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Thread: The Noise thing has me bothered.

  1. #1
    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Ok, After seeing so many negatives about the high ISO performance of the A900, I decided to do my own peeping. I found an old photo I did of my piano with the D700 and Zeiss 28mm f2 at ISO 1250. I just tried to duplicate it with the same settings but with the Zeiss at f2.8 because it is what I have with the zoom. There is no arguing the D700 and Nikon cameras have better ISO performance but the question I pose to my self and others is weather the performance of the A900 is acceptable. Look at the files for your self and decide. I will post some people samples as well.

    I am on the fence at the moment so I really don't know yet how important this ISO issue is to me.

    You can download the full size 100% crops from here:

    http://www.jorgetorralba.com/p323071619

    I will post some smaller in this thread.

    First A900





    Now D700





    And now for the wonderful no complaints stuff at ISO 200




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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    If you're happy with how the camera performs for the bulk of your shooting I wouldn't worry too much about it especially if you aren't doing large prints of your high ISO work.

    You've also got the image stabilization to help you out in the more static situations so that can certainly help keep your ISO range lower and the extra resolution over the D700 also helps when matching to the same output size.

    Bottom line is there will always be compromises when comparing anything so you just make the choice that fits your needs best and run with it. That might be a one system approach or a multiple system approach, it really depends on how you intend to use them.

    All of these cameras are capable of producing stunning results and it's often too easy to get caught up in the little technical details and forget the big picture of what YOU can do with the camera.
    Last edited by Greg Seitz; 13th June 2009 at 19:02.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Look at the serial number on the piano. The D700 pic looks better in my eyes. Contrast is also better.

  4. #4
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by cdnguyen View Post
    Look at the serial number on the piano. The D700 pic looks better in my eyes. Contrast is also better.
    That clearly looks like a DoF (or focus) issue... in that the plane of focus on the a900 is above the serial # (Closer to the "A") whereas the d700 shot is focused more directly on the serial. The lighting in these is a bit different as well... so makes it hard for me to judge accurately.

    Contrast, if you're using zeiss, isn't going to be a problem, lol.

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    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    ok,

    in this photo i find the iso 1600 quite pleasing.





    Below is a link to the full size file.

    http://www.jorgetorralba.com/img/v2/p1010052728.jpg

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Remember, the ZF lenses are manual focus on Nikon. Sony has AF versions.
    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    My question is how would the A900 images fare against a D3X? Arguably they should be similar with similar glass (processing electronics notwithstanding by using RAW files).
    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Ok guys, you should all dump your crappy A900s that produce so much noise at all iso and are blown out of the water by any Canon or Nikon out there. I am even willing to do you a favour and take it from you for the unbelievable sum of 100$, that no one else would be willing to pay due to the very crappy high iso results
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Jorge,
    Look how much more shadow information there is in the upper right part of the full frame image taken with the A900. The D700 image is really blocked up by comparison. The strings are sharper (top right) on the A900 shot due to the 2.8 Sony vs 2.0 Nikon aperture, so the playing field really isn't level in this test).

    You might want to look for an old post from Mark Williams when he first started shooting with the A900. He made what I thought was a terrific observation in that most of us often obsess over how an image looks at 100% magnification when the real test is how the image looks on paper. I've noticed this on my DMR as well and Mark expressed my thoughts most eloquently with his observations of grain levels with the A900. The grain looks more film-like in prints.

    I've personally found that many Canon cmos files, though almost grainless look flat next to the Sony and Leica files when printed. Printing is where the rubber meets the road... so don't obsess over grain in images shot at 1250 and under when observing on screen at 100%. Though you may see a little more grain in the Sony images, you may also prefer the way the image looks when printed compared to Nikon or Canon images. It's most certainly a matter of personal preference (not intending to bash Nikon or Canon) but I prefer what I see in the Sony images when printed at speeds under 1250 asa.

    Lawrence

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    The high-iso noise was never kept as a secret and we all knew about it before buying so it's not really a surprise to anyone. Now the funny thing is that people who were advocating that photos are meant to be printed not scrutinized at 100% seem to have changed their mind
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    We can compare it all day long to the D3x but there are also other factors at work in the decision process.

    For the price of the D3x you could have your A900 and all your glass with money left over or two A900 bodies plus a 24-70 and almost a 135.
    Also, for some of us handling a D3 just doesn't work.

