Sponsor Message:
Aviation Photography Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Technique- How Much Can I Control Graininess?  
User currently offlineNewark727 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 1368 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3580 times:

Yesterday I snapped some photos at SNA using a Canon 50D and the 28-135 EF IS kit lens that came with it. I've had this camera for over a year now and I'm satisfied with the results a lot of the time. This session though, and several previous efforts, have revealed a great tendency toward grainy photos, which can sometimes hold back my efforts to get photos onto this website by a significant amount. I had the ISO at 100 the entire time, so I don't think that setting has much to do with it. I'm guessing that either my sensor just happens to like making photos grainy, or something about my shooting technique is causing the problem. This time I switched between f6.3 and 7.1, with a shutter speed between 1/500 and 1/800. Any insight about how to minimize noise would be great. Thanks!

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJid From Barbados, joined Dec 2004, 975 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3545 times:

One way is to shoot RAW and set your raw converter's noise reduction to remove any noise. But be warned not to apply too much (don't use the default setting) as this gives a 'banding' look to sky's which can be mistaken for compression.

Good luck .. Jid



G7EPN is back after 15 years! Operating all Bands 80mtrs -> 70cms QRZ DX
User currently offlinedlowwa From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 7328 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3538 times:

Quoting Jid (Reply 1):
One way is to shoot RAW and set your raw converter's noise reduction to remove any noise. But be warned not to apply too much (don't use the default setting) as this gives a 'banding' look to sky's which can be mistaken for compression.

Excellent advice. I noticed a few images of mine with banding in the sky, and it took me a while to figure out it was the NR in the RAW converter (specifically the chroma noise reduction) that was causing it.

Quoting Newark727 (Thread starter):
had the ISO at 100 the entire time, so I don't think that setting has much to do with it. I'm guessing that either my sensor just happens to like making photos grainy, or something about my shooting technique is causing the problem. This time I switched between f6.3 and 7.1, with a shutter speed between 1/500 and 1/800. Any insight about how to minimize noise would be great.

Shutter speed and aperture won't affect noise unless your camera is automatically adjusting the ISO to compensate, which you say is not the case. Other than shooting at a higher ISO, the only way to induce more noise in one image than the next is to underexpose it. Brightening an image (or boosting shadows with something like the shadow/highlight tool) will increase the amount of noise.


User currently offlinephotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2825 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3538 times:

One great contributor to "noise" is underexposure. When you underexpose, it either forces the camera to bump up the levels or you're doing that yourself in post-processing. The exposure values you give us for aperature or shutter speed are basically useless without knowing the light value. Are you using any EV compensation? If so, start by removing it and instead using the correct exposure. Try using a Grey Card to get a representative reading. Or heaven forbid, use a good digital incident meter. Unless you get your exposure bang-on first, all the post-shooting processing and noise reduction is just so much wasted time and effort. I'll bet that's your problem.

User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10344 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3476 times:

Quoting dlowwa (Reply 2):
Quoting Jid (Reply 1):
One way is to shoot RAW and set your raw converter's noise reduction to remove any noise. But be warned not to apply too much (don't use the default setting) as this gives a 'banding' look to sky's which can be mistaken for compression.

Excellent advice. I noticed a few images of mine with banding in the sky, and it took me a while to figure out it was the NR in the RAW converter (specifically the chroma noise reduction) that was causing it.

How do you guys balance using RAW NR with too much softening of the photos? In Canon's software (which I've been using for RAW editing, as CS5 is too slow on my computer), any luminance NR above 3 or 4 or so (it goes from 0-10) softens the image significantly, to the point where a fair amount of sharpening is required.

Noise is something that I struggle with. On my last couple outings to LAX, I concentrated on getting a good exposure (and a reasonably sharp photo), even in low light (evening). This certainly helped with the noise, but it was still noticeable at ISO400.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4881 posts, RR: 37
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3452 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 4):
How do you guys balance using RAW NR with too much softening of the photos?

Well, I think many people here are using Lightroom 3 / Photoshop CS5 where the noise-reduction on RAW images works extremely well. Other people may also be using the latest Noise Ninja, which is extremely effective at reducing nose on very difficult images with strong high ISO noise (ie, where background and parts of the plane might be similar in colour).

What else can I suggest? You've got to ace the exposure properly - even slight overexposure is okay when using high ISO settings. You must not under-expose the image - or you'll never be able to recover it.

