Sony A7iv noise issue

New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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I bought a Sony A7iv in December and I have had constant issues editing photos in lightroom/camera raw. I am running the current version of camera raw (11.1 Camera Raw 14.1) and shooting uncompressed raw files in the camera. The issue I'm having is whenever I add clarity or boost the shadows or boost the exposure, I begin to get hundreds of white pixels in the shadows of the image to the point of being unpublishable.

 

I've made sure I'm not shooting in any picture profiles and DRO is off in the camera. 


I've called both Sony and Adobe support. Sony had me open the raw files Imaging Edge - their proprietary software - and the issue didn't show up so they told me the won't help me. Adobe said can't do anything but the issue might get resolved whenever camera raw is updated. As a final test, I opened the images in Capture 1 and the white pixels aren't their but the image is so soft I wouldn't consider the image usable. 


I've attached screen captures and a .jpg export of an example. You can see the adjustments I make to the image on the right side of the screen capture. 

I've read online that some people had the same issue with the Sony A7iii and ended up returning is because the issue was never fixed. I'm a full-time photography that was planning on transition from Fuji to Sony but this is a serious issue that make this camera essentially a brick. 

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Feb 07, 2022 Feb 07, 2022

White pixels normally indicates that pixel is stuck 'On', but unlike dead pixels tend to be random. 

 

BTW, is this your post on Reddit?

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Lightroom/comments/s9hzvj/sony_a7iv_files_have_white_pixels_in_the_shadows/

 

If not, then worth reading as others in the linked thread seem to be of the opinion that it's not unusual issue. I also read in another thread on the same forum that there is a menu option in the A7 IV for remapping pixels. Pixel remapping is also mentioned

...

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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Is there another raw setting on the camera you can try? I seem to recall some posts about one of the raw settings affected this but can't recall, you might want to setup a shot under controlled setting (tripod, manual exposure etc), shoot one capture at both settings, check and maybe upload as DNG, both images to something like Dropbox or similar so others can examine the raws with the embedded settings you use.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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I've tried all three raw options - uncompress, lossless compression, and compressed - all three have the same issues with no noticeable difference when applying adjustments. As a high-volume photojournalist/event photographer, converting to DNG is too time consuming. I capture anywhere from 50 to 300 gigs of uncompressed raw photos a week. The majority of those photos get culled in Photo Mechanic before importing into Lightroom but converting portions of my archive to DNG would make file management incredibly annoying. 

I'll do a test run but that is not a permanent solution. I expect a professional grade camera to work in industry standard software without headaches. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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I didn't suggest you convert all raws to DNG, nor would that anything to help the issue. The DNG is just as raw as the proprietary raw. I only want you to convert two raws to DNG so ALL your edits are embedded for us to inspect.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/14L6AuD9RmPY70A8bh_joUUAcpcGXvuEG?usp=sharing

 

Here is a link to the DNG export of the photo in the screen capture. I exported it twice. One with no edits and one with +1 exposure and +25 clarity. I'm not sure of any way to upload these files to Adobe's website. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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I have the two DNGs.

First issue is, the raw is really very under exposed and shown in RawDigger below. This is the primary reason you have so much noise.

As for the white specs (dots), I see them with your settings but you have Color Noise reduction on, but none for Noise Reduction above it which removes those white "dots' of noise, as seen below (set to 25).

I think you might try other such settings and see if you prefer this, but really providing more actual exposure will go a long way towards getting less noise, if at all possible (I realize in this condition, the light level is very low).

 

RawDigger with blue overlay of under exposed pixels:

All blue overlay is under exposedAll blue overlay is under exposed

Your settings in the DNG (NR is zero):

Your Settings (no NR)Your Settings (no NR)

My settings with NR set to 25:

NR onNR on

Without you having a test of another camera with the same settings, I can't say that this is 'normal' for your new camera or not. But there are settings that can reduce the 'white dots' in Lightroom Classic.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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Also, in the one image you did some brightness corrections (because it isn't really exposure despite the name), I see Texture set to plus 25 which exacerbates the noise.

The screen captures I provided are from ACR but it is on version parity with LR so the settings and results are the same if you try NR in either.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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Even with noise reduction, the camera performs worse than my Fuji EX3 (a 5 year old APSC camera) with no noise reduction applied. I frequently under exposure by a stop to keep my shutter speeds higher then boost the exposure in post during low light situations like these - it is a what I do all the time with my Fujis and have never had any issues. 

 

I've added a DNG export from a Fuji XT3 from the same night. The setting should be similar but it was shot on a 90mm rather than a 24-70mm. It isn't a direct comparison but the light situation is the same. The XT3 is nearly 4 years old at this point and has no issue boosting the exposure, adding clarity or combing them. 

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/14L6AuD9RmPY70A8bh_joUUAcpcGXvuEG?usp=sharing

 

The amount of white specs/pixels makes publishing anything shot at 3200 ISO or higher that requires post processing impossible. Either I need to apply so much noise reduction my image is soft or the shadows are covered in white snow. There is an issue with the way adobe is processing Sony A7iv files or my camera is defective. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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It entirely possible that your older camera is better, I can’t help you there. The white pixels can be removed with NR in Lightroom Classic, that's all I can do at this point. There is thus far, no evidence that this is an Adobe processing issue but that isn't impossible. Again, the image is really under exposed, do you see this with optimally exposed raws? The way again to test this is to lock down the camera and shoot a dark scene where the exposure is optimal vs. under exposed. The issue isn't high ISO per se, it is under exposure. So a test is in order.
You can't boost exposure after capture. Exposure only takes place based on the amount of light (photons) that strike the sensor. You can adjust brightness of course but just because the slider is called "exposure" doesn't make it so. Again, a test where you produce an optimal exposure for the raw (and RawDigger helps here) vs. one quite under exposed would go a long way to finding out what is going on here with those white pixels.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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So essentially what you're saying is the techinques I've been using for event photography for the last 10 years do not work with this camera. Files from a camera released in December 2021 should not fall apart like this by raising the exposure (brightness) by +1. 

