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Thread: Noise on the 7D

  1. #1
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    Default Noise on the 7D

    Hey guys,

    Been using the 7d for a few days now and I am consistently noticing high level of noise at ISO 100. Here is a sample:

    http://northqldbirder.com/wp-content...9329156275.jpg

    EXIF as follows:

    File Name IMG_0577.JPG
    Camera Model Canon EOS 7D
    Firmware Firmware Version 1.1.0
    Shooting Date/Time 03/22/10 16:53:18
    Owner's Name
    Shooting Mode Aperture-Priority AE
    Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/50
    Av( Aperture Value ) 1.4
    Metering Mode Evaluative Metering
    Exposure Compensation 0
    ISO Speed 100
    Auto ISO Speed OFF
    Lens EF50mm f/1.4 USM
    Focal Length 50.0mm
    Image Size 5184x3456
    Image Quality Fine
    Flash Off
    FE lock OFF
    White Balance Mode Auto
    AF Mode One-Shot AF
    AF area select mode Spot AF
    Picture Style Standard
    Sharpness 3
    Contrast 0
    Saturation 0
    Color tone 0
    Color Space sRGB
    Long exposure noise reduction 0:Off
    High ISO speed noise reduction 0:Standard
    Highlight tone priority 0isable
    Auto Lighting Optimizer 0:Standard
    Peripheral illumination correction Enable
    File Size 5039KB
    Dust Delete Data No
    Drive Mode Low-speed continuous shooting

    As you can see NR is standard and Highlight tone priority is off. The manual says the Auto Lighting Optimiser may produce additional noise in some conditions but even with this disabled my noise levels at low ISOs are quite high.

    Any thoughts? Is this a normal level?

    Cheers,
    Seb

  2. #2

    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    I've been having similar thoughts in relation to noise levels in my 7D with my Canon 500 f4 attatched, that's the only lens I use on my only Canon 7D camera. I also use a Nikon D300 with a Tokina 300 f2.8 or a Nikon 80-200 f2.8, and I think overall the Nikon D300 combinations are consistantly more reliable when it comes down controlling noise levels......but it's hard to judge without proper bench testing.

    I dont find the canon 7D overly noisy, just slightly, but consistently in most images in dim light and bright light, more so on average than with my Nikon set up. In honesty I'm a little disappointed in my 7D.......loooove the 500mm f4 lens though, but the camera body I find a bit poor in comparison. It has some silly design faults in my opinion and seems to suffer hiccups from time to time with settings locking up when trying to alter them....but just intermittently, it doesn't give me the impression of being a robust long lived camera
    Repost at will......Cheers from Colin

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Believe it or not, I have had the camera's software freeze on me already. It locked up to the point that switching off did nothing. I had to remove the battery and reinsert it to get it to work. Did not bode well...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    I've just been going through a whole lot of my more recent images with the 7D for the past couple of months and I think it would be true to say every single image will require some degree of noise removal in editing, and I rarely use above ISO 400......the signs are not looking good really. The 50D disappointed a lot of people with noise reproduction, I'm starting to wonder if that problem carried on through to the 7D. I've had it for about 4 months now and apart from stunning detail, noise is evident, but the detail may be more of a case of a great lens on the front rather than the camera itself ?

    The occasional glitch in using the menus is more of a concern to me, nothing major at this stage and hoping it stays that way. I hope it's not prone to breakdowns {error 99's} as the 40D was/is.....time will tell I guess.
    Repost at will......Cheers from Colin

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Hmm. Well, was thinking of getting the 7D to fix this very annoying 40D focusing issue but am certainly far from convinced. Canon still seems to be running this crazy pixel race against no-one, with the result that they seem to neglect doing the basics well. Such as sharpness (other reviews have said that the images appear soft) and low noise (everyone seems to agree on this). Having said that, it does have 18 meg. so maybe it doesn't matter so much? As in, compared to the 40D say (which I have), if you crop it the same amount maybe it will look the same (only there will be more pixels). But then I guess the pixels are just not doing anything. Kinda wished I had jumped ship to Nikon at the moment...
    Tobias Hayashi
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Hi all,

    Warning – long post!

    I have the Canon 7D and also the 50D, so have been able to make some basic comparisons between the two. I am not sticking up for the 7D btw

    At high ISOs, the 7D easily outperforms the 50D – I would say by around half a stop or so at ISO 1600, and up to 1 stop thereabouts at ISO 3200 and above. Of course, most will not shoot at these ISOs, perhaps only stretching it as far as ISO 1600 if really needed. The noise also has a finer texture to it than the 50D, so the noise does clean up nicely with 7D images. Having said that, the 50D was not the best high ISO performer, so beating that isn’t the world’s biggest achievement. I have seen reviews saying the 7D performs equal or better than the Nikon D300 in the noise department and other reviews saying the D300 holds the upper hand, so read into this what you will I guess! There is of course sample variation and there seems to be a bit of sample variation with the 7D - at least with the older bodies (around when it was released).

