ISOless sensors, read noise and photography - many questions!

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
RussellInCincinnati
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so just use an ISO a stop or two below what's "needed"
In reply to Steen Bay, 6 months ago

Steen Bay wrote: Note that the graphs in the OP are a bit inaccurate at the highest ISO settings. If a camera has reached its lowest read noise (e-) at for example ISO 800, then the read noise will be the same at higher ISOs. The read noise will always decrease or remain the same if the ISO is increased, it'll never be higher at a higher ISO than it was at a lower ISO.

Now that you mention it, that must be true. Because why would the manufacturer do anything to the camera to increase its read noise at increasingly high ISO's? Wouldn't make sense. Guess the very slight bounce upward in read noise in the original post graphs is simply "noise in the data" or measurement drift. Thanks for pointing this out, it seems obvious now.

So with your observation, if you want to preserve highlights and get rid of the need for bracketing above ISO 800 on a Nex C3, all you have to do is make sure you're using an ISO that's 800 or higher, but still lower than what you need for a perfect electronic viewfinder preview and playback. By that logic, if need to take a Nex C3 raw picture at ISO 25600, leaving the ISO at 6400 would eliminate the need for bracketing, preserve highlights, and be "just as good" as leaving the ISO at 800. And by setting an ISO just a stop or two lower than what you "need", ISO 6400, for a good viewfinder image, leaves you with an usable viewfinder image without being pointlessly dim ISO 800.

Point well taken. To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

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boardsy
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I'm a believer!
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, 6 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

boardsy wrote: grabbing a few street shots in the dark, I set ISO at 800, set shutter speed at 1/50 (min. necessary...and f2 so under-exposed, and fired away without worrying about the LCD or ISO/brightness.

That's it, that's it. And the street scene you showed again was a good deal of what originally got my attention about this topic. For the life of me could not see anything wrong with that "pushed" photo.

...at least nothing wrong with this photo that a bit of color balancing couldn't fix.

"nothing wrong with this photo that a bit of color balancing couldn't fix" - except that the scene was lit with orange sodium light! But maybe that's a religious discussion for another day/night.

(also interesting to read your description of the optics used for this photo)

My trusty Canon FDn 35/2. Now with added Lens Turbo focal reduction - FF on the cheap; love it also with FDn 50/1.4 and 100/2.8. Also with 28/2.8 and 24/2.8, though it adds barrel distortion (-10 in ACR fixes).

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Alan
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RussellInCincinnati
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making white signs come out white
In reply to boardsy, 6 months ago

boardsy wrote: grabbing a few street shots in the dark, I set ISO at 800, set shutter speed at 1/50 (min. necessary...and f2 so under-exposed, and fired away without worrying about the LCD or ISO/brightness.

...at least nothing wrong with this photo that a bit of color balancing couldn't fix.

"nothing wrong with this photo that a bit of color balancing couldn't fix" - except that the scene was lit with orange sodium light! But maybe that's a religious discussion for another day/night.

My only interest was in making the (presumably) white backgrounds of the little street signs come out white, which is true in version above. Come to think of it perhaps one might not think this balance of your image was any "better" than your original more yellowish print.

Anyway learning to rely on post-processing instead of tweaking ISO in the field, has given me a fresh shot of enjoyment, to poke around in the dark doing unpaid available light images.

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WilbaW
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Re: so just use an ISO a stop or two below what's "needed"
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, 5 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

Make sure you try this idea before you buy it. A few years ago I did that experiment and found that it was possible to "fix" such a shot using esoteric software and elaborate methods, and while the noise was equivalent the colour in the shadows was never quite as good as the shot with the ISO that gave normal/desirable image brightness. In my case there was no pay-off to justify doing more work to get an inferior result.

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RussellInCincinnati
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of course we should always include examples
In reply to WilbaW, 5 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote: To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

WilbaW wrote: Make sure you try this idea before you buy it.

Well am going to restate your comment a tad more diplomatically as "Russell could you show us an example of easily pushing an ISO 800 raw file to ISO 4000, as you so conveniently did in one of your other threads ? " And the answer is, of course why not, when nowadays examples are so easy to post?

