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Author Topic: 7D versus 5DMkII - ISO performance and Noise  (Read 8862 times)

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« on: November 20, 2010, 18:24 »
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I have had a 7D since they first came out.  I love that camera..... BUT....

There is a lot of noise in the dark or shaded areas of a low light shot that show up at ISO400 viewed at 100%.  I use Topaz denoise to get rid of it.  Does a great job it also robs some sharpness and detail.  And I am too lazy to do the 2 layer PS masking thing to fix it.

So I thought I would get a full frame...5DMKII for the higher ISO performance.

I posted a similar post on dpreview... and got a quick education about how my DOF will narrow.  To get the same DOF as my crop camera I will probably have to push the aperture open a couple of stops....which is about what I gained in ISO performance.  So it almost looks like its better to stick with my cropped 7D for those close in, low light shots.

Thoughts?


lisafx

« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2010, 18:41 »
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I can't compare the two, Bob, because I have only used the 5DII, and not the 7D.  FWIW, though, you will still get some noise in the shadows at ISO 400 on the 5DII also.  Whether it is a big improvement, I can't say. 

But honestly, if the shadow noise is your only reason for considering the upgrade, it probably isn't worth it.  The two layer method of dealing with noise is really easy.  Just run a gaussian blur of about 1.5 - 1.8 on the top layer, hide it by dumping the paint bucket with black, then paint white over the noisy areas with a brush.  Takes longer to describe than it does to do :)

Or, other suggestion is to shoot at ISO 200 or below, and make sure you don't under expose. 

Another way of dealing with the noise is to shoot RAW and run noise reduction when you develop them.  Using a bit of noise reduction in ACR looks a lot more natural than any outside noise program I have tried.

OTOH, sometimes we just want some new gear, so far be it from me to dissuade you from treating yourself ;)

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 18:47 »
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The 5DMII also has noise like any other camera. Maybe less noise, but it's still there. So I don't think your expectation should be that it lacks noise.

Unless it's a bright evenly exposed scene, ISO400 will probably still require work on the noise.

And I prefer the DOF of full frame over crop.

So, I'm not sure if you'd be any happier with a 5DMII. You may want to see if you can borrow or rent one to compare.

ShadySue

« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 19:30 »
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Interesting about the noise issues on the 7D. A couple of people suggested I might like to get a 7D as its focussing and motordrive are allegedly better than my 5D2 (wildlife and I want to try some sport, not necessarily for stock). I was just getting together a list of old kit I might sell, including my 40D, to try to buy one as a backup camera (which the 40D is at the moment, though it gets very little use!). Only this morning I came upon this thread about noise on the 7D in the iStock forums:
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=264181&page=1

« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 20:42 »
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I have had a 7D since they first came out.  I love that camera..... BUT....

There is a lot of noise in the dark or shaded areas of a low light shot that show up at ISO400 viewed at 100%.  I use Topaz denoise to get rid of it.  Does a great job it also robs some sharpness and detail.  And I am too lazy to do the 2 layer PS masking thing to fix it.

So I thought I would get a full frame...5DMKII for the higher ISO performance.

I posted a similar post on dpreview... and got a quick education about how my DOF will narrow.  To get the same DOF as my crop camera I will probably have to push the aperture open a couple of stops....which is about what I gained in ISO performance.  So it almost looks like its better to stick with my cropped 7D for those close in, low light shots.

Thoughts?

Noise problems are usually caused by user error, not by the camera. If you're getting unacceptable noise in the 7D, switching to the 5D II won't fixt the problem. Work out what is giving you problems and you'll get better results. I can't see why you'd need NR in either camera at these ISOs if the image is exposed properly.

The DOF difference is closer to 1 stop, not a couple (I assume that means 2).

« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 21:25 »
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I usually handle noise reduction by using blending mode options rather than masking - you could set up an action to implement it with a single click. I generally set the blurred layer to blend if the underlying layer has a white point set from about 30 to about 70 (split). Works like a charm and very easy to finesse.

lagereek

« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2010, 01:59 »
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Holgs,  is right, noise is often caused by wrong in-camera settings, unless youre using very high ISO, see you got to remember, the digital cameras are not perfected yet, not even the D3s, which is supposed to be the most noiseless camera on the planet.

I presume you shoot in Raw?  then turn sharpness OFF, noise-reduction OFF and a neutral picture setting, etc. When working on the shot in PS, try and avoid any sharpening.

