Having taken several first photos of my daughter on a day out, I was very surprised when looking at them on screen and zooming in, I seem to see a kind of black dirt which on further zooming turned out to be discoloured speckles randomly distributed over the picture.
I've now seen that the same effect occurs regardless of lens but most pictures are shot at 800iso which is not especially fast for this camera. Going back to pics from my old D70s, there is no such effect on any of the hundreds of photos which I looked through and in fact I have never seen this effect before.
Frankly I am very disappointed and I hope very much that it is a fault with this particular camera as I very often get the photos printed off at 25" and more. With the D70s they look great but I can see even on screen with these D300 pics at that size - and even smaller, there is already a sense that there is some dirt on the image.
Has any one any ideas. I'm really not sure what "artefacts" look like. Can anyone point me somewhere which explains and illustrates them.
I should add that the file was set to JPEG - 4288x2848 lossless compression
I experienced a problem with severe artificing from RAW to JPEG conversion using all of the following, PS7, Bibble Pro 4.9.9b, Thumbs Plus and Corel V10. The only program I didnt have the problem with is Capture NX.
Here is a link to the file. I hope that it works. I have shown it to one very experienced camera dealer who think that it does suggest a problem with the camera. If you click the link and then zoom on the picture, it wil initially look like blackheads and further zooming will show you that it is discoloured pixels
Since there is no such thing as jpeg lossless, did you mean that you're shooting jpeg plus lossless raw? If you have the raw file I'm reasonably confident that the image can be processed without the speckled artifacts.
The speckling looks like noise reduction processing artifacts. If this is an out-of-camera jpeg, then you might try changing the noise reduction settings. ISO 800 really wasn't needed in this scene - you're at f/13 @ 1/1000 second.
The specklling isn't the only problem. There's a lot of posterization in the image too. Look at the red sweatshirt on the left. This shows posterization very clearly but it's happening all over the image. Any chance of posting the raw file for download?
Sorry, I expressed myself poorly. It is jpeg only. Fine. no high iso noise reduction. Standard pic control. I agree that 800 ISO is unnecessary in these conditions but if this ISO setting returns these results in any conditions then surely there is a problem. I have never had a result like this with a D70s
As a starter question - whether it is me or the camera, do you agree that the image has problems? - meaning the speckling. Not the rest?
Yes. Now I haven't had a chance to take more than about 20 pics with my D300 yet but the feel I get is that active d-lighting has caused it. The scene is backlit and it was raising the midtones in the foreground to compensate which exaggerates the noise. Have you tried with front lighted subjects?
I don't think the image you posted shows unusual noise for ISO 800. On closer inspection, there is something strange here. Noise usually appears and "colored" pixels and doesn't generally follow a feature like a fold in the skin. Here's a 300% crop from your image that shows "black" specks doing exactly that.
BTW, ISO Auto (which you have set) only changes the ISO if necessary otherwise it uses the one you have selected, so set ISO to no more than 200 in most cases.
>Marc, > >I don't think the image you posted shows unusual noise >for ISO 800. >On closer inspection, there is something strange here. >Noise usually appears and "colored" pixels and >doesn't generally follow a feature like a fold in the skin. >Here's a 300% crop from your image that shows >"black" specks doing exactly that. > >
> >BTW, ISO Auto (which you have set) only changes the ISO if >necessary otherwise it uses the one you have selected, so set >ISO to no more than 200 in most cases. > > >Bill > >
Yes, now that you have pointed it out, I realise that I have seen exactly this pattern of dots elsewhere. In fact if you look along the edge of her lips, the dots tend to follow those lines too.
Your exif certainly does indicate ISO 800, normal exposure, so I would submit an image to Nikon service and see what they say.
I'd not be against going back to the dealer, showing them this image and asking for another camera.
One last thing, even though it says zero exposure comp in the exif, the images do look a bit overexposed which makes me wonder if you are having an issue with non-Nikon lenses. What lenses are you using? Just curious.
