Grain from a Sony A7iii

Started 4 months ago | Questions
gezzamondo
gezzamondo Regular Member • Posts: 100
Grain from a Sony A7iii

i took some photos the other day using these settings

f/5.6   70mm   1/160sec   ISO 200

I shot slightly under exposed due to shooting directly into the sunset and so i can recover the shadows in lightroom

but when i increased the shadows i noticed a lot of grain even though i only shot at ISO 200

Is it normal for it to be so grainy from the sony at those settings?

See examples below including histogram

 gezzamondo's gear list:gezzamondo's gear list
Canon EOS Rebel T6s Sony a7 III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM +2 more
ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
poipoipoi_2016 Contributing Member • Posts: 888
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii
2

gezzamondo wrote:

i took some photos the other day using these settings

f/5.6 70mm 1/160sec ISO 200

I shot slightly under exposed due to shooting directly into the sunset and so i can recover the shadows in lightroom

but when i increased the shadows i noticed a lot of grain even though i only shot at ISO 200

Is it normal for it to be so grainy from the sony at those settings?

See examples below including histogram

Without EXIF, I can't know for sure, but ISO 200 + 4EV ~= ISO 6400 in terms of dynamic range. So yes.

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3389926460/sony-a7-iii-dynamic-range-and-high-iso-improve-over-its-predecessor

Even on modern sensors, there's just limits to how much you can do without bracketing and converting dead black to something not-black takes effort. It's a multiple choice test where everyone mid-bubbles 3 Scantron questions. If it's out of 100, you can work with it. If everyone fails and suddenly the curve is out of 10...

And you took the left *tenth* of your histogram and made it into the left half.

 poipoipoi_2016's gear list:poipoipoi_2016's gear list
Sony RX100 V Sony a7R III Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM +3 more
gezzamondo
OP gezzamondo Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

I never used any exposure compansation. Or do you mean when i increased the exposure and shadows in post that would generate grain?

 gezzamondo's gear list:gezzamondo's gear list
Canon EOS Rebel T6s Sony a7 III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM +2 more
poipoipoi_2016 Contributing Member • Posts: 888
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

gezzamondo wrote:

I never used any exposure compansation. Or do you mean when i increased the exposure and shadows in post that would generate grain?

Yes.

When you increased the shadows and exposure in post, you also magnified all the sensor noise that was happening below the surface by a factor of 5.

Exposure compensation is your way of saying "I think your light meter is wrong and I want a different picture than the one you're trying to get me to take". Which then lets you avoid having to do post-processing off bad data.  Also, bracketing, which would probably have saved you here.

To use my test metaphor, what you did was say:

1) Everything between 70-100 is now 95-100

2) Everything between 10 and 70 is now increased and compressed into 50-95.

3) Everything between 0 and 10 is now stretched to cover 0 and 50.

Do you understand why #3 would result in noise?

 poipoipoi_2016's gear list:poipoipoi_2016's gear list
Sony RX100 V Sony a7R III Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM +3 more
gezzamondo
OP gezzamondo Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

kind of.

I thought one of Sonys biggest selling points was that it could handle low light /high iso without causing too much grain?

Is better to over expose and reduce the hightlights to prevent grain then?

 gezzamondo's gear list:gezzamondo's gear list
Canon EOS Rebel T6s Sony a7 III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM +2 more
RGBCMYK
RGBCMYK Senior Member • Posts: 2,263
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

gezzamondo wrote:

kind of.

I thought one of Sonys biggest selling points was that it could handle low light /high iso without causing too much grain?

Is better to over expose and reduce the hightlights to prevent grain then?

Yes, ETR is always going to give you a better file to process vs a file that is UE and needs to be lifted.

-- hide signature --

My street photography with over 1000 images https://www.instagram.com/chris_broughton/
www.christopherbroughton.com

 RGBCMYK's gear list:RGBCMYK's gear list
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 +1 more
gezzamondo
OP gezzamondo Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

ETR?

 gezzamondo's gear list:gezzamondo's gear list
Canon EOS Rebel T6s Sony a7 III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM +2 more
poipoipoi_2016 Contributing Member • Posts: 888
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

gezzamondo wrote:

kind of.

I thought one of Sonys biggest selling points was that it could handle low light /high iso without causing too much grain?

Is better to over expose and reduce the hightlights to prevent grain then?

Well, Sony (Really everyone in 2020, but Sony *was* the best at it back when the III series was coming out by a mile) FF gives you the DR to make mistakes with. You *could* take that picture and be 4 stops to the left and actually get a picture out of it. A noisy picture yes, but a picture.

