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Old Aug 22, 2010, 9:48 AM   #1
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Default Comparing Noise Filter settings on the E-PL1

I was shooting the E-PL1 yesterday in a cathedral and thought I'd play with the noise filter settings just to see the difference between the Standard setting vs. what the difference would be if the noise filter was turned completely off at a higher ISO setting.

I did this because, in their review, DPReview noted even with the noise filter off most all color noise was still being filtered out, leaving just luminence noise, which didn't sound all that objectionable to me, especially since the E-PL1s' luminence noise is a much tighter grain pattern compared to my DSLR's. I have already done this with many shots outdoors ahooting RAW and playing with the setting in Viewer and, to be honest, you could shoot the E-PL1 with the noise filter off outdoors in the daytime and see very little image noise at all until you get up to around ISO 640, and even then it doesn't look bad at all.

These are at ISO 1600 and are hyperlinks, so you can click on them to open up to my website to view the full-sized image. To be honest, looking at them at 66-100% is the only way to see a whole heck of a lot of difference, which is amazing to me and this was using Viewer upposed to shooting JPEG and saving at the highest SHQ setting, which Viewer cannot do. Shot RAW then processed with the noise filter off and then again, but with the noise filter set to Standard.

Standard setting..



Then with the noise filter set to off...



A couple of things I have noticed. If you really want to maximize image detail, I say just leave the noise filter setting to off. I see absolutely nothing objectionable with the luminence noise in images at this setting, and this is an extreme example of luminence noise with the E-PL1.

On the other hand, I also see very, very little image detail being blurred away using the standard noise filter setting, and the exposure system did quite the excellent job, so if you are one who is particularly allergic to noise of any kind, just set the E-PL1's noise filter to standard and you'll be happy. I just left the camera set to multi-segment metering and scanned the image using the VF-2 finder, locking exposure when it looked "right" in the finder to me. These were shot using the 70-300 Zuiko due to the distances involved capturing these images. Also note the file size difference between the standard and "off" noise filter setting to see how much of the image file size is due to unremoved noise. Over a day capturing 200-300 images, this could make a big difference in the number of files one could capture on any one card.

A processing difference I have noted between Viewer and Photoshop...if I process a RAW file in ACR, it shows up in Smumug with the "35mm equivalent" setting showing in the EXIF data as well. If I process a file using Viewer, the actual focal length is all that shows up. Interesting...I'd prefer it the way Photoshop-processed files show up all the time. Shooting JPEG, you also just get the actual focal length used.

Here's the "other" rose window I also shot the same way.

Noise filter standard..



Noise Filter set to Off..


Last edited by Greg Chappell; Aug 22, 2010 at 10:14 AM.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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my, my, my ..... incredible what you do with hardware, simply amazing to me, it always has been regardless of camera/lens.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 12:14 PM   #3
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my, my, my ..... incredible what you do with hardware, simply amazing to me, it always has been regardless of camera/lens.
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I agree with Bob. It just doesn't seem to matter what equipment you use.

The results are always pleasing to the eye.

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Old Aug 22, 2010, 12:19 PM   #4
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Outdoors in daylight at the base (for auto ISO) ISO 200 the results are similar. I loaded these to my website as out-of-camera SHQ JPEG's shot just a few seconds apart...just long enough to changed the noise filter setting and they are untouched, so please excuse my often horizontally-challenged shooting habits. Why the heck I have such a hard time keeping things level is beyond me, but the one thing I do more than anything else in post-processing is to level shots just like these.

The main differences I can see looking at these at 100% is in the shaded area underneath the roof where the chain that holds up the big main light is hanging, and there's not much difference. The detail in the chain is very easily seen in both images when zoomed to 100%. The noise filter of the E-PL1 just do not mess with fine detail that much at Low or Standard settings.. The file sizes are very, very close at 8.24MB for the standard noise-filtered shot vs. 8.5MB for the filter-off shot, so like DPReview said, there's definitely color noise filtering going on even with the noise filter set to off...maybe even a little luminence noise too.

Here's the noise filter "off" image.



and the noise filter set to "Standard" image..


Last edited by Greg Chappell; Aug 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 1:10 PM   #5
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my, my, my ..... incredible what you do with hardware, simply amazing to me, it always has been regardless of camera/lens.
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High, Bob.

These are amazing little cameras. Not sure what I should expect, but just for kicks I'm going to take the E-PL1 and 70-300 to the Rangers game this Wednesday night vs the Twins to see what's possible. Thursday morning I have a date at the dentist to have all four wisdom teeth removed, so if I don't manage to get a few images up before going to bed Wednesday night, it might be the weekend before I get around to posting any of those! Everyone else I know had this done at 14-17 years old, and here I am waiting until 48. Can't wait....

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Old Aug 22, 2010, 1:14 PM   #6
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I agree with Bob. It just doesn't seem to matter what equipment you use.

The results are always pleasing to the eye.

Zig
Zig, I saw your image where you got caught changing lenses! The ultimate longest focal lengths are close comparing the 50-200+EC20 to the 70-300+EC14. Do you see much difference in image quality?
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 1:37 PM   #7
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Great info & examples Greg, Thanks for taking time to post. There are so many ideas I have to try with the epl-1 just got to get around to doing them.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 2:08 PM   #8
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After some brief tests, I settled down to "Low". Still very good detail. To me "Std" kills too much details and "Off" shows too much noise in very low light. I don't want to change settings all the time, so "Low" is a good compromise.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 4:13 PM   #9
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If you shoot above 1250iso, you will want NR set to standard at low light. It can get noise up there with it set to low.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 4:15 PM   #10
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The sport shots is where you will see the limits of the epl-1. Especially if you are trying to take a burst of the action. C-AF Tr does ok, but this is not the strong point of the pen's.

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High, Bob.

These are amazing little cameras. Not sure what I should expect, but just for kicks I'm going to take the E-PL1 and 70-300 to the Rangers game this Wednesday night vs the Twins to see what's possible. Thursday morning I have a date at the dentist to have all four wisdom teeth removed, so if I don't manage to get a few images up before going to bed Wednesday night, it might be the weekend before I get around to posting any of those! Everyone else I know had this done at 14-17 years old, and here I am waiting until 48. Can't wait....
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