Jump to content
shawrob

Help seeking low light improvement

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I currently use the T and 23mm and it's great besides the noise in lower light situations. Would the upgrade to TL2 (better High ISO) or switching out the 23mm for TL 35mm (2.0 vs 1.4) see a bigger improvement? I'm comfortable with either 35 or 50mm FOV and don't mind the size of the 35. 

 

Any experience appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Both are an improvement. 

Certainly the drop to 1.4 makes a big difference. That’s what I use when shooting indoors.  I try to keep shutter speed higher than 1/80 and aim for a low of 1/125

I further restrict my iso to no higher than 3200. If that means a dark photo, then it’s a dark photo. I can help it some in Lightroom and all sorts of things can be made from it  I love converting dark photos to black and white, stuff like that  

or 

I just don’t take the photo.   that’s a legitimate choice for me when conditions are against me  

btw, noisy photos make great black and whites of a particular style  

 

Edited by justbananas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But then, you might try using Topaz Denoise or similar software.

The real problem is normally not high ISO but general underexposure. Avoid underexposure in low light situations. Often the exposure metering is tricked by bright light spots, pushing the exposure down and creating noise. Watch your histogram. It is absolutely no problem to blow highlights in a night shot. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, justbananas said:

Both are an improvement. 

Certainly the drop to 1.4 makes a big difference. That’s what I use when shooting indoors.  I try to keep shutter speed higher than 1/80 and aim for a low of 1/125

I further restrict my iso to no higher than 3200. If that means a dark photo, then it’s a dark photo. I can help it some in Lightroom and all sorts of things can be made from it  I love converting dark photos to black and white, stuff like that  

or 

I just don’t take the photo.   that’s a legitimate choice for me when conditions are against me  

btw, noisy photos make great black and whites of a particular style  

 

I also find myself converting to b&w, and similarly missing some shots entirely. I'm leaning towards the 1.4 lens as it'll hold its value over time much better than the camera body

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jaapv said:

But then, you might try using Topaz Denoise or similar software.

The real problem is normally not high ISO but general underexposure. Avoid underexposure in low light situations. Often the exposure metering is tricked by bright light spots, pushing the exposure down and creating noise. Watch your histogram. It is absolutely no problem to blow highlights in a night shot. 

A good suggestion to look at other software other than what's available in Lightroom, thanks. Do you suggest spot metering?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also use Topaz Denoise to remove noise in low light photos, if necessary, and the results are indeed convincing. There is a 30 days free trial version available - no risk. It is however a little resource hungry, to convert a 25MB photo it takes around 2min, even with an Intel Core i7 3.2 GHz processor and 32GB RAM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

10 hours ago, shawrob said:

I currently use the T and 23mm and it's great besides the noise in lower light situations. Would the upgrade to TL2 (better High ISO) or switching out the 23mm for TL 35mm (2.0 vs 1.4) see a bigger improvement? I'm comfortable with either 35 or 50mm FOV and don't mind the size of the 35. 

 

Any experience appreciated!

I suspect you are not getting the best out of PP software including noise reduction.  Sometimes it is better to have areas with slight black clipping. You can make matters worse by trying to retrieve too much detail in the shadows. Make a virtual copy for reference , then zero all adjustments and start again. Your Summicron should be good enough for most purposes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, shawrob said:

I currently use the T and 23mm and it's great besides the noise in lower light situations. Would the upgrade to TL2 (better High ISO) or switching out the 23mm for TL 35mm (2.0 vs 1.4) see a bigger improvement? I'm comfortable with either 35 or 50mm FOV and don't mind the size of the 35. 

 

Any experience appreciated!

the T701 with 23mm f2 is lousy for night low light work..its the sensor not the lens that's the problem....& that's when i moved to the SL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no idea about the T. But my experience with the DMR and M8 taught me that even those could be made to perform well at night.

The trick was to start even before taking the photograph: use manual exposure, do not worry about highlights, even if severely blown they often look natural, just get the highlighted areas that need detail just inside the righthand side of the histogram. Then make sure that your handholding techniques are as good as you can manage to maximize the shutter time. The whole idea is to get as many photons onto that sensor as possible.