    I thought hard about selling the D700 to buy the A900 and knew what I was giving up in high ISO. If you aren't using this for professional purposes, do we really need that much resolution for giant prints in bad light?

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Two things on this:

    1) back in the analog days I usually was shooting ISO50 or ISO100 in one body and have the other body loaded with an ISO800 film, which you could push to ISO1600. And I used Kodak and Fuji mainly. Did I ever need more than ISO 1600? Almost NOT. So what we are discussing today in terms of ISO 3200, 6400, 12800 and above is kind of some possibilities created by some camera vendors in order to sell equipment. I still keep saying it is fine to have but you really do not need it.

    2) For me - comparing the pictures posted here - I clearly prefer the look, contrast, colors etc from the Sony. The D700 looks kind of artificial to me and I think this is also the secret behind the "excellent" noise performance - there is still a lot of processing going on in the background even if it has "only" 12 MP, which make the photos look steril and artificial. This was one reason I sold my D3 and also my 5D2 (had similar look for me) to buy the A900.

    Now the D3X might be better in terms of noise at high ISO than the Sony, but the definition is - what is better. For me it clearly has more processing on the image which makes the files look not as good as the Sony files to me.

    I guess it is all also personal preference. I still keep my Nikon lens collection, because I want to see the next incarnation of the Nikon and Sony - so with the blink of an eye I could either continue with Sony or Nikon. But all I can think about I trust more the Sony as they are manufacturing and developing their own chips, so they will also work on more noise free but still natural looking high ISO - just my 5c. And if this happens, then all my Nikon lenses will be sold immediately

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    Member picman's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I am even willing to do you a favour and take it from you for the unbelievable sum of 100$
    I'll bid 150$

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    I sold my D700 when I purchased the A900. There is a tipping point in digital camera resolution around 20mp+ where you go from pretending you have enough resolution to actually having enough for large prints and stock library submissions.

    You can pixel peep all you want about high ISO noise performance - and the D700 has superb high ISO noise performance - but it does not compensate for the sheer horse power of the A900, as well as its superb colour and other qualities, such as dynamic range.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    The high-iso noise was never kept as a secret and we all knew about it before buying so it's not really a surprise to anyone. Now the funny thing is that people who were advocating that photos are meant to be printed not scrutinized at 100% seem to have changed their mind
    "People" ... thinly veiled reference to me I'm sure Evidently no critical observations are allowed here.

    Why is it that all this has to be "for or against?" Or did Jack and Guy decide that this Sony forum is only for "mutual admiration"?

    Objective criticism concerning performance of this relatively new camera is what leads to possible solutions isn't it?

    Now some folks are experimenting with post techniques to lessen that effect which I am pretty certain came from reacting to observations concerning the noise issue. Without objective critical comments nothing gets done, or gets done slowly. It's the same process many Zeiss lovers went through with the Contax ND which was a LOT more plagued with issues ... many of which got solved, albeit too late (I say that because I see this camera as the natural successor to the ND which also featured AF Zeiss lenses).

    When I said that IMO the true test is prints not 100% screen shots, I meant exactly that. IMO, we should evaluate it that way because it's the end intent that counts. At that time I hadn't printed all that much from this camera.

    That was then. This is now.

    I've now printed over 400 A900 files, some at 17X22, most at 8X10 ... but some of those are crops, with a few severe crops.

    Noise shows up in prints also.

    Most certainly not as bad as the 100% screen grabs show ... but it's there to contend with. And depending on the ambient conditions, it isn't just in high ISO files either. It manifests itself differently at different luminance levels. Just to mention one thing I've noticed, it can adversely affect the subtile OOF transitions of the bokeh that the Zeiss lenses deliver because of the more abrupt noise transitions.

    To be clear, I am not looking for NO noise, and in some conditions the noise is perfectly acceptable even more film like than other cameras deliver. It's the other real world situations where blotchiness, uneven noise levels, less ability to lift shadow areas and so on ... is in need of attention.

    Some of that can be addressed and is being addressed ... and some of it we'll learn to live with. That will help all of us define the boundaries of this camera to maximize its performance and avoid it's shortcomings.

    However, implying there are no shortcomings is useless internet chatter of zero value to anyone IMHO.

