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:
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Here is a close crop WITHOUT DeepPrime:
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Same crop with DeepPrime:
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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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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 :(

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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
 
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