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View Full Version : Question: Noise, APS-C v. FF; 1DsII v. (i.e.), 5DII?


Bruce Hinton
October 6th, 2009, 07:53 PM
Hello,

I have been reading, while waiting for my registration and forum permissions. A most interesting group, and I suspect my very best wool will not obscure anyone's vision here...

I have been into film, from Minox to Linhoff 4x5s since the early 70's, latitude, tonal gradation, and grain were the challenges for us that "noise" and dynamics are for you today. I mixed chemicals from scratch to hopefully rise above the usual off-the-shelf mixes.

My first digital body, obtained just a few months ago, was a used 1DsMkII, and I bought it because my current stash of lenses were for my film EOS A2, and a FF made sense to me.

I am not a pixel-count fanatic, at least within reasonable comparison numbers; I think in terms of camera usability etc., and thought to help my physical back problems by lightening my load. A new Ti1 had 15.1 Mp and I was then only slightly above that with 16.7 or whatever. The lighter and less costly lenses had my attention too.

I made the switch and am now troubled by things of knowledge and experience in which I was not up to speed.

I had experimented with high ISOs with that 1D, and mostly come away with a curiosity as to why it seemed an issue at all.

Now that it's gone and I look at some T1i images, (no controls here, just my growing impressions from varied shooting), I am shocked to find high-ISO noise has become a problem I had not even suspected! I feel again like I did when chemically abusing silver crystals, in search of speed. The grain was inevitable.

I now suspect I must go back to a FF sensor, but as before, I am not knowledgeable enough to choose between perhaps a nearly new 5DMkII, or go find another 1DsMkII. The current top dog III is simply out of my financial reach.


SO!!
Is the sensor size or price alone the major factor in this newly-prioritized pursuit of low noise, or is it the pure processing power and software/firmware sophistication of the true pro cameras that have the biggest influence?

BTW, I will finish reading the tech treatise I just found in this forum, I have already started it, and in several months of new readings, and hands-on experience, I will no doubt be catching up.

But I am hoping to get some starting-point sense of direction from those of you with several cameras, and the various tiered levels of sensor design capability.

Forgive my current lack of savvy, and know that I will get back to searching and reading this forum thoroughly.

Bruce

Asher Kelman
October 6th, 2009, 10:40 PM
Welcome again Bruce!

Former President Bill Clintion once quipped, "It depends what you mean by "is"!" The same goes for "
High ISO! I shoot at ISO 4,000, I used to think of ISO 1600 as being "high". Also the ISO 1600 given by the MFR, may be really ISO 2000 or the ISO 3200 could be ISO 2400. See DXOMark.com for examples with you favorite cameras in your price range. Doug has written on the meaning of ISO here (http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296). Essentially MFRS can use definitions to suit their purposes. DXO is a window on what may truly be the ISO sensitivity one can compare between different camera MFRS.

I'm pleased that you address this issue for yourself. I suggest you look to some previous discussion for some background with guys like Emile Martinec, Bart van Der Wolf, John Sheehy and Doug Kerr, for example the discussions here (http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4210) or here (http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3687) to get as taste of the factors that might effect your own choices.

Could you post some examples of the images you feel are limited by noise with 100% crops to show the noise and the well exposed portions. Then folk can give feedback related to your needs.

I hope this helps as a start! :)

Asher

Bruce Hinton
October 7th, 2009, 09:04 AM
Mr. Kelman,

My status box during posting says I am not cleared to upload yet.

How would I best share the zoomed reduced pix? I have RAW CR2's and "L" jpegs. Sensor is 15Mpx, 4752x3168.

Canon's DPP is all I have to work with in RAW, and I'm very slow with it.

If I upload the 100% zooms you spoke of, I can re-size the JPGs with Irfanview and post them in a few minutes.the H-or ISO 12,800 looks like sandpaper with no zoom!.

I don't know what file sizes are appropriate, and what resampled pixel dimensions would allow you to decipher them, and Photobucket doesn't go too large anyway. Should I fool with the DPI? (I know there is a play on words there waiting for me).

I have uploaded the full size jpegs to my own website, they vary from about 5 to 8 Mb., for those who might be interested in this experiment.

This one composition of very small flowers without bright sunlight has the colors and background that really show the problems I am struggling with.

Firefox shows these full frame with a magnifier cursor, but IE8, gives you the whole huge take. Better just right-click and save it, then use a viewer.