You can use the histogram display in the camera to judge the type of exposure you need. My strategy is to use lower shutter speeds first, down to the point where I can't manage to get consistent sharp images (1/15sec), then start to open up the aperture, and when that is maxed wide-open, start bumping ISO up as the last resort. Sometimes you might do manual exposure as well in these situations.

When you are photographing at night, meter the light from some object that is not so extremely bright. Metering the exposure from some sort of bright object will give you a very dark image, which is not what you want. Watch out for lights on planes, they will ensure you get a dark image if you meter the exposure on those (either intentionally or by mistake).

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 4):
Noise is something that I struggle with. On my last couple outings to LAX, I concentrated on getting a good exposure (and a reasonably sharp photo), even in low light (evening). This certainly helped with the noise, but it was still noticeable at ISO400.

Well, a high ISO image will never look like a low ISO airliners.net style image, that's just the way it is, and some cameras are quite good at giving you noisy images. (I'm not naming any particular manufacturers).  

What you can also do if you know Photoshop well is to learn the best noise-reduction techniques.

That's the other part of the equation. I'd recommend looking at books like those of Scott Kelby - who is one of the big names in Photoshop with respect to digital photography. Use noise-reduction only on areas with no-detail. Try masking out the noise-reduction layer using the "Find Edges" tool to help you create a mask.

Here is a noise-reduction and sharpening tutorial that tells you how to use such a mask to do selective sharpening:

http://reviews.davidleetong.com/arti...uction-sharpening-workflow-part-1/

You can reverse engineer that to achieve the desired results for noise-reduction too.

[Edited 2011-04-24 19:40:25]

[Edited 2011-04-24 19:44:23]

[Edited 2011-04-24 19:46:41]

[Edited 2011-04-24 19:53:35]

User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10344 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3425 times:

Apologies for hijacking the thread....

Quoting cpd (Reply 5):
You can use the histogram display in the camera to judge the type of exposure you need. My strategy is to use lower shutter speeds first, down to the point where I can't manage to get consistent sharp images (1/15sec), then start to open up the aperture, and when that is maxed wide-open, start bumping ISO up as the last resort. Sometimes you might do manual exposure as well in these situations.

That's basically what I do when taking low-light photos. I'm still practicing longer-exposure photos (anywhere from 1/8 up to 1/80 or so), but results certainly are better than using ISO1600.

Quoting cpd (Reply 5):
Well, I think many people here are using Lightroom 3 / Photoshop CS5 where the noise-reduction on RAW images works extremely well. Other people may also be using the latest Noise Ninja, which is extremely effective at reducing nose on very difficult images with strong high ISO noise (ie, where background and parts of the plane might be similar in colour).

Interesting. I do have CS5, so maybe I'll give the RAW NR a shot. I could probably do the RAW editing in CS5, and the JPG editing in CS3, and not suffer too much time lost.

Quoting cpd (Reply 5):
Well, a high ISO image will never look like a low ISO airliners.net style image, that's just the way it is, and some cameras are quite good at giving you noisy images. (I'm not naming any particular manufacturers).

Certainly; I'm just learning to get the best out of my equipment.

Quoting cpd (Reply 5):
What you can also do if you know Photoshop well is to learn the best noise-reduction techniques.

That's the other part of the equation. I'd recommend looking at books like those of Scott Kelby - who is one of the big names in Photoshop with respect to digital photography. Use noise-reduction only on areas with no-detail. Try masking out the noise-reduction layer using the "Find Edges" tool to help you create a mask.

Here is a noise-reduction and sharpening tutorial that tells you how to use such a mask to do selective sharpening:

http://reviews.davidleetong.com/arti...uction-sharpening-workflow-part-1/

You can reverse engineer that to achieve the desired results for noise-reduction too.

Thanks! Will check it out when less tired  



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3360 times:

I tend to try and overexpose slightly with my 50D if not shooting RAW, but to be honest it could be your camera. The 50D had quite a few teething issues when it was released, and some early examples produced an abnormal amount of noise.

If I do happen to underexpose and I'm only shooting jpeg I brighten the image without producing excessive grain (I hardly ever grain rejections). I find my 50D controls noise better than the 30 and 40D. In fact I've found the camera very impressive when it comes to low noise.

Karl


User currently offlineNewark727 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 1368 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3337 times:

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 7):

Could you define "early example?" Mine was purchased in December of 2009.