My RX100 V (Sony, but smaller camera) *cannot* do that. All those darks would be literally blacks. Which can be an interesting picture, I've got some nice artisitic interiors where I did exactly that, but I like the option.

But yes, what you're talking about is called exposing to the right (ETR), IE: Take the bumps on the histogram and move them as far right as you dare without actually blowing highlights. Alternatively, bracketing, where you take N shots 2-3 stops apart and merge them in post. Anecdotally, that works about 50% of the time.

In practice, my R III has *enough* DR that I actually expose 1 stop from the right, because sometimes I don't like compressing highlights and ISO anything above ~1600 gives you plenty of DR to play with. You'll notice noise at 800 though.

 poipoipoi_2016's gear list:poipoipoi_2016's gear list
Sony RX100 V Sony a7R III Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM +3 more
AlephNull Senior Member • Posts: 2,261
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

gezzamondo wrote:

ETR?

also written as ETTR = Expose To The Right.

It's a system where you capture the image with the histogram shifted to the right (often via the exposure compensation dial) and pull it back in post. It means you get more information for the darker sections of the image.

You'll find plenty of discussion and tutorials on the subject if you google Expose To The Right.

 AlephNull's gear list:AlephNull's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony a7R IV Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 100mm F2.8 GM Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM +3 more
RGBCMYK
RGBCMYK Senior Member • Posts: 2,263
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii
1

gezzamondo wrote:

ETR?

Oops, I meant ETTR = Expose to the Right

This has been a practice almost from the beginning of shooting RAW digital files to maximize file quality and avoiding the increased noise when you lift shadows.  This is easiest to see in a file that has limited dynamic range not covering the whole histogram.  The file that started out lighter and darkened will always have less noise than a file that is lightened or even the file that is not adjusted because of where noise is in a digital file.  The ETTR practice needs a different approach and I like to think about capturing the best data to be processed into a final image.

-- hide signature --

My street photography with over 1000 images https://www.instagram.com/chris_broughton/
www.christopherbroughton.com

 RGBCMYK's gear list:RGBCMYK's gear list
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 +1 more
stash_story New Member • Posts: 21
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

Agree with what others have said. Please try to ETTR. ETTR doesn't means over-exposing until you have some highlights clipping, although sometimes I do that as well. Usually what I'll do is I'll turn on the zebra, and push the highlight as much as possible until I get the exposure just before the zebra starts appear, and then I'll darkening it in post. Of course in your example, I might let some of the sky to get clipped out, to get brighter image of the main subject.

 stash_story's gear list:stash_story's gear list
Canon EOS 1000D Sony a7 III Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Sony FE 55mm F1.8 +5 more
Pixel Pooper Veteran Member • Posts: 3,696
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii
6

Noise (grain) depends mostly on how much light you capture, the more light (higher exposure) the less noisy. For a given exposure, the darker parts of the image are noisier because they are made from less light.

A nearly black subject like yours, which is then under exposed is made from very little light so it will be noisy.

Your A7III is one of the best performers in low light, but it can't do miracles.

gezzamondo
OP gezzamondo Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

Thanks everyone!

I've always under exposed after watching many post processing tutorials on YouTube but I've always felt there was so much noise and I wasnt doing something right

With ETTR, are you aiming to get the histogram peaks closer to the right than them being central  before the whites start clipping then

 gezzamondo's gear list:gezzamondo's gear list
Canon EOS Rebel T6s Sony a7 III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM +2 more
Handsome90 Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

gezzamondo wrote:

i took some photos the other day using these settings

f/5.6 70mm 1/160sec ISO 200

I shot slightly under exposed due to shooting directly into the sunset and so i can recover the shadows in lightroom

but when i increased the shadows i noticed a lot of grain even though i only shot at ISO 200

Is it normal for it to be so grainy from the sony at those settings?

See examples below including histogram

Can you share the RAW file?

Magnar W
Magnar W Veteran Member • Posts: 5,475
Zebra is excellent for highlight clipping control

gezzamondo wrote:

Thanks everyone!

I've always under exposed after watching many post processing tutorials on YouTube but I've always felt there was so much noise and I wasnt doing something right

With ETTR, are you aiming to get the histogram peaks closer to the right than them being central before the whites start clipping then

If you use raw, the camera histogram should be clipped about 1.5 stop or maybe a tad more to the right. This is because the raw files have more highlight latitude than the jpg files, which the histogram is read from.

The more exposure, the less noisy results when shadows are recovered.