Lenses are Nikon. The one in this instance is a 12-24. I also use an 18-200 and my favourite, an 85 1.4 AFD all seem to return the same effects.
I agree very much that the hair in my photo especially at the hair line is shot to pieces. I was really just blasting of pics without any method or pattern as I was keeping an eye on my daughter at the same time and I was pretty shocked at the results. I'll try and get another couple put up tomorrow when I can contact my webmaster
I don't know about Active D Lighting causing any problem. I'd post an image, but don't have upgraded membership, but i've taken dozens of landscape photos, some backlit, in Vivid mode, with +2 Saturation added, and Normal Active D Lighting in both Raw (Lossless compressed 12 bit), and Large/Fine Jpeg, and neither have anything looking like the artifacting or banding/posterizing displayed in the OP's sample photo. Colors are vibrant, but smooth gradients, and no black dots all over. Something else is the cause I would think.
But I don't think that vivid should cause this anyway. the D300 is reckoned to be far better than that. Is it a problem? For me it is. I don't think that it should be there. I haven't seen it on other DSLRs. I like to get very large prints of quite a lot of my photos and even before you can make out the speckles, one can see what looks like dirt on the picture.
Even if I print small pictures, I don't want to feel that I am holding back merely because there is a problem with my camera. I would really like to understand what it is and get to the bottom of it.
ypx, I had never seen anything like the artifacts in your picture and I've shot quite a few high iso pics with my D300. But I was able to duplicate the problem. I shot a brown cardboard box with a UPC label in front of my monitor, i.e. heavily backlit. ADL did not seem to affect the artifacting but High Iso NR and Sharpening did. I didn't do a lot of testing, only about 20 pics. I could only reduce the black spots, not get rid of them completely. I think the real problem is backlighting. If you want more details let me know.
Very interesting and thanks for all the trouble you are taking over it. I'm not quite clear - when you say that High ISO NR and sharpening affected the problem. Do you mean that they attenuated the problem or they helped to cause it?
I fell like a lamb bleating for it's mama here but I have never seen this problem at all with my D70s so maybe this is a problem specific to the D300. Maybe mine in particular but as you are able to replicate the effect, maybe D300's in general. I am always very minimal on post-processing as I figure that I can do everything in PS if I feel that I need to and so I prefer to keep even the Jpegs as "raw" as possible. Is this a flawed premise? Should we need to activate in-camera post processing in this way? Should in-camera post processing be needed to correct errors (presumably) in the camera's algorithm? I always took it that in-camera post processing was intended to permit the creator of the image to start to achieve his/her own visualisation rather then patch up the camera's mistakes.
Different NR and sharpening settings produced different amounts of black specks and posterization. I really think the problem is caused by backlighting. I will do more testing today. Still cold and snowing here so I have nothing else to do.
D300 files are much larger than D70 files and we zoom in tighter on D300 files. I think this makes the artifacts more noticeable.
All digital pictures require PP just as film pictures required darkroom processing. We can choose to have the dslr do the PP or we can do it ourselves on the computer. I shoot raw because I want as much control over the outcome as possible. I will say the D300's in-camera processing is really good, at least I like it. I did not like the D50's settings at all.
There does seem to be jpeg artifacting involved but I don't think there should be this much and that doesn't seem to explain the black specks. If an expert on jpeg knows better, please chime in (bclaff?).
I just did some more informal testing. I should point out that I upgraded my firmware after I tested last night. I did have less artifacts today but the lighting was somewhat different from last night so I don't know if the upgrade had an effect or not. The problem isn't jpeg compression. The NEFs showed similar effects, although jpeg compression could make things worse. ADL had no effect on the problem that I could see. The problem seems to be caused by the combination of noise, noise reduction, and sharpening. I could virtually eliminate the problem by setting the picture controls to sd sharpening 4, high iso NR OFF. Even better was to shoot raw, turn off sharpening and nr in the base adj, then use nr and usm in edit steps. I should point out that normally I get great images right out of the camera even at very high iso's. I think the problem here is a very underexposed subject. Darker areas (and certain colors) are more susceptible to visible noise. That, in combination with some nr and sharpening settings, produces the problem the OP had. If anyone disagrees with my conclusions so far, please speak up. My testing has been very limited and I'm mostly just guessing .
