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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:46 AM   #1
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Grainy images on a PDW f350

Hi all,

Does anyone have any idea how to eliminate the graininess in the dark areas in footage shot on an f350?

Even when I am shooting at 35mb/sec (HQ mode) and 0db gain, the bright areas of the pictures look great but there appears to be grain in the darker areas as if the gain is turned on. The grain is not just limited to the black areas, it seems as if it gets increasingly noticeable as the darkness of the area increases.

I'm currently running the latest firmware which, I think, has reduced it a little but not eliminated it completely.

Am I asking too much of my f350??
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Old December 7th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #2
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Which is your 'detail' setting? When it's too high, it tends to emphasise noise.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:10 PM   #3
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Some of the Gammas are noisier than others too. There is a noise reduction setting that was introduced via firmware that helps a lot.
It has to be said though that it is a reasonably noisy camera.
Steve
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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:40 PM   #4
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I use the f350 all the time and there is a lot of noise in this camera under low light in the blacks. You could try lowering your blacks and gamma to -3 I think. What Cine setting are you using?

The F350 can produce great images but it's very noisy in the blacks I have noticed.

Cheers
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Old December 8th, 2010, 06:51 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

I have decreased the detail and the blacks, etc to -3 and I am using the standard gamma. My first impressions are that it has reduced noise a little but it is still quite noticeable.

As far as I am aware I am running the latest firmware (1.99) but I was unable to locate the noise reduction feature in the menus. Any clue to where I might find it?
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:35 AM   #6
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Can't remember where it is in the menus but it's discussed in this thread http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdc...irmware-4.html
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Old December 8th, 2010, 10:40 AM   #7
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I think I found the piece of the thread that listed the Low Noise feature:

Select "LOW NOISE MODE" on the "CAM CONFIG" page of the "MAINTENANCE"
menu.

However, when I access the appropriate page, the Low Noise option is just not there.

Perhaps I don't have the latest firmware as I believe?

Checking the camera it reads:

AT: 1.54

Package: 1.99

Someone at Sony sent me the 'Package' part about a week ago. I have no idea where to get the 'AT' part.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:16 AM   #8
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Hi Leonard,
How are you going with the PDWf350 and the low noise issue?

Cheers
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Old December 10th, 2010, 05:19 AM   #9
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Hi there Simon,

As I said in my last post, I'm not 100% certain that I have actually installed the latest firmware fully as the Low Noise Mode option does not appear in the menu.

I did a shoot yesterday and it appears that the dark areas of the picture are only slightly less noisy than before. This is more likely due to the changes to the settings that I made rather than updates to the firmware.

When I upgraded the firmware it appears that I only changed the 'Package' part. The 'AT' part is still exactly the same. Reading through other posts I'm guessing that the 'AT' part is updated during the very first step of the process and the 'Package' upgrade happens when you hold the menu knob down for 10 seconds or so and select the version you want to upgrade to.

During this first part when I did my upgrade the camera said that it couldn't find the file and then an alarm sounded so I switched it off.

I think it would help if I could locate both parts of the 1.99 firmware.

Leonard
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Old December 11th, 2010, 12:12 AM   #10
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Ok, you need to instal the latest firmware to get the low noise filter, this will help and you will see the difference. I would not go pass 6db of gain on the PDWf350 and even at 6db noise is coming in. I own both the EX1 and the f350 and the EX1 wins hands down for low noise. Other than that the f350 is a great camera in my opinion and produces a good looking image. Hey what lens have you on the thing?

Cheers
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Old December 11th, 2010, 05:24 AM   #11
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denoiser (set it to "1" only) takes a bit of detail away - but its an option for shooting in low light.

You could also set Gain to -3 , but then the camera is less light sensitive ;-(

Uli
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Old December 12th, 2010, 03:44 AM   #12
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I have the AT firmware numbered 1.60 and the noise reduction option is there allright. So you don't have to upgrade is you have 1.60 for A.T. My 'package' is 1.93, but I didn't upgrade to 1.99, because the only differences are these, according to the Sony site :

"ERROR 91-215 no longer appears and the unit no longer hangs under the following conditions:
• The unit is powered ON using a disc formatted with PDW-U1 and a PC.
• An operation (such as disc ejection, disc formatting, standby OFF, recording stop, or clip deletion) is performed 4 hours and 40 minutes after power-ON."

As I have no PC and as my batteries don't last 4 hours, the upgrade is of no use to me.

I did some tests, and as Uli points out, there is a slight reduction in sharpness if you use 'noise reduction 1'. There is also some loss of detail in the blacks. 'Noise reduction 2 does not only cause a further decrease in sharpness, but is also lowers the contrast dramatically and changes your white balance. Especially that last effect is weird, it shouldn't happen. So I would avoid setting '2' in any case, and use setting 1 only when necessary.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 04:37 AM   #13
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unfortunately, Sony don't keep their history intact when a new version comes out

so with 1.99 you won't see the changes that were made in 1.98 or 1.95
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Old December 12th, 2010, 04:46 AM   #14
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There is an archive of old firmware somewhere on the web as I got something from it just 2 months back but I can't find it anywhere now.
Steve
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Old December 12th, 2010, 05:52 AM   #15
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Thanks for pointing that out, Anton. I wasn't even aware that there were intermediate updates between 1.93 and 1.99
Do you have any idea what updates 1.95 and 1.98 improved or corrected?

thanks
Luc
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