Panasonic G9 in low light

grcolts

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I have shot night time star shots which came out good. My problem seems to be shooting the G9 in low evening light, like just after sunset. I have tried several settings but all come out with way too much noise. Any suggestions for shooting the G9 in post evening sunset light without so much noise? My older Pentax K50 does so much better in this type of lighting.
GQR
 

Toddster

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I can't help you with the G9 specifically; but I can highly recommend DXO Elite Ver. 4 for noise removal. The Deep Prime in the new version is astounding. Here is an example from an E-M1 II at 6400 that would probably been throwaway without DeepPrime. I know that it's not from the camera or subject matter that you are asking about, but if you are shooting in raw with the G9 it might be worth a download and trial to see what kind of results you get with your own files.

Processed image:
20201125-103116_PB252229dxo.jpg
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Here is a close crop WITHOUT DeepPrime:
20201125-103116_PB252229dxoHQnoise_1.jpg
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Same crop with DeepPrime:
20201125-103116_PB252229dxoDeepPrimenoise_1.jpg
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Darmok N Jalad

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What settings have you tried, and what lenses do you have? I haven’t really run into this issue, though I shoot JPG, so the camera does handle most of the NR itself. Still, even ISOs near 6400 produce workable results. 3200 and under are even better, but faster lenses are needed.
 

Machi

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I have shot night time star shots which came out good. My problem seems to be shooting the G9 in low evening light, like just after sunset. I have tried several settings but all come out with way too much noise. Any suggestions for shooting the G9 in post evening sunset light without so much noise? My older Pentax K50 does so much better in this type of lighting.
GQR
It depends on targets but when they are not moving then you can try low ISOs with tripod or IBIS. Hi-res mode is also good for lowering noise when shooting with tripod is possible.
 

grcolts

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It depends on targets but when they are not moving then you can try low ISOs with tripod or IBIS. Hi-res mode is also good for lowering noise when shooting with tripod is possible.
I will have to try hi-res mode on the G9 for low light shots. Thanks for reminding me of that feature.
GQR
 

grcolts

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What settings have you tried, and what lenses do you have? I haven’t really run into this issue, though I shoot JPG, so the camera does handle most of the NR itself. Still, even ISOs near 6400 produce workable results. 3200 and under are even better, but faster lenses are needed.
I was shooting jpeg, although for night shots I usually use RAW. My settings were shooting at iso 200 for several images, then bumped it up to 800. My lens was the Panasonic 16-80 2.8/4. The noise came out in big ugly splotches. I am going to give hi-res a try next.
GQR
 

Brownie

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There are several threads. This is one:

Post your high ISO G9 images (please) | Mu-43 (mu-43.com)

ISO 1000
49004005227_e01f36970b_c.jpg
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Eloise 8 by telecast, on Flickr

ISO 1250, 50% crop. Daytime but poor light back in the trees. Similar to early twilight.
50704112531_76395f936a_b.jpg
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50% by telecast, on Flickr

Both of these were processed in Darktable using profiled NR. I had some good luck at nighttime parades in years past, up to 3200 ISO.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I was shooting jpeg, although for night shots I usually use RAW. My settings were shooting at iso 200 for several images, then bumped it up to 800. My lens was the Panasonic 16-80 2.8/4. The noise came out in big ugly splotches. I am going to give hi-res a try next.
GQR
You should not be seeing noise issues at native ISO or even 800 ISO. I’m wondering if something else is wrong. Can you post some samples of what you are seeing?
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I was shooting jpeg, although for night shots I usually use RAW. My settings were shooting at iso 200 for several images, then bumped it up to 800. My lens was the Panasonic 16-80 2.8/4. The noise came out in big ugly splotches. I am going to give hi-res a try next.
GQR
For low light/night shots it's best to shoot Raw and do your own noise reduction. In camera noise reduction is OK but rarely as effective as post IF you shoot high ISO.
If the subject is still and not much if any motion in the composition put your trust in IBIS, you can do 1 second or even more under 14mm and 1/2 to 1/8 second up to 60mm. I assume you meant Panasonic 12-60mm f 2.8-4 (since there is no other lens natively with f 2.8-4 aperture). (PS. Micro Four Thirds has a 2x crop and not the 1.5x of Pentax).

