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Olympus E-3 E-3 specific discussion.

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Old 31st December 2010
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Does this sky look Noisy

Hi All,

I'm just testing my E3 and looking at some old photos. I'm trying to find out if my camera is still faulty or if its just me.

Olympus have had it and serviced it but I feel I'm just not getting the same crisp clear images I used to get from my old E510. I know this has been going on for over a year now lol. Sorry to sound like a broken record. I wish I had the money to buy something else but I'm afraid things are kinda tight at the moment

This just a random shot of the blue sky but to me it looks grainy. The ISO was 200, the raw file is exactly the same.



Is this normal and am I being silly or is it a little too grainy for ISO 200?

Cheers
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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Looks like a sky from an E500 Garrie.
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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

It is hard to judge. Could you email me the RAW file?
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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Hi Garrie,

Looking close it does seem to have quite a bit of texture, which could be noise. Would be easier to judge on original file at 100%.

This is not very scientific but for comparison here's a blue sky I shot recently at ISO 200 on my E-3.

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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Ahh - that old blue sky grain,
I got them blue sky grain blues
Whenever I point my camera upwards
then that grain is all that gains

(to be sung with appropriate muddy waters groaning)

A digital sensor pointed at a uniform surface of red, green or blue is at a disadvantage, as 2 out of every three sensor positions is unemployed and contributes only noise, different sensors/camera engine combinations handle this differently, but viewed at 100% it's quite normal to detect a little graininess. This can be washed out by a very light pass of your favoured noise reduction software.

I'd suspect what we have here is the difference in the way the camera engines are processing that noise. Not sure of the settings you are using for the E-3 Garrie, I tend to shoot raw and have the noise filter set to 'off' in the raw conversion (and on the camera), then (if I want to remove the grain) wash the image with a noise reduction program at a very low level.

(OK - I know it's not really 2 out of 3, but it makes the point)

Nick
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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Here's a link to a shot with a Canon 5DII. Apart from the dust marks in the sky on the Canon image, can you see much difference at screen resolution?
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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Blue channel noise, very common, seems noticeably worse than usual though. I'd be tempted to selsect just the sky area and run a nice vigourous smotthing over it.

often have the same problem with my GH1:



That's after a good treatment, but the B&W conversion also has the effect of making it worse, as does JPEG compression. The colour one's passable on print. Just.
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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Clogwyn View Post
Blue channel noise, very common, seems noticeably worse than usual though. I'd be tempted to selsect just the sky area and run a nice vigourous smotthing over it.

often have the same problem with my GH1:



That's after a good treatment, but the B&W conversion also has the effect of making it worse, as does JPEG compression. The colour one's passable on print. Just.
That's a great B&W conversion, Alan, I like it a lot. What's wrong with the sky? It looks fine to me, in fact I think this type of image benefits from a little noise/grain. It adds to the atmosphere and I've been known to deliberately ADD noise in pp for this reason.

Another thing to note is that careless or deliberately aggressive processing will also increase noise. I've been scanning a lot of Kodachromes lately and mostly they digitize pretty well noise free, but on this one I ramped up the contrast deliberately and, in retrospect, oversharpened. The result is a fair bit of noise or, if you prefer, grain. I think it adds to the atmosphere, but of course we all have different tastes. I'm sure I'd be able to coax plenty of noise out of a full frame Nikon if I wanted to!

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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Look closely at the clouds and the lower portion of the sky where it joins the building - you can see the artifacts like in the OP. They were much much worse - that image has already had a good hours orth spent just smoothing the couds with the smudge tool in PSP, it's done wonders but you can still see the blockiness! The colour one looks a lot better because the colour changes hide the noise to a certain extent.
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Clogwyn View Post
Look closely at the clouds and the lower portion of the sky where it joins the building - you can see the artifacts like in the OP. They were much much worse - that image has already had a good hours orth spent just smoothing the couds with the smudge tool in PSP, it's done wonders but you can still see the blockiness! The colour one looks a lot better because the colour changes hide the noise to a certain extent.
You've certainly done a good pp job, Alan. Sure, I can see artifacts if I boost my screen image to 200% but that's really stretching a low res image. In fact, that's the difficulty of accurately assessing a forum posted image. Have you tried making a print yet, and if so how did it turn out?
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Old 31st December 2010
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Thanks for the replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregles View Post
Looks like a sky from an E500 Garrie.
I think i've got Velvia envy from reading Ken Rockwell too much lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
It is hard to judge. Could you email me the RAW file?
I've uploaded the raw file and also the full OOC JPG.

http://www.onemileahead.co.uk/skyraw.orf
http://www.onemileahead.co.uk/skyjpg.jpg

The crop I took was from the top right of the image.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Hi Garrie,

Looking close it does seem to have quite a bit of texture, which could be noise. Would be easier to judge on original file at 100%.