The first was shot at f8ISO200, and is at http://www.alltech-systems.com/ISO200f8.jpg

For the rest I shot at f11, -I thought a bit of extra depth of field would help discern what was and was not getting lost in the noise:

http://www.alltech-systems.com/ISO400f11.jpg
http://www.alltech-systems.com/ISO1600f11.jpg
http://www.alltech-systems.com/ISO3200f11.jpg
http://www.alltech-systems.com/ISO6400f11.jpg
http://www.alltech-systems.com/ISO12800f11.jpg


Bruce

Bruce Hinton
October 7th, 2009, 12:20 PM
I don't have a way to post small crops yet, but the full size jpg images are linked in the above edited post.

-Bruce

Bart_van_der_Wolf
October 7th, 2009, 12:54 PM
I don't have a way to post small crops yet, but the full size jpg images are linked in the above edited post.

-Bruce

Hi Bruce,

Higher ISO settings generally increase noise, nothing new. Noise comes from various sources. Better hardware will usually add less noise. How is the noise you are getting limiting you (other than you preferring less noise)?

Bart

Bruce Hinton
October 7th, 2009, 01:30 PM
Hello,

I want to say "how are you, Mr. van der Wolf, over there in the Nederlands", but don't know if that is a valid use. Though I was born in Bad Aibling, I was taken out so young I don't know much about Bavarian Deutche either.

Anyway, in my original post discussing all of these tech things, I eventually asked:

Is the sensor size or (its) price alone the major factor in this newly-prioritized pursuit of low noise, or is it the pure processing power and software/firmware sophistication of the true pro cameras that have the biggest influence?

I had no idea that noise would be a problem for me, making fairly large prints for my wife's gallery, for instance, because the 1DsII seemed immune to it. Perhaps I didn't push it hard enough? I wasn't overly focused on this issue back then, I just took photographs. I want to go back to that place.

Not having owned any full frame cameras other than the 1DsMkII, and only my current T1i since, I don't have enough experience to choose the jumping on point as I go back up.

I was hoping to go to a nearly new 5DII, if full frame alone is the answer. If it is the sum of all things hardware and software that go into to 1DsII and III that make this difference, it will impact my path quite a bit in $.

Bruce

Mike Shimwell
October 7th, 2009, 02:13 PM
Hi Bruce

Welcome to the forum.

I'm not sure what a T1i is, so can't comment on the way back up, but there are physical reasons that bigger sensors can offer lower noise for a given efficiency. However, efficency has continued to improve generation on generation so generalisations are not easy,

I have limited experience, but in my view the original 5D remains competitive against all the APS-C cameras I have seen files from. However, I've not seen the new 7D, but am not entirely convinced it will outperform the 5D in noise terms - Bart? - although it will likely offer more resolution at low iso's particularly. To achieve these resolution you will need good glass.

For a discussion of 1Ds3 compared to original 5D there is a recent thread in Canon dslrs forum (I think) that Bart and I contributed to. Both are suggested to be ahead of the 1Ds2 on noise.

There are a fair number of 5D2 owners on here who are consistently showing very nice work - Cem, Asher etc. They may be able to comment on that camera's performance in relation to the others, but it seems clear it's another step on the way in terms of low noise.

Of course, as Bart said, what are the limits you are facing - there are a lot of dslr's that will make very good big prints in a wide range of circumstances.

Mike

StuartRae
October 8th, 2009, 02:03 AM
Hi Bruce,

I don't have a way to post small crops yet .......
You can use IrfanView to make a crop.

Download and install the IrfanView plugins from http://www.irfanview.com/plugins.htm (http://www.irfanview.com/plugins.htm)
Draw a rectangle round the area you want to crop.
Go to Options | JPEG Lossless Crop... (plugin).
http://www.lakelandphotography.net/OPF/crop.jpg
Let IrfanView save the crop to the default location (same directory, same filename + "_crop". The crop may not be exactly the same size as your rectangle because the plugin only deals in whole JPEG quantisation blocks.


Should I fool with the DPI?
The DPI (more accurately the PPI setting) will have no effect on the way the image is displayed on the screen. It is only (sometimes) relevant to printing.

Regards,

Stuart

Bruce Hinton
October 8th, 2009, 06:52 AM
Hi Bruce,

You can use IrfanView to make a crop.

The DPI (more accurately the PPI setting) will have no effect on the way the image is displayed on the screen. It is only (sometimes) relevant to printing.

Regards,

Stuart

Stuart,
Thanks for commenting on the DPI question, I always wondered if some viewers used that to change a given display on someone's computer set up different than mine.

