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Author Topic: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?  (Read 6964 times)

jdramirez

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I was at a skating rink... a notoriously difficult place to shoot because it is dark and the kids are moving around faster than they can run... so you have auto focus issues, low light issues, and if you use flash, you have issues with it looking like you used flash (red eye, and the line of light that reflects off their skin and clothes).

Well yesterday I was at the rink and I was using the 5D mkiii, a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mkii, and a 580exii speedlite.  For the pictures I'm going to show now, I was shooting at iso 2500, f2.8, and 1/1250th of a second shutter speeds. I was half bouncing light off of the rink's ceiling and half bouncing it off the built in card of the 580. 

Honestly... the results weren't that awful, but when you go into 1:1, it just looks GRAINY.  I know the mkiii is really good in low light and the grain is tolerable at iso 6400 with post production, but the attached are the raw shot before noise reduction luminance and sharpening, etc.  So I realize that a meatloaf doesn't look tasty before it is cooked... but I suppose I just would expect at 2500 less grain immediately out of the camera.  Am I just being naive and looking at the meal before it was cooked (and subsequently complaining that I'm not eating that) or maybe I should have used different settings...

Honestly, any feedback would be welcome.

(and the photos are heavily cropped to get them into the 1:1 ratio, and also because my wife doesn't like photos of my daughter existing in cyberspace... so no offense to any of yall... and I realize that the images themselves aren't very captivating, but it is the grain that I more concerned about).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 06:32:26 PM by jdramirez »
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bdunbar79

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2013, 07:17:42 PM »
So you heavily cropped them and are surprised they are grainy?
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jdramirez

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2013, 07:23:55 PM »
So you heavily cropped them and are surprised they are grainy?

Touche'.  I was just surprised to see how much grain there is at 100%.  People constantly RAVE about full frame being the king of low light... and I don't disagree... but I feel as though the rumors would have it be so much better. 
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Lnguyen1203

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2013, 07:49:41 PM »
At ISO-2500 and 100 percent crop, you will see grain.  More if the image is under exposed.  The 1DX is quite a bit better here, but you will also see grain if underexposed at same ISO.
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Ryan708

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2013, 07:51:57 PM »
Would you mind posting a non-crop, with her face and stuff removed/blurred for a better understanding? that would help a lot!
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jdramirez

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2013, 07:59:20 PM »
Would you mind posting a non-crop, with her face and stuff removed/blurred for a better understanding? that would help a lot!

 we are watching a movie at the moment,  but I'll do just that  when it is over. 
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rumorzmonger

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2013, 08:03:11 PM »
Getting the right exposure will help a lot... the 5D Mark III shouldn't be this bad at ISO 2500.
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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2013, 08:03:11 PM »

duydaniel

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2013, 08:06:56 PM »
question for ya:
why you shoot human at 1/1000 sec?
human action can be stopped in general around 1/500 which give you a stop.

bdunbar79

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2013, 08:26:23 PM »
So you heavily cropped them and are surprised they are grainy?

Touche'.  I was just surprised to see how much grain there is at 100%.  People constantly RAVE about full frame being the king of low light... and I don't disagree... but I feel as though the rumors would have it be so much better.

You're confusing then, I'm afraid, loss of detail, and grain/noise.  2500 photos I'd edit with just a 30-40% NR setting in LR and it should look find, maybe bring the exposure up a bit.  But when you crop so much you lose detail, and that's what you're doing. 
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michael6liu

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2013, 08:46:12 PM »
I'm not surprised if you didn't apply any NR. It is there for a reason because there will always be some noise.
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jdramirez

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2013, 09:58:50 PM »
So here are the files converted from raw to .jpg without any post production.

Again... these aren't the best of the bunch, but I just used these as examples because my subject (my daughter) is in focus.
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jdramirez

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2013, 10:09:34 PM »
And here is the other.
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jdramirez

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2013, 10:32:54 PM »
Getting the right exposure will help a lot... the 5D Mark III shouldn't be this bad at ISO 2500.

I know we should expose to the right... but I really don't think I was TOO far off... which could very well be the problem. 

I've tried long exposures at skating rinks... and that doesn't work... it blurs things out too much.  I've also tried 2nd shutter after maybe a 1/2 second and there is just to much movement that it doesn't really give me a shot that I like. 

So I did this... with high speed sync... and outside of the grain issue, I think I got the exposure of the shots I was looking for. 

Her birthday is coming up in a month and change... so if it is a consensus that I should back off the shutter speed to 1/500th and an iso of 1250... I'll definitely give that a go.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2013, 10:32:54 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2013, 10:34:25 PM »
...... I was shooting at iso 2500, f2.8, and 1/1250th of a second shutter speeds. I was half bouncing light off of the rink's ceiling and half bouncing it off the built in card of the 580. 

Honestly, any feedback would be welcome.


Nice version:

Yep, that is a realistic output for a 2,500iso shot that dark at 100% with little to no processing. However, after you "cooked it" you should get very nice results.

Blunt answer:

1/1250 with flash that you think you are bouncing! Get real, your sync speed is 1/200, you have long since gone into HSS territory and that is an exercise in futility with one and flash trying to bounce it. You should be at 1/100-1/200, you would have around five more stops of flash power, and don't forget, your flash is the effective shutter speed in this kind of shot, you could probably shoot at 1/30 and not get trails, though trails would add an impression of movement in this case. Personally I'd be dragging the shutter, 1/15-1/40 and using second curtain sync.

Stop buying multi thousand dollar toys and start getting some online classes. I'd highly recommend this Creative Live class by Mark Wallace. Which is the best $99 you could spend on your flash photography.

http://www.creativelive.com/courses/speedlights-101-mark-wallace

Or this Canon speedlite bible by Syl Arena. Which if you are too cheap for the videos is superb value at $30.

http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X

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Zv

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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2013, 10:46:44 PM »
Couple of things - first of all at f/2.8 the dof is really shallow so the oof area will look grainy or soft. Always does. Secondly you were using ISO 2500 which is one of the in between stops that adds noise. You might have been better off using ISO 3200 and a slower shutter speed. (No need for 1/2500 as someone said, 1/500 would have been fine).

Also I assume you were using HSS on the flash so the power output would be compromised. Bouncing it off a high ceiling would just eat up more light.

I would have shot at 1/200s instead (sync speed). This way you get more control over your flash power and buys you some extra f/stops for a little more dof. The ambient light would be doing most of the heavy lifting and the flash would just be filling in.

An alternative would be to get the flash off camera and park it in a corner somehwere. It would act like a sort of extra room light. But might cast deep shadows this way without diffusion in which case a second light on camera would be useful to fill in.

A little bit of motion blur is acceptable in a shot like this, it might make a cool effect with second curtain sync.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 10:48:50 PM by Zv »
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Re: 5d mkiii, grain in low-light - Am I just asking for too much?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2013, 10:46:44 PM »