    I also don't think we make this camera better by trashing other really good ones ... it just makes it all look very defensive and lacks credibility.

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.


  17. #17
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    wow... DpReview?

    Look, we all have different agendas with our gear. Given the things that the a900 excels at, I think it was only natural for those of us who shoot in extreme lighting conditions to begin to question its abilities. After 4 weddings and many portrait shoots... I can say one thing... in good light the a900 meets and exceeds all my expectations with regards to IQ. Simply a fantastic camera.

    But the fact remains that the very thing that many people hold dear... the randomness of its high-iso noise (especially chroma)... make it a difficult camera to deal with in post given public perception and want for clean, crisp files (wedding clients especially). B/W conversions can be VERY problematic with the blotchy chroma noise which, strangely, is randomly better/worse from frame to to frame. I'll admit that in one frame, the a900 looks pretty damn nice at iso 3200. In another it's bested by my old canon 5D at 1600. It's amazing how the color and luminosity of a scene can tip the balance with this camera.

    So... I usually just stay at 800 and use more flash than I used to when the light gets low. The 58 exposes well (although it's not a very robust flash) and using it bounced creates nice, soft light... at least from an on-camera viewpoint. If you're in a cave of a room with no ability to bounce the flash, pick up a d3x.

    Otherwise, Marc's suggestions for processing each file as an individual noise project I think is a sound one.

    Flash bounced over my right shoulder:

  18. #18
    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    has anyone ever seen this TEST ?

    It is pretty comprehensive at all the different ISO ranges with different cameras.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Well, Marc, it wasn't meant in a malicious way I respect your work and opinion and any commenst are given in a friendly way like every one else on this forum.

    But my point is, it's the very reason that gives us these wonderful low iso files that cause the blotchy chroma noise at high iso. We all know it's the dense CFA and the lack of noise reduction at the hardware level (and it seems both Canon and Nikon use different CFA densities, and do apply NR at the hardware level). It's a fact and a trade off we have to live with. I understand that this chroma noise is no good for wedding work. But for me, as Quentin and Peter said, I prefer the non-processed look of the A900 high iso files, and find it more appealing to remove most if all the chroma noise in post without getting that processed look that is so evident in the 5D2 files provided by Georg.

    Perhaps Sony can do something about it in a firmware update, but I have the impression that anything done on the CFA density (in future models) or in camera processing will inevitably have an unwanted effect on the lovely low-iso photos.
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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Marc, I agree with a lot that you're saying, however, if I recall correctly, you're using lightroom. We've all known from the beginning that LR is the worst A900 converter, especially at higher ISO, and it produces blotchier, less refined noise qualities than other converters, and you may not be seeing the potential of the A900's high ISO.
    Granted, like you said, it doesn't matter too much, because that's why you have a D3

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    "People" ... thinly veiled reference to me I'm sure Evidently no critical observations are allowed here.

    Why is it that all this has to be "for or against?" Or did Jack and Guy decide that this Sony forum is only for "mutual admiration"?

    Objective criticism concerning performance of this relatively new camera is what leads to possible solutions isn't it?

    Now some folks are experimenting with post techniques to lessen that effect which I am pretty certain came from reacting to observations concerning the noise issue. Without objective critical comments nothing gets done, or gets done slowly. It's the same process many Zeiss lovers went through with the Contax ND which was a LOT more plagued with issues ... many of which got solved, albeit too late (I say that because I see this camera as the natural successor to the ND which also featured AF Zeiss lenses).

    When I said that IMO the true test is prints not 100% screen shots, I meant exactly that. IMO, we should evaluate it that way because it's the end intent that counts. At that time I hadn't printed all that much from this camera.

    That was then. This is now.

    I've now printed over 400 A900 files, some at 17X22, most at 8X10 ... but some of those are crops, with a few severe crops.

    Noise shows up in prints also.

    Most certainly not as bad as the 100% screen grabs show ... but it's there to contend with. And depending on the ambient conditions, it isn't just in high ISO files either. It manifests itself differently at different luminance levels. Just to mention one thing I've noticed, it can adversely affect the subtile OOF transitions of the bokeh that the Zeiss lenses deliver because of the more abrupt noise transitions.

    To be clear, I am not looking for NO noise, and in some conditions the noise is perfectly acceptable even more film like than other cameras deliver. It's the other real world situations where blotchiness, uneven noise levels, less ability to lift shadow areas and so on ... is in need of attention.