If you use Zebra stripes, and set the value to about +108, the zebra pattern will show up when you pass the highlight clipping range for the raw files.

 Magnar W's gear list:Magnar W's gear list
Sony a7 Sony a7R III Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Zeiss Loxia 21mm F2.8 Zeiss Loxia 35 +2 more
Digital Nigel Forum Pro • Posts: 13,227
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

gezzamondo wrote:

kind of.

I thought one of Sonys biggest selling points was that it could handle low light /high iso without causing too much grain?

Is better to over expose and reduce the hightlights to prevent grain then?

You will get blown highlights if you over-expose. It's easier to lift shadows and fix the noise than it is to recover blown highlights.

 Digital Nigel's gear list:Digital Nigel's gear list
Panasonic FZ1000 Canon PowerShot G7 X Nikon Coolpix P900 Panasonic ZS100 Sony RX10 III +19 more
Magnar W
Magnar W Veteran Member • Posts: 5,475
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii
1

Digital Nigel wrote:

gezzamondo wrote:

kind of.

I thought one of Sonys biggest selling points was that it could handle low light /high iso without causing too much grain?

Is better to over expose and reduce the hightlights to prevent grain then?

You will get blown highlights if you over-expose. It's easier to lift shadows and fix the noise than it is to recover blown highlights.

Expose so that you can recover the highlights, not more or less. This is about 1.5 to 2 stop more than the right edge of the in-camera jpg histrogram shows. Expose like this, then the shadow data will follow as nicely as possible.

If even more shadow detail is needed, make an extra exposure and run HRD post processing.

 Magnar W's gear list:Magnar W's gear list
Sony a7 Sony a7R III Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Zeiss Loxia 21mm F2.8 Zeiss Loxia 35 +2 more
splashy
splashy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,554
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

Just wonder for a picture like this you could have used until 1/30 shutterspeed or about Iso 2000 and this picture would have had sufficient light. Why did you underexpose so much?

 splashy's gear list:splashy's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 20mm F1.8G Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 +1 more
Moses Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

Magnar W wrote:

Digital Nigel wrote:

gezzamondo wrote:

kind of.

I thought one of Sonys biggest selling points was that it could handle low light /high iso without causing too much grain?

Is better to over expose and reduce the hightlights to prevent grain then?

You will get blown highlights if you over-expose. It's easier to lift shadows and fix the noise than it is to recover blown highlights.

Expose so that you can recover the highlights, not more or less. This is about 1.5 to 2 stop more than the right edge of the in-camera jpg histrogram shows. Expose like this, then the shadow data will follow as nicely as possible.

If even more shadow detail is needed, make an extra exposure and run HRD post processing.

Whoa!  This is a new concept to me. I know about ETTR which I use.  Do you mean that, using the live histogram, you expose until there there is something almost touching the right edge (highlight)  AND THEN YOU ADD ANOTHER 1.5 stops of exposure to that so that the graph is 'blown' but in reality your RAW sensor is still registering actual data?   And is this a commonly known technique?  This is fascinating as I have never heard of this before.

Thanks.

poipoipoi_2016 Contributing Member • Posts: 888
Re: Grain from a Sony A7iii

Moses wrote:

Magnar W wrote:

Digital Nigel wrote:

gezzamondo wrote:

kind of.

I thought one of Sonys biggest selling points was that it could handle low light /high iso without causing too much grain?

Is better to over expose and reduce the hightlights to prevent grain then?

You will get blown highlights if you over-expose. It's easier to lift shadows and fix the noise than it is to recover blown highlights.

Expose so that you can recover the highlights, not more or less. This is about 1.5 to 2 stop more than the right edge of the in-camera jpg histrogram shows. Expose like this, then the shadow data will follow as nicely as possible.

If even more shadow detail is needed, make an extra exposure and run HRD post processing.

Whoa! This is a new concept to me. I know about ETTR which I use. Do you mean that, using the live histogram, you expose until there there is something almost touching the right edge (highlight) AND THEN YOU ADD ANOTHER 1.5 stops of exposure to that so that the graph is 'blown' but in reality your RAW sensor is still registering actual data? And is this a commonly known technique? This is fascinating as I have never heard of this before.

Thanks.

IIRC, you can fake it by setting Zebra to fire at 108% and I sadly don't have a cite for that.

But yes, the RAW files have more DR than OOC JPEG's except that the camera is using the *JPEG* to determine clipping and histogram etc.

 poipoipoi_2016's gear list:poipoipoi_2016's gear list
Sony RX100 V Sony a7R III Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM +3 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads