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So why the banding


viramati
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Here is a long thread about banding.   http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/188757-m9-banding-and-noise-issues-are-gone/

As far as I know Canon seems to have a worse banding problem than Leica whereas Sony's sensors seem to be at the head of the class.  

But as the link above shows other factors can be in play.

 

 

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I regularly shoot my A7s up to 80000 iso and never get any banding. Even at 104000 iso there is no sign of banding. Grainy as hell though but very organic noise. Pretty amazing really.

 

With the M246 banding starts about 8000-10000 and this is the only thing that can let the image down. Noise structure is beautiful and again very organic.

 

I'm sure Leica will get there eventually.

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Banding is caused by electric interference within the camera, not the sensor itself. It's like the noise that comes out of the car radio when there are cell phones around. Some companies are better than others in designing an interference free environment. Sony being an electronics giant has the budget and know how but Leica probably knows the exact source of the interference but does not have the technology or budget to cancel it.

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I regularly shoot my A7s up to 80000 iso and never get any banding. Even at 104000 iso there is no sign of banding. Grainy as hell though but very organic noise. Pretty amazing really.

 

With the M246 banding starts about 8000-10000 and this is the only thing that can let the image down. Noise structure is beautiful and again very organic.

 

I'm sure Leica will get there eventually.

I agree and the other thing that really amazes me with the A7s is the way I can get details out of the shadow areas even it higher iso's, in essence it seems to keep a very wide DR as you go up the range compared to other cameras I have used. OF COURSE I don't expect the Q to behave like this as the A7s is a specialist camera made especially for low light situations. As most of the time I can live with 12mp it is most most used camera for documentary work but I can a real place for the Q in my lineup

Edited by viramati
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Postulated potential sources of low-SNR banding:

 

1)  variability or noise in power supply.

2)  variability in chip readouts if the chip has multiple channels of readouts.

3)  errors in code that translates the raw chip data into a 2-D matrix we see as a photo.  This includes errors in interleaving, demosaicing, and readout channel balancing/calibration.

4)  variability in clock frequency if the chip readouts have multiple clocks.

 

#1 and #2 can be addressed by improving SNR (signal-to-noise ratio).  In other words, just like slide (positive) film, expose for the highlights, develop for the shadows (opposite of negative films).  #3 can be fixed in software/firmware updates in the future.  #4 requires replacement of circuits -  see the history of the original Nikon D1 and D1X for examples.

 

Eric

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Well have had the camera now for a couple of days and I love it apart from this issue of the banding. I am even surprised to find it at iso100 if you are slightly underexposed and want to draw out shadow detail. I have done some test comparisons with my Sony A7II (FF sensor and 24mp) and the difference is amazing, basically just no banding with the A7 I can underexpose at iso100 by 4 stops and still recover to a normal exposure with no banding whatsoever. I find more than disappointing for a camera just released as it is an issue that has always seemed to bug leica digital cameras. The good news is that  'Nik Dfine2' does a very good job of cleaning up the banding in the Q files.

Edited by viramati
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I think the question about the banding is legitimate, but I agree that a lot of this is theoretical. When was the last time anybody tried to underexpose ISO 200 color negative film and push the shadows more than three stops? It wouldn't be pretty.

Of course the issue with negative film would be true bit my point is that this is a newly released £2900 camera which is fantastic in any other respect compared to the competition. Banding in shadow areas seems to be a continual bugbear with leica be problematic in the M9 and a less so in the M240. I really would have expected them to have got this more sorted by now.

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Well have had the camera now for a couple of days and I love it apart from this issue of the banding. I am even surprised to find it at iso100 if you are slightly underexposed and want to draw out shadow detail. I have done some test comparisons with my Sony A7II (FF sensor and 24mp) and the difference is amazing, basically just no banding with the A7 I can underexpose at iso100 by 4 stops and still recover to a normal exposure with no banding whatsoever. I find more than disappointing for a camera just released as it is an issue that has always seemed to bug leica digital cameras. The good news is that  'Nik Dfine2' does a very good job of cleaning up the banding in the Q files.

 

Sony Sensors are an iso-less design (google for "iso-less cameras"), the Leica sensor obviously not...

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  • 5 months later...

Could you upload a RAW file confirming that statement? Thanks!

Believe me it does. Just try it yourself. I have taken load of under exposed shots at various iso's and the change is impressive especially after how underexposed areas were before. I can't upload a full-size Raw file onto the forum anyway and have no direct before and after firmware shots, but as you can see this was one of my problems with the Q as I started this thread so wouldn't post this statement if I didn't think it was the case.

Edited by viramati
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I've shot CMOS sensors in various cameras for around 13 years.  I just find this to be a characteristic of CMOS when it's pushed out of the envelope.  The good news is that over the years the envelope's gotten bigger and bigger. 

 

Excellent viewpoint. Banding is caused by the photographer in my opinion. Every camera has limits and once you know the limits you stay in the envelope. Or not................

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Excellent viewpoint. Banding is caused by the photographer in my opinion. Every camera has limits and once you know the limits you stay in the envelope. Or not................

 

I'm afraid this was not the case with the Q before the upgrade. It is now like having a camera with a new sensor. I have to say I am a little surprised that they have managed to sort this issue but it would appear that Leica must be really getting their act together when it comes to digital IQ

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I'm afraid this was not the case with the Q before the upgrade. It is now like having a camera with a new sensor. I have to say I am a little surprised that they have managed to sort this issue but it would appear that Leica must be really getting their act together when it comes to digital IQ

They have enlarged the envelope.

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Of course Louis Sony are years ahead when it comes to sensor development. I have lots of lovely A7s examples of this from when I first got the camera

Seriously though If there are 2 special cameras that I own it is the Q and the A7s. 

Edited by viramati
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