    Some of that can be addressed and is being addressed ... and some of it we'll learn to live with. That will help all of us define the boundaries of this camera to maximize its performance and avoid it's shortcomings.

    However, implying there are no shortcomings is useless internet chatter of zero value to anyone IMHO.

    I also don't think we make this camera better by trashing other really good ones ... it just makes it all look very defensive and lacks credibility.
    Marc,
    This last sentence makes me laugh. You trashed the 1ds3 and 5d2 canon cameras as producing plasticy looking files without any example comparison shots. If I look at the unbiased noise test the 5d2 competes very well with the D3x and the 1ds3 competes well up to 1600. I think there needs to be alot more good fair example shots and lot less nebulous bs about this camera's files are crap and this one's files are superior without showing any good examples. Lloyd Chambers of Digilloyd is saying crap like D3x is another league compared to the 5d2/1ds3 and when I look at his few comparison shots on the blog they are bad/faulty comparison shots.Unbiased view points where the reviewer doesn't have a gain from his connection with the camera gear maker is very rare these days. That is why I go to forums like this to get my information. All three cameras are very good and have strengths and weaknesses and we all have different requirements. But I don't mind learning about the weaknesses of my camera relative to another if I am presented with fair comparison shots which show it. Thanks.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    That's why I've become so Iliah Borg-centric. He's a master at details and testing, and he owns all of these cameras, so there is little emotion there. At the end of the day, though, all of these cameras are outstanding.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    I don't know what all the fuss is about, "digital noise" (a catch all term) is a fact of life in digital photography as it was with film. Give it another couple of years and we'll have noise-less ISO 12800 files with 10 stops of dynamic range at that ISO.

    If you're shooting for a living, then by all means and quite reasonably you may have different needs or wants. Odds are you'll have a couple of systems to choose from to meet your or your customers needs.

    In the mean time, for me at least, I'm reminded every time I open a file from the a900 in Aperture as to how good this £1600 full frame 24mp camera actually is. Printing output is also excellent. I may only have an amateurs perspective on all of this, but the a900 with the Zeiss lenses will see me through for quite a few years. It's a simple, capable, cost effective system.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne_s View Post
    Marc,
    This last sentence makes me laugh. You trashed the 1ds3 and 5d2 canon cameras as producing plasticy looking files without any example comparison shots. If I look at the unbiased noise test the 5d2 competes very well with the D3x and the 1ds3 competes well up to 1600. I think there needs to be alot more good fair example shots and lot less nebulous bs about this camera's files are crap and this one's files are superior without showing any good examples. Lloyd Chambers of Digilloyd is saying crap like D3x is another league compared to the 5d2/1ds3 and when I look at his few comparison shots on the blog they are bad/faulty comparison shots.Unbiased view points where the reviewer doesn't have a gain from his connection with the camera gear maker is very rare these days. That is why I go to forums like this to get my information. All three cameras are very good and have strengths and weaknesses and we all have different requirements. But I don't mind learning about the weaknesses of my camera relative to another if I am presented with fair comparison shots which show it. Thanks.
    I did post comparison shots ... even though I actually don't think they prove anything. Their only value is in stimulating conversation ... which in this case it did, and a thread about different techniques to deal with A900 files is underway ... wahoo. less pissing contests and more useful info.

    Guilty as charged concerning the Canons BTW ...

    I'm not Digilloyd ... but having owned the Canons and now the D3X, I'd have to agree with him no matter what you think of his comparison shots. I don't necessarily trust comparison shots that are sub one meg jpg compressed sRGB files viewed on a rear lit computer screen anyway ... even though I sometimes post them myself I trust what comes off my printer ...

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Well, Marc, it wasn't meant in a malicious way I respect your work and opinion and any commenst are given in a friendly way like every one else on this forum.

    But my point is, it's the very reason that gives us these wonderful low iso files that cause the blotchy chroma noise at high iso. We all know it's the dense CFA and the lack of noise reduction at the hardware level (and it seems both Canon and Nikon use different CFA densities, and do apply NR at the hardware level). It's a fact and a trade off we have to live with. I understand that this chroma noise is no good for wedding work. But for me, as Quentin and Peter said, I prefer the non-processed look of the A900 high iso files, and find it more appealing to remove most if all the chroma noise in post without getting that processed look that is so evident in the 5D2 files provided by Georg.

