Noise, noise, noise....

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Speedliner, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    See this image. I posted it on the Share Birds thread recently.

    It was shot at 400 ISO, f3.5 and it looks noisy to me. A little soft for missing focus a little, or handholding I understand. Why so much noise. That I don't understand and it seems a majority of images are noisier than I think they should be. Is it me? What can I do to reduce noise?

    View attachment 440819
  2. VooDoo64

    VooDoo64 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    Zagreb - Croatia
    Davor Vojvoda
    Dont say it on loud here, you will be accuesed for anti-Olympus propaganda and you will be accused for not know how to use your equipment and told that you need to leave Olympus system because you are etarnally unhappy with it - bla bla..
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Is it straight out of camera jpeg or a processed raw of some kind? If processed what noise reduction was used if any?

    Edit: the reason I ask is to my eye it looks more like jpeg compression artifacts, if it's straight ooc jpeg and the compression is set to low this could explain much of it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    SOOC, edited in LR. I'd may have used a little noise reduction, I don't recall. The pic wasn't sharp enough to endure much.
  5. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    If you used unsharp masking to sharpen a blurred photo, you will create sharpening artifacts and raise noise levels. Don't global sharpen in this case. Use either high-pass overlay sharpening or selective mask sharpening to sharpen the bird only and leave everything else untouched to prevent additional noise. Also improve your skills maybe by using a monopod to stabilize the lens and more depth of field as there a bit camera shake in the photo.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Now I think you are just looking to argue.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  7. Was this Jpeg or raw? What were the settings (PP)?
  8. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    A few things I noticed.

    - the 50-200 is for sure less sharp at 3.5 at the long end (better than the consumer level 300s but still not stellar).
    - there is some chromatic fringing around the bird which does not help
    - the OOF areas look pretty typical for this lens with some patterns and this increases the perceived noisiness of the image.
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    What was the original exposure like? Under-exposure would increase noise as you brought it up in post-processing. I use my E-M5 for birds a lot, and never had a serious noise problem even frequently shooting at iso 800.
    The two shots below are both at 400, both shot with a 300mm f4 legacy Olympus lens, which requires more sharpening and should thus make noise more noticeable. The final shot, of the Towee, is from a raw file shot at iso 800, with no luminance NR applied. I almost never use luminance noise reduction, and some of the noise you are getting looks like NR that is then sharpened. I find the noise itself, especially in the raw file without NR applied, much less distracted than sharpening blur after NR to try to make the image look as sharp. I'm not suggesting, as VooDoo, above, suggested us Olympus m43 users might, that there is not more noise in m43 than in, say, full frame. But the noise in your shot is not a natural and inevitable result of iso 400 on an m43 sensor.

    All shot on the E-M5 (original version)
    From raw @ iso 400:

    jpeg from camera, iso 400, high pass sharpened in PHotoshop

    From raw @ iso 800:
  10. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    There have been times when I've also scratched my head about noise, happening on some shots and not others, but to be fair, this hasn't been restricted to M43, EM1 or GH4, it's also happened on Canon & Nikon too, both crop and full frame. Sometimes it's appears to be atmospheric, sometimes it appears to be subject based - either way I never managed to pin the cause down.

    Sorry that's not hugely helpful!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    That was my first thought as well. I also wondered about the halo that surrounds the bird. And I wondered about the possibility of focus issues. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that focus is critical for the success of m43s
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Yeah, it doesn't seem that noise is always just a product of high ISOs or sharpening in post. I've never figured it out either. I've taken shots in conditions similar to yours and also seen a lot of noise - both with the E-M1 and the 7D Mk II. Maybe the color of the algae in the water? I also see grain often in the rendering of texture in white bird feathers.

    I shoot RAW and see the results before post processing. It's a mystery to me too...

    Woohoo! 500th post!
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    If it's processed in Lightroom, it will default to zero luminance NR and +25 sharpening.

    Normally I don't bother to adjust the default sharpening, because it works for most photos. But if I have a strongly OOF background (as you do), which is easy to have happen with any long telephoto, I always make sure to turn up the "Masking" on in the sharpening which will avoid sharpening artifacts and noise in the blurry areas, which can be distracting.

    As an alternative if you have a little bit of time, just crank up the noise reduction and then use the Local Adjustment brush to locally reduce the NR to 0 in the areas in focus.

    Here's an example where I did that - GX7 with 100-300mm @ ISO 1000, 100% crop. I don't like this aggressive a crop, because the background is quite nice and I like the context, so it's a bit oversharpened for display here, but the noise characteristics are certainly much nicer.

    • Like Like x 3
  14. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    I also shoot raw only - so it's not a JPEG compression problem.

    500 and counting now ;)
  15. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    This is true. I've now made my own presets that mess with contrast (reduces) and saturation and sharpening and NR etc.... to maximise DR while keeping noise down. The settings aren't perfect and I only use them as a starting point, but they suit my style of processing. Others may hate it, which is Ok by me because we're all different.
  16. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
  17. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    It wasn't underexposed, but I did bring up the exposure a little in post. I also brought highlights down, but did not bring shadows up. The OOC Raw was just as noisy to my eye.

    Could this be "color noise". I don't know what that is really, but have seen it mentioned. Particularly about the color green.

    Nice pics btw.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Would you like to share the RAW file, just for a couple of days maybe? The image that you see in Lightroom when you first open it is already quite processed.
  19. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    So I shot some ducks today (errr I took pictures of them :eek-31:) the birds were in shadow and the background had a lot more light.

    Two images were at base ISO and the last was at ISO 400, all at 100mm f3.2 and the slowest shutter speed was 1/200 (shot with an E-PM2).

    ESP metering OOC JPEG (ISO200):

    Center Weighted OOC JPG (ISO 200)

    Spot metered and processed from RAW:
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015