How noisy is your 7D?
/forum/topic/1143454/0

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Liquidstone
Registered: Jan 14, 2005
Total Posts: 1405
Country: Philippines

I usually shoot birds with my 7D at up to ISO 3200 (or even higher if necessary), and feather detail is still ok to my taste (YMMV) to make at least 12"x18" prints.

I often come across forum posts mentioning the unacceptable noise of the camera even at mid-ISOs. This leaves me wondering if such is a result of:

1. The noise characteristics of 7D files has a large variance from copy to copy;

2. Some 7D users haven't optimized their capture and post-capture workflows to make the most of the 7D hardware and the info it gathers;

3. Noise tolerance varies widely from shooter to shooter; or

4. A combination of the above.

To those happy or unhappy with the 7D's noise, please share some samples preferably at the highest ISO acceptable to you. Ideally, you can post web-sized processed images plus some unprocessed crops (or link to a full res unprocessed file). I hope this can give us some indication of the 7D's noise charateristics across various copies and workflows.

Will share my sample in my next post.


Romy



mco_970
Registered: Apr 03, 2009
Total Posts: 5209
Country: United States

I am happy with mine. I know it can be a noisy beast, but I've learned just not to look toooo close (100%) when it offends me. Most of the time I don't bother with NR if ISO is 800 or less.

FOCAL's MA software has made a huge difference in how happy I am with 7D.

Slightly OOF and noisy really sucks.

Just noisy but in sharp focus is acceptable.

I have a bobcat image at ISO 3200 that I am happy with (500mm lens, very reach limited).



Liquidstone
Registered: Jan 14, 2005
Total Posts: 1405
Country: Philippines

My sample (not aesthetically pleasing because of the tough lighting and the fact that part of the bird's bill is covered).

Lowland White-eye (Zosterops meyeni, a near Philippine endemic, 4 inches total length)
Shooting info - Canon 7D + 400 2.8 IS + Canon 2x TC II, 800 mm, f/5.6, ISO 3200, 1/320 sec, 475B/516 support, manual exposure in available light, uncropped full frame (processed and resized to 1024x683).







Link to the full res file (straight from ACR, unprocessed, watermarked, and saved as PS quality 10 jpeg):

http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/145625330/original



Gochugogi
Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Total Posts: 9293
Country: United States

I think the noise question has a lot to do with the amount and evenness of light. I primarily shoot at twilight and the deep mids, shadows and skies look pretty gritty on a 7D at ISO 1600 or more, requiring a lot of PP compared to my 5D2. However, if I'm shooting at the same ISO in order to use fast shutter speeds in fairly evenly lit rink or ball field, the images are actually pretty clean compared to the twilight landscapes. But no biggie, just use freakin' NR plugins selectively in PS layers and make it as clean as you want.

ISO 1250 & Topaz denoise



ISO 3200 & Topaz denoise


ISO 800 & Topaz denoise This is the worse of the 3 due to all the shadows, deep mids & blue. The blue sky looked like large grains of sand.



Ben Horne
Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Total Posts: 11637
Country: United States

There are far more noisy users out there than there are noisy cameras. I love it when some photographers claim ISO levels of 800 and above are "unusable", so they intentionally use a lower setting, then complain that their photos aren't sharp because of motion blur. :-)



Liquidstone
Registered: Jan 14, 2005
Total Posts: 1405
Country: Philippines

mco_970 wrote:

I have a bobcat image at ISO 3200 that I am happy with (500mm lens, very reach limited).


Would love to see that image.



Liquidstone
Registered: Jan 14, 2005
Total Posts: 1405
Country: Philippines

Gochugogi wrote:
I think the noise question has a lot to do with the amount and evenness of light. I primarily shoot at twilight and the deep mids, shadows and skies look pretty gritty on a 7D at ISO 1600 or more, requiring a lot of PP compared to my 5D2. However, if I'm shooting at the same ISO in order to use fast shutter speeds in fairly evenly lit rink or ball field, the images are actually pretty clean compared to the twilight landscapes. But no biggie, just use freakin' NR plugins selectively in PS layers and make it as clean as you want.




I see that you aren't "scared" of shooting the 7D beyond ISO 400..... lovely samples, Peter!



dwweiche
Registered: Apr 19, 2009
Total Posts: 1399
Country: United States

Liquidstone wrote:
My sample (not aesthetically pleasing because of the tough lighting and the fact that part of the bird's bill is covered).

