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12-31-2014, 01:10 PM   #1
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Pentax MX-1: Noisy at low ISO

I've had my MX-1 for a few months now and I'm generally pleased with the image quality except for one major caveat: it's noisy even at ISO 100. This is especially visible in clear blue skies. Does anyone else notice this? I'm talking about high shutter speeds too. Anyone have a good processing strategy for it? I use Lightroom and I've set up a develop preset which involves minimal sharpening and some noise reduction. I feel that even my 1st-gen Q does better. Maybe it boils down to the actual noise characteristics, but I still prefer the Q for shooting indoors in low-ish light. In fact I prefer the Q in just about every way. It's definitely much more fun to use.

I know I'm a little late to the party, but in general I find the MX-1 to be pretty half-baked. The control set is less extensive than the Q and it's in desperate need of a firmware upgrade (which will never come) to cure some really sluggish operation. It really could have used a bit more development. It has it's place in my bag, but I'm very glad I got it for cheap.

12-31-2014, 01:54 PM   #2
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I'm really happy with mine if I keep the ISO under 400, especially for macro. I use Photo Ninja (Noise Ninja) for my RAW processing, and I'm generally pretty pleased with what I get. ISO over 400 brings the noise for me, so I avoid that like the plaque. I'm pretty happy with mine, but do have some Q curiosity
12-31-2014, 02:04 PM   #3
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I don't get anything noticable at 100% but I've take saturation, contrast and sharpening right off in the custom picture setup.
I don't mind a bit of noise at higher ISOs if it means getting the shot.
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Last edited by Steve.Ledger; 12-31-2014 at 02:10 PM.
12-31-2014, 06:10 PM   #4
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I really feel like noise up to and including ISO 400 hasn't been an issue with mine. 640 isn't bad either. ISO 800 it is noticeable, but easily processed in LR.

01-01-2015, 09:47 AM   #5
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Do you have a picture you could share showing the noise problem?

My Olympus XZ-1 has noise at base ISO, but the noise pattern is so fine that I really don't mind it at all. And I believe the MX-1 is equivalent to the Olympus XZ-2, which means the sensor is supposed to be a little better than the XZ-1 sensor. Here's a picture from my XZ-1 shot in RAW at ISO 100, with no noise reduction applied at all. It was shot under-exposed, so I pushed exposure about 1.5 stops in post-processing, so the noise is more pronounced than a properly exposed ISO 100 shot would be. Nevertheless, the noise doesn't bother me at all (if you click on the picture for the 100% full-size version, the noise is most noticeable in the background):



And here's the same image with noise reduction of 25 applied in Adobe Camera RAW. A bit smoother in terms of noise, but it looses just a tiny bit of the finest detail:



And here's another one that was captured with a brighter exposure (perhaps almost too bright), and noise is not a problem here at all. If I didn't know better, I would probably have a hard time telling that the picture was not from a DSLR:


Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 01-01-2015 at 10:07 AM.
01-01-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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MX-1, jpeg from camera, small adjustments in Picasa, no noise reduction.
not sure if these were posted elsewhere on this site, poor memory.
ISO 200


crop
01-01-2015, 11:10 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by robtcorl Quote
MX-1, jpeg from camera, small adjustments in Picasa, no noise reduction.
not sure if these were posted elsewhere on this site, poor memory.
ISO 200


crop
Looks pretty good to me, but it looks like it does show signs of noise reduction in the leaf in the background (through the hole).
01-01-2015, 11:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Looks pretty good to me, but it looks like it does show signs of noise reduction in the leaf in the background (through the hole).
Perhaps I sharpened it a bit??
I don't have a NR software program, maybe in camera?

I'm not very tech savvy.

01-01-2015, 11:42 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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There was a similar discussion about noise at low ISO on another MX-1 thread here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/7-pentax-compact-cameras/247934-pentax-mx...ml#post2881215

The user got a new camera and that seemed to solve the problem, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to say why that could be, and your situation might not be identical.

In my experience, the MX-1 performs very well at ISOs up to 800 and 1600 is tolerable. (I shoot everything in RAW and post process in Lightroom, if that bears any weight.)

Good luck.
01-01-2015, 12:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by robtcorl Quote
Perhaps I sharpened it a bit??
I don't have a NR software program, maybe in camera?

I'm not very tech savvy.
Yeah, if you're shooting JPEG, then NR is already baked in. You may be able to choose various levels of NR, but it's probably unavoidable. That being said, I don't think NR is a problem in the picture you posted. The image still looks great.
01-02-2015, 03:48 PM   #11
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My first copy had this problem, even at ISO 100...noise was terrible, especially for skies. I started a thread on it somewhere here. The second copy I got was much improved in this regard.
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