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10-12-2009, 01:59 PM   #1
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Image noise in the K7?

I am really loving shooting with my new K7...but one thing I have noticed is increased noise in my images - compared to the old Samsung gx20..
Because i mainly take images of birds(sigma 150-500mm hsm) i usually need to have a high shutter speed... i tend to hover around the 1/500 - 1/1000 mark and as such only shoot in the brightest of conditions.I also use RAW almost all of the time and the ISO rarely goes above 400....but the noise is there and very noticable, I thought this was an improved sensor.......
Does anyone have any thoughts suggestions?
Dont get me wrong about the K7 though,this is the only fault I can find!!

10-12-2009, 03:12 PM   #2
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Hi Kositoes,
Do you have the Camera in the default BRIGHT setting? If you use this setting you will find that Sharpening is added which increases Noise, If you switch to NATURAL you will find a great improvement. You could of course use the noise reduction in the Pentax software if you prefer, When i first had my K7 i would add 2 clicks in the NR which removed the noise and did not have any observable effect on detail retention.

Best Regards.
10-12-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Whitewings Quote
Hi Kositoes,
Do you have the Camera in the default BRIGHT setting? If you use this setting you will find that Sharpening is added which increases Noise, If you switch to NATURAL you will find a great improvement. You could of course use the noise reduction in the Pentax software if you prefer, When i first had my K7 i would add 2 clicks in the NR which removed the noise and did not have any observable effect on detail retention.

Best Regards.
Hi Whitewings
I remember you said that in a previous post...but I thought those settings only applied to Jpeg? hopefully I'm wrong as usual!
I really dont like the software that much and have been using silkypix or lightroom to develop my images...maybe I should persevere witht the Penatx SW.
Jimmy
10-12-2009, 04:08 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kositoes Quote
I am really loving shooting with my new K7...but one thing I have noticed is increased noise in my images - compared to the old Samsung gx20..
When I tested the K-7, I saw a slight advantage for the K20D which I thought was not significant though.

Meanwhile, more accurate testing reveals that the K20D is indeed a tad less noisier.

The recent K-7 review from dpr revealed that the K-7 is in one league with the D300. But that K20D was best of the pack. We didn't know then. But now we do.

The slight K20D advantage starts to be visible at ISO 800.

I don't know if DPR allows embedding of their charts. Here is the RAW gray noise chart:

Source: Pentax K-7 Review: 16. Photographic tests (Noise): Digital Photography Review

On the positive side, many consider the K-7 noise more pleasing, more film like. The noise from the K20D was rather ugly looking.

10-12-2009, 04:20 PM   #5
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Falconeye, thanks for bringing these tests up.
I just received my K-7 and quite like the film-like noise you get at ISO 1600. I'm still a beginner, so apologies if this has been debated here in lenght already: if I want to get an overall noise more similar to the D300 at and above ISO800, do I have to shoot RAW? or can I tweak the JPEG settings on the K-7 for reduced chroma noise? (as Whitewings mentions)

thanks for your helping me make the best out of that great camera!
10-12-2009, 04:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by madbar Quote
if I want to get an overall noise more similar to the D300 at and above ISO800, do I have to shoot RAW? or can I tweak the JPEG settings on the K-7 for reduced chroma noise? (as Whitewings mentions)
Tweaking JPG settings helps, but only this much.

To be sincere, Nikon currently has the best in-camera NR algorithms applied to JPGs. To produce the same kind of image, shot in RAW and process thru NoiseNinja, NeatImage, DFine, or a similiar capable program. Lightroom cannot compete either. Note however, that noise reduction looks much better on screen than it has any positive effect in print outs.

I applied NR to some of the Imaging resource test images and starting from Pentax samples, could beat most of the JPGs posted there (at the equivalent ISO setting). It is amazing how good an image from a NR can look like, even from seemingly garbage in. I am saying this because we are actually finishing the noise reduction part of our video importer and are amazed by what is possible. Some time I'll start a thread with a noise reduction competition.

Last edited by falconeye; 10-12-2009 at 04:32 PM.
10-12-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kositoes Quote
Because i mainly take images of birds(sigma 150-500mm hsm) i usually need to have a high shutter speed... i tend to hover around the 1/500 - 1/1000 mark and as such only shoot in the brightest of conditions.I also use RAW almost all of the time and the ISO rarely goes above 400....but the noise is there and very noticable, I thought this was an improved sensor.......
Does anyone have any thoughts suggestions?
Dont get me wrong about the K7 though,this is the only fault I can find!!
Hi kositoes,

I'm mainly a bird shooter, and I rarely shoot at 1/500-1/1000 shutter speeds. Much more likely, I'm shooting at 1/200 -1/100, and try to keep the shutter speeds up faster than 1/125 if I can when handholding at 500mm and shorter. Longer than 500mm is usually from a tripod, but the 1/125 floor still holds in order to keep subject motion at least reasonably controlled. Yes, a percentage of shots are ruined by subject motion, but as long as I get some good ones, I'm usually satisfied.

I try to shoot at ISO 400 or lower, but it's not unusual for me to use anything up to 1250 -- and I'm shooting jpegs. In PP, I usually select the subject and apply some form of NR to the rest of the frame, and don't do much to counteract the noise in the subject in most cases -- in a print, the noise looks more like texture in the feathers, and is most objectionable in the background, IMO. YMMV. . .