    One must remember though, that when comparing noise levels, one must downsize the 7D image to the same resolution as the camera which you are comparing it to in order to make a good comparison between noise. When I compared the 50D to the 7D, when viewing both at 100%, it was evident that the 7D had at least half a stop better high ISO performance, perhaps bordering on 1-stop and this was without downsizing the 7D image to that of the 50D. One cannot really make a good judgement by comparing a 18MP cam to a 12MP cam without doing some downsizing or upsizing to level the playing field in terms of resolution. The 18MP does provide marginally more detail, although one will not notice this much in print unless printing at very large sizes. I have also found the 7D to be at least equal in sharpness to the 50D, which is good considering the extra pixels. Of course, more sharpening also sharpens noise, so I find myself toning down the sharpness in DPP a little and applying my own selective sharpening in order to control noise. You do also get some more cropping headroom with the 7D which is great for bird photography (i.e. you can crop more into the image at have less IQ loss than doing the same with a lower pixel cam). In saying that, though, one has to be extra careful as any mistake in terms of focus, camera shake, etc will be enhanced with the 7D with its higher resolution.

    The downer for me is more so the mid-ISO noise – around the ISO 400 mark. I do most of my shooting at ISO 400 and the 7D is a little noisy at this level – perhaps equal to the 50D although I have not done comparisons at this ISO range, rather only ISO 1600 upwards. It’s the AF that is a winner for the 7D as well as a host of other features that got me buying the 7D. I have learnt to live with the “higher than what I would like” ISO 400 noise; just means I have to perform some BG NR on most images. Exposing to the right a bit does help with noise levels, although you will find yourself at least applying some NR to most images from ISO 400 upwards. I agree that Nikon holds the upper hand in the noise department with their lower pixel densities, but the Nikon camp is complaining about the lower resolution, whilst the Canon camp complains about the higher resolution. Nikon lenses are also quite a bit more expensive than Canon’s line-up and Canon has a bit more range to choose, so that is what won me over to the Canon brand in the end 8-)
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    How are you judging noise levels Seb, are you viewing at 100% ? Reading posts on other forums about the 7D and noise the concensus appears to be that while it will look noiser at 100%, when you resample down to an equivalent image size be a 1000px web image or a print noise will be comparable to or better than say a 40D. The downsampling to produce the end product removes the noise. What this does mean is you can't expect to crop to make use of all those pixels, without some noise issues.

    Have a look over on Naturescapes for some discussion on 7D noise levels, just search the photography equipment forum for 7D & noise. The basic issue is that the real factor for noise is in fact sensor size, a larger sensor gathers more light (signal) and noise is more or less the same, so on a signal to noise ratio basis a larger sensor is always going to win.
    Chris Ross
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Do we really need 18mp's ?.....what I'm suggesting is I never have these kind of grainy looking images on my Nikon D300 or D50 unless I use high ISO settings straight out of the camera. I'm somewhat disappointed in the Canon and apart from extra costs I starting to wish I'd bought a Nikon 500 f4 VR and used it on my D300 rather than the Canon combo. Maybe it's the case of you get what you pay for.

    One other annoying aspect of the Canon 7D over my Nikon D300 is the layout of controls on the 7D, not much thought went into it's design it seems, in particular the tiny little awkward buttons and that horrid top control dial that is constantly moving off it's setting almost every time I pick the camera up :x A stiffer control dial or lock pin would be most welcome to avoid those missed shot chances from the dial moving off position unexpectedly, it hapens to me all too often with the 7D
    Repost at will......Cheers from Colin

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Yeah, it seems that different people are getting different results and posting very different opinions of the 7D. Maybe there is some variation. I agree with seesee, I don't think that this camera needs 18m. I reckon to have stuck with the 50D's 15m and improved the noise a lot more would have been more beneficial. If people really need the extra resolution, then they can head for the 5D Mk II, that's why it is there (and has a full-frame sensor). But a lot of emphasis seems to have been placed on speed and action with the 7D, so 18m is unnecessary IMO. Anyway, it may still be the best way to go. How is the AF in everyone's opinion? An improvement over the 40D/50D? How does the spot AF thingy work? Is it successful? My 40D has a tendency to focus on the wrong thing which really shows up with the 300/2.8.
    Tobias Hayashi
    Canberra, Australia
    www.flickr.com/photos/callocephalon

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Quote Originally Posted by callocephalon
    Yeah, it seems that different people are getting different results and posting very different opinions of the 7D. Maybe there is some variation. I agree with seesee, I don't think that this camera needs 18m. I reckon to have stuck with the 50D's 15m and improved the noise a lot more would have been more beneficial. If people really need the extra resolution, then they can head for the 5D Mk II, that's why it is there (and has a full-frame sensor). But a lot of emphasis seems to have been placed on speed and action with the 7D, so 18m is unnecessary IMO. Anyway, it may still be the best way to go. How is the AF in everyone's opinion? An improvement over the 40D/50D? How does the spot AF thingy work? Is it successful? My 40D has a tendency to focus on the wrong thing which really shows up with the 300/2.8.
    Yeah, I do agree 18MP is a lot - I didnt mention that in my post. I for sure will never print a photo at wall size to take advantage of that many pixels! I know the 50D had the same complaint when it came out - too many pixels, and the same thing happened when 12MP came about. I think 18MP is starting to push what is sensible though - it does offer marginally better detail, but I doubt seriously one is going to notice it that much unless going over images with a magnifying glass. Another caveat I found was the small buttons on the side of the LCD - the image playback button, picture style button, etc. They are annoying hard to get a response from; you have to push the button all the way down, just a small push of the button wont do anything. I havent had the problem with the dial that Colin is having, but the dial is a lot smoother so I can see how it could be easier to move without intention.

