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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎11-23-2014

Grainy images

I understand that grain can come from multiple sources, but... I have a new 7D MKII. I like functionality and controls. What I have been having issues with is grain. My main question is this: Can a camera be defective in a way that grainy pictures are the result?


I changed for a 1D to the 7D, because as I get older the 1D got more uncomfortable to handle. (Probably my worse decision in a long time.) So I went from a professional to a proconsumer camera, got that. Also went from 1.3 to 1.6 multiplier sensor (or smaller sensor), got that.


I did a series of test shoots with my camera and my brother's 7D MKII shooting the same image at 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400 ISOs. Cameras was on a Canon 600mm lens and then with same len and the 1.4 extender. Grain wasn't an issue.


As most problems with computer driven equipment it is probably operator error, but if there is a possibility it could be the hardware I need to know so I can get this resolved. This isn't my first camera, but it is beginning to feel that way.


Thank you. Fay

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: Grainy images

Shooting raw or JPEG? Did either of you change anything in the settings?

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎11-23-2014

Re: Grainy images

We just checked the problem is constant between monitors I use. Thinking of other hardware issues. I have two SanDisk 32 GB Extreeme Pro CF 160 MS/S UDMA7 cards I use. I use two camera bodies 5D MKIII and the 7D MK II. The cards are both removed, emptied, formatted and who knows if they go back into the camera they came out of.


All images are shot in raw.


I had reset all camera settings to factor before I did the test I mentioned in the previous message. The only setting I returned to what I had been using for the test was to reset the color space to Adobe RGB. Between the test and shooting bird pictures yesterday I reset the following settings. This is list is long, but on some not sure what was factory.


So the settings:

Shooting Menu: 1st:

  • Raw,
  • Image review 4 sec
  • Beep enabledRelease shutter without card off
  • Lens aberration correction Enabled, Enabled, Disabled
  • Flash Enabled, Evaluative 1/250-1/60

Shooting Menu: 2nd

  • Auto Lighting Optimizer: Auto
  • White balance: AWB
  • Color space: Adobe RGB

Shooting Menu: 3rd

  • Pic style: Standard (no changes to the settings)
  • Long exp noise reduction Off
  • High ISO speed NR: High

Shooting Menu: 4th No changes

Shooting Menu: 5th

  • Live View shooting Enabled
  • AF method: first selection set

Shooting Menu: 6th No changes

AF Menu 1

  • Set on Case 1 at factory settings

AF Menu 2

  • Both items set to far right (focus)

AF Menu 3 No changes

AF Menu 4

  • Lens drive when AF impossible: Off
  • 65 point
  • I have only the 2nd and 6 option selectioned for AF area select mode

AF Menu 5

  • Every thing here is set on the first option except AF microadjustment is on since we microadjusted all lens which are older to work with the newer camera body

Playback: 1 and 2

  • No changes

Playback: 3

  • Highlight alert Enabled
  • AF point disp Enabled
  • Magnification Actual Size

Setup 1:

  • Created user file name
  • Auto rotate only on computer

Setup 2

  • Set date and time
  • Viewfinder display: Enabled Show/hide in viewfinder
  • Did use GPS function during the day

Setup 3: No changes

Setup 4: Entered copyright info, firmware version 1.0.2

Custom Functions 1:

  • Exp Level: 1/2
  • ISO speed: 1/1

Custom Functions 2: No changes

Custom Functions 3:

  • Dial direction: Reverse
  • Custom Controls
  • Shutter butt: Metering and AF start
  • AF-On: AF-ON button Metering and AF start
  • AE Lock: AE lock
  • DOF: AE lock (hold)
  • Lens AF Stop: AF Stop
  • Multi-function: FE Lock
  • Set button: Set ISO
  • Main dail: Shutter speed in M mode
  • Quick dial AO setting in M mode
  • Multi-controller: Direct AF point selction
  • AF Area select lever: Direct AF area selection

Custom Functions 3 & 4: Unchanged


If you reached this point in the post thank you. I would appreciate any suggestions. I have a 6000 mile birding trip coming up in about 10 days and topping that off with working in Yellowstone National Park for 5.5 months so I need this camera to be working. At this point I am force to plan to shoot with only the 5D. What a bummer because everyone is raving about the 7D. I on the other hand am beyond frustrated.