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3334 times:

Actually, I'm not even sure it applied to just early examples but the issue did seem far more common in earlier batches. I bought my first 50D like you in December 2009 and it was awful - blurry images, noisy and rather inconsistent. I was offered a replacement but demanded one a few months down the line to ensure a different batch. I subsequently got a perfect copy in February 2010.

To be honest, going off my example, you'd know for sure if it was a duffer! Having said that, mine was probably an extreme case, with others reporting only subtle faults.

In the case of ISO performance, mine is flawless; in fact much better than my previous cameras (350/400/30D). I have many jpeg (i.e. not shot in RAW) images accepted here taken at ISO400 with no NR whatsoever applied.

Karl


User currently offlineANITIX87 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 3309 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3303 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Noise performance, when attempting to upload here, can only be judged once you're finished with your edit. You can get ISO400 images from the 50D accepted here very easily. Just remember that the noise you see when viewing a 15-MP image on your computer will almost completely disappear when saving to JPG and 1024 pixels across (as will many other image flaws). The only time te 50D's noise performance becomes an issue is if you're trying to print 10-foot posters or something.

I was concerned about my 50D's noise output at first, but once I realized how little effect it has on web-edited images, I've never looked back. I'm thrilled with the results I'm getting, and after spending a little bit of money on a plug-in called Denoise (for Photoshop Elements), I'm comfortable shooting at ISO1600 for the weddings I do.

TIS



www.stellaryear.com: Canon EOS 50D, Canon EOS 5DMkII, Sigma 50mm 1.4, Canon 24-70 2.8L II, Canon 100mm 2.8L, Canon 100-4
User currently offlineJid From Barbados, joined Dec 2004, 975 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3279 times:

I have just uploaded some Duxford shots and some of the indoor images were shot at ISO1600


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jid Webb



That is using just the minimum of noise reduction in Canon's RAW editor. I have never noticed any problem with noise on the 50D and it does perform slightly better than the 40D. One thing do check you have the latest firmware for your 50D.

Jid



G7EPN is back after 15 years! Operating all Bands 80mtrs -> 70cms QRZ DX
User currently offlineNewark727 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 1368 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3275 times:

"Median" filter on the sky seems to help much more than regular noise reduction. Glad I found that. Thank you all for your insight!

User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10344 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 3253 times:

Quoting Newark727 (Reply 12):
"Median" filter on the sky seems to help much more than regular noise reduction. Glad I found that. Thank you all for your insight!

Median filter is indeed quite good, but you can easily lose a lot of detail, and make it rather obvious that something was done.

I don't know whether the median filter is frowned upon in terms of editing for Anet or not.

Quoting cpd (Reply 5):
Well, I think many people here are using Lightroom 3 / Photoshop CS5 where the noise-reduction on RAW images works extremely well.

I tried some RAW NR in CS5 last night, and my god you were right! MUCH better than Canon's software or PS CS3! Removed tons of noise without softening the edges noticeably. And I didn't even selectively reduce noise - I just did it on the whole image.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 3245 times:

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 10):
Noise performance, when attempting to upload here, can only be judged once you're finished with your edit

I see what you're saying, but I think noise performance should relate to images directly from the camera. I see no noise issues with my 50D when viewing full-sized images.

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 10):
The only time te 50D's noise performance becomes an issue is if you're trying to print 10-foot posters or something

That'd probably apply to all but the top-of-the-range bodies. The 50D doesn't and shouldn't have any problems with excessive noise. As Jid says, its performance is better than that of the 40D - and the 40D was generally regarded as producing very low levels of noise.

Karl


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 769 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3218 times:

I think noise can cause excessive concern - I'm not sure when this quest for the 'noiseless image' began, but in the film days, people would use certain film precisely because of a particular quality of graininess. Yes, there where those who opted for a grainless look, and would use appropriate films, but others - as a matter of choice - would opt for grainier film, and numerous debates were had over the various merits of Agfa, Fuji, Kodak etc.

I sort of feel we've lost a creative element here. Noise is universally condemned, but I think there is good noise and bad noise. Good noise can add to the atmosphere of the shot. What I think people find most objectionable is colour noise - that is irregular patterns of colour pixels. Much less objectionable is luminance noise - which is monochrome, and provides a texture to the image similar to film grain.

For those using PS, there is a simple trick to remove colour noise completely (or at least change it to look like luminance noise).