This is not very scientific but for comparison here's a blue sky I shot recently at ISO 200 on my E-3.

I think the blues in your image are a lot cleaner than mines, really nice and crisp. I've uploaded a JPG and raw image to compare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post
Ahh - that old blue sky grain,
I got them blue sky grain blues
Whenever I point my camera upwards
then that grain is all that gains

(to be sung with appropriate muddy waters groaning)

A digital sensor pointed at a uniform surface of red, green or blue is at a disadvantage, as 2 out of every three sensor positions is unemployed and contributes only noise, different sensors/camera engine combinations handle this differently, but viewed at 100% it's quite normal to detect a little graininess. This can be washed out by a very light pass of your favoured noise reduction software.

I'd suspect what we have here is the difference in the way the camera engines are processing that noise. Not sure of the settings you are using for the E-3 Garrie, I tend to shoot raw and have the noise filter set to 'off' in the raw conversion (and on the camera), then (if I want to remove the grain) wash the image with a noise reduction program at a very low level.

(OK - I know it's not really 2 out of 3, but it makes the point)

Nick
Heehee, can't beat a bit of blues.

I think I'm what they call pixel peaking which I don't normally do its just I want to make sure the camera is 100% as there is no E5 on the cards for a long while.

I makes total sense from what your saying. I think I'm just in awe of those crisp dark blue skys that Ken Rockwell gets (that'll teach me to keep reading his site lol)

I've not really used a noise program before as I admit I only really shoot JPG, perhaps its time I invested in one. I think I didn't see this issue before on my E510 because I didn't look for it, however having reviewed a few other JPG from the E510 they seem to have slight graining but not as much as this. Its a shame I can't do a back to back comparison (I do regret selling my E510)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Here's a link to a shot with a Canon 5DII. Apart from the dust marks in the sky on the Canon image, can you see much difference at screen resolution?
hmmm 5Dmkii, one day! I think the Tonemapping on that image makes the grain in the sky look worse than what it should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Clogwyn View Post
Blue channel noise, very common, seems noticeably worse than usual though. I'd be tempted to selsect just the sky area and run a nice vigourous smotthing over it.
I wonder if there is a issue with the sensor in my E3? Could it be 1 sensor is noticably more noisy than the other?

John (MusicMan) had my E3 to test back to back and produced the following image. John's E3 just seems more crisp than mines Both shots where raw and the exact same PP was used. Mine just looks flat



Thanks again for the advice. It would be interesting to hear any feedback on the above image and also the files at the start of this post.

Have a good New Year everyone

Cheers
Garrie
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Old 1st January 2011
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

I'll look at the RAW file later

As to the eye comparison - you should never try and make any meaningful comparison of crispness from a 3d image with a thin dof; makes no sense at all because the relative position of the elements to the plane of focus will be different and the brain will read this information in making it's analysis. In this case even the additional hair present in the second image impacts on such an analysis.
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Old 1st January 2011
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Garrie I really think you are obsessing over a problem that does not exist.

The garrie image is under exposed compared to the john one, this alone gives it a false sense of being unsharp, also a slight colour balance difference.

After evening the exposure out only, the difference is very slight and that is due to a different plane of focus in each image.

Because of this each image is very slightly sharper in different areas.

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Old 1st January 2011
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

Quote:
Originally Posted by OlyPaul View Post
Garrie I really think you are obsessing over a problem that does not exist.

The garrie image is under exposed compared to the john one, this alone gives it a false sense of being unsharp, also a slight colour balance difference.

After evening the exposure out only, the difference is very slight and that is due to a different plane of focus in each image.

Because of this each image is very slightly sharper in different areas.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the reply. Yeah I think you are right, I'm starting to get obsessed with IQ rather than getting out and taking photographs. I think I'm going a bit stir crazy to be honest. Thanks again for explaining the differences in the images I've posted.

I'm needing a kick up the ass I think lol 2010 wasn't the greatest year for me getting out with the camera, 2011 its gonna be different
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Old 1st January 2011
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Re: Does this sky look Noisy

having taken the raw file and viewed the top corner at 1200% I don't see 'noise' in the way I was expecting to from the thread title etc

and the E3 is better at 100 than 200 so why shoot an image with those settings at that ISO on that camera if concerned about 'noise'.

what I did see, that I didn't like, was huge variation in sharpness amongst the foliage in the image. Initially I though it was focus related because the extreme foreground was so sharp, but eventually I had to conclude it was lens bases as, for example, the lower left looks particularly bad and all extremes poor.

there - given you something else to ponder!
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