A few years ago I did that experiment and found that it was possible to "fix" such a shot using esoteric software and elaborate methods,

Which happily, in 2013 has come down to 15 seconds or so of work in Lightroom 4.x or higher.

...involving sliding the "highlights" control all the way to the left, the "shadows" control all the way to the right, and finally sliding the exposure control to the right as many "stops" as needed to compensate for your too-low-in-camera-ISO-setting. As shown above.

In more detail: You're raising the "shadows" control to make the dark areas as bright as possible. You're raising the "exposure" control to "push" the ISO back to about 4000 or so, since the raw file was exposed at a "too low" ISO 800. And finally you're lowering the "highlights" control because if you didn't, then raising the exposure control would send the brightest parts of the original image through the roof. Just finished a job shown above, involving delivering 125 images the day after they were taken, and almost every "underexposed" ISO 800 image involved reusing just the 3 settings described here. Most of the batch was with exposure set to +1.5 EV or so (maybe ISO 2000 in camera woulda been about right), the above example needed +2.33 EV ISO push in Lightroom.

and while the noise was equivalent the colour in the shadows was never quite as good as the shot with the ISO that gave normal/desirable image brightness. In my case there was no pay-off to justify doing more work to get an inferior result.

Yes, your story reminds me of my own experiments with low ISO done in 2010 with a typical photo editor. Like you, after a bit of playing around with dark raw files, I gave up on the idea of using too-low-ISO in camera until a few weeks ago. When Boardsy started this thread, showing his own great results pushing a "too low ISO" image.

You WilbaW probably did what I did 3 years ago, starting with a low-ISO image like this

...and then you put it in a typical photo editor and slid over a "brightness" control to some high value. And you ended up, as I did, with something like the "brightened" sample below, that convinced you at the time that it was best to leave high-ISO signal amplification to your camera's firmware:

But it's time to re-check the ability of an ordinary $80 dollar raw file processor such as Lightroom 4 or better to make it easier, and less stressful and really better to raise your raw file's ISO in post-processing than in-camera:

Please feel free to check on the ease of getting a great result (well the above batch of work resulted in me being hired immediately as staff event photographer) from a "pushed to ISO 4000" Nex C3 ISO 800 raw file yourself, by downloading the above .ARW file into Lightroom 4, 5, free RawTherapee, whatever:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15387676/DSC03827.ARW

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WilbaW
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Re: of course we should always include examples
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, 5 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

RussellInCincinnati wrote: To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

WilbaW wrote: Make sure you try this idea before you buy it.

Well am going to restate your comment a tad more diplomatically as "Russell could you show us an example of easily pushing an ISO 800 raw file to ISO 4000, as you so conveniently did in one of your other threads ? " And the answer is, of course why not, when nowadays examples are so easy to post?

You've missed the point entirely. The question is not, can it be done?, the question is, can it be done without penalty?  Crucial bit in bold -

and while the noise was equivalent the colour in the shadows was never quite as good as the shot with the ISO that gave normal/desirable image brightness. In my case there was no pay-off to justify doing more work to get an inferior result.

To determine that for yourself you'd have to compare an ISO 4000 shot with an ISO 800 shot pushed to 4000 and matched to the appearance of the 4000 shot. If you can't see any meaningful difference between the two then it doesn't matter for your purpose, and the only penalty is a few seconds in LR.

Like you, after a bit of playing around with dark raw files... You probably did what I did 3 years ago...

No, I carefully followed the coaching of several experts using multiple standalone and integrated raw converters (including LR), doing things like linear conversions and creating tone curves from scratch, and we were not able to match the IQ of the higher ISO shot. But that was my camera and my test shots. YMMV, so try before you buy.

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RussellInCincinnati
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Lightroom-pushed ISO not only "as good as" firmware, it's better
In reply to WilbaW, 5 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote: To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

WilbaW wrote: Make sure you try this idea before you buy it.