Lowland White-eye (Zosterops meyeni, a near Philippine endemic, 4 inches total length)
Shooting info - Canon 7D + 400 2.8 IS + Canon 2x TC II, 800 mm, f/5.6, ISO 3200, 1/320 sec, 475B/516 support, manual exposure in available light, uncropped full frame (processed and resized to 1024x683).

...

Link to the full res file (straight from ACR, unprocessed, watermarked, and saved as PS quality 10 jpeg):

http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/145625330/original



Honestly, I'm shocked at the lack of noise visible in the OoF regions of your image at the link to the full size original. You say straight from ACR, but there must be NR applied, right? Is it using the in-camera NR settings, and if so, what are they set at?



Imagemaster
Registered: Feb 23, 2004
Total Posts: 33026
Country: Canada

Ben Horne wrote:
There are far more noisy users out there than there are noisy cameras. I love it when some photographers claim ISO levels of 800 and above are "unusable", so they intentionally use a lower setting, then complain that their photos aren't sharp because of motion blur. :-)


Ditto to that. You hit the nail on the head, Ben.

Tony



Liquidstone
Registered: Jan 14, 2005
Total Posts: 1405
Country: Philippines

dwweiche wrote:
Honestly, I'm shocked at the lack of noise visible in the OoF regions of your image at the link to the full size original. You say straight from ACR, but there must be NR applied, right? Is it using the in-camera NR settings, and if so, what are they set at?


I used the following parameters in ACR:

Sharpening = 0

Luminance NR = 25
Luminance Detail = 80
Luminance Contrast = 0
Color NR = 25
Color Detail = 50


These are the ball park settings I use in ACR when I process 7D ISO 3200 shots for web display. In PS, again for web display, I might apply NR and sharpening selectively. Many web viewers expect the OOF areas to be virtually noise free and the details to be sharp, and this is quite easy to achieve.

I process differently for prints. I actually prefer some grain so the printed images won't look unnatural or plasticky. In this case, I apply some sharpening in ACR (noise grains become more visible) and do most of my PS adjustments globally (as opposed to selective NR/sharpening for web display). For me, it's so much less laborious to process files for printing.



msalvetti
Registered: Dec 20, 2003
Total Posts: 2745
Country: United States

Here's a few of my daughter at ISO4000. Shot Neutral jpg, in-camera NR on Standard, run through Neat Image using defaults.






I don't like to go over ISO4000. I think things really start falling apart around 5000.

The place where I run into noise issues is when I try to bring out detail in a backlit subject, even I don't think I'm underexposed by that much. Here's an example, ISO200, shot RAW, NR in ACR



Mark



Liquidstone
Registered: Jan 14, 2005
Total Posts: 1405
Country: Philippines

Imagemaster wrote:
Ben Horne wrote:
There are far more noisy users out there than there are noisy cameras. I love it when some photographers claim ISO levels of 800 and above are "unusable", so they intentionally use a lower setting, then complain that their photos aren't sharp because of motion blur. :-)


Ditto to that. You hit the nail on the head, Ben.

Tony


Lol, Ben and Tony.

At some respected birding forums, a few top nature shooters whose work I admire dismiss the 7D as a noisy camera. I must be missing something, or my tolerance for noise is more forgiving.



Liquidstone
Registered: Jan 14, 2005
Total Posts: 1405
Country: Philippines

msalvetti wrote:


I don't like to go over ISO4000. I think things really start falling apart around 5000.

Mark


Impressive images at ISO 4000, Mark!

As regards "things really start falling apart around 5000," wait till Teamspeed, Les, et. al. start posting ISO 6400 and beyond shots. These folks have mastered the art of extracting detail and filtering the noise from 7D high ISO files.



msalvetti
Registered: Dec 20, 2003
Total Posts: 2745
Country: United States

Thanks! Yes, I wish I had the skill/patience to get Teamspeed's results. I don't go over to Nature much so I haven't seen much of Les' high ISO work, but I'm sure it's great.

I hope to improve my skills this year. It frustrates me that I get much better results shooting jpg than I've been able to achieve shooting RAW.

Mark



StarNut
Registered: Aug 30, 2004
Total Posts: 1596
Country: United States

I use mine pretty much only for birds, and have as the default ISO setting ISO 800 (to make sure I can get a shutter speed of at least 1/1250 sec).

