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Thread started 29 Sep 2010 (Wednesday) 22:24
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Noisy Photographs - Camera / Lens / Settings?

 
Architective
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Sep 29, 2010 22:24 |  #1

So I'm progressing into a much better photographer, architectural in particular. And the harder I push myself, the more critical I am about my work. I've been closely inspecting some of the photos I took on the last building shoot, and I am finding a good deal of noise in them. The corners and edges are not as crisp as I'd like, and I would like to know how to improve. This shot in particular was shot with my 50D on Av setting, tripod on a 2 second timer, ISO 200, 1/250exp, f/9.5 using my TS-E 24mmL lens, without any tilting or shifting in this particular image. If you look close, you can see how the image is just not as sharp as I feel it could be without me having to apply noise reduction or sharpening in lightroom (3).

Is that attributed to the camera, the lens, the settings, or my process in any way? I strive to keep doing this and would eventually turn it into a gainful second career, so I really want to improve in every way that I can. That being said, the 50D will be around for another year or so, and I would like to upgrade to a full frame, 5D Mk2, and continue shooting with the TS-E 24L and a few other prime lenses.

Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms?


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kitacanon
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Sep 29, 2010 22:27 |  #2

I don't see any noise.


My Canon kit 450D/s90; Canon lenses 18-55 IS, 70-210/3.5-4.5....Nikon kit: D610; 28-105/3.5-4.5, 75-300/4.5-5.6 AF, 50/1.8D Nikkors, Tamron 80-210; MF Nikkors: 50/2K, 50/1.4 AI-S, 50/1.8 SeriesE, 60/2.8 Micro Nikkor (AF locked), 85mm/1.8K-AI, 105/2.5 AIS/P.C, 135/2.8K/Q.C, 180/2.8 ED, 200/4Q/AIS, 300/4.5H-AI, ++ Tamron 70-210/3.8-4, Vivitar/Kiron 28/2, ser.1 70-210/3.5, ser.1 28-90; Vivitar/Komine and Samyang 28/2.8; 35mm Nikon F/FM/FE2, Rebel 2K...HTC RE UWA camera

  
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tkbslc
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Sep 29, 2010 22:27 |  #3

You always have to post sharpen your images to get maximum sharpness. That's absolutely normal even on the best lenses. And if you have noise at ISO 200, you underexposed a bunch or are quilty of extreme pixel peeping.


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kitacanon
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Sep 29, 2010 22:35 |  #4

Yes...a bit of USM would help...OP check your PM in box.


My Canon kit 450D/s90; Canon lenses 18-55 IS, 70-210/3.5-4.5....Nikon kit: D610; 28-105/3.5-4.5, 75-300/4.5-5.6 AF, 50/1.8D Nikkors, Tamron 80-210; MF Nikkors: 50/2K, 50/1.4 AI-S, 50/1.8 SeriesE, 60/2.8 Micro Nikkor (AF locked), 85mm/1.8K-AI, 105/2.5 AIS/P.C, 135/2.8K/Q.C, 180/2.8 ED, 200/4Q/AIS, 300/4.5H-AI, ++ Tamron 70-210/3.8-4, Vivitar/Kiron 28/2, ser.1 70-210/3.5, ser.1 28-90; Vivitar/Komine and Samyang 28/2.8; 35mm Nikon F/FM/FE2, Rebel 2K...HTC RE UWA camera

  
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shmoogy
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Sep 29, 2010 22:41 |  #5

I don't think you need to stop down as much as you are currently doing (although I don't think 9.5 aperture would cause any diffraction..) and you don't mention doing any USM sharpening to your images, are you doing any sharpening? (Where is the noise you're complaining of seeing?)


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Architective
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Sep 29, 2010 22:55 as a reply to  @ shmoogy's post |  #6

I normally do a good deal of sharpening and noise reduction in Lightroom 3 as part of my post processing ritual, but I didn't know if that was normal. I guess I thought once I stepped into L lens land that all would be better and would improve sharpness like this.

The noise I'm speaking of is in the upper right hand corner of the soffit/roof panel. The USM definitely helped, thanks for the suggestion.




  
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tkbslc
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Sep 30, 2010 00:15 |  #7

Well a sharp lens looks better than a soft lens when you sharpen both, but they still both need sharpening. The kinds of sensors used in the majority of DSLR cameras have a filter which softens images slightly to prevent color artifacts and moire. So you have to do a little sharpening in post to get back what the lens is capable of.


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kitacanon
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Sep 30, 2010 00:42 |  #8

Architective wrote in post #11005132 (external link)
The noise I'm speaking of is in the upper right hand corner of the soffit/roof panel. The USM definitely helped, thanks for the suggestion.

Yes, you will see some noise in deep shadows if you lighten up the entire image, esp. in contrasty shots like this...

In the shot I sent to you, I only added 100/.3/0 USM...my "method" is to look at the part of the image that will take the USM the most/easiest, and judge how much USM to add to the entire image from that part (in this case, the stone pebbles in the lower right)...
Some will add different amounts of USM in multiple layers...I can't be bothered with that much PP...


