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Thread: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Triggered by a recent thread by ryc, I was wondering, may be you guys like to discuss your strategies when it comes to battling noise for print output? If not, well, then I started a useless thread.

    Seriously, being totally new to the system, I have a lot to learn. Here is my momentary approach.

    I got Noise Ninja, and well, here is another thing to learn. Pheew.

    But if you use it yourself, you might be aware that there are already some profiles available for the alpha that cover every ISO, having said that, the to me somewhat cryptic description indicates a certain exposure situation only, so they might not be general profiles, hence probably not usable for everything.

    Third last on the bottom of the page:

    http://www.picturecode.com/profiles.htm

    I do not know yet how to create my own profiles, and may be it is redundant and the profiles offered are just good enough, I don't know this yet.

    For now, I export capture one files as 16 bit TIFF ProPhoto to LR, then edit in CS3 and will start using Nois Ninja on the files.
    Last edited by Georg Baumann; 14th June 2009 at 06:02.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    I've been applying Nik Define 2 to decent effect.

    Because the noise is uneven, and I don't want a wholesale application of noise reduction ... which you get to some degree using Nik's auto evaluation. So, I select the nosier dense areas of the image, feather the selection, make a separate layer and apply the noise reduction by manually selecting boxed areas for Nik's evaluative process.

    Then, when done, I look at the over-all effect and use the layer slider to further control the noise reduction in concert with the rest of the image with the objective of making it as seamless as possible.

    -Marc

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Hi Mark,

    so I think we can say the noise pattern in High Iso is somewhat of a stochastic nature and not even throughout the file. - I forgot where, but I read somewhere that the Define program gives excellent result to the alpha files. -

    Not for composition and stuff but for test, I wanted to shoot from tripod, but boy, the bloody midegs eat me alive this morning, not a chance to stay in one spot longer than 10 seconds, and that was pushing it:

    I used all kind ISO settings on that scence and found ISO 2000 and above to be not useful anymore. This one here was shot with Sony 70-400 at 1/30 F5.6 ISO 500, Noise Ninja Strength 5 and smoothness 4



    Yes, I believe as for the stochastic character we need to work with masks to rescue shots for print. I must give that define a run.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    I don't mean to harp on this too much, and I know Marc is locked into LR, because of its awesome workflow, but the single greatest thing you can do to improve the A900's high ISO is refrain from using Adobe RAW conversion.

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Hi Doug,

    thanks for jumping in here.

    I have not tested the C1 noise reduction against Noise Ninja and Define. But I am sure there will be advantages in on e of the packages.

    I agree on ACR, that is why I convert to ProPhoto 16 bit TIFF in C1 first.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I don't mean to harp on this too much, and I know Marc is locked into LR, because of its awesome workflow, but the single greatest thing you can do to improve the A900's high ISO is refrain from using Adobe RAW conversion.
    I don't use LR on the higher ISO A900 files. I'm using C1. Pro V. 4.8.1. When I compared those D3X verses the A900 files of the same scene, it wasn't all that different from using PSCS4.

    However, since the objective of this thread is to share solutions, it'd be very nice to hear specific recommendations on how to set what on C1. I fully admit to being less proficient with C1 than LR-2 or CS4.

    I still would like to work toward a plug-in to put into Light Room's User Presets which would preserve the collective workflow.

    I have a set of LR presets that someone developed for the M8 which went a long way toward keeping files from that camera in the LR groupings from other cameras.

    Frankly, I don't have the post program knowledge/skill required to make a set of LR presets for the A900 ... but I'd pay for them if they existed

    Marc

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    So, we have in house noise reduction as in C1, LR, Photoshop, Aperture, whatever your pick, and most of them are not sufficient enough I would think....

    Then we have third party plugins, Define, Noiseware, Noise Ninja, Neatimage, and something I just came across called Topaz.

    http://www.topazlabs.com/denoise/

    The goal is obviously to reduce noise without loosing details.

    I also just stumbled across this here, have yet to finish reading...

    http://www.guillermoluijk.com/articl...e/index_en.htm

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    I apologize Marc, I didn't realize that you were using C1 for high ISO.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I apologize Marc, I didn't realize that you were using C1 for high ISO.
    Yeah, Jack brow beat me into submission and I upgraded my C1 to the latest version. Actually it wasn't to improve the A900 high ISO files as much as to help get better results from the Leica M 24/1.4 ASPH I got for the M8 which showed some CA ... and C1 corrected.

  10. #10
    Paolo7780
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Hello everyone! I'm a new user. I'd like to share my experience with [email protected]
    I agree with fotografz.

    C1 is the best RAW converter for A900 Hi-ISO files.
    This is a night shot @ 3200ISO with the old 50mm f1.4 stopped at 2.8







    The flow is really simple:
    C1 conversion with sharpening and noise reduction zeroed
    Next Dfine 2.0 chroma noise removal.

    I find that the tonal gradation/grain is well balanced, no posterized areas at all.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    3200 iso shot looks great.

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    madcat207
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    As practically every other a900 owner has said, C1 is the best by far right now. I certainly wouldn't mind adobe getting their act together, so I can use ACR with CS4, but for now, the best work flow is developing in C1, and passing off to CS4 for NR and further processing.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    I agree that C1 is much better than ACR/LR for A900, but I'm not sure that I'd call it best. For my more critical work, I use Raw Therapee ( if I was on mac I'd use RPP.)

