Sony equivalent? There are a couple of lenses I like with the Sony, but the zooms in this focal length aren't among them (and again, aren't any faster than 4.0, IIRC).

    Lastly, I've learned what I can get out of m43. For me personally, I find I prefer to overexpose from what the meter is telling me. Some folks say "expose to the right" which seems to work for them, but I just generally do +2/3 on anything. I find m43 very useful for high key and very workable for certain feels in the color output. It's also great with black and white because the lenses are so good and color matters less (nor grain to some extent). I use my Sony for portrait and people work, though I clearly lose something on the AF side of things. I also mostly prefer jpg shooting, as I no longer have time for RAW work. I've seen people who are willing to work in RAW, get commercial-grade people shots from m43. Just not me.

    I noticed you mentioned you wouldn't give these shots to a client. I'm no Pro, and these are just my opinions, though I've been using m43 since 2009, constantly comparing it to Canon and Sony and to a lesser extent Fuji and Nikon. At this point, I'm happy having both systems, as they excel at different things.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015
  12. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    4/3 sensors are nominally 1/2 the size (linear length and width dimensions) of FF sensors. That's why for sensors using the same wafers, electronics, etc., a FF sensor will have 2 stops less noise, because it has 4x the area. The 2:1 size difference also spawns the endless idiotic effective focal length threads.
     
  13. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    effective focal length concept is quite useful! arguing about it is idiotic!

    (catch the irony there :)
     
  14. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Yeah , that does look a bit grungy, especially the man's face . I would say that if you want to use the m43 for these kind of low light events, the bright primes like the 25mm and 45mm are really good for keeping the ISO lower.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Honestly, it's not an easy shot to get good results with, period. Having bright direct light in the background and dim, indirect on the subjects faces means that shot noise is always going to rear its head in the shadows.

    This is where a fast prime would come into play, so if you're relying on your A7 system to cover that side of the shooting, you're doubling down on the low-light advantages. An f1.8 prime on the A7 will be exposing with about 10x as much total light, so it's no surprise it will look better.

    Personally, I find that M4/3 noise looks like film grain, and I am happy to live with it up to at least ISO 3200-4000. But if you want a really smooth file, you have to take advantage of the system's fast primes, or use some alternative PP. If you're starting your workflow in Lightroom, make sure you turn down the default sharpening of 25 - that amplifies visible noise significantly. Try and use local sharpening with an adjustment brush if you find it's looking too soft (also, don't evaluate that critical sharpness at 100% crop, since literally no one else is going to be). Order of operations is obviously important, too. No use in sharpening and noise-reducing simultaneously, since you just end up with a blotchy patch-work quilt...just NR until it's where you can bear, and then sharpen lightly to taste afterwards.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. D MATIC

    D MATIC Mu-43 Regular

    144
    Jul 18, 2012
    Yes this is about right for ISO 1600 in m43. Unfortunately in this photo you have the flat walls of color behind the people which is making the noise look worse. And probably when you were correcting for noise, you were correcting for the wall which is in turn made the people look plastic.

    I'm not a photographer nor a pro but, but I've been using photoshop before there was even lightroom, Usually what I would do in this case is do the same amount of NR but then only do half as much on people faces. Also the image looks dark. I've been shooting Lumix since the GF1 and through the years Ive noticed the darks are always too dark, but only the darks. You can hardly see the lapel on the mans jacket, but is something that can be easily fixed in post.

    While I do have the 12-35 2.8 zoom as well. I think M43 really shines with its small primes. Sometimes it easier to carry 2 small primes then 1 large zoom.
     
  17. MDR Foto

    MDR Foto Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Oct 11, 2015
    Mark Rigsby

    Thanks for the info..though I think we have a difference definition of large zoom though/ usually, I would use lights here, but since it was a new camera I wanted to put it in the toughest situation possible and see where the imitations are. It's an awesome piece of equipment and will find a regualr place in my bag. I'm just trying to get a grip on what it's capabilities are.
     
  18. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    That's something that many people on camera gear forums don't get. One uses additional controlled light for better light, not just more light. Ambient light often looks ugly and makes for ugly pictures. Just by using a simple on camera flash with a bounce card and setting the base exposure so that the background goes dark would make for a vastly better picture. Also having a full spectrum light as the primary light source would make the colors look significantly better.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2