RussellInCincinnati wrote: Well am going to restate your comment a tad more diplomatically as "Russell could you show us an example of easily pushing an ISO 800 raw file to ISO 4000, as you so conveniently did in one of your other threads ? " And the answer is, of course why not, when nowadays examples are so easy to post?

WilbaW wrote: You've missed the point entirely. The question is not, can it be done?, the question is, can it be done without penalty?

Yes for a Nex C3 that is limited to ISO 800, and allowed to underexpose raw images that need any higher ISO than that.

My current experience "pushing" the ISO yourself in something as easy and well-equipped as Lightroom 4.x or higher is that it's not only trivial, and "as good as" selecting say ISO 6400 in camera, it is far better.

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If you have a camera such as a Nex C3 with plenty good Lightroom support, and good read noise at ISO 800. Because you get to decide where to place the highlights, what highlights to "let blow" and which to preserve.

To determine that for yourself you'd have to compare an ISO 4000 shot with an ISO 800 shot pushed to 4000 and matched to the appearance of the 4000 shot.

Well I haven't bothered with doing that precisely because that would be a considerable downgrade of the ISO 800 photo. But by all means will do just that soon, and post it, limiting myself to less than 30 seconds of manipulation of the pushed ISO 800 image.

If you can't see any meaningful difference between the two then it doesn't matter for your purpose, and the only penalty is a few seconds in LR.

Ok.

Like you, after a bit of playing around with dark raw files... You probably did what I did 3 years ago...

No, I carefully followed the coaching of several experts using multiple standalone and integrated raw converters (including LR), doing things like linear conversions and creating tone curves from scratch, and we were not able to match the IQ of the higher ISO shot. But that was my camera and my test shots. YMMV, so try before you buy.

What you did some time ago sounds like way too much work to push raw ISO, compared to the tools we have in Lightroom as of 2012. Speaking only from experience with the Nex C3 case. Happily the 'C3 is about the cheapest APS-C sensor camera body you can buy, at $200 US dollars or so on  e.bay.

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boardsy
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@WilbaW
In reply to WilbaW, 5 months ago

WilbaW wrote:

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

Make sure you try this idea before you buy it. A few years ago I did that experiment and found that it was possible to "fix" such a shot using esoteric software and elaborate methods, and while the noise was equivalent the colour in the shadows was never quite as good as the shot with the ISO that gave normal/desirable image brightness. In my case there was no pay-off to justify doing more work to get an inferior result.

I think you missed Russell's point WilbaW - it's not a vague theory that doesn't work in practice, and your years-old experience may not be relevant now:

For a modern ISO-less sensor (above a certain given ISO, e.g. 800 for the NEX C3) there is  no considerable pay-off to justify doing more work simple exp. compensation slider push in any decent RAW converter to get an inferior result a superior result.

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Alan
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RussellInCincinnati
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examples already in this thread
In reply to WilbaW, 5 months ago

WilbaW wrote: You've missed the point entirely. The question is not, can it be done?, the question is, can it be done without penalty?...To determine that for yourself you'd have to compare an ISO 4000 shot with an ISO 800 shot pushed to 4000 and matched to the appearance of the 4000 shot.

WilbaW, have been hesitating to think, that you believe us to be so dull as to write a bunch of posts in multiple threads on this topic, without having done this kind of comparison. Furthermore, posted weeks ago just the kind of comparison you mention already, in this thread. But by all means, let's do it again.

Lack of highlight detail makes it easy for me to remember this is with camera raw firmware set to ISO 3200.

Camera set to ISO 800, then brightness/ISO "pushed" in Lightroom 4.

Finally, in the some-shadow-detail-no-ordinary-person-ever-sees department.

Perhaps you can notice the tradeoff between increased shadow detail banding in the pushed-in-Lightroom low ISO (800) image on the left, and the decreased highlight detail in the pushed-in-camera-firmware high-ISO (3200) picture fragment on the right.

