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Noob OM-D Auto ISO noisy

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by ryanlogic, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    I'm still learning about my camera, and I know I should be setting my Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed on my own... but in between learning sessions, I still want to take good shots. when I am not fiddling with manual mode, I've been shooting mostly on manual aperture mode(A). From what I can see, the camera comes with an auto ISO range between 200 and 1600. its been raining a lot and not very sunny out at all so Ive been taking a lot of shots in the evening, and indoors with poor lighting. I read somewhere that the ISO range can be increased to about 200-3200 and still produce acceptable images. I've found that most of the images I am taking are pretty grainy/noisy, and bumped it back down to 1600 max ISO.

    I also programed one of the directional keys to go into the ISO menu, and Ive been playing around with lower ISO settings and slower shutter speeds with some success....but then its hard to shoot handheld. Ive yet to take the camera outside on a sunny day, and I cant wait to, but i have a feeling that I should invest in a faster lens ASAP, because I like shooting indoors and I cant always control the lighting to get the best shots.

    Im just posting this to see if my thought loop is correct, and to ensure that I am not missing anything obvious.

    any advice would be awesome


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/81125347@N08/7443998960/" title="P6250393 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr"> 7443998960_06b334e04f_b. "768" height="1024" alt="P6250393"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/81125347@N08/7444001642/" title="P6250365 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr"> 7444001642_25af916a64_b. "768" height="1024" alt="P6250365"></a>
     
  2. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    The pictures you posted look great!

    Are you shooting jpeg or raw? I ask because noise reduction/filter settings may be impacting your photos.

    I have my em5 to only go as high as 1600, because that's where I find I'm most comfortable with noise production, but others seem okay setting the high-end to 3200 (which I use on Manual occasionally).

    What lens are you using?
     
  3. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    12-50mm kit lens

    I am shooting raw, and using noise reduction (luminance slider) in lightroom...but the images get really soft when I get the noise to an acceptable level. I'm not getting the sharpness I see in others photos from the same lens. Again, I think the aperture on this lens is pretty limiting for indoor and low light shooting, I am looking at the 25mm f/1.4 Leica DG Summilux. I just really want to get the basics down and see exactly what I want before I jump for another purchase.

    I could upload a few untouched samples if it would help
     
  4. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    I would take it for a spin outside on a nice day and see how your results fare...I have a feeling that lens is lacking for indoor use, but I've not used it personally.

    If you wanted some enablement, the PL25 is incredibly versatile for use inside (and out). Even at 1.4 it's incredibly sharp, but goes even more so between 2.0-5.6 (4.0 being the apex...all accordingly to lenstip.com).
     
  5. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    The noise level you're willing to accept is sort of a personal thing. I'm okay with ISO 1600 while others aren't okay with that noise. I generally do luminance NR to about 20 for lower ISO, and no higher than 40 unless the specific photo and the intended use warrant that.

    I really like the look of your 393 photo. I'm curious what the pre-NR looks like, just to see how noisy I'd feel it is. From looking at the largest size on flickr, I tend to like slightly less NR and more grainy look. You can also try raising the detail slider a bit.

    25/1.4 is very nice I hear, but you'll be playing with rather thin depth of field indoors at f/1.4... It's not a magic bullet. You're right about playing around more before you make a big purchase.

    Here's a photo taken with the Olympus 45/1.8, notice the very thin DoF... In this case it worked, but photos with people you'll probably have to stop it down if you want more depth in focus. BTW, the grainy look isn't relevant because it's B&W Look 4 in LR which adds some of that. It was ISO 800, luminance NR 30, detail 60 on the GX1.

