B-b-b-b-banding!!!

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions
mosswings
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to creaDVty, Apr 3, 2013

creaDVty wrote:

Hi Gar Ber and Horshack,  I'm not familiar with rawdigger.  All I know is when I import the raw shots into Lightroom, and I push it 5 stops, I don't see any banding (even the intentionally underexposed one -- so I don't think it's a matter of choosing the right exposure).  Can you help me understand why that is the case, and how I can avoid banding?

Best regards,

Mic

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Rawdigger is a low-level RAW file analysis tool that allows you to see, for example, histograms of the actual RAW values, by channel, free of any interpretation of the sort that LR or CNX2 will apply.

RHPetrus has reported that banding only shows up when the RAW levels are 6-8 or lower in all channels, which is very, very, far into the black.  Horshack's observation that banding may be related to unbalanced clipping squares with this.

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Gar Ber
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to creaDVty, Apr 3, 2013

Hello creaDVty

RawDigger is a free tool that enables you to open raw files (including NEF) and quickly shows you some statistical data for that particular file.

The ISO100 still life picture from imaging sources does not contain data that would be dark enough to exhibit noticeable banding. (FYI a couple of posts ago, I posted an observation I made on my files, and it seems to agree with other people findings - banding only seems to become noticeable if the lightness levels are really low - that is if you have really really, near zero values)

In the sunflower picture that you made available all three channels contain extremely low values where banding occurs, in fact R and B channels have zero values.

So if possible (depending on the scene being shot) for now I think ETTR would be best (that means exposing to the right as much as possible without blowing the highlights). For some scenes this does not help (for example for me, at night it doesn't work...you'll have at least some area in complete darkness most of the time).

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creaDVty
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to mosswings, Apr 3, 2013

Thanks mosswings.  I'll try rawdigger on my own shots to see where the levels are on the shots where I saw banding.

Best regards,

Mic

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creaDVty
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to Gar Ber, Apr 3, 2013

Thanks Gar Ber.  Since banding shows up only on extremely low levels and the JPEGs won't show any banding, would it be correct to say that if banding shows up one way to remove it is to force black clipping of the darkest areas? (Assuming I prefer no detail in the dark area rather than a little bit of detail with banding).

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Horshack
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to creaDVty, Apr 3, 2013

creaDVty wrote:

Thanks Horshack.  I'll try the JPEGs again on mine to see if I get any banding.

About the NEF samples not having deep enough shadows, one of the samples I tested was this seriously underexposed shot

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/nikon-d5200/D5200OUTBAP0.NEF.HTM

Are the shadows there not deep enough?  If so, then I don't understand why I have had shots with seemingly less deep shadows that do exhibit banding (at around ISO 250, pushed +1.5 EV).

That IR image has banding. Here's the +5EV conversion on the center near the hands (orig horizontal orientation).

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Gar Ber
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to Horshack, Apr 3, 2013

I agree. It also has banding on the railing (or whatever that thing in the background is) but it's hardly noticeable. This is just another demonstration of "banding being there is different than banding being noticeable".

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creaDVty
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to Horshack, Apr 3, 2013

Thanks Horshack. I did not notice them when I looked at them, but now that you point them out yes you're right there is slight banding.  On my shots where banding is much more prominent, would you say that it is simply due to the raw levels being higher on the IR shot?

Best regards,

Mic

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Gar Ber
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to creaDVty, Apr 3, 2013

Well it could help. It all depends on what happens with the picture afterwards. I'm not that familiar with Lightroom to tell you the sequence of processing it does, but usually if you'd clip and then push the shadows, all that was clipped could easily bring back all that banding.

I don't know how to explain this that clearly but maybe it would help to do two experiments:

Import a clean NEf that you know has banding....clip to some low level....then export as tiff or some other file. Then do your shadow pushing on this exported picture. If the clipping was high enough you should see no banding whatsoever, but the extremely dark areas will have absolutely no detail.

Then import again the same clean nef and so clipping and shadows pushing in one go...most probably you'll just get back all that banding delight, by pushing all that noise right above the clipping level.

Again..I don't know if this will work in Lightroom.

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Mark van Dam
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to creaDVty, Apr 3, 2013

creaDVty wrote:

I'm also tempted to go back to the store and see if there is banding on another sample.  But I really wonder how it could be sample variation if DPReview's D7100 and D5200 both do not exhibit any banding, and Imaging Resource also doesn't have any banding with its D5200 and D7100.  Could DPR and Imaging Resource be so lucky?

At the same time, responses like yours suggests that it is not uncommon to find banding.  So I'm really confused.

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The two cameras I tried were close in serial number as they were both purchased from the same store in the initial days of release, so the sensors could have and most likely were produced in the same production run.  This suggests that banding might be limited to certain units, although I have seen banding in some review samples around the web too.  I'm in Ontario, Canada.

