O-MD E-M1 ii RAW Processing and Noise

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by GreinerStudio, Mar 19, 2017.

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  1. GreinerStudio

    GreinerStudio Mu-43 Regular

    60
    Feb 15, 2017
    I am still breaking in the new camera, and learning where the sweet spot is when mated to the PanLeica 100-400. However, pure camera behavior, in particular Noise, is something I am less than impressed with.

    Shooting RAW, I captured the following this morning:

    P3190065(WEB).

    Although not most dramatic, or winning any contests, this is a decent full body portrait of a Great Blue Heron. The above is minimally processed and was shot at:

    1/1600 s
    ISO 3200
    f/5.8
    318mm

    At this scale, the image looks good. But when looking 1:1 to check detail and noise, I was surprised by the amount of noise:

    No Noise Reduction:
    Heron(NoNR).JPG

    Capture One Pro default NR:
    Heron(DefaultNR).JPG

    My personal effort at maintaining detail while reducing noise (+ slight color shift):
    Heron(OptimalNR).JPG

    To me, if I was to do any cropping this, ISO 3200 is not acceptable as the Noise is too high. Is this common or should I be using a different software (currently Capture One Pro 10) for post processing?
     
  2. ThomD

    ThomD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    601
    Jun 1, 2013
    SF Bay Area
    I like your efforts on the 3200 image, but for my subjects 3200 is too high. I never go above 1600 and try to stay under 1000. Such is life in the mu43 world.
     
  3. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    This reflects my own experiences.

    The improvements are in the OOC JPG

    Being a RAW shooter this is why I remain with the GH1
     
  4. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Phil
    And that is the real key..... your subjects.... and maybe even more so the background of those subjects...
    Personally I've perceived the inherent noise on the mk2 to be randomly variable based on subject distance and background
    I've got 6400 ISO shots that are fully acceptable and iso800 shots that look like crap.
    In my fireworks thread I posted 3 images of a fa18 hornet, all shot at iso3200, all have similar pp applied and all show different levels of noise. I'm happy to leave ISO max at 6400 when chasing shutter speed and accept that the image will have noise and throw away what I have to rather than not capture the image at all
     
  5. Aperture Don

    Aperture Don Mu-43 Regular

    168
    Jan 7, 2017
    Illinois
    Like you, I'm still experimenting even though I've owned it since the end of December. I was so upset with the noise in my shots taken at a basketball game at ISO 6400, that I lowered my auto-iso to 3200, but really haven't had a chance to try it out with that limit. After reading your post and agreeing in my mind that I have the same problem and frustration, that I asked my wife for the ultimate favor - "let me photograph your eyeballs" - she's my test subject, and she hates it. We all know that in order to get usable images at high ISO, that the exposures have to be on the money - no mistakes - when in doubt, expose to the right. Well, I set my ISO to 6400, metering to spot, and cranked out a few - four- and the histogram shows the exposures to be perfect. In LR, the shots are excellent. There's obviously some noise, but nothing that detracts and can't be fixed. Take a look at your histogram to see if your exposure is good. My guess is that the Blue Heron is underexposed because of the highlights in the rest of your frame. I also own the GX8 and used to own the E-M1 and don't remember this kind of problem, but my basketball game shots were not as well exposed as these, plus I was using the 40-150 2.8, and between the movement on the court and my slower shutter speed, I was doomed from the beginning.

    Thanks for making me rethink this and figure out what went wrong. I hope that this helps you, too.

    Don
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I've got an E-M1 MkI, not a MkII, and I use Lightroom but don't worry, this isn't a "swap to Lightroom" post.

    I've found 2 things over the years. First, different applications do their noise reduction slightly differently from each other and you have to learn how to use the noise reduction function in the application you're using in order to get best results. Sometimes some of the things you have to learn seem counterintuitive.

    Second, noise is the dark side of sharpening. Increase sharpening and you increase noise, decrease sharpening and you decrease noise. Learn how to sharpen properly if you want to avoid a lot of noise problems. In LR, there's settings in Sharpening for Radius and Detail and decreasing Radius and increasing Detail will let you get sharper fine detail but also increase noise. If you set them lower you can increase the overall sharpening amount more and not make noise as bad, and the Masking setting is important also. It took me a long time to start to get a real handle on sharpening and noise reduction but over time as I got better at sharpening, the amount of noise reduction I needed to apply reduced, and reduced by quite a bit and my pictures looked sharper because sharpening is the dark side of noise reduction. The more noise reduction you apply, the less sharp your image becomes.

    Doesn't matter what application you use, you need to learn how to sharpen if you want to do noise reduction well and you need to learn how to do noise reduction if you want to do sharpening well.

    Looking at your photo, most of the noise seems to be colour noise. If you have separate noise reduction controls for luminance noise and colour noise, deal with the colour noise first and then try dealing with the luminance noise. You're using a highish ISO setting and a long focal length so I'm guessing that your f/5.8 aperture was wide open for that focal length. Was the photo underexposed because I tend to see colour noise more often in my photos when I have to increase exposure and/or raise the shadows in my photos. If that's the case you might try actually increasing the ISO setting a little more in that sort of situation and avoiding underexposure. You'll get more noise at higher ISO setttings but increasing your ISO and avoiding underexposure may result in less noise overall than not increasing your ISO and underexposing your image gives you. And finally, when it comes to processing, if you can apply sharpening and noise reduction in local adjustments as well as for the image as a whole, you can apply less NR to the main subject in order to avoid losing detail and use a local adjustment to apply more NR to backgrounds in order to eliminate noise there. You don't have to apply the same sharpening and noise reduction to every area of the whole image, you can apply sharpening and noise reduction selectively to different parts of the image so if the noise is more apparent in darker areas or shadows which is often the case, you can be more aggressive with noise reduction there. Yes, you'll lose some sharpness and detail but we don't see things sharply and with great detail in shadows so losing a bit of sharpness and detail in shadows usually doesn't adversely affect things.


