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Effectively maximizing noise/grain with Q2M in camera, not post


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Yes you read this correctly, let’s talk about making our images as noisy/grainy as old film stock, NOT in post, but in body! I’ve been experimenting with trying to get the maximum contrast and significant grain in camera, so I’ve been shooting at much higher ISO, and using the electronic shutter. I am trying to emulate a filmic look as I take the shots, as much as I love a clean image I do think that the Q2M noise is beautiful and grain-like. 

I can understand how some people might find it preferable to add noise in silver EFX Pro or Lightroom, and start with the cleanest image possible for creative flexibility. But I’m finding it very interesting to pursue this look at the time of the shot… Anyone else out there exploring this?

I have found that when I underexpose too much (2.5 - 3 stops), I can see sensor patterns when I bring the exposure back up in post. But sometimes by under exposing I do get interesting noise in the shots, and certainly shooting at higher ISO values works a treat. Would love to continue this discussion with anyone else pursuing a similar creative track with their Q2M.

 

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The camera simply does not have the processing power to do a really good job  consistently.If you want something that simulates Tr-X for instance, you cannot avoid the computer.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jaapv said:

If you want something that simulates Tr-X for instance, you cannot avoid the computer.

i've kept a few scans of tri-x and ilford 400, shot on a black background at dusk for those once-in-a-year-moments that i want to re-grain a photo in photoshop.  A fair amount of work to add in that scanned grain properly, not simply slapping it on as a layer

Edited by frame-it
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2 hours ago, jaapv said:

You're right. And even then, it will never be the real thing.

I didn’t make this post asking how to duplicate the look of actual film emulations, it’s not like anybody needs to be told that digital and film look different. This is not news. Nor is it news that there are film emulation settings in post processing software.

I posted wondering if anybody out there is purposely shooting at higher ISO values in order to maximize the noise/grain in camera body, before post, and perhaps might share some shots or technique ideas. This is a different question than the ones you are answering.

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Yes, it is obvious that you want to do that, still I think that it is more predictable to add noise in postprocessing and start with an optimal file. After all, if you shoot at higher ISO you lose dynamic range and the tonality of the image will be affected. I'm not sure whether one would want to have those side effects.

Personally I like to have the best file possible out of the camera and add any effect I like afterwards.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jaapv said:

Yes, it is obvious that you want to do that, still I think that it is more predictable to add noise in postprocessing and start with an optimal file. After all, if you shoot at higher ISO you lose dynamic range and the tonality of the image will be affected. I'm not sure whether one would want to have those side effects.

Personally I like to have the best file possible out of the camera and add any effect I like afterwards.

As I mentioned in the original post, I understand that some people want to get the best possible file out of the camera. You are of course free to do whatever you choose to do with your images. But I did not post asking for what your favorite way to add noise to a photograph is. In some cases, there is an appeal to having less dynamic range and changing the tonality of the image to produce a certain effect. I don’t know why I have to keep saying this over and over again, what you are posting is not helpful and not new information. 
 

it is a fact that there is more noise at higher ISO and I am seeking the feedback of others who are interested in exploring this as a creative tool with the Q2M. Noise can be a good thing, just ask Lou Reed.

Edited by trickness
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Since the noise is created by lowering exposure, not by raising ISO, you can increase the noise by reducing exposure (shutter speed and aperture) without raising ISO. Of course, if you do not raise ISO enough, the viewfinder would likely be too dark to compose. My point is that at certain high ISO you can apply negative EC to increase noise even more.

Another way to add noise is to use a camera with a smaller sensor. See Daido Moriyama's work: Artist Daido Moriyama – In Pictures | Tate

 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, SrMi said:

Since the noise is created by lowering exposure, not by raising ISO, you can increase the noise by reducing exposure (shutter speed and aperture) without raising ISO. Of course, if you do not raise ISO enough, the viewfinder would likely be too dark to compose. My point is that at certain high ISO you can apply negative EC to increase noise even more.

Another way to add noise is to use a camera with a smaller sensor. See Daido Moriyama's work: Artist Daido Moriyama – In Pictures | Tate

 

 

FINALLY a helpful post! Thanks. I’ll try that. But I’m curious about the assertion that higher ISO doesn’t cause more noise….?