By the way there is no amount of highlight recovery or photo darkening that can bring back highlight detail in the above example taken-at-ISO-3200 image, it simply does not exist. Whereas when you "underexpose" an image by keeping the camera at say ISO 800 in the low light, you have the luxury of doing this kind of high dynamic range image if the mood strikes you:

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WilbaW
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Re: @WilbaW
In reply to boardsy, 5 months ago

boardsy wrote:

WilbaW wrote:

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

Make sure you try this idea before you buy it. A few years ago I did that experiment and found that it was possible to "fix" such a shot using esoteric software and elaborate methods, and while the noise was equivalent the colour in the shadows was never quite as good as the shot with the ISO that gave normal/desirable image brightness. In my case there was no pay-off to justify doing more work to get an inferior result.

I think you missed Russell's point WilbaW - it's not a vague theory that doesn't work in practice,

Nothing I've said suggests otherwise.

and your years-old experience may not be relevant now:

For a modern ISO-less sensor (above a certain given ISO, e.g. 800 for the NEX C3) there is no considerable pay-off to justify doing more work simple exp. compensation slider push in any decent RAW converter to get an inferior result a superior result.

I thought his point was - "when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 perhaps 2 stops lower". He stated it without qualification, so he meant it for every camera in every situation, regardless of the age or nature of the camera or the converter used, but it's not without penalty for my camera and my needs. The colour problems were apparent with every one of the five or six converters used, which tells me it's not fundamentally a conversion problem, it's a data problem.

You're on much safer ground qualifying that advice and recommending it only for "a modern ISO-less sensor", but my original advice stands - the reader should test this principle with their own camera before they adopt it (as you should with all photographic advice!), even if their sensor is ISO-less above a certain point (like mine).

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WilbaW
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Re: examples already in this thread
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, 5 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

WilbaW wrote: You've missed the point entirely. The question is not, can it be done?, the question is, can it be done without penalty?...To determine that for yourself you'd have to compare an ISO 4000 shot with an ISO 800 shot pushed to 4000 and matched to the appearance of the 4000 shot.

WilbaW, have been hesitating to think, that you believe us to be so dull as to write a bunch of posts in multiple threads on this topic, without having done this kind of comparison.

I'm addressing the audience, not you alone. If you (alone) think you're dull that's your problem, not my idea.

Furthermore, posted weeks ago just the kind of comparison you mention already, in this thread. But by all means, let's do it again.

No need for you to do it again or prove anything to me, but the reader of your advice should test it for themselves before adopting it (as they should with any photographic advice), because it isn't universally the best approach for everyone all the time with every camera. Try before you buy. If you've tried it and you like it, go right ahead and buy it! You had no problem when people like Horshack and bobn2 said the same thing, so why are you so against it now?

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RussellInCincinnati
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why not include raw example of your concern?
In reply to WilbaW, 5 months ago

RussellInCincinnati title of first post (of 22 or so) in this thread:
agreed, fun to hear if Nex C3 should always be ISO 200

RussellInCincinnati, third post title:
in one sense, pointless to use ISO above 800 on Nex C3

RussellInCincinnati in post quoted by WilbaW:
So with your observation, if you want to preserve highlights and get rid of the need for bracketing above ISO 800 on a Nex C3,...To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing.

WilbaW: A few years ago I did that experiment and found that it was possible to "fix" such a shot using esoteric software and elaborate methods,

RussellInCincinnati: Which happily, in 2013 has come down to 15 seconds or so of work in Lightroom 4.x or higher.

WilbaW wrote: Make sure you try this idea before you buy it.

WilbaW in another post: I thought his [Russell's] point was - "when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 perhaps 2 stops lower".

Yes, that was my point.

He stated it without qualification,

WilbaW, this strikes me more as a case of your selective quotation.

...so he meant it for every camera in every situation, regardless of the age or nature of the camera or the converter used, but it's not without penalty for my camera and my need

...and considering how low the stakes are in this matter (since anyone technical enough to be interested in this thread can do a low vs high ISO experiment with about 3 minutes of work), you do our readers an injustice to imply there is something meaningfully misleading about Boardsy and my findings...that (even drastically) pushing raw ISO yourself

has much to recommend it in both ease of use in the field and highlight detail preservation

compared to deciding and settling a needlessly high ISO in your camera. That buys you a nicer electronic preview image but not much else. (Who knows or cares, in the above ISO 800 raw files , what the "real" ISO setting should have been?).

