06-13-2014 07:45 AM
31 12
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  1. DustinRyan's Avatar
    Has anyone else had really horribly noisy low light photos and video? I recently went on a concert cruise, and everything during the day is stunningly crisp and detailed (audio is INSANE, by the way. SO good. Most people could not tell that it was recorded on a phone.) but photos and videos taken at night had a huge noise attack or something. The quality is sharp! But there is just noise EVERYWHERE.

    Any ideas for how to avoid this in the future? Or is the Icon just not suited for low light?
    03-12-2014 09:19 PM
  2. Tom Gjonaj's Avatar
    I went through 2 icons and both did the exact same...dark areas have a moving grainy texture to them...lighted areas look perfect
    03-12-2014 09:32 PM
  3. akthelonelyman's Avatar
    could u please post some samples..would like to compare it with 1520 {similar camera modules}
    03-13-2014 06:28 AM
  4. dhyandhyan's Avatar
    First it was not like this...with each update the camera performance in low light got reduced...i use a Lumia 925 and i used to take very good photos and videos at night. But now its full of noise.
    03-13-2014 06:38 AM
  5. AndyCalling's Avatar
    You need to understand digital camera sensors to understand this. It is a complex area. Please see some of my more in depth posts in these types of threads, or research cameras and photography. The noise is a good thing, but I cannot go through the explanation yet again. If you don't have time to learn, it is a big subject, then steer clear of low light photography on small cameras and buy a bridge camera instead. Or turn on the flash.
    gernerttl likes this.
    03-13-2014 06:46 AM
  6. jschipmann's Avatar
    ^ this

    in relation to pictures?

    even on DSLRs if you are not using the flash you will get a lot of noise in the picture if you leave it set to auto

    you can compensate by increasing the shutter time which will give great pictures but the trade off is blur as you have to hold the camera extra still and your subjects can not move at all.

    increasing the ISO (and brightness on this camera) which is what typically done when in auto mode makes the sensor more... sensitive, so a lot of noise is introduced.

    and finally (not adjustable by much on most cameraphones) you can adjust the aperture, or how wide open the eye of the camera is. Having it wide open (or as low of a number as possible) will allow more light in, much like how when in the dark your iris on your eye opens up more but in bright light they close up more.


    Sadly though for video on the majority of cameras low light performance is always horrible. DSLRs and video cameras can be adjusted more due to better optics and different lenses. Another problem you may run in to is combination dark / over bright scenes like concerts or the like where everything else is dark, but the people on stage are over bright.
    jojoe42 and akthelonelyman like this.
    03-13-2014 08:50 AM
  7. DustinRyan's Avatar
    could u please post some samples..would like to compare it with 1520 {similar camera modules}
    Sure, first, here's a daytime video I just shot to show that it's totally fine during the day (obviously, because there's plenty of light):


    And here's nighttime (watch on 1080p to see the noise more):


    Photos at night are easier, because I can adjust the settings, but video doesn't really have much of a selection of settings to adjust and configure it to bring the noise down.
    03-13-2014 10:22 AM
  8. Indistinguishable's Avatar
    Why are these people holding up phones and tablets during a concert... Just enjoy the show. You can likely find it on youtube later.
    03-13-2014 10:40 AM
  9. gernerttl's Avatar
    Sure, first, here's a daytime video I just shot to show that it's totally fine during the day (obviously, because there's plenty of light):


    And here's nighttime (watch on 1080p to see the noise more):


    Photos at night are easier, because I can adjust the settings, but video doesn't really have much of a selection of settings to adjust and configure it to bring the noise down.
    The night video still looks pretty good. You also had a spot light in your face a lot. I think that did more to degrade the video than anything else. Digital sensors do not have near the dynamic range of the human eye, therefore complex lighting environments such as that concert are really challenging to cameras of all makes.

    Btw. How was the concert?
    03-14-2014 12:37 AM
  10. DustinRyan's Avatar
    Hmm, the quality in terms of clarity is definitely not that bad at all. It's just the noise on top of it is a bit of a distraction. I don't know if the spotlight was the issue, because I have other videos in the dark that have no direct light on me that are also noisy. But maybe it's noisy for different reasons? For example, here's one I took at the back of a theater after a comedy show. A friend of mine was singing, so I took video. I was all the way in the back, and no direct light was in my camera, but it's still really noisy. I don't know if this is because of lack of light, now? So the opposite cause?



