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I am trying to find roughly where my levels meet the levels of others - especially Alamy QC guys. 

I am 3 star QC not having any rejections - but I am after feedback on images I am rejecting.  The image below is part of a photo I believe too noisy - it is roughly 100% but hosted outside alamy.  I would appreciate assessment of noise - image is iso 500, shutter speed 1/500 70 mm

 

DSC_6734_zpso7hy3eoq.jpg

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There is quite a lot of luminance noise... I would probably personally reject that if it were one of mine too, but yes, I don't have a feel for how much noise is too much. Maybe it would pass qc. Perhaps someone should test it!

 

I'm especially unsure of how much noise is permissible for night shots. Is more noise permitted for night shots because you have to have a higher iso/slower shutter speed??

Steve

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I have submitted the occasional image at high ISO, eg, 1600 or 3200, and they have passed QC, so don't be too concerned about images at 500 ISO (assuming you are using a relatively modern camera with a decent sensor). I think it's important that high ISO images have reasonably good sharpness, if they don't,  I would not submit them. Re your own image, noise is visible but no worse than some  high ISO shots I have submitted myself.

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I can see some advantages to Alamy having the odd "clinic" - say once a month with each user who has uploaded x amount that month allowed to submit one "borderline" image that Alamy can then say yay or nay and why without it being a total rejection.


Then again at least doing it this way we contributors are kept to a high standard lol

I have submitted way noisier pictures but they have all been live news from stuff at night so the standards are much different

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Just remember that the task isn't to get past QC, but whether a customer would be happy to purchase a noisy image. I'd try as Phil ^ says first and then consider it from the buyer's angle.

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Low ISO noise does sometimes bite you but that wouldn't worry me too much

If it's a good image I'd try 15 or 20 chroma noise reduction with maybe 10 or so extra sharpening if it needs it.

Edit: I've just tried it on a copy of your crop and it's fine IMO. +30NR (20 would do), +10 sharpening.

If you like I'll post it to the forum.

Edited by spacecadet
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While I have uploaded many high and very high ISO images, I would not upload this.  I recently had my first QC failure in several years for noise - it was barely noticeable in a shadow area of a well lit outdoor image at 100 ISO (and easily correctable for re-upload).  With the present image, however, the noise is immediately noticeable throughout the image, even in the mid tone to highlight areas, including the faces.  Noise is most noticeable in dark areas, and if you can see noise in the lighter tones, the photo is unlikely to have had sufficient noise reduction.  I am surprised that an image at ISO 500 should be this noisy (unless it was underexposed and the exposure has had to be increased) which makes me wonder whether any noise reduction has been applied at all?

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1 minute ago, AndrewP said:

What size is the file? If what you're showing is a 100% crop from a 50mb+ file then reduce it down to the minimum size of 17mb and see if the noise is still too much.

Simpler than my version. I go straight to 3250 long side if in any doubt these days. I have a preset for it.

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All this advice is much appreciated - that first image has had nothing noise related done other than the Lightroom default - and is full sized from a 24 mp camera.

I will go back to the image and adjust the noise controls with sharpening (I am wary of playing too much with them as it can look wrong) and save at the smaller file size and repost.

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4 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I have a preset for it.

Yes, it's easy to have a series of pre-recorded actions set up in Photoshop. Unless it's an image that you think will warrant spending more than 5 minutes to correct then I would just do a few clicks on some actions to see if it's an easy fix and then decide if I should just move on to the next image or not. However, different judgements apply for Live News where content can be more important than quality.

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24 minutes ago, AndrewP said:

Yes, it's easy to have a series of pre-recorded actions set up in Photoshop. Unless it's an image that you think will warrant spending more than 5 minutes to correct then I would just do a few clicks on some actions to see if it's an easy fix and then decide if I should just move on to the next image or not. However, different judgements apply for Live News where content can be more important than quality.

I meant an export preset in LR for resizing. I have a couple for varying degrees of iffyness.

I haven't used PS since I got LR and 5 minutes' processing would be an age for me.

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that first image has had nothing noise related done other than the Lightroom default

 

The Lightroom default is zero for luminance noise reduction!  Although the default is +25 for colour noise, that is less commonly the issue.  Lightroom does not automatically adjust noise reduction by reference to the ISO of the image.  You need to check the luminance noise reduction for every image. 

 

If you want a reminder to check noise, create a preset.  It is very easy.  Set a luminance noise reduction figure to something that you might want to use, say +20.  Press the large + next to Presets in the left panel.  Uncheck everything in the box you will be presented with, except the luminance noise box.  Give the preset a meaningful name (e.g. Luminance noise + 20) and this will create a preset with this value that does nothing else.  You will then see a reminder (if you look at your presets) and you can adjust the setting to whatever you want later.  You can even use this, or another preset with your preferred default settings, as a preset to be applied during import, so that you never forget to apply it.  Or you can set up multiple presets with different values if this is how you prefer to look at things.