Please consider linking us to a single raw file you have taken that is a counter-example. That explains with data, your opinion that I am misinforming/misleading readers in some way to say that pushing raw ISO in Lightroom with a modern camera like a cheap Nex C3 (readers of this kind of thread tend to be the most demanding type of photographer anyway, i.e. less likely to be using way old equipment) post-processing is not fruitful. Where's the raw image, taken with a camera that readers of this thread have some chance of having or some reason to want to have, where you were not able to push its ISO well in, say, Lightroom, with about 30 seconds of work?

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WilbaW
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Re: why not include raw example of your concern?
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, 4 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

why not include raw example of your concern?

Because that won't clarify the context of your statement. If you had said, To recap what I just said in the previous paragraph (not the whole thread in general or digital photography entirely), in the field when I need a photo with my C3 above ISO 800..., there would be no ambiguity and no need to remind people about the dangers of generalising specific advice and adopting it without question.

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

...and considering how low the stakes are in this matter (since anyone technical enough to be interested in this thread can do a low vs high ISO experiment with about 3 minutes of work),

So why are you so opposed to me adding that people should do that before they fundamentally change the way they do things? Your opposition makes it seem like you do want everyone to accept your advice without question.

you do our readers an injustice to imply there is something meaningfully misleading about Boardsy and my findings...

I can't see anything wrong with your findings and I haven't criticised them in any way, so you're fighting your own demons there. The only thing I'm concerned about is that in recapping your findings it sounds like you're giving universal advice, for every photographer with any camera (which isn't valid), rather than specific advice, for your photography with your camera (which is valid).

If you are claiming that all photographers should shoot at 800 when a higher ISO is indicated, regardless of camera or needs, then I invalidate that with my own findings - it does not suit me and my camera.

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RussellInCincinnati
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can't see harm in showing your raw file counter-example
In reply to WilbaW, 4 months ago

RussellInCincinnati: ...if you want to preserve highlights and get rid of the need for bracketing above ISO 800 on a Nex C3, all you have to do is...

...To recap, in the field when you need a photo above ISO 800, set the camera to an ISO at least 1 and perhaps 2 stops lower than what you think is indicated. Viewfinder will still be usable, and you can fix the ISO in raw post-processing...

WilbaW: Make sure you try this idea before you buy it [because it may not work for other cameras or other raw software].

Let's see, I wrote 10 or 20 times in this thread, sometimes in the thread titles, that I was describing success with "pushing" low ISO raw captures in post-processing with a Nex C3 in Lightroom. Examples are posted, by both me and Boardsy.

And in some 21st-or-so post I mentioned that the Nex C3 again, in paragraph 2 of 3 as shown above.

But in paragraph 3 of 3 of that 21st post, in a summary, I did not mention that my experience was only with a Nex C3 or Lightroom.

I now see the point in your counterexample-free warning to people. After all, people might have only read paragraph 3 of my post 21, and missed all the other paragraphs and posts. And those rather technical readers might also be the kind of people who use a new workflow-suggestion-sentence on an important photo shoot, as soon as they read about it. Without taking a single test image, using the new low-ISO settings, before the big gig. Then without your advice, they'd really be up a creek without a paddle.

RussellInCincinnati: why not include raw example of your concern

WilbaW wrote: Because that won't clarify the context of your statement

You're right, it would merely provide us with hard data that informs your concern. You'd certainly be dismissive of posts by Boardsy and I recommending limiting in-camera ISO, if we didn't post at least some good result data.

Straight out of camera at ISO 800. Rather dim light, 1/8th of a second, F/5.6.

Oh, about 20 seconds of work in Lightroom 4. Not counting a minute or two touching up typical facial skin annoyances. If you don't want us to dismiss your claim, that everyone with raw software can't do this kind of thing, why won't you bother linking us to your example raw file? With which someone can't easily do this kind of thing?