From personal experience (Panasonic G1/G2, GX7, Olympus E-M1 Mark I/Mark III, E-M5 Mark II) upt to ISO 1600 there's very little noise up to A3 prints and about 150% zoom in.
Once you get in the territory of ISO 3200 the colour noise is increased but easily fixable and the grain is very visible on A3 and A4 prints (personal opinion here). But the images are still printable and usable.
When you do reach ISO 6400 that's when the limits of Micro Four Thirds current sensor tech has reached its limit (about 5 years ago). Noise is intrusive, with significant colour noise and colour loss and mushy details (or lack of details). Very fine textures like fur, feathers, foliage and dense objects loose their definition. The images are still usable but definetly need software noise reduction. The best ones are DXO Photolab 4 DeepPrime and Topaz DeNoise AI. They are not cheap but they give about 2-3 stops of noise reduction making even ISO 6.400 usable and printable, something that it was not possible 3-4 years ago.
With the advancements of Software denoising, amazing IBIS and High Resultion in camera processing the Micro Four Thirds can be on par with older APSC performance and some first gen 35mm sensors (like A7 Mark I).

If you wish to stay with JPEG only then it would be best to test the image quality at all in camera Noise Reduction options available and see which one you prefer as a compromise between details, colours and noise. But it will still be a compromise (of higher degree) compared to denoising the Raw files.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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You should not be seeing noise issues at native ISO or even 800 ISO. I’m wondering if something else is wrong. Can you post some samples of what you are seeing?
My guess would be he has a high level of noise reduction applied on the JPEGs.
There can be grain even at ISO 200, I remember I used to notice that with my Panasonic GX7 (yes, I know its a very old sensor at this point) but partly it was my fault for applying global sharpening with no mask, giving me very grainy blue skies for example. Also pushing the exposure can show grain as well but I wouldn't consider it noise per say. At times I like the look of it, making it feel like a grainy film. (I have examples but I'm at work and don't have access to the files).
It also depends on the level of pixel peeping, any kind of over zooming will show grain/noise no matter the ISO. If you zoom past 200% everything but 44mm and higher film and digital sensors will show some grain/noise.
 

Brian G

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You have another option and an alternative to using either Topaz Denoise AI or DXO Deep Prime, which can work with or without a tripod. M43 and the G9 in particular make it relatively simple to take multiple images in a burst, and subsequently stack & average in Photoshop to dramatically reduce noise.
Of course you do need to use Photoshop for this. There may be other software that can do the same, but I haven't heard of it.
If tripod and no movement in the scene, you can choose to shoot at lower ISOs, but of course you can do this anyway with low noise at ISO 100 or 200.
For hand holding, select an ISO that will allow an adequate shutter speed, and fire off a burst in multishot mode. I tend to mostly use silent shutter for this, but would switch the shutter mode if there are lighting sources present that may cause flickering artifacts or banding.
In PS, bring the frames in as stacked layers, select all and auto align. Then convert all to Smart Objects (this process will take a bit of time, how much will depend on your computer resources and how many frames). I would recommend between 8 and 16 frames.
The final step is to go back to Layers / Smart Objects / Stack Mode and select Median. Because noise in the original frames is random while the subject matter is constant, the algorithm will remove almost all the noise, and in a very clean, non-destructive manner.
I have also had very good results with Denoise AI, but I've never tried DXO.
The link below is for an example I've posted on Flickr of a G9 ISO 2500 shot in very low light, pre-sunrise, hand held on a moving ship. No noise reduction was used, except for the process outlined above. In this example the process was also used to double the file size and image resolution, and that is an option by adding an additional step or two into the process, but not the main point here. This image was uploaded at it's full file size of 10322x7742, so you can click on it a couple of times to really see lots of detail.
https://flic.kr/p/2jkGniR
Brian
 
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so you can click on it a couple of times to really see lots of detail.
https://flic.kr/p/2jkGniR
Brian
I'd like to, Brian, but Flickr says your image is private :(

Screenshot 2021-01-16 at 19.24.10.png
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Brian G

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My apologies. It is contained in an Album called "Shaky Human Pixel Shift". I didn't realize that it was the only image in the album that wasn't public. I've now changed the status, so hopefully you can link to it. FYI, there are some other image examples in the album that are tagged as Public Domain, so that they can be downloaded and scrutinized on your local computer.

