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Author Topic: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management  (Read 5861 times)

ahsanford

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Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« on: October 22, 2012, 04:42:32 PM »

Hey gang,

I'm shooting handheld indoors without flash with my 5D3 all the time these days, it seems.  Shame on me, I know, but these are often social / performance events where the flash would not be welcomed.

In these situations, I leave the zooms at home and shoot either my trusty 50/1.4 or the surprisingly good new 28/2.8 IS.  To avoid wide open softness, I am pushing ISO into 3200-6400 levels to allow either lens to be stopped down a bit.  I won't lie that I push ISO even beyond 6400 periodically.

I am shooting RAW in these situations with the High ISO NR turned off as it seems to do nothing to RAW files (I presume it's a JPG-only feature?).

I generally prefer capturing sharpness + detail with noise than softening up the image by cranking up the noise reduction.  That said, if I can chase the noise intelligently without much detail being sacrificed, I'd love to hear how.

Can folks on this fine forum please give advice on:

1) Best RAW processing parameters to managing noise in Camera RAW.  I get lost on the five noise reduction sliders (Luminance, L Detail, L Contrast, Color and Color Detail) -- so pointers on which to use and when would be terrific.

2) Are there other settings in camera that are recommended for shooting in these indoor/handheld/low-light situations?

3) Is Camera RAW is the best tool for noise reduction work?  Should I use another RAW handler?  Does saving noise work for Photoshop to manage a better path to take?  Advice appreciated!

Thanks for your help!
A

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Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« on: October 22, 2012, 04:42:32 PM »

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 05:01:03 PM »

Hey gang,

I'm shooting handheld indoors without flash with my 5D3 all the time these days, it seems.  Shame on me, I know, but these are often social / performance events where the flash would not be welcomed.

In these situations, I leave the zooms at home and shoot either my trusty 50/1.4 or the surprisingly good new 28/2.8 IS.  To avoid wide open softness, I am pushing ISO into 3200-6400 levels to allow either lens to be stopped down a bit.  I won't lie that I push ISO even beyond 6400 periodically.

I am shooting RAW in these situations with the High ISO NR turned off as it seems to do nothing to RAW files (I presume it's a JPG-only feature?).

I generally prefer capturing sharpness + detail with noise than softening up the image by cranking up the noise reduction.  That said, if I can chase the noise intelligently without much detail being sacrificed, I'd love to hear how.

Can folks on this fine forum please give advice on:

1) Best RAW processing parameters to managing noise in Camera RAW.  I get lost on the five noise reduction sliders (Luminance, L Detail, L Contrast, Color and Color Detail) -- so pointers on which to use and when would be terrific.

2) Are there other settings in camera that are recommended for shooting in these indoor/handheld/low-light situations?

3) Is Camera RAW is the best tool for noise reduction work?  Should I use another RAW handler?  Does saving noise work for Photoshop to manage a better path to take?  Advice appreciated!

Thanks for your help!
A

I can comfortably shoot ISO 12,800 Color Images and 25,600 B&W's on my 5D3. 51,200 B&W's if needed.

I use LR4 and its Noise Reduction software. I generally apply color NR until its gone, and enough Luminance NR to lower the grain, Not to remove it. (which can be done to smooth-en portraits if needed.)

You can Use the Median Distort tool in Photoshop and selectively remove noise from an image. Its usually not needed.

The best thing for noise is to nail your exposure. I've gotten Usable ISO 3200 Files from a 5Dc because I nailed the exposure.

ahsanford

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 06:32:51 PM »

Thx for the advice.  Regarding nailing the exposure, that a bit of the rub.  In these cave-like lighting conditions, I am generally underexposing (just a shade) to get a wee bit quicker shutter.   So my histograms rarely look ideal, leaving me to have to boost exposure after the fact (which I presume is bad for noise according to your comment).

So what would lead to a better looking final image -- ISO X that is underexposed or ISO 2X that is appropriately exposed?

wickidwombat

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 06:45:08 PM »
lightroom 4 is amazing with the 5d mk3
iso 12800 or 16000 (similar noise to 12800) iso 25600 there is a big jump and noie reduction makes it worse
however at 25600 a B&w conversion and leaving the noise there works really well.
once you get the settings right the images are very clean from lightroom 4 I prefer to leave some noise there so it doesnt look all plastic and wrong like portrait professional over processed garbage

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 06:54:32 PM »
I prefer DxO Optics Pro for managing ISO noise during RAW conversions. 
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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 07:01:10 PM »
Getting a correct expoosure and avoiding underexposure is critical use higher ISO to get a good exposure.  There will be less noise than you get from a underexposed image.
The big issue with low light and high ISO shooting is not noise, but lack of DR.  A dim light on one side of the stage can be blown out while the rest of the image is underexposed.  Don't be afraid to increase ISO enough to slightly overexpose, pulling down the exposure 1/3 stop in Lightroom decreases noise in the dark areas.

