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09-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #1
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Pentax K30 heavy NR applied to RAW files...

I've got my Pentax K30 for a few days now and my enthusiasm dropped quite a bit today when I played with some high ISO files...I also have a K-5 and I compared the two cameras and unfortunately it looks like K30 applies some heavy NR to it's RAW files, by default. I will try to upload a couple of ISO 3200 samples to see for yourself. I hope it will work, I've never done this before... The K-5's white balance is a bit off but the NR in K-30's is really obvious anyway...

K30


K-5


K30b


K-5b


K30c


K-5c



Last edited by Nicks; 09-08-2012 at 12:17 PM.
09-08-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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Don't shoot above ISO1600 then, just lighten up ISO1600 photos.
09-08-2012, 11:48 AM   #3
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Are you sure you're looking at RAW NR?
What software are you using to process the files?
I did a quick check a few days ago and the RAW files looked good up to ISO6400.

Added later...

Here's a test that might prove helpful: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studio-compare#baseDir=%2Freviews_data&camer...86507151034328

If you pan around the scene(using the navigator) you'll find that the K-30 is pretty much on parr with the K-5 in terms of NR, though interestingly enough, it seems to edge out a bit past the K-5 in detail retention.
09-08-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
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JohnBee, I know that comparison. If you look at the Kodak gray scale on the upper part of the image, at around 12-13 scale, you will see how evident the NR is. It's true, it's not visible on all textures and, of course, only evident in darker areas.

09-08-2012, 12:49 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicks Quote
JohnBee, I know that comparison. If you look at the Kodak gray scale on the upper part of the image, at around 12-13 scale, you will see how evident the NR is. It's true, it's not visible on all textures and, of course, only evident in darker areas.
Looks like the DPReview site is down(bummer ).

However, I downloaded both K30 & K-5 ISO3200 RAW test shots from Imaging Resources' Comparometer and found what looks like identical noise patterns and low level NR between them with a slight edge in detail retention going to the K30.

K-5 ISO3200 RAW, NR 0


K-30 ISO3200 RAW, NR 0


K-5 ISO3200 RAW, NR 0


K-30 ISO3200 RAW, NR 0


That being said, I'd also point-out that your samples(above) have NR applied to them and so its unlikely that you can evaluate effective RAW noise performance between those particular samples. Therefore the only way to identify high ISO noise performance at this stage would be to turn off any form of NR in your RAW developer beforehand.

ope this helps.

Last edited by JohnBee; 09-08-2012 at 01:17 PM.
09-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicks Quote
JohnBee, I know that comparison. If you look at the Kodak gray scale on the upper part of the image, at around 12-13 scale, you will see how evident the NR is. It's true, it's not visible on all textures and, of course, only evident in darker areas.
Okay the DPReview studio tool is finally back up().
Interesting outcome when comparing these particular RAW files(K-5 and K30) with RAW Therapee .




At first glance this would seem consistent with what you mentioned earlier, though upon closer examination, it appears as though there is more than the effects of NR at play between these particular samples.

ie. if you look closely at the time robot(which is closer), you'll noticed that the K30D presents a detail advantage over the K-5 in this area. Likewise... if we consider the Paul Smith watch which is close to the same focal plain as the tin robot, we find the K30D again showing the advantage over the K-5. However, when we consider the darker areas surrounding the watch, we do not find the blurring of details as is seen in the Kodak gray scale chart. - And so I'm thinking these differences are likely due to setup variances rather than sensor NR in the end.

Hope this helps.
09-08-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
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To my eye, it still looks that K-5 preserves more detail in darker areas whereas K-30's noise seems to have a "smudge" effect applied to it....It's even more evident at ISO 6400.

K30


K-5
09-08-2012, 07:54 PM   #8
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Good work John Bee. It's not easy to detect these diffferences upon casual inspection or test.

It's too bold to say straight up 'K30 heavy NR applied to RAW'. Doesn't look heavy to me at all from the DPR or IR samples, especially if we are talking about something kicking in mainly at stratospheric ISO's like 6400.

If the K-30 was doing NR heavy-handed, DxO will call them out for it in their tests (when they come). They know that Pentax tweaks RAW output.

09-08-2012, 09:24 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicks Quote
To my eye, it still looks that K-5 preserves more detail in darker areas whereas K-30's noise seems to have a "smudge" effect applied to it....It's even more evident at ISO 6400.
Having looked at ISO6400 images, I think you may be on to something here.
09-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
If the K-30 was doing NR heavy-handed, DxO will call them out for it in their tests (when they come). They know that Pentax tweaks RAW output.
And here's your confirmation rawr....DxO's results:

Cons
A dynamic range slightly inferior to that of the Pentax K-5
Significant smoothing from 1600 ISO onwards that limits the resolution
09-17-2012, 11:30 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicks Quote
And here's your confirmation rawr....DxO's results:
Cons
A dynamic range slightly inferior to that of the Pentax K-5 Significant smoothing from 1600 ISO onwards that limits the resolution
You got me there.

But the K-30 resolution story isn't straight-forward.

Looking at the photoreview.com.au resolution by ISO charts for both cameras (below), K-30 resolution holds on pretty well past 1600 ISO compared to the K-5. Indeed at (for example ISO 3200 and above, shooting RAW) K-30 resolution often seems better than the K-5.



The photoreview.com.au tests may indicate that in the field, with typical lenses (they test with the lenses supplied with the review camera), and depending on your RAW processor, the consequences of Pentax's fiddling with the K-30's RAW may not be as 'significant' as DxO imply.

Last edited by rawr; 09-17-2012 at 11:38 PM.
09-18-2012, 01:05 AM   #12
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It's just a shame Pentax is limiting the possibilities of this camera with their NR. With the already much better AF of the K30 I guess they were afraid K5II won't justify the higher price.....I'm not sure how good the new AF system will be for the new K5 but I'm quite impressed with K30's AF and I shoot most of the time in low light with fast lenses. Unfortunately the noise reduction beats the purpose of the better low light AF which is a bummer.....
09-18-2012, 03:48 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicks Quote
Unfortunately the noise reduction beats the purpose of the better low light AF which is a bummer.....
Aren't you over-reacting?
It looks to me like the K-30's hard-wired NR is subtle and not field-relevant.

Other things - like for example simply which RAW processor you use to process your K-30 RAWs - would probably have a bigger impact.
09-18-2012, 05:02 AM   #14
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The NR kicks in really bad when you shoot a darker scene with continuous patterns like hair, skin, carpet etc. If you don't shoot indoor at low light, the K30's image is beautiful. Yeah maybe I'm venting a little bit but, after more than a year of frustrating AF with my K-5, I was really hyped about K30's AF when I noticed my son's hair looking like a yellow patch and my wife's face looking like pinkish spot with eyes. In some situations it is really relevant and unfortunately for me, I like shooting in those situations K30 doesn't like.....I just don't understand why Pentax would willingly handicap their own product......
09-18-2012, 05:36 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicks Quote
The NR kicks in really bad when you shoot a darker scene ..when I noticed my son's hair looking like a yellow patch and my wife's face looking like pinkish spot with eyes
Sounds a bit drastic. Out of curiosity, what program do you use to process your RAW's?
Not all are as good at extracting detail, and some have their own ideas about doing NR.
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