Oct 30 2016

Canon 5D Mk IV – My Report on Long Exposure Noise Results

2016-10-5-run-aground-1a-120 Run Aground – 2 minute exposure

I’ve just processed the first images from my Canon 5D Mark IV and wanted to report back on what I’ve found. To recap my previous post regarding the Mark IV: I love the new features and increased resolution, but my litmus test is how much noise there is on images with long exposures of 2 minutes and longer, and particularly those images that have been underexposed (which is how I shoot).

I’m happy to report that the Mark IV does much better than what I experienced with the 5DSr. Exposures up to 2 minutes are very clean. The image above was a 2 minute exposure and I was very happy with the quality and noise levels.

But what about images that are over 2 minutes? Here’s a 6 minute exposure:

2016-10-5-monolith-no-97b-360Monolith No. 97 – 6 minutes

This image was shot at sunset and was greatly underexposed (perhaps by 3 stops) due to the sun going down during the exposure. I found it had much more noise than a 2 minute exposure, but I was still able to work with it and salvage the image. So I was pretty happy about that.

Here is the same scene with a 2 minute exposure:

2016-10-5-monolith-no-98b-120Monolith No. 98 – 2 minutes

There is no doubt that this image is cleaner and has less noise. But as I said, with a little extra work the 6 minute exposure was usable.

Patterning. I don’t really know what to call this phenomenon I’ve seen with the Mark III sensor, but I call it “patterning.” It’s a pixel pattern that shows dark streaking vertical lines in areas that have been heavily dodged and burned. 

patterning

This is an example of light patterning from a Mark III image. Sometimes I have to back off my dodging and burning in these areas or I’ll break up the lines with dozens of healing brush taps.

Fortunately I have not yet seen this patterning appear with the Mark IV images, which is very encouraging. But again I’ve only shot and processed a few images.

Conclusion: I am very optimistic that the Mark IV images are going to serve me well with my style of long exposure and underexposed shooting.

2016-10-5-separation-no-2a-30Separation No. 2 – 30 seconds

 


Jul 24 2015

Canon 5DSr Noise Issues

2015-7-10 Overshadowed 1b LARGEOvershadowed

I’ve returned from my first outing with my new Canon 5DSr and wanted to report back on what I thought of my first images.

The image above was shot at 1/80 of a second and I was impressed with the quality. I was able to blow it up much larger than images from the 5D Mk III and have it hold its detail. I am happy with the quality of this image.

The next image is from the Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake, this image was shot at 240 seconds:

2015-7-10 Spiral Jetty 1g LARGE
Spiral Jetty

The quality of this image was very disappointing. I opened the RAW file and it was so noisy that I didn’t think that I could salvage this image. By using the dust and scratch filter in Photoshop and by adding grain, I was able to make this image “acceptable.”

I suspected the noise came from the long exposure and I was in fact worried about this going in. The larger number of pixels packed into the same area means that the pixels are smaller and more prone to noise, especially during long exposures. But I didn’t expect this poor of a result.

I then found the same image that I had shot at 120 seconds and compared a blown up section of the two:

Spiral Jetty 240 sec

240 seconds

Spiral Jetty 120 sec

120 seconds

.

The noise at 120 seconds is reasonable while at 240 seconds the noise is completely unacceptable. I only have a few shots to judge this by, but all of my longer exposures have this noise and so I’m sorry to report that my first results with the 5DSr are disappointing from a long exposure perspective.

I will do some formal testing to see how exposure times affects noise levels. As I learn more, I’ll let you know what I find.  And if you know something about this issue, please share it with everyone.

Cole

 


Jul 10 2015

Canon 5DSr – First Impressions in the Field

 

 

2012-10-27 Monolith No. 50 - Final 10-31-2012 1000(Monolith No. 50 – NOT created with the Canon 5DSr!)

I’m on the road in Utah and Nevada with my 5DSr and I wanted to report in with some first impressions. Unfortunately I cannot post any images until I return home.

The new camera looks, feels and handles like the 5D Mk III and so I was able to get up to speed relatively quickly. That was nice. However to take full advantage of the many new features, I will have to spend some time going through the menus. As always, the number of features is overwhelming.

 

1000-Canon-EOS-5DS-R--10_1423133570

 

There are two new features that immediately caught my eye and got me excited for long exposure work, they are:

Delay After Mirror Lockup: You can set the shutter to trigger after the mirror has flipped up and settled down, making sure the vibrations are gone before the shutter opens. I have mine set to 1/2 second.

This means that mirror lockup can now be a one button press just like a regular shutter! I cannot tell you the number of times I had forgotten to turn off the old two-button mirror lockup and then pressed the shutter once thinking I was taking a picture, when I was not. This new feature will help avoid that mistake.

Bulb Timer: You can now set the length of your bulb exposure in the camera! No more using your watch (and forgetting where you started) and I can now ditch the digital kitchen timer that was always going off in my camera bag just as I was going through security.

Now let me combine these two features and show you why I think this is so great for long exposures. I can now press the shutter button once and the following occurs:

  1. The mirror flips up and settles down
  2. A half second later the shutter opens
  3. The shutter stays open for as long as I’ve programmed it for
  4. The shutter closes by itself

I can still choose to shoot with a cable release, but now if I forget to bring one, lose or break it, I can still shoot long exposures. I had this problem on Easter Island when both of my cable releases went bad and I was really in a pickle.

These new features means that I no longer “need” a remote shutter release (although I still choose to use one for convenience) but the important thing is that I’ll never be stranded like that again.

One issue Canon did not address is the light entering into the camera through the eyepiece which caused internal reflections on the left and right sides of the 5D Mk III images. I had suggested to Canon that they put a small shutter on the viewfinder that automatically triggered during long exposures…but they didn’t.

To address this I had been using a hat to cover the camera during exposure, but in wind this didn’t work too well. So I build a “flap” that mounted to the hot shoe:

image

 

Unfortunately the flap doesn’t seal well enough around my Hoodman HoodEYE eyecup and so I ended up using the hat trick again. I’ll need to work on this contraption some more.

Note: Many people point out to me that Canon provides a small viewfinder block that you can slip into the eyepiece. Unfortunately this block does not work with the Hoodman HoodEYE installed and the eyecup is required to get an accurate long exposure meter reading.

 

Summary: I purchased the 5DSr so that I could print my images larger and so it was an unexpected treat to find some new features that makes long exposure work easier. I like these new features very much!

I’ll not know what the images look like until I get home. I’m curious how the new 50mp sensor does with noise during long exposures since I found the Mk III to be noisier than the Mk II.

Cole