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Not sure if I should start a new thread here, but it kind of goes together. What do you recommend as a raw processor for the A900, C1 or Aperture? I'm not really locked into any workflow that would rule one out. Admittedly leaning toward Aperture because I can get it for about $100, but in the end quality matters most. It seems to me that one of the biggest differentiators is noise handling.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    Not sure if I should start a new thread here, but it kind of goes together. What do you recommend as a raw processor for the A900, C1 or Aperture? I'm not really locked into any workflow that would rule one out. Admittedly leaning toward Aperture because I can get it for about $100, but in the end quality matters most. It seems to me that one of the biggest differentiators is noise handling.
    Bill, I have used them both and find Aperture just a tad better for noise than C1, though it does often depend on the subject. But because I use C1 for my Phase files and don't want to run too many applications (I use LR for most everything except raw conversion) I decided to go exclusively with C1.

    You might check out Michael Reichmann's tests on L-L.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...ne-month.shtml

    I found very similar results to Michael's.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...-Opinion.shtml

    Bill

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Marc try luminance at 10 or 15 and color about 50. Works good on my P30+ when I am in the soup
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Marc try luminance at 10 or 15 and color about 50. Works good on my P30+ when I am in the soup
    If you mean me Guy, thanks ... I filed that info for future use.

    I'm a bit perplexed by the ISO 3200 claim and samples (which are now missing). There was no exif data and I couldn't go into the advanced portion of File Info to see the work flow. No matter what program I use including C1-Pro, ISO 3200 is not useable from this camera. I can barely make ISO 1000 work in great light let alone 3200 in light where you would resort to such a high ISO.

    What am I missing?

    -Marc

  18. #18
    madcat207
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Marc - I guess what it comes down to is what you are personally happy with. Last night I had to do some available light shots with my fiance, and had to push it to 3200 (and even that was too slow sometimes). Looking at the images on the screen, yes, they do look noisy. And then I printed out an 8x10 from them, and I didn't care; unless you shoved your face into the picture, the noise was a non issue. She may shoot me, but I have attached the full image and a crop of her nose, to show what I mean.

    With regards to best processing, in either C1, Raw Therapee, or anything else that produces the fine grained noise, do not use sharpening until you have done some NR. The fine grained noise is made much worse by most program's default sharpening levels.

    And for the camera, try this the next time you are shooting high ISO. In the creative styles, set your camera to Zone -1. This tells the camera to attempt to preserve more shadow detail, and in doing so, changing the exposure for the better (less noise). It is similar to exposing to the right more, but it is more fine tuned, since the camera is doing it with shadow preservation as the goal.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Madcat - When you say no sharpening, you would zero out the sliders that Lightroom defaults to? I haven't used C1 enough to know what it defaults to for import sharpening.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Quote Originally Posted by madcat207 View Post
    Marc - I guess what it comes down to is what you are personally happy with. Last night I had to do some available light shots with my fiance, and had to push it to 3200 (and even that was too slow sometimes). Looking at the images on the screen, yes, they do look noisy. And then I printed out an 8x10 from them, and I didn't care; unless you shoved your face into the picture, the noise was a non issue. She may shoot me, but I have attached the full image and a crop of her nose, to show what I mean.

    With regards to best processing, in either C1, Raw Therapee, or anything else that produces the fine grained noise, do not use sharpening until you have done some NR. The fine grained noise is made much worse by most program's default sharpening levels.

    And for the camera, try this the next time you are shooting high ISO. In the creative styles, set your camera to Zone -1. This tells the camera to attempt to preserve more shadow detail, and in doing so, changing the exposure for the better (less noise). It is similar to exposing to the right more, but it is more fine tuned, since the camera is doing it with shadow preservation as the goal.
    Thank you! If I can get even close to that I'll be a happy camper. I'll try those suggestions next shoot I do with the A900.

    I did a wedding yesterday and had a few hiccups with the Sony so I need to sort those out before proceeding. Probably mostly user error in the heat of battle ... also both cameras seemed to eat batteries, and the flash shut down right at a critical time ... again ... (but that's not an exclusive trait to Sony).

    The only real issue is getting the noise under control but doing it with a program that isn't snail slow. So, it's mostly practice, practice, practice.

    I also have a wedding today, but will use the Nikons until I sort out some of the Sony stuff.

    Thanks again for the tips.

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    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Well,

    Based on the comparisons I have seen HERE (french site) DXO is the best converter by far. Wait for the images to load then click on the converter name below the image to see each results. I mean the results are so drastic with DXO compared to the others.

    By the way, Bibble seems to be the kingof bringing out details in the image.

    Translated HERE

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    IMO, those DxO results are way too "smeary" looking. Regardless, DxO currently claims to be having an issue with the A900 black level, and their converter is somtimes giving green casts to shadows.

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    Re: alpha 900 noise: Best Practise

    Quote Originally Posted by ryc View Post

    I mean the results are so drastic with DXO compared to the others.

    By the way, Bibble seems to be the kingof bringing out details in the image.

    Translated HERE
    Thanks Jorge! I'm really not even sure how to respond to that, the results seem to be all over the map and I don't really see one converter that does a good job with noise, color and image sharpness. I didn't read the article so I'm not sure if they went by defaults of maximized for each image. I'm guessing defaults because the C1 pictures look oversharpened.

    I guess I would say that DXO is the smoothest (noticeably so at all ISOs) and has the best colors, but not really sharp enough - odd since that is their claim to fame.

    C1 seems to be the most consistent. Aperture seems to apply some pretty heavy handed noise reduction, or just doesn't handle the detail well. Raw Therapee is great at low ISO, but the colors seem off. Bibble is super sharp without looking oversharpened, but gets noisy fast and I don't like the way the colors.

    Tough decisions, and no clear winner. It's not splitting hairs, they are really different, which tends to explain some of the polarized reaction to Sony image quality.

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