    And the show was great. It was actually a bunch of shows. I went on a concert cruise with 7 bands and a comedian. Lots of fun :)
    Indistinguishable likes this.
    03-14-2014 11:32 AM
  11. Tom Gjonaj's Avatar
    for me it it is lack of light, in areas that are dark, its noisy, in wll lit areas, its perfect. If you focus on a lighted part of the scene you are capturing, the dark areas around it will be noisy but not the well lit area. Very weird
    03-14-2014 12:31 PM
  12. DustinRyan's Avatar
    I guess noise was never much of a problem for me in the past because I wouldn't normally see that much noise in my old iPhone videos. Given, the quality wasn't as crisp as the Icon, but the noise wasn't as bad, either. So now I'm just a little bummed at how noisy videos are in low light, which is when I take a lot of photos and video. I just wish there was a way to adjust the settings, like with photos. I know there's focus and such, but that won't change the noise.
    03-14-2014 02:08 PM
  13. AndyCalling's Avatar
    You did have noise, it's just the iPhone blurred the image with post processing so you couldn't see enough detail to notice. You will see many complaints on this forum from the other side, complaining about lack of sharpness and hue changes with even the level of post processing Nokia provides. There is no solution to this that will make everyone happy. Best I can suggest is that no post processing be applied and that folk get off their backsides and do it themselves to the level that suits them with the many photo apps/pc packages that are available. But no, instead we get the usual moaning trying to push companies into auto-blurring every photo and then a load more moaning when folk realise the results are horrible. Honestly, I'm starting to lose patience over this never ending complaint. It doesn't matter how often and in how many threads this is explained no-one seems willing to accept the reality of physics and instead seem hell bent on having companies mess up all their cameras so those of us willing to learn how to shoot them properly lose out. Just stop it folks, alright?
    gernerttl and jojoe42 like this.
    03-15-2014 09:36 AM
  14. gernerttl's Avatar
    Hmm, the quality in terms of clarity is definitely not that bad at all. It's just the noise on top of it is a bit of a distraction. I don't know if the spotlight was the issue, because I have other videos in the dark that have no direct light on me that are also noisy. But maybe it's noisy for different reasons? For example, here's one I took at the back of a theater after a comedy show. A friend of mine was singing, so I took video. I was all the way in the back, and no direct light was in my camera, but it's still really noisy. I don't know if this is because of lack of light, now? So the opposite cause?



    And the show was great. It was actually a bunch of shows. I went on a concert cruise with 7 bands and a comedian. Lots of fun :)
    That is definitely low light causing it. It's a common problem with both digital and non-digital image and motion picture capture. The camera needs to amplify the signal to get an acceptable exposure. In doing this, noise is introduced. Because the sensor size is so small, it's even more pronounced. Post processing can exacerbate it if not done properly. It's the same issue with film capture. High speed films have larger grains to be able to capture images in low light. In doing so, pictures and videos come out grainy looking. This will always be an issue, until they develop a sensor that has the light gathering efficiency as the human eye without loss of resolution.
    03-15-2014 12:17 PM
  15. DustinRyan's Avatar
    Yeah I'm aware of the sacrifice, but it's just so pronounced on the Lumia Icon, whereas noise was really not much of a problem on my iPhone 4S. Feels like a slight step back in some ways. Although the zoom on my iPhone was nowhere near as good as it is on the Icon. There's definitely trade-offs on the Icon that I was hoping would be less pronounced. But the noise just invades everything after sunset. :(
    03-15-2014 02:41 PM
  16. jojoe42's Avatar
    Yeah I'm aware of the sacrifice, but it's just so pronounced on the Lumia Icon, whereas noise was really not much of a problem on my iPhone 4S. Feels like a slight step back in some ways. Although the zoom on my iPhone was nowhere near as good as it is on the Icon. There's definitely trade-offs on the Icon that I was hoping would be less pronounced. But the noise just invades everything after sunset. :(
    I don't know if you have Photoshop, but you can reduce noise using a filter as much as you want post-shot. I think it's good for Nokia to give us the option to sacrifice noise for detail - typically I find it easier to reduce noise than to increase details effectively
    03-15-2014 03:36 PM
  17. gernerttl's Avatar
    Try shooting in DNG RAW. That gives you much more latitude post processing. There are several RAW image apps; I use Lightroom myself. The reason that it is more pronounced on the Icon, is probably due to Nokia not going overboard with noise reduction. If you were to take the same image with both phones and look at them at 100%, you probably notice that the pictures taken with the 4S will look less sharp. Noise reduction algorithms vary by camera maker and image editing apps. If you shoot RAW then post process on a computer, you will get better results.