I think too much is made of noise -- in prints, unless they're very big, a lot of noise is irrelevant. At normal viewing sizes on monitors, it's also just not that big a deal. For just a slideshow presentation, I'll downsize the images so they display faster and take up less storage -- this will also have the effect of reducing the noticeable noise, as long as you don't exacerbate it by sharpening too much. For posting, I downsize even more, and selectively sharpen only the subject to give it more separation, and the additional downsizing usually totally eliminates noise from the background. It usually takes a while to get the whole process down, so the best advice I can give is to PP specifically for the medium that you're planning to display on, and then work out a routine that suits this medium, instead of pixel peeping at 100+% on a computer screen.

Scott
10-12-2009, 05:47 PM   #8
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Slower speeds

Thanks Scott. for that detailed and informative reply..I will try shooting a little slower and see if it makes any difference.
As for the pixel peeping..........GUILTY!!

10-12-2009, 06:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kositoes Quote
Hi Whitewings
I remember you said that in a previous post...but I thought those settings only applied to Jpeg? hopefully I'm wrong as usual!
I really dont like the software that much and have been using silkypix or lightroom to develop my images...maybe I should persevere witht the Penatx SW.
Jimmy
I use Silkypix 3.0, it has built in Noise Reduction for both Chroma and Luminance noise.
Not as efficient as Noiseware - but quite usable for my normal workflow.
10-13-2009, 11:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kositoes Quote
Hi Whitewings
I remember you said that in a previous post...but I thought those settings only applied to Jpeg? hopefully I'm wrong as usual!
I really dont like the software that much and have been using silkypix or lightroom to develop my images...maybe I should persevere witht the Penatx SW.
Jimmy
Hi Again,
The Camera Does not affect the RAW images per se, As a RAW image is just that! But the Camera does attach any info about the settings you have made to the file so that when you open the Image in the Pentax Software any corrections say- Colour balance, Lens distortion correction etc etc are already applied to the viewed image, You can see the image in its true state by clicking on any of the adjustment controls in PP and this will remove all of the parameters set in Camera. I find the images quite acceptable now straight from the Camera using the NATURAL setting and so rarely need to do very much in PP, Which is just as well because it is an awful piece of software if like me you save as Tiff in Adobe Colour Space!!!
I do not know about the Silkypix Software but i imagine it to be fairly similar in function as it is they that produce the Pentax Raw Software.
I hope that you find a solution that suits you, But be assured that it is possible to get noise free images from the K7!

Best Regards
10-13-2009, 01:23 PM   #11
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Hi Whitewings/Kittycat46
I like what you have to say...and I look forward to trying it out in earnest tommorrow.....(weather permitting)
I also spent a good couple of hours this afternoon reading my manual....so I have a better idea how to get the best from this great camera.
RE the software...I have to say I really dont like the supplied SW....it is honestly the most over complicated over fussy photo editing suite I have come across.
This is just an opinion however - some may love it,but not me.
Silky pix are behind it - but it is really like night and day between the K7 supplied SW and silkypix developer studio 3...
You can try it out at the silkypix website SILKYPIX Developer Studio
If you have used lightroom you will straight away see the similarities....it may also be more useful for your tiff extraction.
Thanks again.

Jimmy
10-13-2009, 01:44 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
Falconeye, thanks for posting that chart. I take your point that it doesn't always matter, and I'm certainly enjoying the K-7, but having just spent an absolute fortune on one of these things, this chart seriously disappoints me. I should imagine the K-X would be on par K20D too as well. That's a real letdown from pentax.
10-13-2009, 01:57 PM   #13
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@Nass

I think the noise profile for the K-x will be an improvement over the K20/K7. It has a newer 12MP Sony sensor that has been developed with high ISO performance in mind, and some early image results (from 6400 and 12800 ISO !!)

PENTAX K-x TEST (KX) ISO-12800 & ISO-6400 - a set on Flickr

do suggest distinct improvements over the K20 & K7.

There's a 14 MP Sony sensor available with the same design as the 12MP one in the K-x. Perhaps it will make it's way into the K7s or K8.
10-13-2009, 02:34 PM   #14
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Thanks Rawr. I'm hoping this is user error and that I've simply not found the best combinations of settings. I can't believe that a company which intends to retain customer loyalty in the 'vaguely informed' dslr space would trumpet about a LX successor and have it have such average aspects to its performance. I don't expect everything on a plate but I expect a little more than this.
10-13-2009, 03:43 PM   #15
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Nass, I do believe that with a very capable camera like the K7, even if it has weaknesses, with more experience with it, you should be able to take amazing photos under almost any conditions.

One of the K7 weaknesses is the not-great high ISO performance, which may affect specialised photogs (sports, weddings etc) who need good low light performance more than other types of photographers I think.

It's interesting watching the desire for good high ISO evolve. Nikon has been leading this trend, or has been most responsive to it. The D90, D300s, D700 and D3 were engineered to be excellent high ISO performers.

Continuing the trend, I just read today about the introduction of the new Nikon D3s, which features ISO 200 to 12800 with an ISO boost feature which goes up to ISO 102400 (!) whilst promising usable images.

British Journal of Photography - The devil is in the detail

You can see the same trend in other brands. Pentax is aware of this.
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