Where's some evidence, where's your low-ISO raw file from some reasonably modern camera? That shows that today's raw file software, which basically only exists to let people do things like brighten an image, can't easily work as about as well as in-camera high-ISO settings, to brighten dim images?

You and I are not photographic celebrities. Nobody knows if you and I have the slightest amount of skill or insight, just from reading our names. Posting images and files is trivial these days. Thus am claiming it is wasting readers' time for us argue for a photographic workflow, or warn against it--without at least one example that our posts are opinions of people with helpful skills and experience.

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WilbaW
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Re: can't see harm in showing your raw file counter-example
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, 4 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

But in paragraph 3 of 3 of that 21st post, in a summary, I did not mention that my experience was only with a Nex C3 or Lightroom.

Right, and that's the bit of the whole discussion that a zealot would quote to justify telling everyone to do it. I often see that happen, hence my addition.

Where's some evidence, where's your low-ISO raw file from some reasonably modern camera? That shows that today's raw file software, which basically only exists to let people do things like brighten an image, can't easily work as about as well as in-camera high-ISO settings, to brighten dim images?

You're still missing the point. There's no question that today's converters can brighten low-ISO data very well (I know that by testing half a dozen two years ago), I'm not challenging that and there's no need for you to prove it. But the shooting, processing, and IQ penalties of limiting ISO are not acceptable to me, for the way I shoot and process images, using my camera.

If I were to provide two files, you would produce a brightened image from the dark one and claim that it's acceptable in comparison with the bright one, but you can't impose your judgement of acceptability on me. It's not about the files or the converters, it's about whether there's a benefit for the individual photographer and only they can know their truth.

You and I are not photographic celebrities. Nobody knows if you and I have the slightest amount of skill or insight, just from reading our names. Posting images and files is trivial these days. Thus am claiming it is wasting readers' time for us argue for a photographic workflow, or warn against it--without at least one example that our posts are opinions of people with helpful skills and experience.

You're attacking something I didn't say and I'm not going to be lured into defending it. You can't stop me advocating personal testing! 

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RussellInCincinnati
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try before you cry
In reply to WilbaW, 4 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote: But in paragraph 3 of 3 of that 21st post, in a summary, I did not mention that my experience was only with a Nex C3 or Lightroom.

WilbaW wrote: Right, and that's the bit of the whole discussion that a zealot would quote to justify telling everyone to do it. I often see that happen, hence my addition.

Finally get what you are saying. You (a) found some years ago (as did I) that raw post-processing brightening does not work as well as firmware high-ISO settings in your camera, and thus (b) you speculate, without providing evidence, that my easily-done-in-2013 brightening of low-ISO images in post-processing (with examples) will not easily be duplicated with other cameras,

$200 dollar Nex C3 and 25 year old $50 dollar Minolta 50/1.7 lens.
ISO 800, 1/10th second at F/2.2, apparently quite dim light...a classic in-the-trenches professional photography situation. Here's the ruggedly handsome chairman of the board, he has no time for foolishness, we're at a posh fundraiser reception with the night's talent. We're only pressing the shutter button once, before this scene melts back into the social sea...do we trust the camera's high ISO setting to not burn out highlights, or do we underexpose the image and take our chances with raw post-processing in Lightroom?...

...and we end up with a thank-you note from Mr. Big.

...thus (c) you post a warning that everyone should test limited-ISO first. You are concerned a zealot will take my summarizing workflow sentence that didn't mention the Nex C3 out of context, and publicize the mistaken idea that I had tested brightening underexposed raw images on all cameras.

As if there is some way highly technical readers of this thread could tragically "buy" this hazardous workflow without testing it--the way they might buy an $8000 dollar Leica lens from a street vendor's cart in Istanbul, without return privileges.

Where's some evidence, where's your low-ISO raw file from some reasonably modern camera? That shows that today's raw file software...can't easily work as about as well as in-camera high-ISO settings, to brighten dim images?

...But the shooting, processing, and IQ penalties of limiting ISO are not acceptable to me,

In some way that you are not going to show us.

for the way I shoot and process images, using my camera.