1 - go to filter -> blur - gaussian blur. Select a value of 2 - 4 pixels. The image should look quite blurry, with all detail removed - and no noise visible.

2 - immediately go to edit -> fade gaussian blur. Leave the amount at 100% and in mode select 'color'

Apply, and voila, no more color noise.

Note that you must not do anything else between step 1 and 2, or you will not get the fade gaussian blur option.

This is a useful technique for very high ISO shots, as it does not impact on detail, which of course heay NR does.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4881 posts, RR: 37
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3182 times:

Quoting ckw (Reply 15):
I think noise can cause excessive concern - I'm not sure when this quest for the 'noiseless image' began, but in the film days, people would use certain film precisely because of a particular quality of graininess. Yes, there where those who opted for a grainless look, and would use appropriate films, but others - as a matter of choice - would opt for grainier film, and numerous debates were had over the various merits of Agfa, Fuji, Kodak etc.

I'm glad you said that - at least somebody else here has the same thoughts as I do. Sometimes, moderate noise is good, because it has a more natural look, instead of the artificial "clean" or "smooth" look of some very heavily noise-reduced images. Now - I upload full size images, typically quite big files, and my site gives resized versions to the web-viewers, or full size ones when I'm ready to turn on sales. That said, I hate colour noise - that's ugly and I don't want that, but fortunately, my cameras don't give too many problems with colour noise.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 13):

I tried some RAW NR in CS5 last night, and my god you were right! MUCH better than Canon's software or PS CS3! Removed tons of noise without softening the edges noticeably. And I didn't even selectively reduce noise - I just did it on the whole image.

Yes, when Adobe first showed uswhat CS5 could do, I have to admit, I was astonished at how good it really was. It was just outrageous, for the smallest effort - the results were amazing. Now, I'm not just saying that to advertise Adobe - but really, it was a great update. It's the best version of Photoshop, and CS5 as a whole is the best version of the Creative Suite package. When they invited us to the launch - I have to say, I've never heard so many ooohs and ahhs from satisfied graphic designers / multimedia / video / publishing people.  Wink

[Edited 2011-04-25 21:52:33]

User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3143 times:

Well I agree with you guys - after all, noise/grain is SUPPOSED to be there in any image. I too am not entirely sure where this 'grainless image' notion came from but you can bet this site had much to do with it. I see a lot of shots here which look almost cartoon-like due to what I consider excessive and unnecessary NR.

Unfortunately in the digital era A.net seems to have sufficient clout to change the principles of photography - and not always for the best.

Karl


User currently offlinephilhyde From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 678 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3107 times:

I know at least three photographers who shoot Canon and were disappointed with the noise level on the 50D compared with previous generations (two with the 40D and one with the 500D/T1i - same generation of sensor). Most gave it up for the previous generation camera, or moved forward to the latest (7D/550D). Having personally shot with the 40D and T2i, I never had any noise issues. The one guy still using a 50D also employs the latest NR available in Lightroom 3 and is now completely satisfied.

What can I say about the latest Adobe 6.3 raw engine and noise reduction other than WOW. Completely blown away. In my opinion, nothing else from Adobe, Canon or Nikon can hold a candle. Well worth the investment.



HoustonSpotters Admin - Canon junkie - Aviation Nut
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
How Much Can I Get A Decent Beginner Used SLR For? posted Fri Sep 27 2002 04:32:31 by Airplanetire
How Much Can I Get For My Old Camera? posted Tue Feb 20 2001 22:49:59 by Lewis
How Much Can I Get From A Poor Airline? posted Mon Feb 19 2001 08:58:01 by Cfalk
How Much Can I Get From An Airline? posted Fri Feb 16 2001 20:58:45 by Zander
How Much Clutter Can I Have? posted Fri May 26 2006 12:21:35 by Aero145
Discussion: How Much Editing Is Too Much? posted Wed Apr 6 2011 17:33:14 by cpd
How Much For An Air 2 Air Photo Session? posted Tue Jun 22 2010 15:09:17 by ghost77
How Much Longer Will The NWA Red Tails Be Around? posted Tue Apr 27 2010 21:23:19 by Futurepilot456
How Much Face Is Acceptable In Cockpit Shots posted Wed Nov 19 2008 09:15:15 by Deaphen
How Much Would You Ask For That Pic? posted Wed Mar 5 2008 23:07:25 by Mat1979