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Pushing micro four thirds to the limit

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by Robert Watcher, May 15, 2018.

  1. Normally I would just put my camera away in such dark areas as I was walking on this night. But I had nothing to lose, so set my cheap consumer Olympus E-M10 to Monochrome (black and white) mode - cranked the ISO to the max of 12,800 - set aperture to the largest possible of f3.5 at the wide end of my 14-42mm kit lens —— and fired away at anything interesting while I walked the street. Quality isn’t the greatest obviously, but with such poor lighting it would be unlikely to get great shots with any camera. Artistic - now that is a different story.

    Processing was done by sending the selected images wirelessly to my iPad Air and processing them in the Snapseed app, then uploaded to gifyu.com for linking to on the web.

    All 12,800ISO






    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  2. D224286A-F30F-4CAE-A83B-DC298FCE2E82.




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  3. On the previous night, I stood at a busy intersection with slightly more street light, and used one of my favourite settings on my Olympus cameras - the Grainy Film black and white filter with the frame edge. I set my ISO to 8,000 and the format to 6x6.

    All 8,000ISO







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  4. Davidof_CR

    Davidof_CR Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 16, 2017
    I think all the pictures fulfill the sense they were taken for ... and that is the most important benchmark. No reason to pixel-peep. Let us be happy we can use our gear in such conditions :) 
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  5. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    Very nice.
    Reminds me of the days of pushing Tri-X to what today is mild ISO level of 1600.
    Coming from that school, you do what you can, and accept what the camera produces.
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  6. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    I re-read your first post and wondered did you do that on Snapseed using the RAW or the JPG? I think that iPad may default to the JPG in Snapseed.

    If you did some HDR processing on those images then I can say that Snapseed does add some noise, which I assume it does deliberately to mask the limitations of it working only in 8bit (or maybe less)

    in my view ...: Snapseed and noise (but from where?)

    in discussion with the developer I found that demosaic of the RAW is done to an 8 bit destination (meaning do your shadow and highlight rescue in that "develop" stage). If you aren't seeing the develop stage it means its working with the JPG
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  7. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    These are great. I find Olympus dramatic tone in black and white can dig out a lot more contrast detail in dark scenes. Must be some kind of HDR kind of processing.
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  8. Thanks for your thoughts.

    I don’t and have never shot in RAW format as a matter of practice - professionally or for personal use. I primarily use Jpegs and process accordingly. But I do know that Snapseed on my iPad handles RAW files as I have downloaded some from the Processing Challenges here and it handles them nicely. As well I don’t do anything with HDR. It’s not my style. My processing is more old school like my wet darkroom work - just more repeatable.

    Actually the Grainy Film images here are not processed and didn’t run through Snapseed. How the square ones come out of the camera is exactly as I like them. I use this format so I am forced not to crop or process them, which I do on most all of my images. The 12,800 ISO files went through Snapseed but aren’t processed that much either except for cropping to the pano format and a bit of balancing of tonality where needed.

    The website that I upload the images to for displaying here, resizes them to an appropriate size display size, but doesn’t have a good sharpening algorithm when doing so, so results aren’t as good as when I used to run each posted image through my 3 step resizing process in Photoshop. But I am fine with that and it suites my current method of getting new pics I like and want to post, off the camera and onto Instagram or forums quickly and being able to do that at whatever location or street side walk I happen to be sitting at. LOL

    I would love to print some of the 12,800 ones at a modest size on art paper when I get home. But I know for a fact that I would be adding digital grain to the files to give them more substance. In fact I often add grain when printing my low ISO noiseless images, to make them look more real. I wouldn’t be using Snapseed for that purpose. I utilize Lightroom and if necessary Photoshop on my MacBook for any of my critical work. Although I will probably be tempted to give Snapseed on the iPad a try for printing and see if the results make much of a difference.

    I’m really just amazed that anything shows up at 8,000 or 12,800 ISO compared to attempts at trying to get recognizable 6400ISO shots a few years ago. Thanks again

    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  9. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa

    you're welcome ... in my view we come here to discuss things ;-)

    interestingly I exactly use HDR alike stuff because its the ONLY way I can get digital to look film alike (and resemble prints I used to do in my wet darkroom {I'm an old film 4x5 user}) or scans of actual Negs.

    I don't go for the highly synthetic look, just process the RAW (which I treat in my own mind like a negative) to extract what I wanted (not what the camera wanted).

    For instance this shot of a young bird (Kookaburra) on a flight out of the nest:

    DMC-GH1    ---    NANmm    f/NAN    1/1600s    ISO 400

    I have come over to using Snapseed for almost all my post processing (well, except astro stacking) and I like what I can do with it ... not trying to convert you in any way, just sharing.
  10. Again thank you for sharing. We each have our own experience and preference and my intent for participating in this particular post has nothing to do with processing of images or trying to improve them. You did ask me questions about my technique and I supplied you with those and the reasons for my choices. Hopefully that response helped others clarify how I create my images.

    I am really just amazed that anything useful comes out of 12,800 or 8,000 ISO images from micro four thirds and shared my experience here because I am pretty sure there are few people willing to even try pushing their cameras or gear to the limit to see if the result might suit their needs or not. Far too much listening to what people say and asking opinions than just trying and seeing. Hopefully I sparked the curiosity of one or two with this post, to see what they can get even with their modest equipment as I was using.

    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  11. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    yep ... and sorry if I came across wrongly (I mean you supplied a video which I didn't ask about)
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  12. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    One thing about shooting at high ISO.
    If you do not print large, you won't see the high ISO noise, so I would not worry about that.
    I shoot high school football and soccer at night under lights, and to use my 18-140 lens, I have to shoot at ISO 12800. The results are perfectly acceptable for what I want.

    Interestingly, shooting gym basketball at ISO 12800 does not come out as well.
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  13. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Considering the ISO very nice results
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  14. Mikehit

    Mikehit Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2018
    I agree. Pixel peeping and obsession with noise is, IMO, killing some creative areas for photography - I think your photos show that if the subject is interesting then noise won't matter. It has been pointed out occasionally that many Pulitzer winning images would not get a second look today because of subject movement or noise.

    So thank you for posting and reminding me that often the memory is just as important (or maybe more so) than pure image quality.
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  15. uswrdm02

    uswrdm02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2018
    Some very nice street shots!
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  16. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    Brought back memories of push-processing my Tri-X with Diafine. Exposed at ISO 1600. Thought that was as good as it got. Now I have my Panny adjusted for Auto-ISO max'd at 6400. Looking at the B&W's above (at 12,800), I'm thinking "Why not?"

    These are lovely shots; I especially like the square ones. Reminds me of my old Bronica S.
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  17. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 16, 2013
    I love the square ones also. I'll have to look into my settings next time I shoot that Oly art filter.
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  18. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    Funny how trends change. 10 years ago people switching to digital complained about noisy images that were typical of higher ISO settings. Gradually many complained that "digital" lacked the "film grain". Today, we have digital modes that are both noisy and grainy - and photographers like it. BTW, your shots are really nice!
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  19. inthecage

    inthecage Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 4, 2010
    Sagamore Hills, Ohio
    M Ferencz
    Limits? Do they exist?
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