    7012651201_2312c3ec6e.
    P1020759.jpg
     
  6. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    I guess I'm torn, because I'd like my next lens to be a portrait lens.... Maybe the 45mm or the upcoming 75mm Olympus lens. After that I planned on getting a smaller wide angle prime for street shooting... giving me a versatile zoom for walkabouts, a nice portrait lens, and a good compact prime. But if I can't use this zoom to hold me over I will have to put the dedicated portrait lens on hold, in favor of something like the 25mm.

    this isn't the lens discussion section, and I'm pretty sure it's a total noob question.... But would the 25mm Panasonic lens afford decent portraits? At f1.4 I'm assuming so, but I'm also assuming I would have to take them quite close... And for events and banquets and stuff that seems like it would be hard to do without getting up in everybody's face.
     
  7. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Please don't. :biggrin: It never works that well and this is my observation for other cameras also.

    It is. Then again, most kit (and not only) standard zooms, from any system, are limited in that respect. You either go for faster primes, or wait for premium zooms to become available (apart from the Pana 12-35, which in fact is hardly a replacement for the 12-50).

    That'll be great, esp. if you can upload RAW files somewhere.
     
  8. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    Ok, so a wider aperture will narrow the depth of field..... Which outside, or in good lighting will allow a wide range of shooting options using aperture, ISO, and shutter speed to get the desired level of bokeh, and exposure...

    But, in situations with low lighting... the lens can be opened up to let in more light in...allowing the photographer to reduce the ISO and eliminate noise......however this is at the expense of having the freedom to dial in the depth of field with the aperture that was afforded in better lighting.

    I think I'm putting it all together.

    Which is why when I use the zoom, the aperture that I have available reduces, creating the noise problem.

    Which is why they sell extremely expensive lenses with consistent aperture throughout the zoom.

    Epiphanies are cool.

    Thanks

    I'll upload an unedited version for viewing after dinner
     
  9. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    Cute dog btw!
     
  10. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    Please don't what?
     
  11. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Don't trust noise reduction in LR that much and esp. don't oversharpen using the sharpening tool. Also, luminance noise (if not excessive of course) is not that much of a problem IMO. It may actually have a nice grain to it, and the noise "character" of the OM-D is quite good in my eyes. Chroma noise is what you have to fear more.
     
  12. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    ...use the luminance slider.

    (not my feeling btw...although I rarely touch it).
     
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I'm still on the newbie end of the spectrum myself, but I like playing with toys so I've used a wide assortment of lenses :rolleyes:

    Here's my input as someone who takes a lot of indoor and low light pics (particularly fireside and outdoors at night since I camp frequently). You'll probably want faster glass than any of the zooms currently available on the market if you're shooting indoors or in low light *and* want to keep your ISO at an acceptably noise-free level. The Panasonic 12-35 zoom just coming out now is promising at f/2.8 but still a full 2 stops below the PL 25mm f/1.4 for light gathering.

    My experience is based on a G3 but I believe it would be comparable to the OM-D. I find that ISO 3200 is the absolute max I'm willing to use, and 1600 is as high as I want to go for what *I* consider a clean image. To put this in some perspective, if you use stops as a rough gauge, that means going from the 12-50mm's max aperture of f/3.5 @ 1600 ISO in the same lighting with a PL 25mm f/1.4 wide open at same shutter speed, you could be at roughly ISO 280 (assuming my math is correct). Obviously the other caveats about thin DOF etc. other folks mention still apply; I'm talking purely light gathering ability here.

    As far as buying another lens, it's all up to what you're likely to be most happy with and get the most use out of. I love my 20mm and 25mm lenses as a general use lens and if I pick only one prime to take with me it's going to be a 25mm. But if want to do mainly portraits and moderate telephoto is more useful to you, then the 45mm f/1.8 is a great lens. Another thing to consider if the upcoming Olympus 75mm f/1.8 is an option, something like the 20mm f/1.7 or 25mm f/1.4 and the 45mm f/1.8 as a pair. That would cost you about the same but you'd have a decent portrait lens and a great walkaround prime lens. Sort of have your cake and eat it too :tongue:
     
  14. aage

    aage Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jun 17, 2012
    Iceland
    I agree to you , I also find the images a little bit grainy , not bad but you see it even on a well exposed images and especially so in a shadow areas . But I still find the noise to be perfectly acceptable.

