Leica Leica Q - noise at high ISO

MikeN

Rookie
Oct 7, 2016
I've owned a Q since May this year and am loving it. The more I use it the more I understand and see the capabilities of this simple but complex camera.
However I have one issue I can't get through and would appreciate your help.
I experience a lot of noise with images when shooting in dark conditions at high ISO's. When post processing in LR I can lose some of the noise but it's still a flat photo.
My shooting in these conditions I set the ISO to 6400 or 12800 and shutter speed set to Auto I tend to leave the aperture at f4.
What should I be doing - auto ISO, shutter and aperture; lens wide open; shutter speed set to 125 and aperture on auto.
HELP please.
 
Hi Mike.
I've literally just acquired a "Q" (as a trade for my M240 - which I really liked but was overkill for the amount of digital shooting I do). I'm going to test the boundaries a bit and low light response is an area in which I'm also interested.
The best digi camera I've ever had for low light is the Fuji X-Pro1 which produced files at 6,400ISO that put most DSLRs to shame compared with their output at 400ISO. I'm not expecting the same with the Q and, if I'm honest, I don't need it. However, my starting point will be to run a series of tests at different "set" ISOs to identify the tipping point at which I don't think the results suit my tastes / expectations.
Ultimately, our response to noise is highly subjective. I'll see if I can post some of the tests I do - as scientifically as possible....
 

MikeN

Rookie
Oct 7, 2016
Thanks Paul,
It would be really helpful if you could post your results and advice within this thread.
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
ive used literally dozens of digital cameras, and researched dozens more. regardless of manufacturer claims, clean images at 6400 is a rarity. the sony a7s and rx1, the nikon df, probably the nikon and canon ff flagship offerings. outside that, i dont know if youre going to get 'low noise' at high iso in dark situations at 6400 let alone above that.

so heres what i do: i do what i can to lower the needed iso. try shooting at f2 or 2.8 instead of f4--that gets you 1-2 stops of iso. since the Q is 28mm, there may be no need to shoot at 1/125 second ss. imo, youve a lot of leeway there. in fact at 1/60 where you gain a stop of iso, you still have a lot of leeway. combining these can get you up to 4 stops of iso.

finally, unfortunately for some, digital shooting sometimes requires spending more time learning how to make the best of our PP tools. try some of the LR tutorials on noise reduction and/or just try playing around with the tools until you find somd combination that suits you, then make a profile of it so you have a good starting point for future editing.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
Can you post some sample shots? I shoot the Nikon Df and M Monochrom at high-ISO, have been happy with the results. But- that is very subjective, would be good to see the shots you are unhappy with.
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
as i posted above, the Df is exceptional in this regard. i neglected to mention the M Monochrome, which was my omission, because it is also exceptional in this regard. by definition, exceptional is not the norm. the vast vast vast majority of cameras--including the cameras i choose to use as well as OPs camera--simply cannot produce low noise images at 6400 in low light situations OOC. thats just the long and short of it. your cameras can, 90% of other cameras cant. so one has to find other ways, as i listed out above, to compensate for this fact.
 

MikeN

Rookie
Oct 7, 2016
Can you post some sample shots? I shoot the Nikon Df and M Monochrom at high-ISO, have been happy with the results. But- that is very subjective, would be good to see the shots you are unhappy with.
Shots above
 

MikeN

Rookie
Oct 7, 2016
ive used literally dozens of digital cameras, and researched dozens more. regardless of manufacturer claims, clean images at 6400 is a rarity. the sony a7s and rx1, the nikon df, probably the nikon and canon ff flagship offerings. outside that, i dont know if youre going to get 'low noise' at high iso in dark situations at 6400 let alone above that.

so heres what i do: i do what i can to lower the needed iso. try shooting at f2 or 2.8 instead of f4--that gets you 1-2 stops of iso. since the Q is 28mm, there may be no need to shoot at 1/125 second ss. imo, youve a lot of leeway there. in fact at 1/60 where you gain a stop of iso, you still have a lot of leeway. combining these can get you up to 4 stops of iso.

finally, unfortunately for some, digital shooting sometimes requires spending more time learning how to make the best of our PP tools. try some of the LR tutorials on noise reduction and/or just try playing around with the tools until you find somd combination that suits you, then make a profile of it so you have a good starting point for future editing.
Many thanks for this - I shall try this approach.
 

