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Thread: 50D Noise - what is normal

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    50D Noise - what is normal

    Hi Team,
    Noise - seems to be something I struggle to deal with. Been a lot of talk about the 50D and noise and it does raise itself as an issue now and then in my photos. I know I shoul dbe shooting with filters for sunset / sunrise photos and I am off to purchase a Cokin Grad filter kit on Monday. However, I am just wondering if what I am seeing in my 50D noise wise would be consiered normal

    I admit it only seems to be an issue low light and not neccessarily long exposures but I keep second guessing myself if the level of noise I experience in my camera is normal or do I have a sensor issue.

    Below photo with 100% crop was taken on AV (Aperture Priority) with my Tamron SP 17-50 @ 23 mm, ISO 100, f10, WB auto, evalutive metering.

    Would other 50D owners and Canon owners alike consider the noise in the crop normal. Shot in RAW and as the lens flare would indicate no post processing apart from coversion to jpeg.



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    Oh, forgot to mention, no noise reduction set in the the camera settings either.

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    50d is often consider less capable of dealing with noise than its predecessor (40d) or the 7d but, it is still not bad.

    The pics you posted, well, I'm guessing the major issue is bad exposure. Try to take a photo of a dark (but evenly lit) scene at 1600 with proper exposure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty72 View Post
    50d is often consider less capable of dealing with noise than its predecessor (40d) or the 7d but, it is still not bad.

    The pics you posted, well, I'm guessing the major issue is bad exposure. Try to take a photo of a dark (but evenly lit) scene at 1600 with proper exposure.
    Thanks for the reply Scotty72. I will post a shot at ISO 1600 - for comment. Interesting comment about exposure, the camera was set at AV so are you saying that AV is not the best option for for sunset / sunrise type conditions. I see quite a number of sunrise / set shots that have a much better balance of light and still displaying a magnificent sunrise / set. I am assuming with the aid of filters but I still do not see evidence of high levels of noise. I have been struggling with this for a while and though frustrating, hope it is my technique rather than an issue with the camera.

    Thanks,

    Mike

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    Took a quick snap last night as was suggested by Scotty72 - interested to hear comment of other 50D owners also. Took the shot purely for 1600 ISO example and nothing else.

    Shot at 1600 ISO, samer lens ( Tamron SP 17-50 f2.8), AV Mode, f7.1 @ 1/5sec - 23mm with evaluative mettering.

    Excuse the mess on the bench, just cooked dinner for the family :-). No where near sharp but more interested in noise characteristics and no suprise considering the shtter speed. Just a quick snap to get it up.



    Crop:


    Would this be considered normal at 1600 ISO on a 50D?

    Thanks in Advance,

    Mike
    Last edited by mikew09; 29-05-2011 at 9:56am. Reason: fix image tag

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    Do you get the same amount of noise from other lenses? I have noticed I get more noise on my 11-18 Tamron then my 70-200 f/4L or Sigma 24-60. Haven't yet been able to find an explaination, not that I have really looked, just put it down to cheap glass.

    Terry
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    Another example with the crop pretty much centre of frame. Just took this last night hand held to play with settings, skill building activity. Just seems to me to be a lot of noise for ISO 100. No PP aprt from conversion to jpeg.

    39 mm (Tamron SP 17-50 f2.8), 1/50 sec @ f7.1, ISO 100



    crop centre of frame:
    Last edited by mikew09; 29-05-2011 at 10:24am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by terry.langham View Post
    Do you get the same amount of noise from other lenses? I have noticed I get more noise on my 11-18 Tamron then my 70-200 f/4L or Sigma 24-60. Haven't yet been able to find an explaination, not that I have really looked, just put it down to cheap glass.

    Terry
    Can't say I tried the same conditions with my 70-200 - only have the Tammy (though is supposed to be the professional range SP) and my 70-200 L f4 now, my 50mm has since had a heart condition :-). Saving towards a 24-70 L 2.8 or 105 L at the moment, not exactly the lens for landscapes and such but with my limitation on cash will give me more value.

    I see some magnficent photos with the 50D and realise the need for good glass, but will be very disappointed to a degree if it is the Tamron that is at fault. I find the Tamron an excellent lens in normal conditions with adequate lighting and it is sold as one of there pro series lenses.

    example : http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...e-River-Lowood

    The old saying may apply here, you get what you pay for :-)
    Last edited by mikew09; 29-05-2011 at 10:38am.