Updated Link:
https://flic.kr/p/2jkGniR
Brian
 

grcolts

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You have another option and an alternative to using either Topaz Denoise AI or DXO Deep Prime, which can work with or without a tripod. M43 and the G9 in particular make it relatively simple to take multiple images in a burst, and subsequently stack & average in Photoshop to dramatically reduce noise.
Of course you do need to use Photoshop for this. There may be other software that can do the same, but I haven't heard of it.
If tripod and no movement in the scene, you can choose to shoot at lower ISOs, but of course you can do this anyway with low noise at ISO 100 or 200.
For hand holding, select an ISO that will allow an adequate shutter speed, and fire off a burst in multishot mode. I tend to mostly use silent shutter for this, but would switch the shutter mode if there are lighting sources present that may cause flickering artifacts or banding.
In PS, bring the frames in as stacked layers, select all and auto align. Then convert all to Smart Objects (this process will take a bit of time, how much will depend on your computer resources and how many frames). I would recommend between 8 and 16 frames.
The final step is to go back to Layers / Smart Objects / Stack Mode and select Median. Because noise in the original frames is random while the subject matter is constant, the algorithm will remove almost all the noise, and in a very clean, non-destructive manner.
I have also had very good results with Denoise AI, but I've never tried DXO.
The link below is for an example I've posted on Flickr of a G9 ISO 2500 shot in very low light, pre-sunrise, hand held on a moving ship. No noise reduction was used, except for the process outlined above. In this example the process was also used to double the file size and image resolution, and that is an option by adding an additional step or two into the process, but not the main point here. This image was uploaded at it's full file size of 10322x7742, so you can click on it a couple of times to really see lots of detail.
https://flic.kr/p/2jkGniR
Brian
Thanks for your input. When I shot those evening scenes I had left my G9 on jpegs so the camera's noise reduction filter played a part in my horrible results. Since then, I have shot other evening scenes with good results using your suggestions. I have Topaz Studio 2 which has a denoise option and I also have Affinity Photo for processing as well.
GQR
 

Little Fish

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I have shot night time star shots which came out good. My problem seems to be shooting the G9 in low evening light, like just after sunset. I have tried several settings but all come out with way too much noise. Any suggestions for shooting the G9 in post evening sunset light without so much noise?


Shooting video or photo at twilight or night requires a different perspective on the exposure used for the capture.

With G9 there are several dynamic range tools that help get optimal results for what is being produced.
idynamic, Highlights/Shadows, Picture Profile, and WB can have a huge impact on the exposure and outcome on what will be left for editing.

I shoot twilight all the time, and it was difficult managing all the features the G9 had. It took me about 6 months to figure out how all these dynamic range tools work together and that using only one of them with small adjustments give enough dynamic range for my 4K and pix. Also, the in-camera noise reduction is better than old Lightroom 5.

One factor for increased noise is poor exposure. When the lights get low, nailing exposure is paramount. The use of exposure comp, and the dynamic range tools in-camera can help set up perfect exposure for what you want to achieve with photo or video at twilight.

Rather than list all my exposure settings for the dynamic range tools, it's best if you play with them and get to know how adjustments in iDynamic interact with adjustments in Picture Style or Highlights/Shadows. Then see how they impact the final exposure of the video or photo. Then see how far you can push the image in your editing software.

Once you learn how all these tools and features, and learn how much you can edit them, you'll be able to nail the proper exposure for the type of look you seek in low light. If you still get noisy pics and video, or these many tools/features are just too time consuming to learn, then another camera may be in order, one that better suits your shooting style and ability.
Hope this helps.
 

Little Fish

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My apologies. It is contained in an Album called "Shaky Human Pixel Shift". I didn't realize that it was the only image in the album that wasn't public. I've now changed the status, so hopefully you can link to it. FYI, there are some other image examples in the album that are tagged as Public Domain, so that they can be downloaded and scrutinized on your local computer.

Updated Link:
https://flic.kr/p/2jkGniR
Brian
Nice twilight photo.
 

John King

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My guess would be he has a high level of noise reduction applied on the JPEGs.
There can be grain even at ISO 200, I remember I used to notice that with my Panasonic GX7 (yes, I know its a very old sensor at this point) but partly it was my fault for applying global sharpening with no mask, giving me very grainy blue skies for example. Also pushing the exposure can show grain as well but I wouldn't consider it noise per say. At times I like the look of it, making it feel like a grainy film. (I have examples but I'm at work and don't have access to the files).
It also depends on the level of pixel peeping, any kind of over zooming will show grain/noise no matter the ISO. If you zoom past 200% everything but 44mm and higher film and digital sensors will show some grain/noise.
Ovidiu, I cannot speak for the G9, but this shot is with my E-M1 MkI that has a Panasonic 16 MPx sensor.

