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Old Sep 9, 2004, 4:26 PM   #1
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Noise patterns are different in nearly each digital camera. Some have noise which looks like fine film grain, some have distinct patterns which are repeating and which some have believed are from noise reduction.

For example, the pattern in the FZ10 and FZ20 are different, with the FZ20 exhibiting some repeating patterns which somewhat resemble artifacts from some noise reduction software.

Lately I've been studying noise patterns and on a lark decided to compare the FZ10 with the Canon 1DS - the very top of the line for dSLR's - period. The most expensive and finest digital SLR made today with some of the most sophisticated electronics.

Granted, I'm comparing a $9000 (original MSRP) with a $599 camera, and I'm not saying that their image quality is anywhere near equal, so don't get off on a tangent of criticism in that respect. All I'm doing is comparing noise patterns.

I took a crop from the sky in Steve's shot of the restaurant made with the Canon 1DS, and a crop of a sky shot I made yesterday with my FZ20. I expanded both to 400% and applied USM sharpening at 200 to bring out the noise, then I leveled the two images to get simiar hue and contrast. Guess what? The noise patterns are very, very similar in every sense. What does this mean? Just that we should spend more time looking at the prints and less time worrying about visible noise in on-screen shots I think.....

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Old Sep 9, 2004, 7:26 PM   #2
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Lin, thanks a lot for the time and effort you put in this forum. But:

Lin Evans wrote:
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I took a crop from the sky in Steve's shot of the restaurant made with the Canon 1DS, and a crop of a sky shot I made yesterday with my FZ20.

Shouldn't a comparison be made using the two cameras in identical situations? In this case, the same pic with both.

Thanks again.
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Old Sep 9, 2004, 8:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Shouldn't a comparison be made using the two cameras in identical situations? In this case, the same pic with both. Thanks again.
Actually it doesn't matter whether they were both the same image or not because it's the "pattern" of noise which is of interest. Noise patterns are the result of image acquisition and processing and though there may be more noise or less noise depending on ISO and lighting conditions, the patterns are not affected, only the amounts.

I have hundreds, even thousands of 1DS images from my own shots, but I thought it would be easier for readers who wish to repeat the experiment to use one which is readily available to all. I've checked a half dozen of my own 1DS sky shots and the results are identical as are shots from my FZ20.

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Sep 10, 2004, 10:56 AM   #4
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Of course there will be some people (not me) who rarely print, but just keep their images for on screen.

I suppose there are several types of noise pattern, and some are quite visible on screen, but can hardly been seen on prints; while others are just as visible in both formats. (Is this true?) That would means that there are cameras that 'specialise' in printing, and others that do not. For me, the fact that the FZ20 seems to be one of the former is really important.

Reviews of digicams, it seems to me, should do a big print of a image with lots of dark areas, just to see how the noise looks on photo paper.
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Old Sep 10, 2004, 12:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
I suppose there are several types of noise pattern, and some are quite visible on screen, but can hardly been seen on prints; while others are just as visible in both formats. (Is this true?) That would means that there are cameras that 'specialise' in printing, and others that do not.
Actually, most noise which can be seen on screen is pretty much invisible on print. There really are not cameras which "specialize" in printing, it's just we tend to forget that what we look at on screen at 100% is the equivalence with a five megapixel camera of a 35 inch wide print, and no one in their right mind expects to print a 35 inch image from a five megapixel camera.

It's not necessary to make a huge print to see how one would look, we can simply enlarge to wichever print size we want to investigate, crop a small section and print the crop.

The interesting thing is that the majority of those who go on and on about noise in this camera or that camera have done exactly what I did for the demonstration of the noise pattern above. They enlarge by a factor of 300 or 400 percent and see the results and never once stop to think that what they are seeing would only appear in print if the print were 142.2 by 106.6 inches or approximately 12 x 9 feet!

The bottom line is that noise in print from a digital camera is something we rarely see unless the image was captured at a very high ISO.

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Sep 10, 2004, 2:27 PM   #6
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Hi Lin,

Thank you for spending your time give us such detailed info. I always have this crazy ideal that, If the FZ15 or FZ10 can produce the same quality of picture(printed with 5"x7", or smaller than 8"x10"), why would we need 5MP. Then we all should get the FZ10, or even FZ1, coz we only print out picture with smaller sizes. The noise doesshows upon the print with a 10"x14" size print. If someone don't care about larger print, we can get 2MP or 3MP. Just my 2 cents.

Have fun with your FZ20! None theless, it still a very good camera money can buy!



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Old Sep 10, 2004, 2:53 PM   #7
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If you really don't need to print larger than 4x6 even a 1.5 megapixel camera will do fine. I have some beautiful 4x5 prints
made from my Sony DKC-ID1 which has less than 800x600 resolution but takes beautiful images.

What we need to keep in mind is that though we may see tiny differences when viewing a print with a magnifying
glass, even the very low resolution digicams make really nice 4x5or 4x6 prints. The major advantage of having greater
resolution for the majority of users is to either print larger or to be able to crop a bit and still get a usable print.

I like the FZ10 and FZ20 for their long zoom capabilities and stabilized lenses which let me get shots of things like birds
at distances where I would otherwise need to use one of my dSLR's or SLR's with very large, heavy lenses.Even though
I have nearly everytype of dSLR and pro-level telephoto lens available, I don't like to carry them with me when I'm not
working. The little FZ cameras have taken the place of my Olympus E2100UZ and E-100RS which I don't use nearly as often
any more. I can carry the FZ10 or 20 in a rather tiny case in my truck and getserendipitous shots of birds or
wildlife which I run across daily and not have to worry about having $15,000 worth of equipment at risk forcing me to either
carry the camera and lens bags into and out of grocery stores, restaurants, etc., or face the probability that they will likely be stolen.


Just a couple days ago I happened across these guys and was able to get the shot with the FZ20. It required a major crop
because of the distance, but the additional resolution made that possible. Even though we may need to clean up visible
noise and tweak the images more than had we used an expensive dSLR, the end result is that these little jewels make it
possible, and for a very reasonable price.


Lin


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Old Sep 10, 2004, 11:03 PM   #8
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Lin Evans wrote:
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Even though we may need to clean up visible noise and tweak the images more than had we used an expensive dSLR, the end result is that these little jewels make it possible, and for a very reasonable price.

What can I say? You have proved your point. Thanks for sharing that with us.

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Old Sep 15, 2004, 8:08 PM   #9
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Have you seen any patterns similar to the "banding" which has been reported for the KM Z3? Can't tell from the crops. It shows up on some pictures with that camera at 100% in the sky. Thanks.

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Old Sep 15, 2004, 11:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
any patterns similar to the "banding" which has been reported for the KM Z3?
Only what you see in the crop next to the 1DS in the way of noise pattern. No banding or other abnormal appearance in any shots I've made (around 1000 so far)

Best regards,

Lin
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