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    Hey Mike.

    just some observations from me and not specifically related to the 50D in any way either.

    Noise is a strange thing in digital photography, and from your crops(remember without any experience on the 50D from my end!!) I see no real noise in those crops.

    FWIW(and I don't know your post processing routine) but sometimes sharpening artefacts can look like noise.
    If you add any sharpening routine, whatever it may be, have you compared an unsharpened image to a sharpened one?

    Also, there is no way a lens can produce more noise in an image as a result of the lens itself causing more noise. The impact of a lens on the noise in an image is zero. Will never have any impact(in real terms).. BUT!! in saying that there is a visual illusion of what can appear to be noise.
    If you delve deeply into the image, you can notice that a lot of images may have what appears to be noise in the unsharp areas, or in the areas where no detail exists. The blur in the image creates this optical illusion that noise appears there.
    The noise levels are exactly the same, make no mistake about that. It's a weird concept to expect a sensor to produce less noise in some parts of the scene(say the detail areas) and more noise in other parts fo the same single shot scene(say the blur areas). it's just the way the brain works. Because it sees less detail, we expect to see more detail, so our brains compromise by looking for detail in other ways. That'd be grain detail.
    So while a lens won't actually add to the noise numbers in a scientifically measurable manner(SNR value), it can(and they all can cause this optical illusion) where we seem to think there is more noise.
    A lens can't do this. The same lens defocused slightly can also give this illusion as well.

    If the image is not totally sharp there is this counter productive effort by many, where they subsequently add massive amounts of USM(or high pass) to try to process in a level of detail that's simply not really there.
    Only add USM to images on the areas of the image where there is detail evident. Noise is not as apparent. If anything should be done to the unsharp areas, it should be NR, but usually it's good practise to leave them alone.
    (or course I say this, and do the opposite myself, as I'm as lazy as the next chap when it comes to processing my images.. and prefer the easier one step processing method as well).
    For images where I think it really counts tho, I do take the time to open it in a proper PP software, and use selective USM, where I would paint in some USM only on the areas that need it.

    As an example, in your image #3 of the sunset, there should be no sharpening applied to any of the cloud area if you want the highest quality image!!
    Because you have a lot more low frequency image detail over the entire scene, the best way to USM this image would be to paint a layer of editing across the horizon, and in that edit step use USM at a very low level.
    Selective sharpening!
    Alternate method to painting USM in, is to paint it out as well. Same principle, opposite application. You add USM to the entire image and use the - brush tool to erase the USM over the parts of the image with no detail.

    As I see it, in your ISO1600 image, there is little to zero noise levels there. It looks as tho some noise reduction has been applied to the image tho! as there is some smearing of the detail areas compounded by a slow shutter speed and an OK hand holding technique(not quite excellent, but I reckon still better than my average hand holding technique! )

    Also on a side note. Don't confuse the terminology of exposure and metering/metering mode.
    Exposure is something you can control in most cases, and it's independent of what metering mode or shooting mode you use.

    Av is perfectly acceptable for this scene(and I say probably the most useful shooting mode for landscapes too), but evaluative mode for metering may have not been the best choice.
    You had two important variables to consider here, the dark areas and the blown out highlights.
    A spot readingof the important areas you wanted to capture would have been a better method of metering.
    That is, this is still an evaluative metering mode, but done by the operator, not the camera!
    Take some readings using spot metering, commit them to memory and then working out an appropriate exposure value to use.

    So if the camera chose 1/50s in the first image at f/10, I'm sure that you could have shot a little bit brighter say to 1/30 to increase the brightness of the darker areas, and still not blow out the detail in the sky across the horizon. The sun itself is always going to blow out. Nothing you can do about that, and it's of no real consequence anyhow.. it's the sun and is supposed to burn a hole in your eyes!
    But in using spot metering, you would have had an accurate meter reading of the exposure requirements of the foreground(as an example it may have read 1/5s at f/10). You then make a conscious decision to under expose by a factor of X with the view to recover that area in PP when you get the images onto your PC.

    A grad filter would have made no difference in this scene as it would have only served to darken the upper or lower third of the image even more.
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    these are good points.