    This is an image I took last night using DNG RAW then processed using Photoshop on my Surface Pro. It's still a little grainy, but the noise is reduced.
    Attached Thumbnails wp_20140314_19_11_45_raw__highres.jpg  
    Last edited by Timothy Gernert; 03-15-2014 at 05:38 PM.
    03-15-2014 05:18 PM
  18. DustinRyan's Avatar
    Photos are much easier to deal with, because there's many settings even just within the camera app that I can adjust, but video is a different story within the app.
    03-15-2014 05:56 PM
  19. gernerttl's Avatar
    True. I don't do a lot of videography, so I'm not up on the ability or capabilities of video processing apps. Unfortunately, there aren't any video camera apps... at least none that seem worthwhile at any rate.
    03-15-2014 06:13 PM
  20. DustinRyan's Avatar
    I also noticed that some of my videos in the exact same conditions have different amounts of noise. Does it partially have to do with like what the camera was pointing at when the record button was hit? I noticed one video would have very little noise, and another is riddled with it. Taken minutes apart in same conditions. The only difference I can think of is maybe I was pointing the camera at a slightly different angle, or downward, or something during one, and not the other? I don't know.
    03-15-2014 08:03 PM
  21. jojoe42's Avatar
    I also noticed that some of my videos in the exact same conditions have different amounts of noise. Does it partially have to do with like what the camera was pointing at when the record button was hit? I noticed one video would have very little noise, and another is riddled with it. Taken minutes apart in same conditions. The only difference I can think of is maybe I was pointing the camera at a slightly different angle, or downward, or something during one, and not the other? I don't know.
    I'd assume it's the phone working in auto
    03-15-2014 11:03 PM
  22. gernerttl's Avatar
    I'd assume it's the phone working in auto
    For video, it's pretty much auto. The only thing you can change is white balance and focus.

    @Dustin - Yes. That could be a factor. It's possible, that if you start shooting video at a predominantly well lit subject the camera will choose a lower ISO and maintain that ISO throughout the recording. Likewise, if you start shooting video at a not well lit subject, it automatically chooses a higher ISO, and uses that ISO throughout that recording. The videos that started out with the higher ISO would be noisier/grainy. Does that make sense?
    jojoe42 and DustinRyan like this.
    03-15-2014 11:56 PM
  23. DustinRyan's Avatar
    Yes that makes perfect sense. I'll try to keep that in mind for future recordings. Thanks!
    03-16-2014 12:29 AM
  24. Ian Hanson's Avatar
    Are there any apps that give you manual control in video? If we could shoot RAW video with full manual control, that would be the best. I think you'd see some amazing quality coming out of the 1520 and Icon. The main issue is the software overcompensating in my opinion. I'd rather have a slightly darker video with low noise and then edit that video in post production.

    However, for me, in a more general photography sense, if I know I'm going to do some serious low light filming and want the best result, I'll just bring along my DSLR with its APS-C sensor and zoom lens - the quality is just so much better than any smartphone could ever be that it's worth the extra hassle depending on the situation. Obviously you can't always plan on having your DSLR along, but for the important events, I would have my best camera with me.
    03-28-2014 08:02 AM
  25. Robinsonmac's Avatar
    If you upload photos or video from the phone to OneDrive they are compressed for uploading unless you change the settings. Copy them directly from your phone to your computer to get full resolution.
    03-28-2014 10:20 PM
31 12

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