I beg to differ with you. You will not have any trouble limiting ISO to 800, and then brightening in post-processing with your Canon EOS60D (that you list as your camera), if you follow my repeated recommendations to try a $50 dollar copy of Lightroom 4. Because thanks to sensorgen.info we know your '60D has less ISO 800 read noise than my Nex C3 (3.2 vs 3.4), and almost the same dynamic range as my Nex C3 (10.2 vs 10.6 EV), at ISO 800.

If I were to provide two files, you would produce a brightened image from the dark one and claim that it's acceptable in comparison with the bright one...

It is just so silly to publicize doubt about a workflow that is supported with examples, when you are so worried that you will not able to provide a counter-example that you can't bring yourself to post one.

...the individual photographer and only they can know their truth.

WilbaW, try before you cry. Hey the point is for us to help each other, the way Boardsy helped me in this thread, I will be fascinated if you can show us a camera where pushing ISO in Lightroom doesn't work so well.

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WilbaW
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Re: try before you cry
In reply to RussellInCincinnati, 4 months ago

RussellInCincinnati wrote:

RussellInCincinnati wrote: But in paragraph 3 of 3 of that 21st post, in a summary, I did not mention that my experience was only with a Nex C3 or Lightroom.

WilbaW wrote: Right, and that's the bit of the whole discussion that a zealot would quote to justify telling everyone to do it. I often see that happen, hence my addition.

Finally get what you are saying. You (a) found some years ago (as did I) that raw post-processing brightening does not work as well as firmware high-ISO settings in your camera,

True.

and thus (b) you speculate, without providing evidence, that my easily-done-in-2013 brightening of low-ISO images in post-processing (with examples) will not easily be duplicated with other cameras,

False.

...thus (c) you post a warning that everyone should test limited-ISO first. You are concerned a zealot will take my summarizing workflow sentence that didn't mention the Nex C3 out of context,

True.

and publicize the mistaken idea that I had tested brightening underexposed raw images on all cameras.

False.

As if there is some way highly technical readers of this thread could tragically "buy" this hazardous workflow without testing it--the way they might buy an $8000 dollar Leica lens from a street vendor's cart in Istanbul, without return privileges.

Well, when I came across the idea (specifically, there is "no noise penalty" in working that way), advocated by several high profile experts here, the first thing I did was try it. The "no noise penalty" claim seemed valid but I found a "shadow colour penalty" that was hard to minimise. The amazing thing was, one of the experts was like, wow, I've never seen anyone do that, thanks a bunch!  Ya what? You've never actually tested it?!

But it's not the conscientious boffin you have to worry about, it's the high school drop-out on a quest to find backing for his unvalidated opinion, and he will come here and he will find your post and he will quote you out of context.

Where's some evidence, where's your low-ISO raw file from some reasonably modern camera? That shows that today's raw file software...can't easily work as about as well as in-camera high-ISO settings, to brighten dim images?

...But the shooting, processing, and IQ penalties of limiting ISO are not acceptable to me,

In some way that you are not going to show us.

You showed us the shadow colour penalty with your images earlier in the thread, you acknowledged it, then you dismissed it. I'm not trying to change your judgement, and you can't do that to me either.

for the way I shoot and process images, using my camera.

I beg to differ with you. You will not have any trouble limiting ISO to 800, and then brightening in post-processing with your Canon EOS60D (that you list as your camera), if you follow my repeated recommendations to try a $50 dollar copy of Lightroom 4. Because thanks to sensorgen.info we know your '60D has less ISO 800 read noise than my Nex C3 (3.2 vs 3.4), and almost the same dynamic range as my Nex C3 (10.2 vs 10.6 EV), at ISO 800.

So, you're convinced that you can disprove my exception to a global claim that this method will give a net benefit to all photographers using any camera? That tells me you believe the global claim. I am the single exception required to disprove it.

If I were to provide two files, you would produce a brightened image from the dark one and claim that it's acceptable in comparison with the bright one...

It is just so silly to publicize doubt about a workflow that is supported with examples, when you are so worried that you will not able to provide a counter-example that you can't bring yourself to post one.