    I have compared the 200 ISO from the OMD to A 100 ISO image taken with My D3x nikon. The nikon is smoother .. But anyway , I don't see it unless pixel peeping at 100% so as I said , I can accept that and live with it ;-). The dynamic range is VERY good , the colors are very good and the general quality of the image is Very good in my opinion. I´m sure next OMD will be smoother at base ISO.
     
  15. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Nicely said. :wink:

    To the OP: it boils down to what level of noise you are willing to tolerate and for what application.

    The second photo you posted is superb: it has a great composition, interesting tonality and, resolution wise, you can print it at A3 size and hang it on your wall. That is, if printed on a printer that can match the resolution (which is easy today). Believe me, nobody is going to get at 5 inches from your photo with a magnifying lens. :biggrin:

    We get so caught up in pixel peeping sometimes, that we forget the real photographic applications. What do you want from your photos? At what final size are you going to view/show them? IMO this is the measure by which to decide if a given exposure is good enough.

    I shot a lot of indoor, low(ish) light photos yesterday, half of them with the 12-50 kit lens. Most were at 1250-1600 ISO and they were for the most part good enough to make large prints, and even more for viewing on large, high resolution monitors. As I mentioned I happen to like the "noise signature" of the OM-D files. Even 100% crops of tiny details look "natural" IMHO, there are not ugly looking areas that I noticed. That's why you have to define your own personal standards in this area, because what is good for another person may not be acceptable by you.
     
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  16. aage

    aage Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Jun 17, 2012
    Iceland
    I also want to add that the noise increase is very gentle on the OMD with higher ISO , Im gonna compare images from my D3x to the OMD at higher iso , I´m not sure the D3x is any better than the OMD when your at 800 iso and higher.
     
  17. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    293
    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    the images turn out much better in good sunlight. I am going to assume the limiting factor is the kit lens. I cant be happier with the results I get from outdoor shooting in the sun. I really need to invest in a faster lens for indoor shooting.

    thanks for all the advice guys!!!!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7463764462/" title="pink tree flowers by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr"> 7463764462_95c8ba325a_b. "1024" height="768" alt="pink tree flowers"></a>
     
  18. DPitts

    DPitts Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Dec 15, 2012
    Raleigh NC
    Doug Pitts
    you will also find that some of the lenses being referenced (pana 25, oly 45, pana 20) are sharper than the 12-50...I compared them and wound up with primes, and the well regarded 14-45 (for zoom stuff)...but the primes will give it to you...I also use the Olympus Viewer to convert raws....you might want to try it....
     
  19. PaulGiz

    PaulGiz Mu-43 Veteran

    231
    Jan 3, 2013
    Rhode Island, USA
    Are you doing anything with sharpness (unsharp mask)? Depending on how this is set it can accentuate the noise of your shot.

    If you are sharpening, try different radius and amount.

    Personally, I use less noise reduction and less sharpening and am happy with the results.

    Of course, low light has it's challenges and compromises. I don't mind a bit of noise if the shot is good.

    P.
     
  20. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    The noise reduction in Lightroom 4 is very very good. But you need to master it. And don't expect miracles.

    Generally a bit of luminance noise isn't really a problem. When really bad your images will get a bit gritty which can be either a pain or an artistic choice. Using too much is usually worse than using none at all. Be gentle. And hold down the alt key when your adjusting the slider to see where the NR is being applied.

    Colour noise on the other hand is almost always ugly. That's the slider you want to be using first and more agressively. Zoom to 100% and play with the colour noise slider. Even at this reduced size I can see some colour noise in your images. At 1600 ISO my start point is the luminance slider at 10, the colour slider at 35 and the detail left as is.

    Combine that with a good exposure (expose for the highlights and adjust the rest in LR) and you should get very good ISO 1600 results.

    Gordon