Thank you Fay

Posts: 11,631
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Grainy images

Actually a few samples of what "grain" you are talking about would be nice.


Are you comparing the images to the 1D?  The 1D is a fantastic camera that isn't likely to ever be repeated.  It had a CCD 4 MP sensor.  The 7D Mk II has 20 MP cmos sensor.  The imagaes will not look a like.  Never!  Some still say the 1D is the best portrait camera ever made.  I still use mine.


Also remember the 7D Mk II is capable of much greater resolution so that may be what you are calling grain.  Post some samples.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,816
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Grainy images

Sample images would help.

BTW, when you use RAW, many of those options you are choosing are not applied. Things like white balance, lens aberration correction, color space, etc. are all things that are only applied to JPEG images... But not RAW. When you shoot RAW its up to your computer software to apply those adjustments.
Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎11-23-2014

Re: Grainy images

Go to You may get this page not found message, but also the request banner at the bottom asking if you want to upload or save. The package includes 8 pic Camera Raw files and the xmp files. Nothing has been done to the images. The hawk in the portrait picture isn't to bad, but there is no real feather detail that should be there. Image _D2A7604 has a Greater Prairie-Chicken in the center that is dismal from the grain.


The swan and hawk images was taken under complete cloud cover. The other four pictures had sunlight.


Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Thank you. Fay

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,972
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: Grainy images



I downloaded the images and examined them in DPP3, DPP4 and Lightroom.


The EXIF data shows a 600mm lens + 1.4 extender. DPP doesn't recognize the lens, so perhaps it is not the Canon 600mm f/4L? The high pixel count on this body is extremely demanding on lens quality and shooting practices.


I am attaching screenshoots I took.


The focus point for the hawk is right on the eye, yet the image doesn't appear that sharp.


The prarie-chicken is pretty small, even at a 1:1 size. I can't make any judgement on noise based on that.


If it was me I would be using a less extreme lens combination and a larger subject size to judge performance.


But, if you have indeed done a true A/B comparison (everything exactly the same except the body) and the other body gives better results than there must be a problem with your 7D.


Given your upcoming equipment demands I would send the camera to Canon for a check/adjust for your own peace of mind.


John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LRCC Classic
Posts: 11,631
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Grainy images


Several questions just by looking at the screen shot JRHoffman displayed.

What lens are you using?  Is it a Canon EF 600mm f4 L?  What tele extender brand is it and what strength is it?

Did you do the RAW adjustments or did Mr Hoffman?


It is odd that no lens data shows up but it may be due to the tele extender you have. I only recommend Canon extenders.

I have a Canon 600mm lens and I can tell you it is sharp but it does have its limits.  It must be on a very sturdy tripod and SS at 1/1000 is minumun.

What you have looks like what I get with my Tamron 600mm f6.3 lens.  Remember with the rig I suspect you have, a 7D Mk II, a 600mm lens and a 1.4 extender, it is going to give you some serious focal length reach.  Somewhere north of 1300mm appearent FOV or AOA.  Not only is this going to give great magnification, it also magnifies all the ills.  Vibration, camera shake, heat waves. etc. gets increased, just as much.


Are you saying the exact same set up combo looks better with your 1D?  I can not imagine that it would, if it does there is something very wrong with your camera.


Some suggestions I would change right off is using AdobeRGB instead of wide gamut.  Do not use auto WB either.  And if you are not using, I would get Photoshop that has just released ACR 8.8.  Plus very important get closer, very much closer!


I will d/l you phots later when I get home.  Smiley Happy

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,972
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: Grainy images

[ Edited ]
I made no adjustments to the RAW. All three images are default processing in DPP4. I chose DPP4 since it allows the snip tool. I can't use snip tool with LR, but LR didn't show different results.

OP stated that images were compared with a second 7D Mark II.
John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LRCC Classic
Posts: 11,631
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Grainy images

So it is a 7D Mk II vs another 7D Mk II wiht the same operator?

As of right now with what info I have, I am thinking this is a technique or lack thereof issue and not a camera issue.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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