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Author Topic: Canon 50D incredibly noisy?  (Read 28101 times)
stewarthemley
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« on: November 27, 2008, 06:22:26 AM »
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I was looking for a cheap (relatively!) backup camera and just tested the new Canon 50D. Couldn't believe how much noise there was, even at 400 ISO. And at 1600 and above the thing was hopeless. Much worse than my 1DSmk2 and 3. Sort of reminded me of my 1DS. So I tried another sample from a different dealer but the results were just the same. I processed in ACR and DPP but neither solved the noise problem. I only shoot raw so didn't bother testing in-camera processing of jpgs. I doubt if I'm losing it as I don't get that problem with other bodies! And yet the DPReview samples at 1600 and 3200 look fine. Any comments welcome. (By the way, don't see this as Canon bashing: I collect my 5Dmk2 tomorrow.)
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dwdallam
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2008, 06:54:36 AM »
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Quote from: stewarthemley
I was looking for a cheap (relatively!) backup camera and just tested the new Canon 50D. Couldn't believe how much noise there was, even at 400 ISO. And at 1600 and above the thing was hopeless. Much worse than my 1DSmk2 and 3. Sort of reminded me of my 1DS. So I tried another sample from a different dealer but the results were just the same. I processed in ACR and DPP but neither solved the noise problem. I only shoot raw so didn't bother testing in-camera processing of jpgs. I doubt if I'm losing it as I don't get that problem with other bodies! And yet the DPReview samples at 1600 and 3200 look fine. Any comments welcome. (By the way, don't see this as Canon bashing: I collect my 5Dmk2 tomorrow.)

If you own a 1DS3, a 1DS2, and a 5DMK2, what is your definition of a "backup camera?" If you don't like the 1DS2 or the 5D2 as backup cameras, I suppose you could buy a 5D. The 5D is still a very low noise camera with excellent image quality. It has about the same noise as the 1ds3 and less than the 1DS2. I have a mint condition 5D, but I can't sell it right now since it is my ONLY backup. I will eventually sell it though. maybe in the next six month as we find out what's in the 2009 lineup.
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stewarthemley
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2008, 08:38:08 AM »
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Well, just to clarify, in DSLRs I don't currently own the 1DS2, just the 1DS3 and from tomorrow the 5D2.

And my idea of a backup camera is to have something as inexpensive as possible that will approach the quality of my main device closely enough for me to use it to the client's satisfaction if my main cam dies. The 50D is cheap enough but the gap in performance is wider than I expected. As I said, it's the noise that I find unacceptable - and surprising: we've been sort of trained to expect quantum leaps with each new release in each area of performance (AF, noise, DR, etc, etc.) That Canon take a backward step in an important area is not what I would have predicted and I'd really like to know if others agree.
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2008, 01:29:18 PM »
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Quote from: stewarthemley
just tested the new Canon 50D. Couldn't believe how much noise there was, even at 400 ISO
I wonder how well your ISO 400 test images were exposed. It is not surprising that the 1DsMkIII shows less noise than the 50D (the surprize would be if it was not so), but the "much noise at ISO 400" indicates too low exposure.
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Gabor
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2008, 01:48:40 PM »
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Quote from: Panopeeper
I wonder how well your ISO 400 test images were exposed. It is not surprising that the 1DsMkIII shows less noise than the 50D (the surprize would be if it was not so), but the "much noise at ISO 400" indicates too low exposure.

"As I posted, the difference in exposure is irrelevant. In fact, noise and DR comparison can be done (and I am often doing that) based on totally unrelated images, i.e. different sceneries, different illuminations, different exposures, etc."

Those are your words from another post where I pointed out the issue of exposure on noise.
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k bennett
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2008, 02:03:20 PM »
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Quote from: stewarthemley
Well, just to clarify, in DSLRs I don't currently own the 1DS2, just the 1DS3 and from tomorrow the 5D2.

And my idea of a backup camera is to have something as inexpensive as possible that will approach the quality of my main device closely enough for me to use it to the client's satisfaction if my main cam dies. The 50D is cheap enough but the gap in performance is wider than I expected.


The 40d is still available, at less cost. Sure, it's "only" ten megapixels, but it has less noise than the 50d in every test I've seen. I have one as a personal carry-around and backup camera to my 1-D series bodies. It's smaller, lighter, cheaper, and provides reasonable image quality. No, it's not as good at high ISO values, but the files are perfectly usable.