My Canon kit 450D/s90; Canon lenses 18-55 IS, 70-210/3.5-4.5....Nikon kit: D610; 28-105/3.5-4.5, 75-300/4.5-5.6 AF, 50/1.8D Nikkors, Tamron 80-210; MF Nikkors: 50/2K, 50/1.4 AI-S, 50/1.8 SeriesE, 60/2.8 Micro Nikkor (AF locked), 85mm/1.8K-AI, 105/2.5 AIS/P.C, 135/2.8K/Q.C, 180/2.8 ED, 200/4Q/AIS, 300/4.5H-AI, ++ Tamron 70-210/3.8-4, Vivitar/Kiron 28/2, ser.1 70-210/3.5, ser.1 28-90; Vivitar/Komine and Samyang 28/2.8; 35mm Nikon F/FM/FE2, Rebel 2K...HTC RE UWA camera

  
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RafaPolit
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Sep 30, 2010 01:05 |  #9

I'd like to add that, through Light Room 3, you can severely cripple a perfectly good image. (Don't get me wrong, its by far the best program to use! Its that some of the settings can change the image a lot with very little adjustments)

I spent about 5 hours the other night trying to get a bunch of images correctly done, and, in the process I dialed in too much noise reduction and too much sharpening (along with too much contrast) and that ended up destroying the image.

I find that anything higher than 30 on the Luminosity noise reduction damages the image. Also, for the larger MegaPixel sensors I found that increasing the radius of the Sharpen slider to around 2 helps in preventing the sharpening to just enhance the noise and not increase the images contrast.

Rafa.


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Bill ­ Boehme
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Sep 30, 2010 01:24 as a reply to  @ kitacanon's post |  #10

I can't see any noise nor lack of sharpness in the small posted image. For the type of question that you are asking, it would be better to have small 100% crops to highlight your areas of concern.

To answer one of your questions, sharpness (or lack thereof) comes from the lens and noise comes from the camera. But, in addition to that, the photographer is probably the greatest contributor to noise and lack of sharpness by way of improper exposure (mainly underexposure) and improper post processing which both go a long way towards making matters worse with respect to sharpness and noise.

I hope that you are shooting RAW and not JPG. Otherwise, you are not doing yourself (or your images) any favor if you are starting out with 8-bit images. Shoot RAW and make certain that you have the RAW converter options set to 16-bits and ProPhotoRGB color space. After RAW conversion, it depends on your work flow when you convert to your output color space and 8 bits, but I prefer late binding -- just before final output sharpening and conversion to 8 bits. If you are not using edge masks for sharpening, I highly recommend "Real World Image Sharpening" by the late Bruce Fraser.

You mentioned that you do a lot of sharpening during post processing. In addition to my previous comments about sharpening, keep in mind that sharpening adds considerable noise to an image, especially if you are not sharpening on layers using edge masks.

Finally, I am not familiar with the TS lens that you are using, but for greatest DOF, I think that it would be better to use f/16 or even f/22. I would also suggest using ISO 100 for minimum noise. I suspect that lens will perform quite well at smaller apertures.


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Bill ­ Boehme
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Sep 30, 2010 01:50 as a reply to  @ Bill Boehme's post |  #11

I just noticed your comment that you also do a lot of noise reduction in LR. I think that there may be a bit too much heavy-handed post processing going on. Noise reduction softens the image and sharpening increases noise. The trick is to know how much of each is enough -- and stop there. This is a situation where a little is better than a lot

In addition to my previous comments on sharpening using edge masks on layers, I think that some of the third party NR plug-ins work better than what Adobe has in Lightroom. The plug-in that I really like is called Neat Image and it does a great job of noise reduction without significant loss of sharpness.

Of course, the best course of action is to get it right in the camera without the need to fix things later on. Look at the histogram and make certain that the image is exposed properly. Dragging up underexposed pixels from the murky depths of darkness into the full light of day will reveal quantization noise, amplifier noise, fixed pattern noise, and a whole host of other more subtle types of image noise. In a properly exposed image, you can leave the dark pixels where they belong -- and can't be seen.


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Architective
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Sep 30, 2010 08:45 as a reply to  @ Bill Boehme's post |  #12

Here is an example of another image, taken with my Tamron 10-24 on the same day around the same time, post processed and sharpened in lightroom. I've used a count of 70 on noise reduction with 50 detail, and 60 sharpening in LR. Still not quite as tight as I think it could be, but much better than the other.

I will check out the LR plug ins like Neat image. I didn't know there were any out there for this kind of application.


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John ­ the ­ Geek
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Sep 30, 2010 08:49 as a reply to  @ Architective's post |  #13

Neat Image is great, but also another layer of complexity with sliders.

Can you shoot at ISO 100? That would further reduce any noise you see. Unfortunately, I can't really see any noise either since you shrunk it down. Almost all of what you see at 100% will go away when shrunk down properly. These shots look fantastic to me.


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shmoogy
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Sep 30, 2010 09:07 |  #14

Architective wrote in post #11007160 (external link)
I've used a count of 70 on noise reduction with 50 detail, and 60 sharpening in LR.

Holy cow! What version of LR are you using? In LR3, I only go to about 25(Default sharpening), and to 20-30 noise reduction, and I'm using a 1d2 (which has a very strong AA filter) If it's something I'm going to be editing in CS5, I will do 0 sharpening in LR (USM and step sharpening while reducing size works better, or else it's over sharpened)


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Architective
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Sep 30, 2010 09:53 as a reply to  @ shmoogy's post |  #15

Also, I ALWAYS shoot in RAW, and 95% of the time I use ISO 100, but I turned it up slightly since the dawn light wasn't quite bright enough to get definition into the images.

I've always used AdobeRGB, but I will try ProPhoto. I don't know enough about them to not mess up my images by guessing.




  
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