 

Also yes, I am familiar with Moriyama’s work. I also really like Tatsuo Suzuki, He makes very effective use of contrast & noise in his work as well

Edited by trickness
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3 hours ago, trickness said:

I didn’t make this post asking how to duplicate the look of actual film emulations, it’s not like anybody needs to be told that digital and film look different. This is not news. Nor is it news that there are film emulation settings in post processing software.

I posted wondering if anybody out there is purposely shooting at higher ISO values in order to maximize the noise/grain in camera body, before post, and perhaps might share some shots or technique ideas. This is a different question than the ones you are answering.

But it still begs the question why in the body? There is no creative advantage, rather the opposite. 

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I used contrast filters which worked very well for interesting effects.   I have a whole set of them ranging from 0.5 to 7.   These filters do the opposite of what you want though.  They reduce contrast (you indicated you want to maximize it).   For me, they worked wonders in creating special b/w effects and reducing the "digital" look.  The filters were made by Harrison and Harrison, in California.  Perhaps one could spend time on a computer with LR to achieve similar effects but I enjoyed doing as much as I could in camera.   And waiting til I got home to see the results.  I never review photos in camera after capture.  I love the anticipation of wondering what I got.  

Edited by Leica28
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I have been diving deep into analogue photography in the last year having never done so previously. There is an undeniable thrill seeing what comes out of the developer and the look of the image being 99% set at that point. (Yes I know you can post process film but that doesn’t interest me.) Now the effort required in post to get a DNG looking nice is seeming more and more of a pain in the ass. So I for one completely understand the appeal of having a digital camera do the lion’s share of processing!

As for this use case - how about a strong (9 stop perhaps) ND permanently fixed to your lens? Then you can use more usual shutter speeds and leave the ISO to do its thing.

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The most underexposed image I could find in my library. This was one of the few times I trusted the camera's Aperture priority, and the result was a five stops underexposed image (I usually shoot fully manual, and then this would't happened). Still the image has very little noise, so with modern cameras (this is an M10) making noise on purpose this way seems rather difficult.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, jaapv said:

Well, explain the creative advantage to me then please.

For a moderator, your behavior is shockingly childish.

I don’t believe it is a prerequisite of membership of this forum to explain anything to you or anyone else. I would appreciate it if you could remove yourself from this discussion as you are not bringing anything productive to it.

Edited by trickness
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1 hour ago, trickness said:

FINALLY a helpful post! Thanks. I’ll try that. But I’m curious about the assertion that higher ISO doesn’t cause more noise….?

<snip>

Briefly: The most critical component of noise is shot-noise. The lower the exposure -- as determined by shutter speed and aperture -- the more noise is visible. ISO is not part of the exposure. Simplified: ISO amplifies the exposure so that the image is brighter. 

Many believe that increasing ISO increases noise because decreased exposure typically includes an increase in ISO to keep similar image brightness.

 

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1 hour ago, SrMi said:

Briefly: The most critical component of noise is shot-noise. The lower the exposure -- as determined by shutter speed and aperture -- the more noise is visible. ISO is not part of the exposure. Simplified: ISO amplifies the exposure so that the image is brighter. 

Many believe that increasing ISO increases noise because decreased exposure typically includes an increase in ISO to keep similar image brightness.

 

In my experience an underexposed and pulled-up image will show more noise than a properly exposed high-ISO one. That may well be because modern sensors are not completely ISO-invariant and often show a step, in the case of the Q Mono between 400 and 800 ISO. One of the things that makes the proposed technique unpredictable.

PhotonstoPhotos:

 

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7 hours ago, trickness said:

I didn’t make this post asking how to duplicate the look of actual film emulations...

But you did. Be easy on Jaap – he's not crapping on your party, he's trying to nicely tell you forcing ISO 50K on the Q2M to get grain just makes your photos look like crap, which it does (IMO of course).

19 hours ago, trickness said:

...let’s talk about making our images as noisy/grainy as old film stock...

 

Anyway, trying to get grain out of the Q2M is not easy – it's most grainless sensor I've ever used, and by the time it does show grain, it's not at all like old film stock – it's pure digital and IMO unappealing. But I wish you the best in your pursuit of it.

It's too bad Leica doesn't give us an in-camera grain option for the JPEGs like Fujifilm does.

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