 

This is more or less what I do.  I have a single preset with basic settings that I am always likely to use as a starting point, which I apply on import, then I have a series of presets for particular tasks numbered 1 to 8 which I usually apply sequentially to most images, each of which I have assigned to buttons P1 to P8 on the excellent Loupedeck+, which makes it very quick and simple to apply all of them or such of them as I want for a particular image.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by Graham
typo
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12 minutes ago, Graham said:

 

The Lightroom default is zero for luminance noise reduction!  Although the default is +25 for colour noise, that is less commonly the issue.  Lightroom does not automatically adjust noise reduction by reference to the ISO of the image.  You need to check the luminance noise reduction for every image. 

 

If you want a reminder to check noise, create a preset.  It is very easy.  Set a luminance noise reduction figure to something that you might want to use, say +20.  Press the large + next to Presets in the left panel.  Uncheck everything in the box you will be presented with, except the luminance noise box.  Give the preset a meaningful name (e.g. Luminance noise + 20) and this will create a preset with this value that does nothing else.  You will then see a reminder (if you look at your presets) and you can adjust the setting to whatever you want later.  You can even use this, or another preset with your preferred default settings, as a preset to be applied during import, so that you never forget to apply it.  Or you can set up multiple presets with different values if this is how you prefer to look at things.

 

This is more or less what I do.  I have a single preset with basic settings that I am always likely to use as a starting point, which I apply on import, then I have a series of presets for particular tasks numbered 1 to 8 which I usually apply sequentially to most images, each of which I have assigned to buttons P1 to P8 on the excellent Loupedeck+, which makes it very quick and simple to apply all of them or such of them as I want for a particular image.

 

Hope this helps.

A slightly different approach is to set up an automatic ISO-dependent default just for NR. I can't remember how to do it but it's easy to look up. I think mine cuts in at 800 and gets progressively stronger. OP's may need to start lower.

Edit: here's the procedure.

https://forums.adobe.com/message/3566418#3566418

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7 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

A slightly different approach is to set up an automatic ISO-dependent default just for NR. I can't remember how to do it but it's easy to look up. I think mine cuts in at 800 and gets progressively stronger. OP's may need to start lower.

Edit: here's the procedure.

https://forums.adobe.com/message/3566418#3566418

 

I have posted about how to do this here a few times. It is very simple. In the Develop module hold down the alt or option key and the reset button at the bottom right will change to Set Default rather than Reset. Before doing this, you need to go into Prefs - Presets and choose if you want your defaults to be ISO dependent and/or Camera Serial Number dependent. Then obviously before creating a default you set your develop settings to what you want. I mainly use this to set CA on and Lens Profiles on as well. I have presets for noise reduction which is obviously ISO dependent but is also dependent on exposure as well as shadow settings in Basic Panel among other things. Either way works. 

 

One thing worth mentioning is that the latest version of Lightroom at last allows for hiding Adobe's own presets so the Presets panel on the left can be used for one's own presets only instead making it much less cluttered. This is good.

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To be honest I very very rarely use noise reduction on stuff intended for Alamy - I have presets I use on my stuff that goes directly to customers when I am shooting musicians or football under floodlights.  It is just feeling my way slightly closer to Alamy limits  - As the year progresses and the light draws in a higher percentage of shots are going to be higher iso, its my first year here trying to find the balance between not getting rejected at QC and not failing to use stuff.

Anything I intend for Alamy which is borderline for me will be done on individual sliders anyway - as I want to keep adjustments minimal.  I find the danger of doing everything preset is I get less critical in selection.

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This is an interesting discussion for me as well, thanks for asking the question Starsphinx!

 

I would normally not consider submitting a photo with that much noise but it is a personal thing, I hate noise! I have no idea where QC would draw the line and as I am trying to protect my QC rating it is not easy to submit and see....

 

I do do a bit of noise reduction (using LR about 5 for luminosity and color at default for FF and 10 or so for AP-C) on most of my images but it is not really needed as I seldom shoot at really high ISO's, seldom exceeding 6400 and then only on a camera with clean high ISO capabilities. 

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I usually have to shoot at high ISOs as in the dark north, we often don't have a lot of light, even in summer. Also, a lot of my subjects are moving.

So far, so good for acceptance, but I'm often nervous!

I sometimes put a note in the caption or description that the image was shot at a high ISO.

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