(I know this sounds like I am "damning with faint praise," but I actually like the little camera.)
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2008, 04:53:45 PM »
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Quote from: Tony Beach
Those are your words from another post where I pointed out the issue of exposure on noise.
Tony,

obviously you have an interest in this subject. It is really a pitty that you are not prepared to deal with it in detail in order to get an thorough understanding of it.
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Gabor
Tony Beach
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2008, 04:54:59 PM »
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Quote from: Panopeeper
Tony,

obviously you have an interest in this subject. It is really a pitty that you are not prepared to deal with it in detail in order to get an thorough understanding of it.

Your BS doesn't pass the sniff test.
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2008, 05:33:11 PM »
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Quote from: stewarthemley
Well, just to clarify, in DSLRs I don't currently own the 1DS2, just the 1DS3 and from tomorrow the 5D2.

And my idea of a backup camera is to have something as inexpensive as possible that will approach the quality of my main device closely enough for me to use it to the client's satisfaction if my main cam dies. The 50D is cheap enough but the gap in performance is wider than I expected. As I said, it's the noise that I find unacceptable - and surprising: we've been sort of trained to expect quantum leaps with each new release in each area of performance (AF, noise, DR, etc, etc.) That Canon take a backward step in an important area is not what I would have predicted and I'd really like to know if others agree.

I've never seen an image from the 40D which is less noisy than an image of the same scene taken with the 50D at the same ISO, when such images are compared at the same size.

The fact is, smaller pixels tend to be noisier than larger pixels. However, smaller pixels provide greater resolution. The disappointment with the 50D is that the technological improvement that's taken place during that timeframe between the 40D and 50D, has not been sufficient to ensure that individual 50D pixels are no noisier than 40D pixels, so there are some misleading signals for the consumer. This is compounded by the presence of higher ISO settings on the 50D, which create the expectation that noise at the pixel level will be either less or no greater than that of the 40D.

The choices are clear. If the lighting conditions are such that noise is a major concern, then you should not make prints or view images on the monitor at a greater size than you would if you had used a 40D for the shot. You might then find, in those circumstances, that 50D noise would be very slightly less, or at least equal.

If noise is not an issue because lighting is good, then you can avail yourself of the higher resolving capability of the 50D and make larger prints in proportion to the increased pixel count.
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2008, 05:39:54 PM »
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Quote from: Ray
If noise is not an issue because lighting is good, then you can avail yourself of the higher resolving capability of the 50D and make larger prints in proportion to the increased pixel count.
EXACTLY. I would add: learn how to expose properly to get most of your camera's capability.
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Gabor
Ray
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2008, 06:21:13 PM »
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Quote from: Panopeeper
EXACTLY. I would add: learn how to expose properly to get most of your camera's capability.

It's also worth noting that, according to Bob Atkins tests at http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digit...D_review_3.html , even at ISO 3200 the additional resolving power of the 50D sensor is sufficient to allow for additional noise reduction to be applied to the 50D image whilst still maintaining a resolution edge over the 40D.

The bottom line is, provided good exposure technique is used and appropriate processing, the 40D will never outperform the 50D.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2008, 09:29:59 PM »
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Have you tried printing an image from the 50D?

I processed some files that were HORRIBLY noisy in the shadow areas and at 8x12 I saw NO noise in the printed images from the 1DS3. They were not landscape though. They were portraits.

Again, it sounds like a perfect camera for you would be the 5D2 that you ordered.

You'll have a 1DS3 and a 5D2. Do you want a third camera just for safety sake?

If so, get a used 5D. You can probably get them for under 1600.00 now that the 5D2 is out.

Since the 5D2 comes in at 2700 I would not be surprised if new 5Ds hold their price at around 1800-2000 until stock runs out.
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Ray
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2008, 01:20:46 AM »
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Quote from: dwdallam
Have you tried printing an image from the 50D?

I processed some files that were HORRIBLY noisy in the shadow areas and at 8x12 I saw NO noise in the printed images from the 1DS3. They were not landscape though. They were portraits.

Again, it sounds like a perfect camera for you would be the 5D2 that you ordered.