    Ultimately I have no idea what the best application for noise reduction is but I suspect asking if there's a better application than the one you're using is a lot like asking if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

    You're using Capture One. Search online for tutorials on sharpening and noise reduction in Capture One. As I said, I use Lightroom and I learnt a lot from the Luminous Landscape video tutorials on Lightroom and they have a video series for Capture One as well. Based on their LR videos, their tutorials are very good but they aren't free. You can probably find quite a few free videos on sharpening and noise reduction in Capture One online if you search. Approach sharpening and noise reduction as different aspects of a single process, and learn how to adjust both with local adjustments and you will get better results no matter what application you use.
     
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  7. Yeah you're gonna have to do more intensive post processing than you might like at 3200 on m43.

    I personally recommend neat image + photoshop. I have 1600 max set as auto-iso, so I don't have any 3200 samples to share, but here are some higher ISO shots, 1000-1600 on the E-P5.

    1600

    pb191125thgsa52.

    1000

    pa150225th50xrr.

    1250

    pa180264thzjzen.

    1600

    pb250055-staxthn9bvg.

    1600

    pc220521thkpbp7.

    Click for 100%.
     
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  8. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Phil
    I object to the global lumping of every thing into m43.
    I've got shots on the mk2 at 6400 that barely needed touching for my use and experience. The experience on a E-P5 is irrelevant in a thread on the EM1mk2 and it least 4 of your images I wouldn't blink at using 3200 or 6400 with correct ettr on the EM1mk2
     
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  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Well, I'm only a week into my E-M1ii, but what I would say is this:

    - At 100% magnification (pixel peeking) I think high ISO noise on raw files is no better than the E-M1. In fact, it might even be ever so slightly worse. Overall, this is probably a good thing since the mk ii is 20Mp vs 16Mp on the mk i. This means that real-world sized images will be cleaner off the mk ii since they'll need less magnification for a given output size. It's easy to miss this point when pixel-peeking.

    - I've heard a lot of people saying that the mk ii is a big improvement in high ISO. This is esp true of several wildlife photographers - e.g. look at Tesni Ward for instance who says :



    Personally, I'm not seeing this at all. Maybe these people shoot JPEG and that's what they're seeing?

    I'd also agree with others here that high ISO can look OK so long as you expose to the right. Of course, this is just the same as using a lower ISO and exposing normally ;)

    It has to be said that you can't beat sensor size if high ISO shooting is your thing. I think the E-M1ii is probably good enough for most people so long as you don't crop a lot and you expose it well.
     
  10. The other thing the OP has to watch for is getting the same old sorry m43 story, just expose to the right and completely ignore subject movement, wind, etc, the same way IBIS always fixes everything.
     
  11. GreinerStudio

    GreinerStudio Mu-43 Regular

    60
    Feb 15, 2017
    I agree. I have some 3200 shots that are significantly better than others. However, I think this is true of any camera/sensor. In other systems, I had the same experience as the quality of light and subject matter can greatly influence perceived noise.
     
  12. genesimmons

    genesimmons Mu-43 Veteran

    377
    Feb 12, 2017
    have u tried any of the in camera noise reduction, i haven't experimented as of yet to in camera setting on noise reduction,
     
  13. GreinerStudio

    GreinerStudio Mu-43 Regular

    60
    Feb 15, 2017
    Below is the histogram for this shot, unprocessed from Olympus viewer 3

    HeronHistogram.JPG

    Although a little heavy on the highlights, it was not terrible
     
  14. GreinerStudio

    GreinerStudio Mu-43 Regular

    60
    Feb 15, 2017
    IBIS doesn't fix a moving subject :), but you know that....Thus the high shutter
     
  15. GreinerStudio

    GreinerStudio Mu-43 Regular

    60
    Feb 15, 2017
    Is this not only applied to the JPEG, or does it also influence the RAW. I though this was a JPEG only setting.
     
  16. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    to me that looks like an underexposed histogram or at least one thats not taking account of the full range of tones

    K
     
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  17. Aperture Don

    Aperture Don Mu-43 Regular

    168
    Jan 7, 2017
    Illinois
    I'm not an expert, but this histogram definitely shows an underexposed shot, which equals noise. I'm as guilty as you, but take some test shots where the histogram tops out in the center or to the right. It really doesn't matter which camera that we use, the exposure has to be properly exposed and possibly to the right. I'm going back to a top ISO of 6400, and you shouldn't balk at ISO 3200. Your histogram isn't good.
     
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  18. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Phil
    Oh so agree to be honest I've not been and remain a non ETTR guy but do understand that sometimes it's valid. I don't even have the histogram running and only for shots like the original image would I even think about switching to spot metering.
    Maybe I'm just hugely more tolerant of noise after shooting a lot of rolls of ISO 1600 colour negative film....... and guess what... a well exposed in good light image rarely showed the film grain but the inside lower light images were just flat out grainy.
    Nothing much has changed just the upper ISO limit :)
     
  19. genesimmons

    genesimmons Mu-43 Veteran

    377
    Feb 12, 2017
    jeez i hope it influences raw, i only shoot raw, i am fairly certain the in cam settings affect raw files, seems like a fairly useless feature if it only affects jpeg, jeez now u have me wondering haha
     
  20. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    As far as I understand, the only things you can control with any digital camera when shooting raw are shutter speed, aperture and ISO

    some manufacturers may in the background may do some voodoo.. but nothing you can control.. all those options are for JPEG shooters only

    K
     
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