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Understanding Noise

cjcampbellphoto
Occasional Contributor
Hi Canon Community,

 

I'm an amateur photographer looking to improve my skills and I'm struggling in low light situations.  I recently took some photos of my friends using a Canon 7D (the oldest model) and an EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM with the settings of:
ISO250 at 100mm f/4.5 and 1/125 sec.  The picture shows up with a TON of grain and I'm confused. The ISO isn't that high at all.  I bumped up the exposure by +2 in Lightroom just to show how much grain is in the photo:

 

IMG_8931-3.jpg

 

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

 

Best,

CJ

34 REPLIES 34

Waddizzle
VIP

I admit to having bad eyes, but I think others would agree that your photo does not have a lot of grain or noise.  What part of the image shows the worst grain?  The LL Bean logo looks good, as does the dark area on the upper right.

 

If you are using LR, then you should be able to remove just about all noise in a properly exposed image.  With the latest subscription version of LR Classic your exposure can be off by a whole stop, and it can still clean it all up.

 

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."

cjcampbellphoto
Occasional Contributor

I've heard differing schools of thought. I've heard that under exposing slightly is ok because you can bump up in the exposure, but I've also heard that overexposing and bringing down the exposure is better, as it results in less grain.  What are your thoughts on that?


@cjcampbellphoto wrote:

I've heard differing schools of thought. I've heard that under exposing slightly is ok because you can bump up in the exposure, but I've also heard that overexposing and bringing down the exposure is better, as it results in less grain.  What are your thoughts on that?


Assuming the camera is not being fooled by a wide DR scene, for me setting AEC sometimes depends upon where the ISO will be for a "correct" exposure, I am not going to ETTL when ISO is at 25600.

 

I like to shoot in M mode with ISO set to Auto, which means any AEC will raise or lower the ISO.  If the ISO is going to be super high, then I add negative compensation to keep ISO from introducing a lot of noise.  When ISO Is going to fall within a more normal range, 100-1000, then I may dial in positive compensation to capture more details in shadows.

 

Also, my Sekonic light meter tells me that my camera tends to typically overexposed by 1/3 of a stop, so I have been conducting an experiment.  I have been using -1/3 Ev as my normal setting for shooting most of the year, just to see what images look like.  The images do have a slightly different look, most especially images with a lot of bokeh.

 

4E2133BB-7452-4F5A-AC8D-FA0371FD22D0.jpeg

 

 

E780BD84-B7A7-471A-AFD3-EC814130D10D.jpeg

 

Subjects tend to really stand out from the background, and contrast seems a little higher.  Images also seem to look a little under exposed, which the histogram usually confirms. My eyes like it when I add 1/2 stop of exposure in post.  The first photo is without any exposure added.  I had forgotten to add it in.  The second photo has +1/2 stop of exposure.  The experiment continues.

 

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."

cjcampbellphoto
Occasional Contributor

Forgive me, as I'm unfamiliar with the terms AEC and ETTL.  I'm assuming AEC is Automating Exposure Compensation.  I'll have to invest in a light meter to help get some of this information.  I'm still very new to photography so learning these skills is definitely necessary.

"I'm unfamiliar with the terms AEC and ETTL."

 

Some of the guys here seem to always advise advanced settings for folks that are true beginners. They do them no service. You know it is best to learn to walk before you try to run.  You do not need any extras or any special setting to make a snapshot like the one you posted.  A better choice of lens and a simple "P" mode on the camera would do a good job.

 

There are lots of places where you can learn AEC and ETTL like youtube or photo how-to books, photo courses, etc.

 

What is bracketing??

 

Is where you take several usually 3 shots all with a slightly different exposure. Then you choose the best exposure or even stack them in post.

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


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"I'm unfamiliar with the terms AEC and ETTL."

 

Some of the guys here seem to always advise advanced settings for folks that are true beginners. They do them no service. You know it is best to learn to walk before you try to run.  You do not need any extras or any special setting to make a snapshot like the one you posted.  A better choice of lens and a simple "P" mode on the camera would do a good job.

 

There are lots of places where you can learn AEC and ETTL like youtube or photo how-to books, photo courses, etc.

 

What is bracketing??

 

Is where you take several usually 3 shots all with a slightly different exposure. Then you choose the best exposure or even stack them in post.


Agree completely. As stated above - 

 

"To me there is no obvious reason why the camera shouldn't give you a proper exposure in Program AE in that setting."

 

ETTL is a flash feature - OP never indicated he was using flash.

 

Not familiar with AEC. There is EC (Exposure Compensation) and AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing).

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic

"ETTL is a flash feature - OP never indicated he was using flash."

 

ETTL = Expose To The Left.  

I had really meant to say ETTR, Expose To The Right.

It is a description of how the histogram may look for a photo.

 

2CB0FACE-81E4-485C-8701-61B9269D517F.jpeg

 

 

 

Look at the top left corner.

 

 

 

C7E97F91-4EA1-40F0-9BCA-C4921DBD19FA.jpeg

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."


ould tell you that @Waddizzle wrote:

"ETTL is a flash feature - OP never indicated he was using flash."

 

ETTL = Expose To The Left.  


Huh?? I'm pretty sure that Canon, who I believe invented the terminology, would tell you that it stands for "Enhanced Through-The-Lens" metering.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


@RobertTheFat wrote:

ould tell you that @Waddizzle wrote:

"ETTL is a flash feature - OP never indicated he was using flash."

 

ETTL = Expose To The Left.  


Huh?? I'm pretty sure that Canon, who I believe invented the terminology, would tell you that it stands for "Enhanced Through-The-Lens" metering.


I'm pretty sure that Canon uses E-TTL, not ETTL.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."