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  1. #26
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    with my Sony A700 they have different dynamic range options, allowing a standard mode or 5 levels of dynamic range optimization, or turned off.
    If I remember right, the Sony "DRO" feature applies to JPEG images only and doesn't actually change the dynamic range of the camera. It just processes the RAW image to optimize and bring out the shadow and highlight detail that isn't visible in an unprocessed image. This feature is available with all DSLRs now under different names.
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  2. #27
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    For me high ISO performance is one of the first things I look at when a new camera body comes out. There are many other features that I'm looking for but high ISO performance is one of the biggies for me.

    The reason for me is because that is the main thing that is lacking in my current body. I'm thrilled with just about every other aspect of my camera. I'm assuming that when a new camera body is introduced they are not taking away the performance of what I already have, but are building on what is already there and making improvements. Give me the exact same body I already have with clean images up to ISO 3200 and I would be all over it. Right now ISO 800 is really pushing the limits of noise for my tastes.

    For what I like to photograph (nature/wildlife) I'm generally shooting at the ends of the day when the light is low. Not a problem when shooting landscapes on a calm day when DOF is more important than freezing motion.

    When shooting wildlife that is moving you need that fast shutter speed to freeze that movement. With my current wildlife lens needing to be stopped down to f/9 to get sharp images I need a higher ISO to boost my shutter speeds to freeze movement. Like Loupey said, sometimes even f/4 isn't fast enough. If I can gain a couple extra stops by boosting the ISO and still getting clean images that would be great.

    So for me, and what I like to use my gear for, ISO performance is a very important feature assuming they aren't taking away from the other areas of performance I'm already getting out of my current gear. Of course I would look at any other improvements that were made before I buy a new body but ISO performance is one of the big things I will be looking for.
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  3. #28
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    Yes, I'm saying there is no difference (at low ISO's) as a good thing. I've been perfectly happy with ISO 100 since my first dSLR. Performance at low ISO hasn't degraded over the last four years.




    Even if low ISO performance is sacrificed for the sake of gaining clean ultra high ISO performance, the demand will still be extremely high. People will just use older cameras for the low ISO stuff. ISO's beyond 3200 is a new frontier and many people will be more than happy to explore it. Manufacturers will be more than happy to provide it.
    Oh, I agree they will provide it. And as long as ISO is the only parameter being looked at, that is all they will provide. - TF
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  4. #29
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Here's an example of what I had in my mind for several years but couldn't execute until high ISO performance caught up:

    A shot during a rain storm (it gets dark you know) and the ripples/drops move very fast when shooting close up. If I could have gotten a clean shot at ISO 3200/6400 I would have (I wanted more DOF on this shot).

    Anyway, I shot it at ISO 1600 and this image is cropped. No way possible to capture this in the field at ISO 100~400. EXIF attached.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Much ado about image grain.-frog-iso-1600.jpg  
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  5. #30
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    If I remember right, the Sony "DRO" feature applies to JPEG images only and doesn't actually change the dynamic range of the camera. It just processes the RAW image to optimize and bring out the shadow and highlight detail that isn't visible in an unprocessed image. This feature is available with all DSLRs now under different names.
    It does apply to Raws as well, it isn't just a jpeg engine. Youd be surprised how much range it does add.

    It bends tonal curves at the top and bottom, making them less graduated - it is useless unless you intend on using that ultra-high and low detail, so for the most part it remains off or very low for me. But when I so choose, I can make a pseudo-HDR using a single shot thanks to the huge range potential.
    Last edited by Anbesol; 10-28-2009 at 12:28 PM.

  6. #31
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    This is conversation is getting close to what I believe Anbesol mentioned in his start of this discussion.

    ISO alone is meaningless as it is an arbitrary legacy measurement that could be argued that we don't even need any longer.

    Where shutter speed and aperture (just to mention two) are settings/parameters for exposure that have a physical measurement that goes with them that is universal . . . ISO numbers are based on a 'standard' that never was very standard in its implementation. Ergo why we shot film pushed/pulled or always shot at something other than rated for some emulsions.

    None of this would be possible without dramatic improvements in dynamic range capability and not just end-to-end increase but the increase in uniformity of linear response of the sensors in all their critical measurements.

    Framing rate of a sensor also plays a critical role in the modern DSLR and that isn't how many frames per second you can shoot! It is how long it takes the sensor, not the camera, to be recycled/discharged/charged and internal sensor buffer cleared to be ready for the next shot. That's important in determining how long it takes for the heat to dissipate that creates added noise. Or you can just use a lot of in-camera processing to speed up an older fab of chip. This as much as any combo of factors gives us the current ability to amplify the signal, i.e. turn up the ISO equivalent rating.

    NOTE:
    Canon has announced that they have obviously pushed the framing rate a bit to far with the 7D as previous images can appear to overlap one another in continuous shooting mode!

    Do we need ISO much longer?? Or should we start pushing for a setting that is low to high(acceptable) noise? We have Auto-ISO in some implementations now. Marketers want us to compare how large our numbers (ISO) are as it keeps selling new stuff!

    Personally I like having the added option of lower noise at higher 'sensitivity' to simplify or ease further control what I do with light. It isn't though a magic bullet to great photos.
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  7. #32
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    What happened to color renditioning, dynamic range, aliasing, color temperature management, etc? And these factors play a role across the entire ISO spectrum anyway.
    Yeah, what about Fujifilm S5? You use a S5? Anybody here paid attention to S5, or Fujifilm for that matter?

