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New Leica M8 noise at ISO 640?


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I got my Leica M8 yesterday. Its great camera! But. I am getting bad noise at ISO 640. This is 100% crop from image. Shot JPG, all settings are default. No adjustments applied. Do I need to send it back? Is it normal? Please help. Thanks in advance.

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Chris is 100% right. I would like to add, judging noise on 100% crops on the screen is futile. Judge it from a decent sized print.

And compare that to 800 ISO film.....;)

As to noise per se, the perception noise=bad is not tenable. Many of the M8 users here tend to shoot at higher ISO in order to add a little noise, as it enhances texture and sharpness, despite the fact that the M8 is one of the less noisy cameras on the market. The use of ISO 1250 for black and white is widespread.

Don't confuse the rendering of CCD (Kodak, Nikon, etc.)sensors with that of ©Mos sensors Digilux3,Canon, etc. As those have a high inherent noise, strong noise reduction is applied before it comes to RAW conversion, resulting in extremely smooth photo's,even at high ISO but with a look that some, with a bit of exageration and rather unkindly, describe as plastic-fantastic. CCD sensors, imo, cater more to the taste of "classical"photographers.

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And I'd like to add that you need different exposure strategies in low light than in good light. In good light you can underexpose as a matter of course in order to keep the highlights from clipping, and the shadows will look after themselves. In poor light, depending on which aspect of the scene you intend the viewer to focus on and what sorts of highlights you have, it can be better to slightly overexpose.

 

Tim

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Regardless of exposure I find lots of fault with the M8 in camera JPEG's. The Canons do a much better job of yielding JPEGs right out of the camera.

 

Whether I'm looking at noise or compression artifacts, I'm not sure, but even with the highest quality and least amount of sharpening wierd stuff appears.

 

On the other hand, when I convert RAW files and save the JPEGs there's no problem.

 

ISO 640 is where I start becoming aware of noise with my M8.

 

Perhaps if you repeat your test and convert the RAW file to a TIFF w/o any pp sharpening you'll be better able to evaluate whether you can live with it.

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Maybe the examples here will help -

 

Set 1: ISO 1250 / aka 1600, shot with the 28 Cron... Whole image and then centre and corner at 100%

Set 2: ISO 2500 / aka 3200, shot with same lense but under artifical light. Good enough for my purposes

 

Both sets processed in Lightroom. No sharpenning / +50 colour noise / +50 luminance noise reduction. Sure - there's a bit of noise in the 2500 - but the reality for me is that I almost NEVER use this setting on my Canons or the Leica. I can handhold the M8 safely down to 15th and with a monopod (interesting that these are rarely mentioned on this list - I LOVE monopods) can go down to 1/8th ...

 

Could have done an even better job with ACR 4.1, but in a hurry with other stuff. Hope this helps...

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the M8 will not win any contests for low noise at high ISO

as others have noted noise is critically related to exposure and it shows up in shadows

this is very similar to the way film performs & many prefer this look to the way some sensors render such scenes

the noise cleans up very well with various noise reduction programs if you don't like it

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Thank you everyone. I will try to post 50mm lens, and similar setting Nikon D200 vs. Leica M8, and you will see what I mean. Chris, thank you for posting examples, it does look very noisy for my taste. I will try again may be I can get better results. I am losing sleep over it, as I am not enjoying noise patterns (it doesn't look like film for sure). It’s come out no as a grain, but as rounded shaped patterns. I think my image doesn't show it properly

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I happen to like LR's curves for my general processing but have found that for noise issues (if you want to call them that) Bibble Pro does an excellent job at cleaning up the noise (Noise Ninja is part of Bibble Pro).

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Maybe a more real life shot will help. I know so much of this is subjective (and that pixel peeping is no subsitute for looking at real prints). I was at the South Bank in London yesterday evening where sculptor Anthony Gormley has an exhibition. Later summer evening, overcast, low light. The attached was taken at 1/60th with the ever useful 28 cron. Again, 640 ISO 100% + a couple of crops. NO sharpening, NO Noise Ninja.. I didn't have my 5D with me, but looking back at work done with that, I prefer the Leica's drawing of the scene.

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Ok there we go. 640 ISO simpliar settings corner of the image D200 first, Leica M8 second. What do you think? Is my camera Ok? I am not using LR or Bridge, just JPEG, CS2 resize and save for the web. Feels like Leica image so much more grainy. Thank you for helping me out

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Ok there we go. 640 ISO simpliar settings corner of the image D200 first, Leica M8 second. What do you think? Is my camera Ok? I am not using LR or Bridge, just JPEG, CS2 resize and save for the web. Feels like Leica image so much more grainy. Thank you for helping me out

 

You need to shot DNG and use one of the RAW processors to get the best results.

 

Using a good RAW processor on the DNG files will create lower noise than you are getting.

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And finally news paper test with 100% crop. Leica doesn't look sharp at all. Again. D200 first, Leica M8 second. both jpegs, no processing. What I am doing wrong? oh-oh... Is my camera broken?

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And finally news paper test with 100% crop. Leica doesn't look sharp at all. Again. D200 first, Leica M8 second. both jpegs, no processing. What I am doing wrong? oh-oh... Is my camera broken?

 

Your Leica shot is out of focus.

 

Are you shooting the M8 with a modern Leica lens?

 

You may need to practise your focusing or your rangefinder or lens is out of adjustment.

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Thanks it does look this way. I just try 10 shots of news paper, they all are same, i.e. all out of focus. This is 25mm 2.8 Zeiss ZM lens. Should be sharp. It was producing sharp pictures with my M7. Thanks. Will run backfocus test and see what I get from it.

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Um, either what Rob said or your JPEG settings are different on the Nikon than they are on the M8. There's no way the M8 is that soft--even with ISO 1250 JPEGS...

 

This is a quick hand-held ISO 1250 JPEG right out of the camera, 100% crop and re-saved in PS (hence more JPEGgy than normal) (Oh it's taken from the absolute center of the frame with that darned un-focus-able 35 Lux at f4, too)..

 

Unsharpened except in-camera; standard settings for the JPEG contrast, etc...

 

This is rather small text--the "noise" you see there is actually cheap paper grain, mostly ;)

 

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FWIW, I also agree with Marc that ISO 640 is the sweet spot for a lot of work. But I get perfectly acceptible results from ISO 1250 as long as I expose 'to the right' up there and minimize the noise...

 

...and shoot RAW. Even though I do like the JPEG output on a lot of M8 shots, and they're perfectly fine for proofing, there's something not quite right about the compression... I think Jono has mentioned it before...

 

The good news is that can be fixed.

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You shouldn't have that much noise @ ISO 640. Underexposing and overprocessing will often cause it. Out of focus has nothing to do with the noise.

 

Here are 2 shots from a recent Indian wedding ... one shot with a 35/1.4 and the other with a 75/1.4 ... both in really dificult available light ... both shot at ISO 640.

 

( BTW, that's Irakly Shanidze, also using a M8 to shoot this wedding with me).

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