    Perhaps Sony can do something about it in a firmware update, but I have the impression that anything done on the CFA density (in future models) or in camera processing will inevitably have an unwanted effect on the lovely low-iso photos.
    Totally agree. I still suspect we aren't getting all this camera is capable of and if we keep flogging it it'll get better I'd hazard a quess that what we're doing with it now is better than a month or two ago ... at least my stuff is looking better than the first shots.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    For those interested DXO has a case study of the Nikon D5000 and Canon 500D. While not directly relevant to this discussion it provides lots of insight on how to read and interpret their detailed info for each camera.

    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng...s.-Nikon-D5000

    There is plenty of info when you dig down into each cameras specifics (rather than the high level overviews). You can take this knowledge and apply it to any camera in their database and learn quite a bit about how each sensor behaves.

    I have found that what I see in their charts mimics very closely what I've found in real life as I've compared various cameras.

    A couple of tidbits I've gleaned for instance by looking at the details for the A900, D3X, and 5D2:

    The color response (i.e the Color Filter Array behavior) of the D3X and A900 is almost identical and very good at separating the 3 color channels. The 5D2 does not have the clean separation that the other two have in particular in the red channel. Unfortunately the extra noise in the Sony throws away that advantage and the Canon performs slightly better overall. The Nikon retains it's advantage due to its low noise and bests the Canon and the Sony.

    See the color sensitivity tab on this page:
    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng...(brand3)/Canon

    Read noise: the D3X is far better than both the Canon or the Sony. This is one of the reasons it has significantly greater dynamic range at low ISOs than the other two. In the higher ISO range the Sony can't keep up (by about 1 stop) vs the other two and the Canon shows more of its potential since read noise becomes less of an issue relative to the photon noise and the Canon pulls very slightly ahead of the D3x from ISO 1600 on.

    Again, what's interesting is that I have found the results they publish do indeed correspond to my own findings for noise and dynamic range for cameras I've owned so I tend to give credence to them for cameras that I haven't used. It's not the be all end all of measurements but for the areas they do cover they seem to be realistic on a relative basis.

  27. #27
    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Color sensitivity graphs that DxO Mark use are not the same as the spectral properties that I've been mentioning. I'm not talking about how many shades of green that we see in Sony vs. Nikon, but rather how much resolution is in the greens, due to the narrow CFA spectrum. The trade off is that these denser CFAs require more amplification, and that's a big reason why our Sony files are noisier than others. D2x had similar "issues," and there's no free lunch. The difference in color range between these three cameras, like many of the DxO mark results, are withing the margin of error, and basically negligible. The difference in spectral properties is a different story, and both Canon and Nikon are trending towards high ISO performance over dense CFAs, it appears. Not better or worse, just different. Marc is in great shape, because he is able to use all kinds of tools in different situations, as each has its strengths/weaknesses.
    Last edited by douglasf13; 14th June 2009 at 13:50.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Thanks Douglas for clearing that up, because I saw both the tonal and color sensitivity graphs are pretty similar between the three. The big difference is like Greg mentions is the Dynamic Range graph at low iso where the D3x has a clear advantage. But since the S/N graphs looks similar between the three that this extra Dynamic Range is a benefit of the D3x reading the sensor twice in order to lower the Read noise. Which comes at the sacrifice of FPS. It would be nice to see the difference made with this mode disabled in the D3x.
    It also interesting that the final Dynamic Range metric # for a camera is highly weighted to its sub 200 iso performance. This really makes the difference in the final DXO mark being higher than the 5d2 even thought the Dynamic Range of the 5d2 beats the Dx3 at higher iso.
    Also since the sensor S/N ration is very similar between the three, the poorer high iso performance of the A900 must be a result of only having 12-bit A/D's instead of 14 and maybe less noise reducing going on in camera? Just wanted to know what people think about that. Maybe it is only the dense CFA thing that you mention.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Sorry, the other thing I wanted to point out is that the Dynamic Range graph doesn't show the A900 having more dynamic range than the 5d2 except a tad more at ISO 200.
    This doesn't seem to jive with some of the reviews and comments on forums that the A900 has a stop more dynamic range than the 5d2.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    Color sensitivity graphs that DxO Mark use are not the same as the spectral properties that I've been mentioning. I'm not talking about how many shades of green that we see in Sony vs. Nikon, but rather how much resolution is in the greens, due to the narrow CFA spectrum. The trade off is that these denser CFAs require more amplification, and that's a big reason why our Sony files are noisier than others. D2x had similar "issues," and there's no free lunch. The difference in color range between these three cameras, like many of the DxO mark results, are withing the margin of error, and basically negligible. The difference in spectral properties is a different story, and both Canon and Nikon are trending towards high ISO performance over dense CFAs, it appears. Not better or worse, just different. Marc is in great shape, because he is able to use all kinds of tools in different situations, as each has its strengths/weaknesses.

