Oly In Camera NR

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by gobeatty, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. gobeatty

    gobeatty Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2014
    Wanted to touch base and see what the feeling is of the Oly in-camera noise reduction. I'm using an EM10 and I like to shoot jpeg only and get good JPEGs right out of camera. This is doable with my Canon 6D but I struggle with the EM10 because the NR seems awful. Seems to make a muddled mess at higher iso (over 2000, often 3600 when photographing indoor dance competitions) and loses detail while leaving objectionable levels of noise. For now, I am leaving it turned off and using noiseware or photo shop express NR on my iPad. This isn't a great solution as these apps do not support batch processing and for now I do not edit on a desktop or laptop computer.

  2. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Maybe try going into the custom menu and either increase or decrease the NR to your liking? (ie: Low in combination with maybe lower contrast, etc)

    Not sure what else to suggest in regards to jpeg because I generally use my raw files 99% of the time with a low setting for noise reduction, and half the time I'm shooting for web.

    ISO 6400 for example (from raw and processed in photoshop):


    versus the straight jpeg (resized to 1280x960 for webview)

  3. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    I've seen lots of recommendations on this forum for noise reduction being set to -1 in camera, leaving you with the responsibility of doing the NR in PP, resulting in better image output. This makes sense to me as I can definitely see the detail loss when applying NR in camera, even when using OV3 to process.
  4. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Low is always the best Noise Filter setting for me. (Noise Reduction stays at Auto; that function compensates for hot pixels after a long exposure.)
  5. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Setting noise reduction to "ON" means it always functions in single shot mode as well (not continuous), I set it to on when I'm doing normal photography and off when stacking (since I would be doing dark frames manually) as there is a small reduction in noise (no read noise, which is the main sort of noise at base ISO. It means I can basically turn off noise reduction in adobe RAW).
  6. hobbes266

    hobbes266 Mu-43 Regular

    May 19, 2014
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Yes I agree it is quite a problem and nearly turned me off of m43 altogether after just buying into it. It gets so bad at a combination of high ISO and in poor light that I no longer call them photos, but paintings. Particularly bad on people's faces, and around their eyes - awful. Of course, that is when pixel peeping, cropping or zooming in to the image, I'm not saying that if you printed at 6x4 it would cause too much problem. And I'm talking about jpg's which I assume you are too. Compared to my 'much maligned' Canon crop sensors, my E-P5 images looks much worse in those situations.

    I solved it by turning off Noise Filter altogether, plus turning Sharpness to -1 on my standard Natural colour profile, and Sharpness to -2 for Monochrome. That drastically reduces the look (Sharpness affects it quite a lot too). I did some testing and found those settings worked best for me. The reduction in Sharpness is offset by the fact that the image is quite a bit sharper with noise filter off, so it pretty much balances out the sharpness. Yes there is more noise now, but that is again only visible when pixel peeping, cropping or zooming in. But at least it looks like a photo now, not a painting, and I prefer it. Monochrome needed the extra reduction in Sharpness for some unknown reason, and anyway, it makes my black and white photos just a little more organic looking and not extra sharp digital looking, which I like. Do some testing of your own and see which settings you prefer.

    For some photos, Noise Filter of Low is quite acceptable, but for others it's still not so I just leave it Off and if I want to I can always add Noise Filter to Low later when Raw editing in camera (I shoot Raw + Jpg). I never run my jpg's thru any NR program, even with the Noise Filter off. That would be a pain, and anyway I don't think it needs it, but then I don't go over ISO 1600 much, and if I do I just consider them snapshots and not worthy of any PP. If I'm doing any serious work, like for printing or a competition, I go to the Raw anyway and work off that, so I never have to do any NR or any serious PP on a jpg.

    Seeing the m43 high ISO capability limitations still makes me think of full frame from time to time, but I'm working with it. Mostly if I'm taking high ISO photos indoors it's in rubbish light anyway, and so I just tell myself the photo will never look great, even with a FF.
  7. hobbes266

    hobbes266 Mu-43 Regular

    May 19, 2014
    Gold Coast, Australia
    If shooting regularly at 2000, often 3600, I wouldn't be using m43. Is that using f/1.8?
  8. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    In really low light I think it's silly to expect no noise at all, while no one aims for it I believe it should be accepted that with our current level of technology there are some downsides to being able to take a picture with a camera and having it brighter than what your eyes can see in the same conditions. A little noise isn't a bad thing if without you can't get any pictures at all.

    Which is all somewhat moot, I don't think noise makes or breaks a picture anyway. If you have the right composition you won't even notice the noise, many people can't see the forest for the trees and focus too much on just one aspect of a good picture.

    The noise from Olympus cameras is also pretty damn good to my eyes. It's mostly luminance and generally very low chroma and translates very well to B+W.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. gobeatty

    gobeatty Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2014
    Good points all. The photos offered at the top of the thread show more noise than is acceptable for my subject and purpose (I feel photos of teenage girls and boys dancing should be clean. I'm not going for a gritty Street dancing look). I also understand the comments about why high ISO and m43. I am currently using the kit tele zoom and most shots are around f5. I could cut the iso by a stop or more if I plumbed for one of the 2.8 tele zooms or maybe the 45 prime and just crop(a smaller and cheaper option than the 2.8 tele zooms).

    But, and this was the genesis of the thread, I find I can get an acceptable result using photo shop express NR on my iPad while Oly's on board NR sucks. I don't know if Canon's NR is better or simply much less aggressive since it is starting with the cleaner FF pixels, but I can literally just crop the 6D jpegs shot with NR standard and go. And a kicker for me is that even with a 2.8 lens I would still likely be at ISO 1600ish and the on board Oly NR would still not work to my needs. So I would still need to NR in post and I'm in the same place I am now from a workflow perspective.

    I even find at ISO under 1000 I have to do the NR step in PP and it slows me down. I may plumb for a macbook so I can use real PP software and batch process. Then NR in post isn't a nuisance like it is with my iPad limited editing.
  10. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    The 6D has a much larger sensor... off course there will be less noise than the m4/3rd sensor. As you crop, the noise becomes "enlarged" and even more noticeable.

    Personally, I find noise on m4/3rd sensor okay up until 1600. At 3200, it can still be okay depending on the amount of lighting and how much grain your willing to accept. I still use 6400, if I need to... but I know it will grainy.

    If low noise at high ISO is important to you, you'd be better off sticking to the canon 6d
    • Like Like x 2
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