MikeN

Rookie
Oct 7, 2016
Can you post some sample shots? I shoot the Nikon Df and M Monochrom at high-ISO, have been happy with the results. But- that is very subjective, would be good to see the shots you are unhappy with.
Brian - what are your settings when shooting with your Monochrom in low light?
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
The two shots posted were at the Marine Museum, Quantico- KMZ Jupiter-3 on each camera, ISO 5000, F1.5, 1/90th second.

Your ISO 10,000 shot- I see a strong magenta shift.

Some more examples with the m Monochrom:

Canon 100/2, wide-open, 1/125th second, ISO 10000:

L1005483-Edit by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Nikkor 85/2, wide-open, 1/750th, ISO 10000.

L1005444-Edit by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

50/1.1 Nokton wide-open, 1/750th, ISO 10000.

L1003555 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Lots of shadow area above.

One with the Nikon Df,

Nikkor-0 35/2, wide-open, 1/30th second, ISO 12,800.

Luray Caverns by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Nikkor 50/1.2, wide-open, 1/50th, ISO 12,800.

Luray Caverns by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
mike, if you compare your lovely Q with cameras specifically designed to be beasts in low light, you will be unnecessarily disappointed.
 
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BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
I put these up for MikeN to compare.

Prices on the Df and M Monochrom are way down...

AND my first Digital camera was better than either the Df or m Monochrom, it could see in complete darkness. That was way back in 1982. Longwave Infrared. Liquid Nitrogen was required. The lenses were very, very expensive, even by Leica standards.

I have shot the Df and M Monochrom side-by-side in low-light; too close for me to call. That CCD amazes me.
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
i guess im just not sure how this helps OP/OT, since the specific question he posed was 'what should i be doing' to get better results from [his]Q at high iso in low light. im not sure the solution is 'buy another camera' or 'look how nice my cameras shoot in those conditions'. it seems to me the more helpful possible solutions are to help modify the way he shoots the Q in those conditions, the way he PPs those results, and perhaps to help somewhat modify his expectations.

certainly the Df and Monochrome are great cameras, as is the Q. and the truth is they each do some things well, other things not well and involve trade-offs the valueing of which are wholly subjective. personally, ive tired of chasing the ghost of what my equipment doesnt do--as ive found this self-fulfillingly unsatisfying. so i lean to wanting to help others appreciate and make the most of what they have.
 
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BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
If you want the best camera for shooting Low-Light, and that is the prime concern: then a different camera will do better. The best cameras that i have for low-light were used for examples. I also used the supposedly worst camera for low-light, the Leica M8 for an example. for the latter- some creative processing was used and ISO 5000 was shown.

For the Df and M Monochrom: I get best results using 4x SD cards; full-battery; uncompressed NEF for the Df.

For the Q: I would suggest using slower memory cards as an experiment, shooting uncompressed DNG, experimenting with post-processors. That Magenta shift looks like it could be done away with.

BUT- if you want to shoot in the lowest light possible, other cameras will do better.

This is the Leica M8 at ISO2500 eqv, ISO160 shot 4 stops under, then pushed in LR.

skate4_ISO2500 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The original conversion gave a magenta shift, corrected. So sometimes the post-processing can be improved.
 
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MikeN

Rookie
Oct 7, 2016
If you want the best camera for shooting Low-Light, and that is the prime concern: then a different camera will do better. The best cameras that i have for low-light were used for examples. I also used the supposedly worst camera for low-light, the Leica M8 for an example. for the latter- some creative processing was used and ISO 5000 was shown.

For the Df and M Monochrom: I get best results using 4x SD cards; full-battery; uncompressed NEF for the Df.

For the Q: I would suggest using slower memory cards as an experiment, shooting uncompressed DNG, experimenting with post-processors. That Magenta shift looks like it could be done away with.

BUT- if you want to shoot in the lowest light possible, other cameras will do better.

This is the Leica M8 at ISO2500 eqv, ISO160 shot 4 stops under, then pushed in LR.

skate4_ISO2500 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The original conversion gave a magenta shift, corrected. So sometimes the post-processing can be improved.
Thanks for this - other cameras out of the question but I'll be trialling the helpful suggestions.
Why would a slower memory card help??
 

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