As for the cropping, yes, I have long been using Irfanview, I am just waiting for my "new" status on the forum to change to something that allows me to upload images. I had to use the links earlier because I could make them available that way, and anyone could crop and evaluate all they wanted. I still hope someone will do something similar with a 1DsII or III, and I am still surfing my way through this forum's resources for such info.

I just feel I must go back toward a fully pro camera, just so I will have whatever gains are possible in enlargeability, if I should need to push the ISO up.

I don't remember if I ever even tried enlarging a 6400 or 2400 image with that 1DsII, I do remember shooting at higher numbers than I would normally use just to see the difference and found almost none. Only wondered what all the "fuss was about".

It only came home when I shot some random photos with this Rebel 500D T1i, and was surprised by graininess. The differences between the cameras may be less than I am thinking. BTW, at low ISO, that camera is amazingly good for its price.

But if there is an equivalent improvement of just one stop of what in the past I considered film speed effects on enlargeability, then I want that in my next camera. (I already have a bid on the T1i, I bought a three year warranty to sell with it.)

In a way this is a return to my earlier world, where to me, prime lenses were essential, both fast and hi-resolution versions, wide and long; zooms were for photojournalism and convenience.

So I guess the next move is a used 5DII, and start the process of trying to find the coins to get the 1DsIII, and the lenses it mandates.

I appreciate all the feedback, folks, experienced perspective is worth a lot.

Bruce

Bruce Hinton
October 8th, 2009, 07:11 AM
...are physical reasons that bigger sensors can offer lower noise for a given efficiency.
More research.

...To achieve these resolution you will need good glass.
Yes, imagine a 50MPx camera.

...For a discussion of 1Ds3 compared to original 5D there is a recent thread in Canon dslrs forum (I think) that Bart and I contributed to. Both are suggested to be ahead of the 1Ds2 on noise.
I will look for this.

...Of course, as Bart said, what are the limits you are facing
Simply my own expectations of quality, and my choices on what is worthy of enlargement.

Mike,

I saw your post last night but haven't had time to look for the thread you spoke of.

I am just getting back into this field, after years away, caused by a year or so stint in newspaper photography, (not the same as news photography, not the same as 'photography'!).

I became an over-the-top serious amateur in the military in the early 70's, partnered in a commercial photography venture for a couple of years.

I only shoot for myself, a harsh guy to put up with.

Bruce

Cem_Usakligil
October 8th, 2009, 07:17 AM
...The DPI (more accurately the PPI setting) will have no effect on the way the image is displayed on the screen. It is only (sometimes) relevant to printing.
There is a good explanation of DPI vs PPI (and also LPI) here (http://www.design215.com/toolbox/print_guide.php) and here (http://www.tildefrugal.net/photo/dpi.php).
In short: PPI refers to image resolution and DPI refers to printer resolution.

HTH,

Mike Shimwell
October 8th, 2009, 04:26 PM
Stuart,
So I guess the next move is a used 5DII, and start the process of trying to find the coins to get the 1DsIII, and the lenses it mandates.

I appreciate all the feedback, folks, experienced perspective is worth a lot.

Bruce


Hi Bruce, the other thread is here (http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5684&page=2) last two posts pick up the discussion. The corollary is that the original 5D may or may not look as noisy as a 1Ds3 at large print sizes and high iso.

If you need high iso often you may also find the 5D2 a better companion than a 1Ds3 - everyone says it has better high iso performance and suggests similar low iso performance. I hvae no comparative experience though. There are of course other differences between the bodies that might lead you in one direction or other, but I wouldn't assume the need to move to a 1Ds3 from a 5D2 without specific need of the additonal features.

Mike

Bruce Hinton
October 8th, 2009, 05:45 PM
After looking at the full orchestra shot at ISO 4000, (I know, diametrically opposite photometric values!), by Mr. Kelman, and going back to look at my 3200 images, I am more convinced than ever that I need to find a 5DII.

So, Mike, I just have faith that I'll know when that ultimate upgrade is truly necessary. :)

BTW that was such a wonderful shot, with a 50mm @ f/4, - the details and faces are better than 1200 x 800 could possibly reproduce, - I did something that I haven't done in many years. I went to a DOF calculator to be sure it was even possible! Turns out it was a perfect choice, DOF was probably 20-something to high 60-something, amazing intuition. Or maybe he keeps a calculator in the bag... They don't put much on lens barrels these days.

But the lack of grain, er,... lack of noise is remarkable. What was the "minimal processing", Asher?

Where is the glossary/abbr. area?:
(snip) from a simple S-curve, to Large radius with low amount USM,

I have so very much to learn, but that's so very OK with me!

B.