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Old Jun 28, 2002, 6:52 AM   #1
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Default Minolta dImage 7i Noise (non!)issue

At first I was also frustrated with the noise levels at all ISO settings, even at ISO100.

However, after reading many posts (both the denyal cases and complainers), I gave some suggestions I read a try and fiddled around a lot with the camera, taking a few hunderd shots of the same subjects / test targets.

I've found that the noise horror seems to come from the sharpening applied by the camera, which seems simply horrible. Just turn it off!!! The manual says 'normal' is no filter, and 'soft' is 'soft', but (see the attached .jpg) my conclusion is quite different. I know: it's propably me, well, could be, but now I'm one happy camper with my images which now seem (A) more detailled, and (B) without unacceptable noise.


NOTE: image only available for as long as the 200k download by all of you doesnt cross my bandwith limit! Mail me if it's unavailable then I can mail you it if you want.

Note that the B/W testtarget is a tricky one for any camera, its deliberatly printed on very glossy paper that reflects 'specs' of light, and at the same time it let the ink from the printer 'bleed', giving a tough surface to reproduce. However, the 7i did quite an admirable job when set to 'soft', and the target really brings out the 'normal' sharpen horror story some people also seem to experience in everyday shots.

In short: turn off the in-cam sharpening, and the cam does just fine, without blurring out detail.

I also suspect that the amount of noise varies among 7i's somehow, i'm seeing quite a variation in noise level in (said unedited) posted images.

anyhow, just seemed appropriate to share my findings. I love the features of the camera, and would hate to see people turn away from the 7i because of the noise that is been blown out of proportion by some.
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Old Jun 28, 2002, 3:16 PM   #2
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In my opinion I also suspect that the amount of noise varies among 7i's somehow varies because some users might get their pictures through the DIVU step first while some don't...

"...The manual says 'normal' is no filter, and 'soft' is 'soft'..." is the case since the different companies are using their specific noise reduction algorithms (with its specific advantages and disadvantages) Minolta has "outsourced" a big part of this process to the user to have a better contrast and color. The 'Soft' setting may be more in line with most of the D7i competitors.

Minolta philosophy was to always provide the knowledgeable photographers with the best from the hardware such was the case of the wider color gamut in the D7 than the competition's sRGB but then often critisized by the newcomers since they did not understand this. This camera is definitely not a point & shoot and will not deliver a "pre-packaged" output, but in the right hands in will deliver awsome results (@ an unbeatable price) !!!

[Edited on 6-28-2002 by NHL]
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Old Jun 28, 2002, 6:51 PM   #3
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"varies because some users might get their pictures through the DIVU step first while some don't... "

Sounds logical! (stupid I never thought of the obvious )

"but in the right hands in will deliver awsome results (@ an unbeatable price) !!!"

This is exactly why I bought it, and just love the cam The reason for my post was I was getting tired of all the lame posts arguing over the noise, yes its there, yes it can be (mostly) prevented, and the end-results are awesome photo's. I know people with different 5mp camera's, and there all very impressed with the color/contrast/detail rendition of the 7i when compared to their camera's )) not mentioning models as Im not willing to start another minolta - vs -<you name it> thread.


On the colorspace now being closer to sRGB, I think it's ashame, but the other advantages of the 7i still made me buy it over the original 7. at least we still have RAW.

Enjoy the shooting!
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Old Jun 29, 2002, 7:27 AM   #4
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"...not mentioning models as Im not willing to start another minolta - vs - thread... " One can not avoid this already, and it always seems to come from so call 'experts' that fail to realize that a camera is only a tool , but a 'wall-hanger' picture only come from the skillful eyes of the photographer behind it...

It's not the brand or how the camera looks, (yes Padeye... black is enviously sexy) but rather an instrument that does not impede on ones creative mind and have the controls (This camera is more complex than a D60 (no joke)) for whatever his artististic ideas are... and the D7(i) is a very good one at that, especially for the reasonable price (even before the required accessories by the others -vs- that is not even priced in yet)!!!

This is rather typical: 7i Terrific Camera..."I must be easy to please because I cannot find noise or resolution problems. Beautiful pictures and great features"..."I'm pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of automatic focus and the accuracy of automatic exposure. Spectacular prints..."

[Edited on 7-1-2002 by NHL]
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Old Sep 27, 2002, 5:13 PM   #5
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Default Sharpening-When is it OFF?

Are you saying that 'soft' is really sharpening off?
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Old Sep 27, 2002, 5:59 PM   #6
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It depends how you look at it, or 'soft' is noise reduction 'on'.
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Old Sep 29, 2002, 2:59 AM   #7
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Default 'Normal' Sharpness shows artifacts

The 'Normal' sharpening setting shows artifacts that are typically caused by sharpening - a slight lighter area around dark edges, for example. The 'Soft' setting also contains as much detail, even in areas that the detail would be lost with noise reduction or blurring, so there is reason to believe that the 'Soft' setting is no sharpening.

Minolta might also be right, as the 'Normal' setting may not actually sharpen, but may use a different interpolation algorighm from the raw image than 'Soft'. The effect, however, is that the 'Normal' mode shows signs of sharpening, including increased noise.

Setting sharpening to 'Soft' reduces the noise without losing detail. You can then do a light noise-reduction before sharpening for printing, if desired.

Another way of decreasing the visibility of noise is to decrease contrast. This also increases the dynamic range captured in a JPEG file, which helps with certain pictures.
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Old Sep 29, 2002, 6:59 AM   #8
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Default It's all a matter of semantic

You understand the camera well! All pictures taken (except for raw) are 'processed' by the camera innards. Minolta would have a problem calling 'Normal' sharpening ON since what would they call the 'High' setting? Instead they call it 'Soft', 'Normal', and 'High'. As long as know what the function does as it relates to the image outputs (or in comparison to other cameras) is what counts.

The key with the Minolta 7 series is that the cameras allow the experience photographers like yourself, to pick and choose the desired results (which you seems to attain). This approach is unlike other cameras which rather deliver a 'canned' desirable outputs right out from the box, but also leaves some 'details' out as well! It also hold true for the contrast as well as the color/vivid or saturation adjustments...

Photographers that understand the whole digital process (including Photoshop) will love the D7's, whereas the F707/717 are better suit for the beginners with the 5700 splitting the differences.
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Old Sep 30, 2002, 10:29 PM   #9
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This is very interresting, and well said
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Old Oct 1, 2002, 8:52 AM   #10
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BTW the noise (if any) that we're talking about is only visible when magnified 100% on a PC monitor. This is not an ideal condition since most people don't stare @ pixels all day.

The detailed final print output is what count, and that's what garner the original D7 all the accolade:

Quote:
2002 DIMA Award

A total of 12 digital cameras (including the Minolta DiMAGE 7 and DiMAGE 5) out of 51 digital camera entries were named winners of the 6th annual 2002 DIMA Digital Camera Shoot-Out during PMA 2002. The Point-and-Shoot cameras and the Prosumer/Professional cameras captured images in two live-model studios. The digital cameras that produced the best final printed image with the colors that best matched the original studio scene were sleeted as winners in their price range/categories.
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