My second camera also had autofocus problems (left AF sensors way off, and different AF fine-tuning settings required for the same lens for bright versus low-light), so it was an easy decision for me to return it.  I've decided to wait a couple of months to see if this issue is resolved or wait for a different model and/or brand of camera that better suits my needs.

In my opinion, banding on these cameras should not be caused by any settings the photographer chooses, as the previous generation of cameras (ie. D5100/D7000) did not exhibit these artifcats no matter how high you cranked ADL or how severely you underexposed.  If ADL was not supposed to be used, why would Nikon include it as an option?  On my units, banding was visible in both jpeg and raw conversions, with only Silkypix 5 Pro offering the ability to eliminate it in raw, with some resulting loss of fine detail.

I seriously doubt that the settings either dpreview or IR have used to shoot their sample shots would eliminate the banding you are seeing on your particular camera. If I were in your position I would definitely return your camera either for a refund or replacement.

When I examine raw files from a Fuji XE1 or X100s, for example, there is almost no limit to how hard you can push the shadows.  The question I asked myself was, "would I rather be able to do this with my raw files?"  The answer for me was easy.

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_sem_
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to creaDVty, Apr 3, 2013

creaDVty wrote:

Hi Gar Ber and Horshack,  I'm not familiar with rawdigger.  All I know is when I import the raw shots into Lightroom, and I push it 5 stops, I don't see any banding (even the intentionally underexposed one -- so I don't think it's a matter of choosing the right exposure).  Can you help me understand why that is the case, and how I can avoid banding?

I checked two sunset beach with rocks D5200 NEF banding samples that were once posted here, they're exposed ok for the sky around the sun. Upon lifting 5 stop in LR4, the dark areas were still dark but no banding. Then raise the shadows 50%, voila banding.

There's an interesting detail in the second sample _DSC0066.NEF with a large shadow on the rock on the left. Banding does not seem to be uniform. It is much more prominent in the horizontal level of the sun's intense highlights than in the lower part of the shaded rock where there are no highlights in the centre of the image. Coincidence?

Samples here: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50800689

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markswift
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to _sem_, Apr 4, 2013

_sem_ wrote:

creaDVty wrote:

Hi Gar Ber and Horshack,  I'm not familiar with rawdigger.  All I know is when I import the raw shots into Lightroom, and I push it 5 stops, I don't see any banding (even the intentionally underexposed one -- so I don't think it's a matter of choosing the right exposure).  Can you help me understand why that is the case, and how I can avoid banding?

I checked two sunset beach with rocks D5200 NEF banding samples that were once posted here, they're exposed ok for the sky around the sun. Upon lifting 5 stop in LR4, the dark areas were still dark but no banding. Then raise the shadows 50%, voila banding.

There's an interesting detail in the second sample _DSC0066.NEF with a large shadow on the rock on the left. Banding does not seem to be uniform. It is much more prominent in the horizontal level of the sun's intense highlights than in the lower part of the shaded rock where there are no highlights in the centre of the image. Coincidence?

Samples here: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50800689

Well I for one am really impressed with what can be done to this image, at least compared to my D3100, the shadow recovery is fantastic! This image just sold me on buying the D7100. I don't ever see a situation where I'll need to increase and image by 5EV AND pull major shadow recovery.

I had a play with the image, I hope the OP doesn't mind... (Ignore the filename, I forgot to change it, obviously this is NOT my image!)

Image

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markswift
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to markswift, Apr 4, 2013
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Gar Ber
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to Gar Ber, Apr 4, 2013

I've just tried what was suggested here...clipping works if you do it as described up to a degree. The results are not really something I like. The fact is that even at those low levels these is useful information besides the noise pattern, furthermore low levels appear as grain too and if you clip that grain, the whole shadow area just gets more and more heavy grained.You might get different results.

On a second note, I tried the free trial of Topaz Denoise, just to see what it does...and it just dealt with the banding in my D7100 files quickly, nicely and effectively...surprisingly effectively.

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krikman
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Re: Settings to reduce banding; are DPReview samples immune?
In reply to Gar Ber, Apr 11, 2013

At least at D300s with exposure +2 and shadows +100 you'll got colored noise only, also green by the way.

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Petroglyph
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Re: Not bad then
In reply to mosswings, Apr 11, 2013

mosswings wrote:

It was somewhere between 2-3EV when you had A-DL engaged at maximum in really high dynamic scenes and tried to push shadows off of JPGs which were the only things available at the time.  The latest RAWs don't really show it until you get really deep shadows pushed quite heavily. Pushing shadows in a scene that's already been pushed is double jeopardy.

Hmm.  I've been testing this cam and not seeing the banding but I think you've answered way.  I always run a raw work-flow even on my tests.  Mostly I've been working on shadow noise and have pretty good success with one formula.  Would be sad to know if in a High ISO situation I couldn't bias some shadow noise out and correct it in post - but then get banding.  I'm reassured now. 

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