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01-03-2008, 05:22 PM   #1
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Is my K10D noisier than yours?

Hello,
As much as I enjoy shooting with my K10D, I have to admit that the image quality I get at ISO 1600 is quite poor — not so much because of noise but because of the well-known vertical banding. In my case, this banding pattern is very visible in dark areas and especially so on the left side of the picture.

I've heard that not all units exhibit this banding pattern with the same severity ; and with the end of the warranty period approaching, I thought I'd try to find out if I own a particularily bad one ;-)

Here is a series of 6 shots taken in a dark room with the lens cap on, ISO 1600, 5s exposure (firmware version: 1.30). Room temperature was around 19C. They have been push-processed (+4ev) in ACR 3.0 to make the noise pattern more visible.

Do you see a similar degree of noise and banding with your K10Ds ?
If you want to have a look and replicate my test, here are a full-rez DNG and the ACR settings I used.














Last edited by Daeman; 01-04-2008 at 02:33 AM.
01-03-2008, 06:32 PM   #2
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Fascinating. And depressing.

I did your test, with both my K10 (a very early model, ca. November 2006) and my *ist D (a very late model, purchased new in 2007).

The K10D @ ISO1600, 5s:


The *ist D @ ISO1600 5s:


What the HELL is that green-to-magenta shift in the K10 image?!? As if the vertical banding wasn't bad enough (it is) this green/magenta coloring has ruined pictures of mine in the past. How sad - I thought it was either flare or something with the lens, but in reality it was just another let-down by this piece of crap sensor in the K10.

This is an image from a wedding I shot, where I was dismayed by the green bottom and magenta top. I was forced to convert to black and white, but lost much of the richness of the ambient light and colors. Sad.
01-03-2008, 06:44 PM   #3
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haha that green to magenta thing looks sick! I've never noticed banding on mine, just a fairly even level of graininess. I'll try and get round to doing some tests some time. Mine isn't an early model. but not a very new one either.
01-03-2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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yes, banding sux ; I and many have discussed. Once you learn to properly expose at high ISO, with the Histogram biased to the right of center w/o clipping/ blowing the highlights you won't ever see it anymore. User EV compensation to ensure the histogram is biasing to the right of center.

01-03-2008, 07:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
yes, banding sux ; I and many have discussed. Once you learn to properly expose at high ISO, with the Histogram biased to the right of center w/o clipping/ blowing the highlights you won't ever see it anymore. User EV compensation to ensure the histogram is biasing to the right of center.
That's really hard to do without blowing highlights in high-contrast low-light scenes. And often in low light I find myself pushing the limits of depth of field and shutter speed already. I really hope the new sensor is an enormous improvement.
01-03-2008, 08:05 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daeman Quote
Here is a series of 6 shots taken in a dark room with the lens cap on, ISO 1600, 5s exposure. Room temperature was around 19C. They have been push-processed (+4ev) in ACR 3.0 to make the noise pattern more visible.


Guess I'll have to buy a Canon 5d for my 5s, lens cap on, dark room photos.
(Light, and expected, humor, sort of)
01-03-2008, 08:13 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
That's really hard to do without blowing highlights in high-contrast low-light scenes. And often in low light I find myself pushing the limits of depth of field and shutter speed already. I really hope the new sensor is an enormous improvement.
It is -- if everyone could do it there'd be nothing special in taking spectacular photos.

However also, it will be very unlikely that you'll be boosting EV in post +2 or more if the dynamic range of the photo is as you describe; the only time one's going to see any banding.

Jeff, lol. it entered my mind too.
01-03-2008, 09:52 PM   #8
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Are you running the 1.00 firmware? 1.01 offered up a fix for that. It didn't totally eliminate it in my case, but it is better.

01-04-2008, 03:36 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies!

Well, carpents, it looks like your K10D is a little better than mine banding-wise... but I doubt mine will qualify for a repair or exchange anyway. The comparison with the *ist image is striking...
I would be interesting to see how late 2007 K10Ds fare in this test.

QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
What the HELL is that green-to-magenta shift in the K10 image?!? As if the vertical banding wasn't bad enough (it is) this green/magenta coloring has ruined pictures of mine in the past. How sad - I thought it was either flare or something with the lens, but in reality it was just another let-down by this piece of crap sensor in the K10.
Indeed, that is weird! And it's inconsistent — sometimes green-blue, sometimes green-magenta, sometimes red-magenta — I'm a bit color-blind, so maybe you will disagree on the names of the hues

QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
yes, banding sux ; I and many have discussed. Once you learn to properly expose at high ISO, with the Histogram biased to the right of center w/o clipping/ blowing the highlights you won't ever see it anymore. User EV compensation to ensure the histogram is biasing to the right of center.
Exposing to the right does help. Unfortunately it's not always an option in low light/high contrast conditions (eg. concert photography). My K10D produces a particularily annoying banding pattern near the left border of the frame, with 5 or 6 thin and evenly spaced stripes looking like a barcode. That one stands out quite clearly on a nice out-of-focus background, even with minimal exposure adjustments.

QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
Guess I'll have to buy a Canon 5d for my 5s, lens cap on, dark room photos.
(Light, and expected, humor, sort of)
Aha, yes Of course this test is quite extreme. But I chose it because it is easily reproducible and because it exhibits the same banding pattern as you can see in real-world images.

QuoteOriginally posted by Jodokast96 Quote
Are you running the 1.00 firmware? 1.01 offered up a fix for that. It didn't totally eliminate it in my case, but it is better.
Oh yes, I should have been more precise. I'm running the 1.30 firmware.

All in all, some good things have emerged from this erm... little peculiarity of the K10D sensor. Cropping the bad parts on the left has made me discover the square format, and I like B&W even more because it makes it easier to hide the banding

Last edited by Daeman; 01-04-2008 at 03:49 AM.
01-04-2008, 06:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
Guess I'll have to buy a Canon 5d for my 5s, lens cap on, dark room photos.
(Light, and expected, humor, sort of)

LOL! Have to clean off my monitor. Thanks!
01-04-2008, 07:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
Guess I'll have to buy a Canon 5d for my 5s, lens cap on, dark room photos.
(Light, and expected, humor, sort of)
I thought it important to post a real-world scenario of why this Sony sensor (or the Pentax implementation of it) is total rubbish. That is why I posted the last picture in my reply.

So, I didn't think your sort-of joke was funny.


I've been considering dumping Pentax for a better system, and I was thinking about keeping the *ist D with a couple lenses and selling the K10. Now I've confirmed why that would be a good choice. I sure hope the next generation of sensors are better than the last.
01-04-2008, 07:39 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
I thought it important to post a real-world scenario of why this Sony sensor (or the Pentax implementation of it) is total rubbish. That is why I posted the last picture in my reply.

So, I didn't think your sort-of joke was funny.


I've been considering dumping Pentax for a better system, and I was thinking about keeping the *ist D with a couple lenses and selling the K10. Now I've confirmed why that would be a good choice. I sure hope the next generation of sensors are better than the last.
Sorry to see you didn't like my bit of injected humor into this gloomy (and discussed since day 1 release of the K10) thread. I didn't buy the k10 because of what had popped up re: high iso, underexposed images and VPN AND the color banding. Contrary to fanboy reactions it was a problem for those needing high iso and has not changed in the past 16 months...and I believe you are aware of this. High ISO costs you DR in the best of conditions so always best to avoid it IF you can.
As a side note: My D was extremely clean at high iso's UNTIL I sent it in for repairs and they swapped out the sensor. New one exhibits HPN to a much larger degree than the old.
Let's see how Pentax does w/ the CMOS. I'm not betting on the k200 BUT from the Gordonbgood posts the VPN can be minimised and I assume the color motteling will as well.
01-04-2008, 07:47 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
Sorry to see you didn't like my bit of injected humor into this gloomy (and discussed since day 1 release of the K10) thread. I didn't buy the k10 because of what had popped up re: high iso, underexposed images and VPN AND the color banding. Contrary to fanboy reactions it was a problem for those needing high iso and has not changed in the past 16 months...and I believe you are aware of this.
This is the first I have seen talk about this disgusting green-magenta color though. That's what I'm royally pissed off about. I gave up on a GordonBGood-type solution for VPN about 10 months ago. Gordon obviously knows more about camera sensors than all of Pentax put together. That's why I'm not sure who is to blame here - Sony for the sensor, or Pentax for the dismal implementation of it, or both.
01-04-2008, 11:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
Fascinating. And depressing.

I did your test, with both my K10 (a very early model, ca. November 2006) and my *ist D (a very late model, purchased new in 2007).

The K10D @ ISO1600, 5s:
...

The *ist D @ ISO1600 5s:
...

What the HELL is that green-to-magenta shift in the K10 image?!? As if the vertical banding wasn't bad enough (it is) this green/magenta coloring has ruined pictures of mine in the past. How sad - I thought it was either flare or something with the lens, but in reality it was just another let-down by this piece of crap sensor in the K10.

This is an image from a wedding I shot, where I was dismayed by the green bottom and magenta top. I was forced to convert to black and white, but lost much of the richness of the ambient light and colors. Sad.
...
These two posts made me do the same test. I don't often take the K10 beyond 800 (which is a problem, since I'd take my DS up to 3200 regularly).

I need to test the DS, but here's the K10 shot - same green/orange/magenta shift.
ISO 1600 5s (SuperTak 35/f2, set at ??) (+4EV)


and at ISO 400 - 1/6s (+4EV)


I've had a number of low light shots at high ISO that I've had to change to BW for usability. Nothing like Sean's example, but still, not what I'd hope for, even for family and friends.
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