E-M1_JAK_2016-_2112448_Ew.jpg
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The full size LSF JPEG that is completely untouched, OoC, is here. Be warned, it's a 9MB file ...

https://canopuscomputing.com.au/zen2/albums/Photography/HighISOdemoshots/E-M1_JAK_2016-_2112448.JPG

I reckon that it's not all that bad for an OoC JPEG. It would certainly print absolutely fine at A3 size, and almost certainly at A2 size. Even at 100% on my screen, it looks reasonable.
 

John King

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Ovidiu, I cannot speak for the G9, but this shot is with my E-M1 MkI that has a Panasonic 16 MPx sensor.

View attachment 877304

The full size LSF JPEG that is completely untouched, OoC, is here. Be warned, it's a 9MB file ...

https://canopuscomputing.com.au/zen2/albums/Photography/HighISOdemoshots/E-M1_JAK_2016-_2112448.JPG

I reckon that it's not all that bad for an OoC JPEG. It would certainly print absolutely fine at A3 size, and almost certainly at A2 size. Even at 100% on my screen, it looks reasonable.
I just printed this on my Epson XP-970 at A3 size.

Printed beautifully except for the blocked light cyan print head - bugger. However, the image quality is absolutely fine.
 

Generationfourth

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Shooting video or photo at twilight or night requires a different perspective on the exposure used for the capture.

With G9 there are several dynamic range tools that help get optimal results for what is being produced.
idynamic, Highlights/Shadows, Picture Profile, and WB can have a huge impact on the exposure and outcome on what will be left for editing.

I shoot twilight all the time, and it was difficult managing all the features the G9 had. It took me about 6 months to figure out how all these dynamic range tools work together and that using only one of them with small adjustments give enough dynamic range for my 4K and pix. Also, the in-camera noise reduction is better than old Lightroom 5.

One factor for increased noise is poor exposure. When the lights get low, nailing exposure is paramount. The use of exposure comp, and the dynamic range tools in-camera can help set up perfect exposure for what you want to achieve with photo or video at twilight.

Rather than list all my exposure settings for the dynamic range tools, it's best if you play with them and get to know how adjustments in iDynamic interact with adjustments in Picture Style or Highlights/Shadows. Then see how they impact the final exposure of the video or photo. Then see how far you can push the image in your editing software.

Once you learn how all these tools and features, and learn how much you can edit them, you'll be able to nail the proper exposure for the type of look you seek in low light. If you still get noisy pics and video, or these many tools/features are just too time consuming to learn, then another camera may be in order, one that better suits your shooting style and ability.
Hope this helps.
I agree with all of this. When I first got my G9 and delved into wildlife/action I was 'pinned' at 3200 ISO making the classic mistake of underexposing and trying to recover in post. So much noise! My bandaid solution was Topaz Denoise which works miracles, but I was not too happy with the G9's performance in these challenging conditions.

Recently I've been experimenting a lot more with the JPEG processing and trying to get the exposure right and do little to no PP. I discovered iDynamic and have been tweaking the photo styles. I shot some surfing and some birds in low light a week or so ago and the difference was immense- like I was shooting with a different camera! Even with NR turned down in my preferred photo styles and at 6400iso I was getting really clean relatively noise free JPEG's and much cleaner raws.
 

John King

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I agree with all of this. When I first got my G9 and delved into wildlife/action I was 'pinned' at 3200 ISO making the classic mistake of underexposing and trying to recover in post. So much noise! My bandaid solution was Topaz Denoise which works miracles, but I was not too happy with the G9's performance in these challenging conditions.

Recently I've been experimenting a lot more with the JPEG processing and trying to get the exposure right and do little to no PP. I discovered iDynamic and have been tweaking the photo styles. I shot some surfing and some birds in low light a week or so ago and the difference was immense- like I was shooting with a different camera! Even with NR turned down in my preferred photo styles and at 6400iso I was getting really clean relatively noise free JPEG's and much cleaner raws.
I agree. The G9 is almost certainly better than the older Panasonic sensor in my E-M1 MkI.

One can play fast and loose with bigger sensors, but you really do need to get it as right as possible in-camera with FTs and mFTs.

There is an awful lot of BS talked about under and over exposing, then adjusting in post. I have found that this just doesn't work.

This example is from my Coolpix E5000, but the principle is the same.

The first shot is a result of the flash trigger not working. The second is from lifting the first about 5 stops in post. The third is a 'correctly exposed' image.

DSCN1521.jpg
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DSCN1521-A.jpg
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DSCN1523.jpg
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See what I mean?
 

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