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2010, 06:33 »
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Interesting about the noise issues on the 7D. A couple of people suggested I might like to get a 7D as its focussing and motordrive are allegedly better than my 5D2 (wildlife and I want to try some sport, not necessarily for stock). I was just getting together a list of old kit I might sell, including my 40D, to try to buy one as a backup camera (which the 40D is at the moment, though it gets very little use!). Only this morning I came upon this thread about noise on the 7D in the iStock forums:
http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=264181&page=1


focusing is huge issue with stock imho, since they are overzealous on technical quality. you can correct noise, exposure... but wronged focus? Trashbin. It's especially annoying when sorting your thumbnails, and you have handfull of, lets say model shots, that worked out particularly well. Great gesture, nice facial aexpression, good angle, all the things that takes a certain amount of luck besides skill... then you open and, craaap, some of those are OOF. Canons seems to have that kind of slight unreliability with focus that might get you there more often than you would like.

« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2010, 10:34 »
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Holgs,  is right, noise is often caused by wrong in-camera settings, unless youre using very high ISO, see you got to remember, the digital cameras are not perfected yet, not even the D3s, which is supposed to be the most noiseless camera on the planet.

I presume you shoot in Raw?  then turn sharpness OFF, noise-reduction OFF and a neutral picture setting, etc. When working on the shot in PS, try and avoid any sharpening.

Everything I do is in RAW.  I usually shoot in AV and bracket each shot at three shutter speeds, each about 1/3 to 2/3's of a stop difference in case I have not metered correctly.

My Histograms are usually centered and usually have to pull in the blacks and whites on curve adjustments to get a full spectrum curve.

Because of the available light and the fact that I am doing hand held held shots I am force into f2.8- 5.6 shots.  Many times the shots are from about 3' away.  I am using a 17-55mm 2.8 IS lens and speeds now lower than 1/40 sec.  Usually taking shots closer to the 55MM.   So my DOF is just a 2-3 inches.  All of this is only possible at ISO's of 400+.      So.... I normally have to clean up noise in the shadows and its tricky to get the DOF exactly where you want it and where it will be accepted by the microstock places.  I have found that with microstock a wider DOF image is much more likely to be accepted than a narrow one.  Or said another way.  A narrow DOF image must be very well done.

I am slowly convincing myself that the FF camera will not be a panacea for my problem.  And I just need to "man up" and bring a monopod or tripod to the farmers market with me (one of my favorite shooting spots).  And then kiss inconspicuousness away.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2010, 11:35 »
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On a crop camera you should be shooting 1.5 to 2x the focal length to avoid motion blur.

I'd suggest shooting right on the histogram rather than center.

Get a tripod and/or a faster lens (e.g. 50mm f/1.4) to help bring the ISO down to 100 to reduce noise.

grp_photo

« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2010, 11:42 »
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I have both cameras the image-output is a lot better with the 5DMarkII therefore I use the 7D only as a back-up or in situations where I need the faster AF, better syncro or the crop (in a sense that I have more tele).

« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2010, 18:04 »
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On a crop camera you should be shooting 1.5 to 2x the focal length to avoid motion blur.

I'd suggest shooting right on the histogram rather than center.

Get a tripod and/or a faster lens (e.g. 50mm f/1.4) to help bring the ISO down to 100 to reduce noise.

The lens has IS.  I have found that about 50% of my shots are in focus with no motion blur down to about 1/30th sec at 50mm on the crop camera.  I can even go lower than that but the chance of a sharp shot become much smaller.  But that is not the problem

I would like more DOF and less noise.  I think going to the 50mm 1.4 will only work if I go to f1.4 and then my DOF gets really tiny.  At a distance to focus point of about 3 ft.  my DOF is about 1 ".  If I am taking a picture of a bin of apples.  I could probably just get the area around the stem in focus.

Your suggestion on the histogram is well taken.

A tripod would fix everything.  I drop the ISO to 100....wait a few seconds....no noise and plenty of DOF.   BUT  a tripod is hard to do in a farmers market.  I guess I could go early and ask for permission though.... I will have to break through my shyness barrier.

« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2010, 18:08 »
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I have both cameras the image-output is a lot better with the 5DMarkII therefore I use the 7D only as a back-up or in situations where I need the faster AF, better syncro or the crop (in a sense that I have more tele).

I almost convinced myself there was no advantage for the kind of shooting that I do.

But I think I agree with you that bottom line image IQ, in most cases, will be the same or better than cropped frames.

So I think I will keep saving and wait for the 5DMIII so I can get the newest technology

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2010, 18:35 »
0
On a crop camera you should be shooting 1.5 to 2x the focal length to avoid motion blur.