    Not talking about the graph. They have a page devoted to spectral response for the individual cameras. Pull up the details for a single camera such as:

    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng...Sony/Alpha-900

    and then along the tabs at the top there is a right arrow, hold your mouse over that until the "Color Response" tab shows and click on it which takes you to graphs for the color response for each channel.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne_s View Post
    Sorry, the other thing I wanted to point out is that the Dynamic Range graph doesn't show the A900 having more dynamic range than the 5d2 except a tad more at ISO 200.
    This doesn't seem to jive with some of the reviews and comments on forums that the A900 has a stop more dynamic range than the 5d2.
    Actually I'm finding not much between them myself. I think the perception of more DR on the Sony is that it tends to meter a bit darker for some scenes and that converters such as Adobe push up the exposure transparently behind the scenes by differing amounts for different cameras. I have found that my Nikon D5000 does indeed have more range than either which does jive with what DXO shows as well.

    Oh, and regarding noise reduction in raw, according the DXO some of the Pentax cameras do it and the Sony does at high ISO (they may have been using it as an example with NR on but it's not clear). No specific mention of the 5D2 or D3X is made and they generally call that out if it appears to be taking place like they did with the Pentax models. Here's some info on how they determine if a camera is doing noise reduction in the raw files:

    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng...alf-cooked-RAW

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Thanks, Greg. I'll have to look at those when I get home. We are getting to the limit of my understanding, and we really need Iliah on this forum to help explain things. I do know that Iliah doesn't have a high opinion of DxO Mark, and the spectral response that he tested is similar, but not identical, in all Sony cameras. Maybe Andrey (hardloaf) can further the conversation from this point?

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    not to delve too deeply into semantics, but the reality is there is no such thing as an "unbiased" test. Every test has some inherent bias, and there will be artifacts.

    The significance of the bias (or better still, recognition of it) is what is important to consider. But just as there really is no such thing as a purely unbiased documentary (even a surveillance camera has bias), no assay is free from a POV either. And perhaps even more dangerous is the application of machine tests for tools used in the creation of art. The extrapolations made from these numbers are a never ending source of amusement.

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    Re: The Noise thing has me bothered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Seitz View Post
    Actually I'm finding not much between them myself. I think the perception of more DR on the Sony is that it tends to meter a bit darker for some scenes and that converters such as Adobe push up the exposure transparently behind the scenes by differing amounts for different cameras. I have found that my Nikon D5000 does indeed have more range than either which does jive with what DXO shows as well.

    Oh, and regarding noise reduction in raw, according the DXO some of the Pentax cameras do it and the Sony does at high ISO (they may have been using it as an example with NR on but it's not clear). No specific mention of the 5D2 or D3X is made and they generally call that out if it appears to be taking place like they did with the Pentax models. Here's some info on how they determine if a camera is doing noise reduction in the raw files:

    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng...alf-cooked-RAW

    Interesting, Nikon's "trick" to raise the Dynamic Range in the low iso area is not there in the D3 but is in the D3x and now the D5000 like Greg mentions.
    I would like to know more how Nikon is doing this. Is it just multiple sensor reads?

    I didn't understand why DXO is doing all their measurements only on the green channel. I thought all Bayer pattern sensors would have more noise on the blue channel, right?When camera's sharing the same sensor like the D3x/A900 and 5D2/1DS3 have quite different high iso capabilities, I think alot of that is due to some noise removal going on. I don't think it is just the difference in CFA densities.

    I agree that these DXO tests are probably not perfect either but it is just another piece of information which can hopefully corroborate with what people see.

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