In software, - I use ACR + PS- get to know sharpening, masking and noise reduction controls. Get as few artefacts as possible in when reducing noise, (masking) and sharpening in ACR - two sides of the same coin. Go back and forth between the two @ 100% using the option/alt key.
If you need to salvage a shot, put the noisy parts on a layer and work on those, either by a program like Franzis DeNoise or Topaz, or even simple blurring, and merge with the background layer. You'll be surprised by how far you can get.
Use local sharpening and blurring in Photoshop. Only sharpen for screen or print when you are completely done. There are a number of sharpening techniques, but that chapter gets too convoluted for a forum post.

Don't blame your gear ;) Photography has always been about learning how to get limitations to work for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, jaapv said:

I have no idea about the T. But my experience with the DMR and M8 taught me that even those could be made to perform well at night.

The trick was to start even before taking the photograph: use manual exposure, do not worry about highlights, even if severely blown they often look natural, just get the highlighted areas that need detail just inside the righthand side of the histogram. Then make sure that your handholding techniques are as good as you can manage to maximize the shutter time. The whole idea is to get as many photons onto that sensor as possible.

In software, - I use ACR + PS- get to know sharpening, masking and noise reduction controls. Get as few artefacts as possible in when reducing noise, (masking) and sharpening in ACR - two sides of the same coin. Go back and forth between the two @ 100% using the option/alt key.
If you need to salvage a shot, put the noisy parts on a layer and work on those, either by a program like Franzis DeNoise or Topaz, or even simple blurring, and merge with the background layer. You'll be surprised by how far you can get.
Use local sharpening and blurring in Photoshop. Only sharpen for screen or print when you are completely done. There are a number of sharpening techniques, but that chapter gets too convoluted for a forum post.

Don't blame your gear ;) Photography has always been about learning how to get limitations to work for you.

very true..but the t701 sensor [ ive shot over 8000 pics at night in available light with the T 23mm ], is terrible with noise above ISO 800, 1600 is "managable" with a stylised look, 3200 is worse than a phone.. was a little bit better with the M summilux f1.4, but i gave up and went with the SL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, frame-it said:

very true..but the t701 sensor [ ive shot over 8000 pics at night in available light with the T 23mm ], is terrible with noise above ISO 800, 1600 is "managable" with a stylised look, 3200 is worse than a phone.. was a little bit better with the M summilux f1.4, but i gave up and went with the SL

I’d have to agree, 1600 could be the limit. Appreciate the advice of course to try and get the most from the T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience is this: 

  • Learn the body and its sensor thoroughly. Noise is almost always the result of a combination of pushing to too high an ISO and underexposure. Learn the highest ISO that is capable of giving you the dynamic range required (dynamic range gets smaller as ISO is raised) and learn how to expose properly for the scene. This includes learning how to use a tripod or other camera support if you need extended exposure times past the range that you can hand-hold, and learning how to meter (what mode and what to point the meter at) for proper exposure, which isn't necessarily exactly what the meter says. 
  • An f/1.4 lens nets you just one stop more light than an f/2 lens. In ISO terms, that's the difference between ISO 400 and ISO 800. I've found that to be mostly inconsequential ... I almost always use 1 to 2 stops down from maximum aperture for best results anyway and only use wide open aperture on such a fast lens when I'm trying for a very specific look and feel to my photographs. Pick lenses on the basis of what field of view you want and what the specific lenses' rendering performance is rather than to try to defeat noise.
  • There are situations where the body/sensor simply doesn't have enough capability to do the job. That's when you look for a better performing body. I don't know how much better performing the TL or TL2 are over the T; I only know the CL body produces excellent dynamic range and reasonably smooth image character up to ISO 3200 with proper exposure. Beyond that, image character even with proper exposure is a bit 'rough' and dynamic range becomes a bit tight, but there are photo situations where these constraints are not a bad thing. 