The exception is my judgement of acceptability, not a claim that you can't brighten an image with LR. How about you prove to me that the colour penalty you showed in your examples is acceptable to you? How ya gunna provide evidence of your thoughts?

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The_Suede
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Re: try before you cry - did, worked.
In reply to WilbaW, 4 months ago

I get extremely low losses going from ISO800>ISO3200. I usually keep well below 2Ev, and at lower ISOs (than a normalized 1600) I use 1Ev. This is mostly with Nikon and Sony cameras.

Since I do theater sometimes, that extra stop of highlight margin at 3200 saves a lot of blown areas, something which is especially important when you have colored spotlights and creative lighting on the scene. You get a much more graceful fadeout to blown white when you let the raw-converter exposure curve fade out gently in stead of being clipped by raw values hitting a dead end.

I see very little "shadow noise" increase in real usage by doing that.

With my main cameras, I've stopped doing it for low target ISOs though, some minus compensation for normalized ISO400-800, and about one Ev for ISO800+ gives you a lot of headroom to work with.

As with everything, in practice you have to look at what works, not what "should work".

I'm affluent in signal theory enough to know that the theory fails in some cases, compared to real image usage and human visual impression. That doesn't make the signal theory useless or incorrect, it just means that you have to know the practical limitations implied in interpreting what it predicts. The same goes for noise predictions.

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WilbaW
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Re: try before you cry - did, worked.
In reply to The_Suede, 4 months ago

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

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RussellInCincinnati
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utility of example-free "warnings"?
In reply to WilbaW, 4 months ago

WilbaW: So, you're convinced that you can disprove my exception to a global claim that this method will give a net benefit to all photographers using any camera?

No, I'm merely convinced that anyone encouraging or discourage limiting ISO to say, 800, and then "pushing" underexposed raw file brightness in post-processing is wasting our time if they are not posting a single example raw file that illustrates the significance of the problems or benefits they have found with the workflow. In a way that lets readers usefully judge for themselves.

Who cares what any of us think, without examples.

That tells me you believe the global claim. I am the single exception required to disprove it.

Please don't talk about "disproving" or "proving" anything when you have no interest in posting data to be considered. You're in the contentious word realm, not the proving realm.

RussellInCincinnati: t is just so silly to publicize doubt about a workflow that is supported with examples, when you are so worried that you will not able to provide a counter-example that you can't bring yourself to post one.

The exception is my judgement of acceptability, not a claim that you can't brighten an image with LR. How about you prove to me that the colour penalty you showed in your examples is acceptable to you?

You apparently find examples useful. And I prove over and over what the color penalties are with examples, in which case don't imagine that any reader cares what any of us non-celebrities "think is acceptable" or "prove about our thoughts."

How ya gunna provide evidence of your thoughts?

These are the kinds of unprovable dilemmas that only come up between people who can not get it together to post "raw data" for perusal. Who cares what my opinion is about pushing brightness in raw developing software instead of with camera firmware, when I post pushed raw files to let people have their own thoughts?

Bet the dark noise would'a been lower if I had let the camera firmware give me the high ISO. Heck the only benefits I got from the low-ISO workflow here was simplified, no-bracketing field workflow, and perfect preservation of brightest highlight detail to any level I might wish.

No need for any of us to provide evidence of our thoughts, opinions, beliefs, value judgements, reputation, intentions, whatever other vague things you are trading in, when we are showing people the good and bad aspects (as you point out yourself) of an image processing workflow with examples.

By the way I don't think you are wrong to say that the limited-ISO workflow described in this thread might not work for any particular purpose or camera. It's merely a pointlessly obvious use of thread space. Why not start a new no-example thread thread for the gullible newbies that flock in droves to the Photographic Technology Forum, to extra-specially warn them that, if they try pushing their own raw files taken at ISO 800 to higher brightnesses, it might not be advantageous for some scenes or cameras. A hangout for people who are more interested in arguments, quoting out of context, warnings, opinions, looking for incomplete sentences etc...than useful data.

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