I am not sure if anyone has noticed that the 'dirty speckles' are present in all the shaded areas. You only notice them more on the girl's face. I also note from the EXIF that the Active D-Lighting was set to 'High'. IMHO, the speckles could be caused by Active D-Lighting being set too high.
I have posted this before, but I find that an in camera sharpening setting of 5 or more introduces noise into the picture. If I shoot raw and do not change the picture control setting in PP then the image has noise. So I shoot raw, sharpening at 7 for in camera review on the lcd screen but then change the picture control sharpening to zero in capture NX and do sharpening with USM. I get much cleaner images. I have this issue with the camera sharpening noise even at ISO 200.
HI, I an new to this forum but I have joined because I have the same problem with my d300. I have even noticed it on the raw files so the Active D lighting should not be the cause. I have owned a D70s which I sold to get the d300 and it did not have the same problem. My d200 does not have this problem either. I am thinking of returning the camera as I think it is faulty. I too have turned the d lighting off and only use it after shooting. The problem is worsd with NR turned up. Paradox! I have also had jpeg files that make the sky extremely blotchy. So far I am not impressed with this camera and if I have to shoot anything important I use my D200 Does anyone know what nikon has to say about this? Cheers
I don't think the speckles are caused by the camera at all. It looks like your photo has a much lower bit-depth than normal. And because it is slightly over exposed most of the bits are used for the lighter areas and there are too little bits left for the darker areas. This causes the darker parts to go very dark all of a sudden because there are no bits left for the somewhat darker parts/pixels. I assume the reason for this happening is a mistake in post-processing. If the picture is still on your camera card you should be able to check this. If it turns out to be a camera problem after all you should return it right away, this is not normal behavior.
>HI, >I an new to this forum but I have joined because I have the >same problem with my d300. I have even noticed it on the raw >files so the Active D lighting should not be the cause. I >have owned a D70s which I sold to get the d300 and it did not >have the same problem. My d200 does not have this problem >either. I am thinking of returning the camera as I think it >is faulty. I too have turned the d lighting off and only use >it after shooting. The problem is worsd with NR turned up. >Paradox! I have also had jpeg files that make the sky >extremely blotchy. So far I am not impressed with this camera >and if I have to shoot anything important I use my D200 >Does anyone know what nikon has to say about this? >Cheers > Charles, I'd like very much to contact you so that we can discuss this problem directly with one another. I'm not sure to message you privately through this board
Sat 16-Feb-08 07:52 AM | edited Sat 16-Feb-08 08:17 AM by Tokyo Mike
>I am not sure if anyone has noticed that the 'dirty speckles' >are present in all the shaded areas. You only notice them more >on the girl's face. I also note from the EXIF that the Active >D-Lighting was set to 'High'. IMHO, the speckles could be >caused by Active D-Lighting being set too high. >
I agree. I think the lesson here is to be cautious about using high ADL at high ISOs. I'll bet the OP would get the same result on the D70 with strong backlighting (and exposed for the sky) if shot in RAW at ISO 400 and then strong post-processing was applied afterwards to lighten the shadows.