I find that to have an acceptable noise level. When I have to go to 1600, I notice the higher noise, which I am not skillful enough to eliminate, but I generally find the added noise worth it, to get the shot I otherwise couldn't get.

Above 1600 (I change ISO in full-stop increments) I just use the 5D3.



n0b0
Registered: Sep 22, 2008
Total Posts: 5654
Country: Australia

Sorry, I need to renew my Flickr membership.

7D + Sigma 30mm @f/1.4, +1EV, 1/30s, ISO3200 with no NR, just converted it to B&W. Very low light.







100% crop







Gochugogi
Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Total Posts: 9293
Country: United States

msalvetti wrote:
Thanks! Yes, I wish I had the skill/patience to get Teamspeed's results. I don't go over to Nature much so I haven't seen much of Les' high ISO work, but I'm sure it's great.

I hope to improve my skills this year. It frustrates me that I get much better results shooting jpg than I've been able to achieve shooting RAW.

Mark


I assume you leave JPEG NR at defaults and then use NeatImage in PP? So right out the gate you have pretty good NR without doing anything and NeatImage makes it one better. If you convert RAW in DPP you get the same default NR, so the results would be basically the same. The problem with RAW conversions in LR , ACR and Aperture is NR is normally disabled as a default so the resulting conversion doesn't look as good as the out-of-cam JPEG. However, if you dial in NR yourself when using ACR/LR I am certain you can better the default JPEG NR with only a little practice. I only shoot RAW but don't bother with Topaz Denoise save for high ISO and then only selectively in layers. The NR in LR, ACR and Aperture are actually so good you barely need to touch the plugin.



waldr_p
Registered: Apr 18, 2008
Total Posts: 5847
Country: United Kingdom

Here's an ISO3200 image from my 7D that I processed for the web:







And here's an unprocessed 100% crop of the same image. Its a bit soft because of the lack of sharpening and because it was shot with a 2x TC:







Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 HSM OS, 1/250s f/7.1 at 526.0mm iso3200.

Paul


TeamSpeed
Registered: Dec 17, 2005
Total Posts: 1757
Country: United States

Sure Romy, I will bite!

Here are my thoughts on the answer to the question posed, and this is based on 3 years of threads of "the 7D is noisy", and my own workflow developed during this time.

The reason for variances isn't so much camera variance (I have had 3 through the years with very slight differences, if any) but rather because of a combination of the following 3 things.

- Underexposure of the image by 2/3 stop or more
- The software tools utilized to process the raw and jpg files
- The skills of or the techniques utilized by the person using these tools

These 3 factors play the largest part of all the variances found. For those that have changed what they do or use in regards to these 3 things have found that their keeper rates increase by at least one more stop.

My recipe in a nutshell is this:
1) Shoot in raw (no other way to get the most detail out of your image)
2) Shoot with subdued picture styles (neutral, sharpness turned almost all the way down), and high ISO NR set to standard and lighting optimizer/highlight priority turned off
3) Shoot to the right, what you see in the histogram edges on the camera is not the extremes, you still have a stop or two at either end once you work with the raw
3) Process raw with DPP, bring the color NR slider down a few notches, sharpness on the 2nd tab turned up a bit
4) Take the resulting JPG and run an action that uses Noiseware on each color channel along with some other techniques to pull out noise, and sharpen the image at the same time.

Here is an ISO 2500 shot where I show a crop of of the OOC JPG vs the resulting JPG after taking the raw and doing what I outline. It is a great shot, nor is it super detailed as I was using my Sigma 50-500 as a macro lens.



Here is an OOC JPG at ISO 4000 from my 7D (which, as of last night, I no longer own, as I have traded it to my brother for a lens). Then after that is a link where I processed the raw and JPG.

ISO 4000 7D OOC
ISO 4000 7D Processed

As to ISO 6400, I shot this entire game with a 7D at ISO 6400 to proove a point to someone, some shots are at 12800 as well. Some are good, others not so much, but that would be because of my lack of skills as a photog, and not the 7D.

http://teamspeed.smugmug.com/Sports/Mad-Ants-Mar-3-2012

Here is one 12800 shot, if you are curious.




Wahoowa
Registered: Feb 13, 2011
Total Posts: 1524
Country: United States

How noisy is my 7D?

It's pretty quiet, especially when I put on a shelf and let it sit there.

Sorry, couldn't resist.



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