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 07:15:04 PM »
I prefer DxO Optics Pro for managing ISO noise during RAW conversions.

Having said that, even the default settings of DPP aren't too bad.  This is ISO 12800 on the 1D X, and the DR isn't bad, considering...


EOS 1D X, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM @ 70mm, 1/200 s, f/5, ISO 12800

While I suspect it handles noise a little better than the 5DIII, the difference probably isn't huge.  Now that DxO finally supports the 1D X, I'll have to compare it to DPP for NR, etc.
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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 07:15:04 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 08:03:59 PM »
I prefer DxO Optics Pro for managing ISO noise during RAW conversions.
.. the problem being added hd space because dxo exports only linear tiff afaik - while inside lr everything is done on the much smaller raw image. But dxo is known to have the best lens correction profiles for sure.

This is ISO 12800 on the 1D X, and the DR isn't bad, considering...
Impressive in comparison to my 60d, but still the blown highlights on the cap look distracting, at least to me.

Getting a correct expoosure and avoiding underexposure is critical use higher ISO to get a good exposure.  There will be less noise than you get from a underexposed image.
The big issue with low light and high ISO shooting is not noise, but lack of DR.  A dim light on one side of the stage can be blown out while the rest of the image is underexposed.  Don't be afraid to increase ISO enough to slightly overexpose, pulling down the exposure 1/3 stop in Lightroom decreases noise in the dark areas.
Um, did you just contradict yourself or I am misunderstanding you? The problem with lack of dr is mostly that you get blown highlights, so a bit underexposing might be safer unless the scene has very low contrast. And raising iso instead of underexposing even further lowers dr.

And to make it really complicated, the "best" iso depends on the scene, have a look at what the Magic Lantern dev figured out (you can customize iso much more with ml): http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/ISO#Then.2C_what_is_the_best_ISO.3F

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2012, 03:25:55 AM »
I prefer DxO Optics Pro for managing ISO noise during RAW conversions.

DXO Pro was the best  before LR4 came out - i used it most of the time for RAW files
Now i feel that LR4 is giving better results - at least to my taste so now i am using LR4 for most of the time.  The are some different conditions when one of them gives more pleasant look.
But in general LR4 leaves more details and with just a little bit of luminance grain image is more real - does not destroy low contrast surface textures so you feel it more realistic and more "tangible". DXO at default setting smears low contrast surface texture details and gives more "plastic" look.  Especially noticable on RED channel - even if luminance and chroma sliders are set to 0  red channel details are still smeared a little bit. Turn off NR then all OK. Never observed that in LR4.
I did number of tests on this for myself and can post some results  later.
On the other hand DXO strength is lens correction modules and film pack for true film  rendering - i like that features most of all.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 03:51:43 AM by Neutral »

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2012, 04:27:44 AM »
I prefer DxO Optics Pro for managing ISO noise during RAW conversions.

DXO Pro was the best  before LR4 came out - i used it most of the time for RAW files
Now i feel that LR4 is giving better results - at least to my taste so now i am using LR4 for most of the time.  ...

I did number of tests on this for myself and can post some results  later.
On the other hand DXO strength is lens correction modules and film pack for true film  rendering - i like that features most of all.

I'd be interested to see those, especially with the 1D X files.  Although I don't have LR4, I have CS6 - I assume the ACR is the same for both, but I'm not positive.

I should ask, what version of DxO?  The newest version (which probably few people have at this point) is actually a little bit better than the previous ones. 
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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2012, 04:30:56 AM »
Although I don't have LR4, I have CS6 - I assume the ACR is the same for both, but I'm not positive.

It is - LR is still a (very advanced) front-end for ACR. Though of course you'll have to make sure to update ACR on both LR (will mean a LR new version most of the time) and PS.

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2012, 05:20:49 AM »
I prefer DxO Optics Pro for managing ISO noise during RAW conversions.

DXO Pro was the best  before LR4 came out - i used it most of the time for RAW files
Now i feel that LR4 is giving better results - at least to my taste so now i am using LR4 for most of the time.  ...

I did number of tests on this for myself and can post some results  later.
On the other hand DXO strength is lens correction modules and film pack for true film  rendering - i like that features most of all.