Sat 16-Feb-08 08:39 AM | edited Sat 16-Feb-08 08:50 AM by sorin
the active d-lighting is an hdr tone mapping with local weighting. you can see the halo around trees and the heavy +ev applied to girls face, on lower tree lines, saturated reds and so on.
you can see the pink zone on her head isn't affected at all. well that's the gray exposure. the white zones look good too, that the highlight limit. so seeing this you can guess the darks were deep darks, noisy from the iso 800.
this image shows that the extreme d-lighting is pretty good, not at all bad. test at home with a much lower gamma to see how it would be without it. there was noise in the shadows due to extreme hdr levels and the camera had to apply NR on it. if you'd see that noise would you post about how noisy d300 is?
so in the end see that active or passive d-lighting isn't a feature intended to magically fix images with any settings. this is not a p&s camera. or do as charles27 did, return it.
I have also been able to duplicate your problem, but only by apply some extreme adjustments in both the D300 and in Photoshop and NX.
A took JPEGs of a small dark picture taped to my bright computer screen. Camera set to ADL high, sharpening +9, iso800, high iso NR high. The image of the dark picture was very under exposed out of camera. Reviewing in camera at full mag I could see the dark specks along the edges of the darkest areas of the picture. No speckles or posterization was visible in the lighter areas. Lightening the picture in photoshop by Image-Adjustments-exposure (3 stops) or by Shadow/Highlight or Levels or Curves all resulted in severe speckles and severe posterization in in broad areas of colour. Same with adjustments made in NX. All these adjustments equated to an increase of 3 or 4 stops ie at least 6400 iso.
Further shots of the same subject with progressively removing in-camera corrections, ADL off, sharpening +4, high iso NR off, all resulted in less speckles. Finally a +2 stop exposure compensation (effectively iso3200) gave a high degree of noise but still reasonably sharp and NO black specks.
I think this means that High Iso NR + ADL High + High Sharpening + High Iso is a very bad idea. If you can see the speckles in the D300 LCD when all these variables are OFF, you have a Lemon. If the image you posted had no adjustments other than in camera, you probably still have a lemon. Go back to your supplier and insist on a new one.
I did test with both ADL and High Iso NR off and with both on, but not a direct comparison between ADL off vs high. I admit that my testing was quick and dirty but nothing I could do would give images as bad as the post. With every in-camera option cranked up to the max, I could see black speckles in shadow areas when viewed on the camera LCD at high magnification but no posterization. I could not achieve speckles and posterization in any way as bad as the posted image without extreme adjustments in CS3 or NX. So I stick with my opinion. If I got an image as bad as that, direct out of camera with no after treatment at all, then I would demand a replacement, or a speedy repair or my money back.
Sun 17-Feb-08 05:16 AM | edited Sun 17-Feb-08 05:18 AM by Tokyo Mike
I did a quick test, but I couldn't get ADL to lighten as much as in the OP's example photo. Question to the OP, is that photo straight from the camera or was it lightened further using Photoshop or other software?
The link above is to a crop from a quick test photo I shot in RAW + JPEG (Large, Normal), ISO 800, ADL High, NR High. The left crop is straight from the in-camera jpeg. I can see posterization and some "speckles", although they aren't as prominant because the shot is not as bright as the OP's. The center crop is adjusted with PS Levels (center slider only), and the result looks very similar to the OP's photo in my opinion. The right crop is from the RAW file (using Lightroom defaults settings) so no dynamic lighting was applied. For the original files, see the entire gallery.
Sun 17-Feb-08 07:37 AM | edited Sun 17-Feb-08 07:48 AM by yqx
>I did a quick test, but I couldn't get ADL to lighten as much >as in the OP's example photo. Question to the OP, is that >photo straight from the camera or was it lightened further >using Photoshop or other software? > >http://www.smugmug.com/photos/255337042_29qYw-O.jpg > >Mike
Mike, the image is direct from the camera. No other treatment has been given to it.
The highlights are clipped in several areas, but the blacks are nowhere near 0 -- I think it's possible the specs are clipped blacks that have been lifted from 0, perhaps by ADL or some other post processing.
And I agree with the observation that this is an awful lot of boosting of shadows for Active D Lighting - my D300 doesn't do this much.
In moving the photo from the camera to the PC (or Mac), what program/method was used?