I almost never use noise reduction in post processing beyond simple tweaks in Lightroom, and even those I use pretty lightly. I find the results of noise reduction in post processing produces results that look artificial to my eye. I'd rather see a slightly rough image character than artificially smoothed image character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ramarren said:

My experience is this: 

  • Learn the body and its sensor thoroughly. Noise is almost always the result of a combination of pushing to too high an ISO and underexposure. Learn the highest ISO that is capable of giving you the dynamic range required (dynamic range gets smaller as ISO is raised) and learn how to expose properly for the scene. This includes learning how to use a tripod or other camera support if you need extended exposure times past the range that you can hand-hold, and learning how to meter (what mode and what to point the meter at) for proper exposure, which isn't necessarily exactly what the meter says. 
  • An f/1.4 lens nets you just one stop more light than an f/2 lens. In ISO terms, that's the difference between ISO 400 and ISO 800. I've found that to be mostly inconsequential ... I almost always use 1 to 2 stops down from maximum aperture for best results anyway and only use wide open aperture on such a fast lens when I'm trying for a very specific look and feel to my photographs. Pick lenses on the basis of what field of view you want and what the specific lenses' rendering performance is rather than to try to defeat noise.
  • There are situations where the body/sensor simply doesn't have enough capability to do the job. That's when you look for a better performing body. I don't know how much better performing the TL or TL2 are over the T; I only know the CL body produces excellent dynamic range and reasonably smooth image character up to ISO 3200 with proper exposure. Beyond that, image character even with proper exposure is a bit 'rough' and dynamic range becomes a bit tight, but there are photo situations where these constraints are not a bad thing. 

I almost never use noise reduction in post processing beyond simple tweaks in Lightroom, and even those I use pretty lightly. I find the results of noise reduction in post processing produces results that look artificial to my eye. I'd rather see a slightly rough image character than artificially smoothed image character.

Thank you for sharing. Another factor to consider is the variable aperture of the 23mm, 2.8 wide open at closer proximity to the subject. From what I've read the TL2 sensor is broadly similar to the CL's so I'd expect similar ISO performance. I did briefly consider the CL but I love the T line, the design and build want me to pick them up and get out to shoot.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, shawrob said:

Thank you for sharing. Another factor to consider is the variable aperture of the 23mm, 2.8 wide open at closer proximity to the subject. From what I've read the TL2 sensor is broadly similar to the CL's so I'd expect similar ISO performance. I did briefly consider the CL but I love the T line, the design and build want me to pick them up and get out to shoot.  

The X 113 lens had the same behavior. I never found it a problem ... at the close focusing distances where this behavior is enforced by Leica's firmware (less than 1m), I always stop down from wide open anyway to obtain enough depth of field to get good results, and usually way past f/2.8, with any lens. I see no point to the razor thin DoF that wide open aperture at near-macro distances produces, but that's IMO of course. 

I don't own any TL series lenses myself; I use R and M mount lenses exclusively on my CL. I only have two lenses faster than f/2 and almost never have any problems with noise. If the TL2 sensor is the same as the CL, I could use it the same way without any cautions ... I just prefer the controls and built-in EVF of the CL. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Upgrading the sensor will improve the performance of all your lenses. In addition, AF and startup times are faster on the TL2 and CL as are shot-to-shot times - especially with manual lenses. 

I generally agree that bodies depreciate - but this is a quantum leap that I think you will benefit from in several ways.  I have the T and 23 and 1.4 and zooms - and they are different beasts on the upgraded bodies. I highly recommend the upgrade in any case. I hope this is helpful.  Cheers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just to say that I looked at your website, Shaw work. You have a very fine eye, indeed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, bags27 said:

just to say that I looked at your website, Shaw work. You have a very fine eye, indeed. 

Thank you very much, that means a lot from a forum member as the quality and knowledge here is excellent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, DGP said:

Upgrading the sensor will improve the performance of all your lenses. In addition, AF and startup times are faster on the TL2 and CL as are shot-to-shot times - especially with manual lenses. 

I generally agree that bodies depreciate - but this is a quantum leap that I think you will benefit from in several ways.  I have the T and 23 and 1.4 and zooms - and they are different beasts on the upgraded bodies. I highly recommend the upgrade in any case. I hope this is helpful.  Cheers. 

Helpful it is, the T's shot to shot blackout is one of its Achilles heels. The newer bodies look to be more than capable for many years to come, an the TL lenses seem to hold value pretty well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, shawrob said:

A good suggestion to look at other software other than what's available in Lightroom, thanks. Do you suggest spot metering?

He’s right about this. With my cl, I commonly go against what the light meter is telling me because some highlight in the back is bright. Thank goodness for live previews 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And a live Histogram in the EVF ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Read more about our Privacy Policy