I'd be interested to see those, especially with the 1D X files.  Although I don't have LR4, I have CS6 - I assume the ACR is the same for both, but I'm not positive.

I should ask, what version of DxO?  The newest version (which probably few people have at this point) is actually a little bit better than the previous ones. 
I prefer DxO Optics Pro for managing ISO noise during RAW conversions.

DXO Pro was the best  before LR4 came out - i used it most of the time for RAW files
Now i feel that LR4 is giving better results - at least to my taste so now i am using LR4 for most of the time.  ...

I did number of tests on this for myself and can post some results  later.
On the other hand DXO strength is lens correction modules and film pack for true film  rendering - i like that features most of all.

I'd be interested to see those, especially with the 1D X files.  Although I don't have LR4, I have CS6 - I assume the ACR is the same for both, but I'm not positive.

I should ask, what version of DxO?  The newest version (which probably few people have at this point) is actually a little bit better than the previous ones.


Latest dxo 7.5.5 which supports 1dx, latest LR4 and latest C1 from Phase One.  Start always with LR4 as all files are initially imported into LR, and then if not satified try DXO or C1 depending on the conditions. C1 is mostly at low ISO settings. Each tool has it's strong and weak points.
Advantage of LR4 and C1 is that they give ability to apply almost any possible adjustements locally including NR and sharpness  which adds a lot of flexibility.
I will post some test results for 1dx when have time. This is indeed very interesting especially showing big diffence in 1dx image quality for diferent types of low light conditions. This again relates to shadows recovery. In indoor conditions when most of the image details are in the center of histogram - all is very good and amazing. If most of the details in the shadow area ( e.g. outdoor city shots in the evening) then results are very average - I expected that but still was a bit dissapointed. Hope in new big mpx canon camera that would be fixed.
Will  also try to compare that with 1ds m3 while it is still with me - soon it is going to the new owner.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 06:16:26 AM by Neutral »

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2012, 06:12:21 AM »
I would better say "key image elements details are in center of histogram" rather than "most image details in the center of histogram"
This would help to avoid  any confusion reading my previous post.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 06:16:49 AM by Neutral »

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2012, 06:12:21 AM »

pedro

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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2012, 06:15:41 AM »

Hey gang,

I'm shooting handheld indoors without flash with my 5D3 all the time these days, it seems.  Shame on me, I know, but these are often social / performance events where the flash would not be welcomed.

In these situations, I leave the zooms at home and shoot either my trusty 50/1.4 or the surprisingly good new 28/2.8 IS.  To avoid wide open softness, I am pushing ISO into 3200-6400 levels to allow either lens to be stopped down a bit.  I won't lie that I push ISO even beyond 6400 periodically.

I am shooting RAW in these situations with the High ISO NR turned off as it seems to do nothing to RAW files (I presume it's a JPG-only feature?).

I generally prefer capturing sharpness + detail with noise than softening up the image by cranking up the noise reduction.  That said, if I can chase the noise intelligently without much detail being sacrificed, I'd love to hear how.

Can folks on this fine forum please give advice on:

1) Best RAW processing parameters to managing noise in Camera RAW.  I get lost on the five noise reduction sliders (Luminance, L Detail, L Contrast, Color and Color Detail) -- so pointers on which to use and when would be terrific.

2) Are there other settings in camera that are recommended for shooting in these indoor/handheld/low-light situations?

3) Is Camera RAW is the best tool for noise reduction work?  Should I use another RAW handler?  Does saving noise work for Photoshop to manage a better path to take?  Advice appreciated!

Thanks for your help!
A

I can comfortably shoot ISO 12,800 Color Images and 25,600 B&W's on my 5D3. 51,200 B&W's if needed.

I use LR4 and its Noise Reduction software. I generally apply color NR until its gone, and enough Luminance NR to lower the grain, Not to remove it. (which can be done to smooth-en portraits if needed.)

You can Use the Median Distort tool in Photoshop and selectively remove noise from an image. Its usually not needed.

The best thing for noise is to nail your exposure. I've gotten Usable ISO 3200 Files from a 5Dc because I nailed the exposure.
ISO 51k bw. +1
So amazing...some NR and that's it.
Depending on one's taste, up to ISO 25k in color...
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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2012, 07:08:26 AM »
I should ask, what version of DxO?  The newest version (which probably few people have at this point)
Latest dxo 7.5.5 which supports 1dx

Which isn't the latest, although it is the latest public version.  You may be re-doing those tests soon...  Or so I hear, although maybe I'm Not Definitively Accurate.    :-X
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Re: Need advice for high ISO shooting / noise management
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2012, 07:08:26 AM »