    AF-wise, it's a definite improvement over the 50D I think. With the 50D, if you wanted to focus on the bird against a busy BG, centre point only AF was the only way to go and that was a bit of a hit and miss scenario - keeping the centre point on the bird can be quite hard! I have found the 7D's AF point expansion (centre AF to initiate focus, then 1 focus point either side and up and down from the centre - total of 5 focus points including the centre, are used to keep track) to be quite good at birds against a busy BG. Have not tested it extensively though, but I do get more in focus shots of BIFs than I did with the 50D. There is also zone AF, but that tends to focus on whatever subject is closest to the camera, so if there is something in front of the bird, it will grab focus on that and not the bird. I have sensitivity set reasonably slow so that the cam wont focus on other things which pop into the AF area. This is great, I have kept focus on a bird even after it flew behind some power poles - the cam ignored the power poles and kept focus on the bird as it came out the other side.

    The spot AF is quite nifty - I have not used it heaps, but Romy Ocon which you may have heard of has good success with it. He used spot AF in AI Servo for "walking" birds. Spot AF basically does as the name suggests, it allows for more precise focusing on a certain point. For example, you can use it to really nail focus on a birds eye. I havent used it much though, so cant give any details as to how good it is. I guess it would be good for macro work as well where you want more control over where you want to focus or in photographs where you want to really nail focus for a small part of the image.

    I quite like the 7D, but I have only ever owned a Canon so I cant compare to models from other companies as Colin can. For me, it's mainly the mid-ISO noise which gets under my nose. A bigger concern seems to be the sample variation - it appears QC is lacking a bit in the Canon camp so everyone is having different experiences with the 7D. I have seen reported focus issues (some of these were people not getting a grasp of the advanced focus system, some were legitimate problems), others had issues with lock-ups, some with metering, some with really excessive noise (Romy Ocon had a model which had really high mid-ISO noise which he got replaced - still had high mid-ISO noise, but nowhere near as bad). Hopefully they can iron these things out because the 7D has the makings for a great camera; especially having the more advanced AF which makes it a "poor man's 1D MKIV". Would love to have $6,500+ lying around for a MkIV :P
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Thanks for that Dale. Glad to hear that the focus works. I wonder one what the 60D will be like? Seriously, what is Canon thinking of doing? They've introduced so many new lines...
    Tobias Hayashi
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    No worries, Tobias. Gosh, I write some long-winded posts, most of it being a load of crap, haha.

    Some people think that the 7D is actually the 60D, but I cant see this being true as usually Canon just have small incremental upgrades like with the 50D from the 40D. The 7D is completely different hence the new line. I reckon the 60D will probably be the 50D with video, more MPs around the 18MP mark (unfortunately ) and perhaps a few tweaks here and there. Noise will probably be worse than the 50D if going by past performances is anything to go by
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    If you read the posts I suggested you will get the gist of it all; even though 18MP may be too much, at the current state of the art, total noise would likely not change very much at lower pixel levels. The signal being recorded is limited by sensor size and overall photon efficiency and control of various noise sources. All this on apples vs apples basis, that is the output downsampled to the required end use, be it a print or image on your monitor. The only difference you would likely see is that the view on your monitor at 100% would be noisier in the 7D, But that view would be a very much zoomed in view of a smaller portion of the sensor.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Interesting dicussion

    Having owned a 50D previously I can definitely say the noise performance of the 7D is at least 1/2-1 stop better. As inidicated about when you're viewing the image at 100% it appears noisier however once you downscale with same crop/field of view you will notice the 7D is better. Despite the number of 50D haters out there I personally didn't mind it that much as I never really pushed it beyond ISO800.

    Going back to the 7D, I was quite impressed with its high ISO performance in recent shoots in lowish light. Here's a quick shot I did the other day near sundown shooting at ISO1600. You will notice at 100% it looks grainy but still quite good and very useable. Once downscaled the noise is definitely better consealed, further NR processing will yield very good results.

    Female Fairy Wren
    100% crop, no NR, no sharpening, slight curves, converted to jpg from RAW.


    Female Fairy Wren
    No crop, resized to 800x533 for web, no NR, no sharpening, slight curves, converted to jpg from RAW.


    Overall I've been very impressed with the 7D, correct exposure is the key to getting minimal noise in high ISO shots!

    Cheers
    William

  15. Default Re: Noise on the 7D

    Not sure whether you use the LCD to judge correct exposure as opposed to the histogram preview?

    You should ALWAYS be using your histogram for starters and expose as far to the right as possible and as annoying as it may be. You can pull the exposure back down during RAW conversion.

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