    I have a s5 and still use it occasionally.

    This rant was sort of sparked by my witnessing another debate at another forum, where cameras were being compared and the benchmark was pixel peeping 3200 ISO image grain at 100% crop. How absurd is it that we can become such compulsive nit-pickers, and completely forget the hundreds of other aspects and benchmarks that cameras can be measured by?

    Am I alone in this frustration?
    Yeah, you do sound very frustrated. Nothing wrong with those guys if good high ISO performance is what they after, right?

  8. #33
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by drg
    Give everybody six months and there will be a new fixation.
    Well, if new technology comes, people talk about it. Just like they talk about new movies. What's wrong with that?

  9. #34
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Absolutely I heard of the S5, I remember the S2 when it just came out, I really wish that octagonal pixel placement took on with other manufacturers and I dont know why it hasn't (perhaps a Fuji patent or something), I have used an S2 way back when, great camera.
    Yeah, you do sound very frustrated. Nothing wrong with those guys if good high ISO performance is what they after, right?
    I never said that looking for good high ISO performance was bad, it is an important aspect of imaging. I think its important as well, I just think that too many consumers squarely concentrate their focus on high iso image grain alone, and even to the point that the benchmark becomes pixel peeping 3200 ISO images alone. Cameras are complex dynamic machines and they aren't so simply as to base hte value on its image grain at iso 3200.

    Seems like a lot of words are being put into my mouth - I never said that high iso performance is insignificant, I am just downplaying what I see as waaaay too much hype.

  10. #35
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Majik_Imaje
    YOU CAN CREATE any image you want @ 100 ISO !! ALL YA need is a tripod - but most people are too lazy to use one or better yet the CORRECT TYPE.
    How would you shoot with ISO 100 on a tripod for something like this?




    Mind you, you don't have any say on the lighting.

    Or this:


  11. #36
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    This conversation has led somewhere it didn't need to go. Nobody is trying to say that high ISO is bad, I did not want to say that. Reiterate: if conditions permit ISO 100, 200, or 400, are you inclined to shoot at 1600? That said, is it a good idea when comparing cameras to make the central, sole, solitary performance spec looked at 100% pixel peeped ISO 3200 image grain? I just think that there is a disparity between the hype and the reality of the technology. High ISO performance absolutely is important, but the hype surrounding it is often very unbalanced and one-dimensional.

    The context of the original debate was some fan boy whining that Sony's new cameras (A330/A380) had terrible noise that was instantly visible even on the little LCD and was therefor clearly a horrible product. He compared it to a rebel which he quantified as 'better' because of its image grain. I provided a 100% crop sample from imaging resource with lab shots from both Sony and Canon bodies at ISO 800, 1600, and 3200 - put them together and the same dork who was so proud of his rebel couldn't tell which one was which. Heck, I doubt any body here would see the difference at 800 or 1600 either, I couldn't. Sadly this sort of hair splitting overhyping aspect in photo-consumer culture is all too common, I just think that the consumers need to be more conscientious of the dynamics of imaging technology, not so myopic.
    Last edited by Anbesol; 10-28-2009 at 08:39 PM.

  12. #37
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    I never said that high iso performance is insignificant, I am just downplaying what I see as waaaay too much hype.
    Certainly, I haven't seen the discussion you talked about re the high ISO. I'm just saying if that is what those guys were after, of course they would compare the ISO performance of one camera against the other. And you being an "outsider/onlooker" got frustrated by their discussions, it seems to me. I don't see why you should be so frustrated is what I'm saying.

    And I don't think it's just hype these days. Good high ISO performance is just another development these days in the advancement of camera technologies, should I say. And it's been pretty good so far. Later on, it'd be something else, and some new discussion.

    Personally, before I even bought my first dslr (that's my S5), the way I see it is buying a digital camera is basically buying a computer. It seems to be a never ending process as long as technologies keep on developing. Just like PC and Mac. I think one day, image quality would no longer be an issue for the photogs. What's left is the vision of one photog against the other.

  13. #38
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    no, you are again putting words and context into something it isn't. Please stop making assumptions about my intentions.

  14. #39
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    no, you are again putting words and context into something it isn't. Please stop making assumptions about my intentions.
    IMO, your intentions were not that clear until your post on 3:24am, which I didn't have a chance to read until until my last post was posted.

    No, I had no plan to put words in your mouth. Perhaps some miscommunication and misunderstanding happened along the way. After reading your 3:24am post, I think it would have been better if you had written this in your first post:

    [snip]Heck, I doubt any body here would see the difference at 800 or 1600 either, I couldn't. Sadly this sort of hair splitting overhyping aspect in photo-consumer culture is all too common, I just think that the consumers need to be more conscientious of the dynamics of imaging technology, not so myopic.
    If you did, my guess is nobody would have come out and stated why good high ISO performance is a good thing to have, which you already knew and agreed.

  15. #40
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Much ado about image grain.

    Aside from my standpoint regarding high ISO noise (which should be pretty evident by now), I think many people will fall into the hype (which is understandable hype by those who need and use it) who don't genuinely need it.

    It would be unwise for someone who is a casual shooter (whatever that may mean) or one who doesn't need to use high ISO's on a regular basis to think that buying the latest camera with the improved high ISO performance will automatically improve the image quality for what he/she is shooting (at lower ISO's). It will be an expensive lesson.

    So for those who don't use high ISO's in the first place, yes I agree there would be much ado about image grain.
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