You'll have a 1DS3 and a 5D2. Do you want a third camera just for safety sake?

If so, get a used 5D. You can probably get them for under 1600.00 now that the 5D2 is out.

Since the 5D2 comes in at 2700 I would not be surprised if new 5Ds hold their price at around 1800-2000 until stock runs out.

It's a fact of life that a full frame sensor will tend to produce less noise than a sensor which is less than half the area, whatever the pixel count. The main advantages of choosing a 50D in preference to a 5D as a back-up, would be the shutter speed advantage for a given DoF; the faster frame rate; the LiveView feature; the higher resolution LCD screen; the micro-adjustment of autofocus accuracy, and the higher potential resolution when your telephoto lens, when used with the 5D, is not long enough for the composition.

The shutter speed advantage in relation to a desired DoF, more or less cancels the noise advantage of the 5D. That is, to achieve both the same DoF and shutter speed with the 5D, it is necessary to increase the ISO and F stop number by at least one stop, depending on distance to subject. On average, it might be 1.6 stops, but at close distances it can be as much as 2 stops, according to my own tests.

Of course, if getting the shallowest of DoFs is your objective, then the 50D has a 'maximum aperture' disadvantage, as well as a lens quality disadvantage at those very wide apertures.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 01:22:06 AM by Ray » Logged
dwdallam
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2008, 01:47:39 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
It's a fact of life that a full frame sensor will tend to produce less noise than a sensor which is less than half the area, whatever the pixel count. The main advantages of choosing a 50D in preference to a 5D as a back-up, would be the shutter speed advantage for a given DoF; the faster frame rate; the LiveView feature; the higher resolution LCD screen; the micro-adjustment of autofocus accuracy, and the higher potential resolution when your telephoto lens, when used with the 5D, is not long enough for the composition.

The shutter speed advantage in relation to a desired DoF, more or less cancels the noise advantage of the 5D. That is, to achieve both the same DoF and shutter speed with the 5D, it is necessary to increase the ISO and F stop number by at least one stop, depending on distance to subject. On average, it might be 1.6 stops, but at close distances it can be as much as 2 stops, according to my own tests.

Of course, if getting the shallowest of DoFs is your objective, then the 50D has a 'maximum aperture' disadvantage, as well as a lens quality disadvantage at those very wide apertures.


OK I see. Depending on what he is shooting, frame rate and DoF may be more important in relation to keeping shutter as high as possible. I was assuming since he has a 1DS3 and a 5D2 that he was backing up thrice for important client photo ops on a tight schedule.
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Ray
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2008, 02:06:19 AM »
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Quote from: dwdallam
OK I see. Depending on what he is shooting, frame rate and DoF may be more important in relation to keeping shutter as high as possible. I was assuming since he has a 1DS3 and a 5D2 that he was backing up thrice for important client photo ops on a tight schedule.

I agree, if the purpose is no more than 'back up', then it's best to stick with the same format. You can use the same lens with the camera on the same tripod; same apertures and same distance to subject. That would seem a lot less complicated than switching to a different format.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2008, 03:40:24 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
I agree, if the purpose is no more than 'back up', then it's best to stick with the same format. You can use the same lens with the camera on the same tripod; same apertures and same distance to subject. That would seem a lot less complicated than switching to a different format.

If I were shooting specifically in a studio, I'd probably keep the 5D until I buy a new camera to replace my 1DS3, unless I can't afford to upgrade next go around. But my point is that in a studio it's clean, you have a place to clean the sensor if you need to and change lenses, plus you don't really need to worry about DR too much. And it takes great images too. The 5D is a cult classic for sure.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2008, 03:53:53 AM »
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Quote from: stewarthemley
I was looking for a cheap (relatively!) backup camera and just tested the new Canon 50D. Couldn't believe how much noise there was, even at 400 ISO. And at 1600 and above the thing was hopeless.

Both the french magazines Chasseur d'Image and Reponse photo concluded that the 50D had probably packed too many pixels in its sensor and overall recommend other options over it (stick to the 40D or get a D90/D300 if your are not invested in Canon lenses).

Cheers,
Bernard

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stewarthemley
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 07:37:14 AM »
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Hi Guys, sorry to start the thread then appear to abandon it but I moved house last week and my internet hub broke at the same time! But up and running now.