I'd suggest shooting right on the histogram rather than center.

Get a tripod and/or a faster lens (e.g. 50mm f/1.4) to help bring the ISO down to 100 to reduce noise.

The lens has IS.  I have found that about 50% of my shots are in focus with no motion blur down to about 1/30th sec at 50mm on the crop camera.  I can even go lower than that but the chance of a sharp shot become much smaller.  But that is not the problem

I would like more DOF and less noise.  I think going to the 50mm 1.4 will only work if I go to f1.4 and then my DOF gets really tiny.  At a distance to focus point of about 3 ft.  my DOF is about 1 ".  If I am taking a picture of a bin of apples.  I could probably just get the area around the stem in focus.

You must be shooting farmers markets at night or indoors. Because if it's outside I can't imagine needing ISO400 unless you're shooting F32.

Time for a tripod or a different subject.

« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2010, 02:59 »
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Pulling shadows = huge increase in noise. Its better to shoot near the overexpose rather then trying to pull too dark frames. Just 0,7EV underexposure is sometimes enough to produce horrible noise. Especially sunsets with lot of dark areas are complete horror.

f32 on APS-C is nonsense, because of diffraction the result will be likely much worse then f16-22.

The DOF differenece between FF and APS-C is just one f-stop = good bright lens like 17-55/2,8 IS USM on 7D is regarding DOF the same like 24-105/4 L on 5D. In other words, except extreme shallow DOF at f1,4 or less, you can achieve the same on both APS-C and FF, its just the matter of the lens used. Extreme shallow DOF pics would not be accepted on micros anyway.

ShadySue

« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2010, 05:56 »
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Because if it's outside I can't imagine needing ISO400 unless you're shooting F32.
I can't imagine where you live, but it's clearly not Sunny Scotland.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2010, 09:44 »
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Because if it's outside I can't imagine needing ISO400 unless you're shooting F32.
I can't imagine where you live, but it's clearly not Sunny Scotland.
Right now, it's 8:30 AM, cloudy, raining, and pretty dim where I'm at.

A quick check on a dimly lit subject with my 5DMII with a 50mm shows a shutter speed of 60 at F11 and ISO100. At ISO400 it's at 250.

So like I said, it must be dark or indoors.

ShadySue

« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2010, 11:28 »
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Because if it's outside I can't imagine needing ISO400 unless you're shooting F32.
I can't imagine where you live, but it's clearly not Sunny Scotland.
Right now, it's 8:30 AM, cloudy, raining, and pretty dim where I'm at.

A quick check on a dimly lit subject with my 5DMII with a 50mm shows a shutter speed of 60 at F11 and ISO100. At ISO400 it's at 250.

So like I said, it must be dark or indoors.
Hmmm, I was shooting a local event yesterday outdoors.
Just after midday, overcast. Using ISO800 (as the event was moving), my readings are around 1/250@f5.6.
c1 p.m. I changed to ISO200 as I was shooting stationary objects and my EXIF says 100@f5.6.
It took me a long time, when I started photography, to realise that the sunny f16 rule doesn't actually work here! For years, I thought I must be doing something very wrong.

« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2010, 17:37 »
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Here is an interesting possible reason for some lousy noise with tiny pixels...

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/an_open_letter_to_the_major_camera_manufacturers.shtml

basically with large f-stops (large openings) the light comes to the sensor at an angle, but the sensors don't "see" this light, so the camera makers cheat by essentially boosting the gain at those f-stops so you end up with more noise, and maybe not as much shallow DOF and bokeh as you might expect...

I'd really like to see something like the 7D with around 13 or 14 MP or a FF with around 18.

--=Tom

« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2010, 19:40 »
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Interesting about the noise issues on the 7D. A couple of people suggested I might like to get a 7D as its focussing and motordrive are allegedly better than my 5D2 (wildlife and I want to try some sport, not necessarily for stock).

@Sue, You will want a 1D series Canon if you choose to shoot sports or fast moving wildlife.  My 5D can get some excellent sports shots too, but the 1D is a significant improvement in this area due to the lightning fast auto-focus and the burst mode.  I shoot collegiate football with a 1D-MarkIIn.  I'd love the IIs, or the Mark IIIn/s, but it's not in the budget.  The 1D-MarkIIn is amazing.  I have shot 800 ISO in many low light situations (late autumn, rainy day late afternoon, no field lights) and been very pleased with the results.

You can get a used body for cheap.  I got mine 2 years ago for $2000 on the FredMiranda forums.  There are always reputable shooters selling and buying gear there.


 

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