    I wonder, how does a lens affect noise? I cannot think how, apart from the lens causing the camera to meter slightly differently causing noise due to more underexposure.

    Your first ppicture the noise is very low, i would say quite good.
    The 2nd is harder to tell becuase the picture is also blurry. The problem with high iso noise is it also kills contrast and detail. If the picture is blurry it is hard to see detail which may be there.
    Your 3rd picture looks ok also, but it looks like a big crop? or is it 100%? The tree line looks pretty soft bu the noise level looks ok.
    I will dig up some old 50D pics for you and post them so you can see the comparison.
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    I discovered....that I shouldn't look so close

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    here are two at iso100




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    @Arthurking83,
    Thanks Arthur for the detailed reply. I understandstand what you are saying - I am not a learned person and takes me a while to digest detail so will print this and read a few times on the train so I can apply. I do like my Tamron SP 17-50 2.8 but aspire to eventually have a L series fleet :-). I just can't fault my 70-200 and it pains me at times that it is too long for my lanscape shots.

    One day this week with trustie tripod I will have another crack at this with the advise - thanks. For me photography is a very enjoyable but, well for me; a slow and sometimes frustrating skill to master so very much appreciate your in-put.

    Thanks again mate,

    Mike

    @fabian628 - thanks for the reply Fabian, appreciated and thanks for psoting the images. Feeling pretty confident that it is my poor technique rather than the 50D or Tammy SP 17-50. May seem I am a bit paranoid about noise and my expectation is far outside my current skill set. Like most I imagine, I see so many cracker images on the AP and the web for tht manner that I hope to cut at least a few craker ones myself.
    Thanks for replying appreciated, has put my mind at largly at ease about my muched loved 50D which took me 12 months to save for :-)

    @Ricstew - haha lol, this cracked me up but I have to say, sound advise. Maybe in our own images we do look for something that does not warrant the effort. When looking at our own images the critic with the hardest critiques of all, is probably ourself. Thanks for the comment.

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    No worries. This is the double edged sword of internet forums. They are very informative, but also cause you to become higly paranoid and can turn you to viewing your images at 100% looking for possible flaws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fabian628 View Post
    No worries. This is the double edged sword of internet forums. They are very informative, but also cause you to become higly paranoid and can turn you to viewing your images at 100% looking for possible flaws.
    This is true - there is a possiblity that if I spent all this time out shooting instead of analyzing my imagines, I may have mastered a better skill by now :-)

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    I've noticed that when comparing screen to print The noise is far less noticeable in print,
    Could be due to zooming in on the monitor, or the different rendering of the two mediums.
    Either way the point is to take heart, it may not be as bad as you think
    Just clowning around

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luna-blu View Post
    I've noticed that when comparing screen to print The noise is far less noticeable in print,
    Could be due to zooming in on the monitor, or the different rendering of the two mediums.
    Either way the point is to take heart, it may not be as bad as you think
    Thanks - I was thinking the very same thing today - maybe I should have a couple printed at around A4 and see how they look. Thanks for that - I will give this a try.

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    Hi,

    The pics at 1600 are that bad... I would tend to agree that it may be the illusion of noise due to poor focus / exposure as much as anything else.

    I learnt pretty quick (but longer than it ought to have taken) that a well focused / well exposed image will elimate as much noise as the best noise filter.

    Try the kitchen shot again, only this time - make sure the focus is dead on and up the exposure a bit (use a tripod to ensure no blur).

    You'll be amazed.

    Scotty

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikew09 View Post
    Thanks - I was thinking the very same thing today - maybe I should have a couple printed at around A4 and see how they look. Thanks for that - I will give this a try.
    I've seen them blown up fairly big (worked in print lab) but do it for yourself and see.
    Agree with others about good exposure and focus, if it's not good in camera you can't do much in post.

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    By way of eg.

    Here is a shot I took at our local ice rink: this place has dingy lighting at the best of times but, this day, about 5 or 6 of the overhead (out of about 24) were out - making it very dark.

    Where I can normally, at this place, use ISO 3200 - I had to use 6400 and slow the shutter to 320 (very slow for ice hockey).

    But, the exposure was enough to keep the noise acceptable.

    This has a bit of noise PP but, it still was OK in RAW.

    Scotty

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