Some good, helpful comments re DOF, type of use, etc and I think the best advice was (for me) to retain a FF camera as backup.

Re the possibility that I might have been underexposing/incorrectly exposing the 50D, well without being defensive and trying to remain humble, I think by now I'm able to get that bit right most times - but not all, I'll grant you! But even if I had a "getting my exposure right" type problem, it would apply to all my cameras and so I think that can be safely ruled out.

And I now have my backup dilemma sorted: I took delivery of and tested the 5D2, promptly sold the 1DS3 and have my "old" 5D as backup. The 1DS3 was a good camera but the extra little bits of th 5D2 made it the better choice for me. The live view and video facility is awesome. Thanks again all who replied.
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2008, 10:01:37 AM »
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Quote from: stewarthemley
Re the possibility that I might have been underexposing/incorrectly exposing the 50D, well without being defensive and trying to remain humble, I think by now I'm able to get that bit right most times - but not all, I'll grant you!
Before you get the knickers in a knot: not exposing perfectly, i.e. as good as possible is not a criminal act; I have not accused you with any horrendeous crime (well, except with exposing too low :-).

Anyway, the proof is in the pudding. Why don't you upload such a noise *raw* file for inspection?

Quote
But even if I had a "getting my exposure right" type problem, it would apply to all my cameras
Not necessarily. Exposing lower than possible is not the result of incorrectly measuring the light. It may be the result of the camera's metering not matching the scenery; it may be caused by misinterpreting the in-camera histogram (RGB) for exposure; it may be misunderstanding the histogram shown in DPP or ACR.

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I took delivery of and tested the 5D2, promptly sold the 1DS3 and have my "old" 5D as backup
The 5D2 looks very good re image quality, you will be happy with it, if the ruggedness of the 1Ds3 is not important.
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Gabor
BJL
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2008, 01:59:04 PM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Both the french magazines Chasseur d'Image and Reponse photo concluded that the 50D had probably packed too many pixels in its sensor and overall recommend other options over it (stick to the 40D or get a D90/D300 if your are not invested in Canon lenses).

Do they offer any rational scientific basis, or just the usual misguided comparisons of per pixel noise and DR levels and 100% on-screen images, along with the currently fashionable dogma that more, smaller photosites on the same sensor size always gives worse image quality?

I ask because of the specific suggestion that staying with the 40D would be better, which is flatly contradicted by the observations in Bob Atkins' review of the 50D at http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digit...D_review_1.html

After noting that the 50D has somewhat higher per pixel noise, he goes on to demonstrate that
"With some noise reduction applied, the 50D can show less noise then the 40D, but still maintain an edge in resolution" (page 3)
"The bottom line is that the EOS 50D resolves more image detail then the EOS 40D, and it does so with just about any lens at just about any aperture. You don't need expensive "L" series primes to realize the higher resolving ability." (page 4)
"Though I didn't do a scientific evaluation of dynamic range, the Dxomark.com website has ... Their measurements put the DR of the EOS 50D and EOS 40D within less than 1/10 stop of each other, at around 11 stops at the ISO 100 setting and 8.25 stops at the ISO 3200 setting." (page 3)

Given that, in what possible way can one claim that the 40D offers better IQ? All I can see is a bit less need to mess with NR!


And before someone says yet again that there is no point buying a higher resolution camera if you have to throw away resolution with NR or downsampling or such, I will say yet again that such processing is not always needed, not by a long shot:
The noise levels of the 50D are in many situations comfortably low enough that no NR or downsampling is needed, particularly in the low ISO situations where most if the highest resolution demands arise (landscape, architecture and other slow-moving subjects).
Thus extra NR, downsampling or simply printing at the same size as you could from a lower resolution camera are simply options for use in some lower light situations, leaving a clear resolution advantage in other, better lit, situations.


Of course, if one never has a use for more detail than a 10MP or 12MP sensor gives, the 50D is less attractive than an imagined new 10MP or 12MP Canon EF-S sensor using the same technical progress as went into the 50D sensor. I have no personal interest in sensors of over 20MP for that reason, but I sometimes crop away about half of the image area when struggling for adequate telephoto or macro reach or photographing erratically moving subjects with loose framing, and then 15MP/2=7.5MP does not sound so extravagant.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 02:03:15 PM by BJL » Logged
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