I just pulled some raw files from my Nikon D7000 from 2011 to do a comparison and files from over a decade ago perform insanely better than this. Again I don't see these white pixels in Imaging Edge or Capture One, only in Adobe Camera Raw. 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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quote

So essentially what you're saying is the techinques I've been using for event photography for the last 10 years do not work with this camera.

By @AB842

 

What did I write that would give you that impression?

You came to a user to user forum for help. Your sample image is massivly under exposed which is the cause of much of the noise. Your settings in Lightroom Classic were not such you reduced the noise.

Further, I provided a means of testing all this, you can do the test or move on.

Your idea of taking two cameras shot without a proper test are not useful. If you still have the camera(s) you can if so desired, produce a useful test for others to view as outlined, under controlled condtions with proper and under exposed raws from both. Otherwise you are assuming. And I'm not here to help you conduct assumptions.

quote

Again I don't see these white pixels in Imaging Edge or Capture One, only in Adobe Camera Raw. 

By @AB842

 

And with the settings I tested, I don't see them in ACR. Now what sir?

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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I've included four test files - two from the Sony and two from a Fuji XT3 - that clearly show the issue in ACR in another reply to the orginal post. The photos were taken with the lens caps on so the photos are pure black. The settings are 3200 iso, f/2.8, 1/200 on both cameras. You don't even need to zoom into the sony file to see the noise in the Sony file. I've attached screen grabs but please look at the files yourself to see the issue. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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Your “tests” with lens cap on and without an ideal raw exposure is not useful. 

BTW, the white dots are in your raw, as shown in RawDigger at 100% zoom!

I think we are done here. 

RawDigger.jpg

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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How is that not useful? They are identical ISO, in pure black they sure perform in a similar fashion. Shooting with lens caps on in a common way to diagnose sensor issues and test noise performance on cinema and still photography equipment.

 

All of the settings are available in the raw files. If I'm shooting a high contrast scene with pure black in the frame, I expect to be able to adjust settings in ACR without pure black having white pixels appear in it. Please at least look at the files to see the extreme difference between the Fuji and Sony files. Check the settings - 3200, 2.8, 1/200 - they're identical on both camera. 

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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The white dots are the problem! You just proved my point. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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quote

The white dots are the problem! You just proved my point. 


By @AB842

Then get another camera. They exist in the raw, this has nothing to do with an Adobe product! Take your (my) evidence to a Sony forum.

How to reduce or remove the white dots while rendering the raw, that too was answered for you, using an Adobe product.

Enough said.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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I have taken examples of the issue to both Sony and Adobe technical support. Sony tested the files with their software (Imaging Edge) and can't reproduce the images and said go to Adobe. I went to Adobe's official technical support and they said they can't do anything. The images look fine in Imaging Edge and Capture One... All of this is listed in the orginal post... I have a bunch of preset built in LR Classic so using an alternative Raw Converter isn't ideal. I've now tested several files on different Adobe accounts (all with the current version of ACR 14.1) and the problem is still there so my computer isn't the issue. The problem is Adobe's interpritation of these files. I guess I'll schedule an in-person meeting with B&H staff to show this to someone in person since this isn't going anywhere. Thank you for your time, I wish the was more productive.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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The problem is an Adobe users interpretation of these files. If that is showing the white dots that DO exit in two examples he provided of under exposed raw captures.

Good luck. 

 

Same raw, same raw converter, different settings. White dots, no white dots:

SameRawDifferentSettings.jpg

 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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So I just ran the files mentioned in this thread through ACR (Lightroom Classic), Capture One and Imaging Edge and the problem is clearly showing up only in ACR. I did a screen recording of my test of boosting the exposure by +1 and clarity by +25. In Imaging Edge I boosted clarity by 50. In Capture One I boosted the concert photo +3 on the exposure slider and the amount of white pixels was still less than in ACR. 


Thank you @thedigitaldog for your patience and attempt to help, I just wish Sony and/or Adobe would address this issue. There are multiple posts on reddit complaining about the same issue. I've been trouble shooting this for over a month and have gotten no where. 

 

After waiting an hour, as of posting this the HD version is still processing on youtube. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFO5lxORvrg

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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The problem is an Adobe users interpretation of these files. If that is showing the white dots that DO exit in two examples he provided of under exposed raw captures.

Good luck. 

 

Same raw, same raw converter, different settings. White dots, no white dots:

SameRawDifferentSettings.jpg

 


By @thedigitaldog

 

 

This proves my point again. The point of shooting raw is having the ability to edit/post process the photos in a program like ACR but if the raw convert is creating white specs in the shadows when doing minimal adjustments it completely defeats the point of shooting raw. The Sony A7iv files in ACR perform worse that +10 year old files from my Nikon D7000 and Fuji Xpro1. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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quote
quote

The problem is an Adobe users interpretation of these files. If that is showing the white dots that DO exit in two examples he provided of under exposed raw captures.

Good luck. 

 

Same raw, same raw converter, different settings. White dots, no white dots:

SameRawDifferentSettings.jpg

 


By @thedigitaldog

 

 

This proves my point again. The point of shooting raw is having the ability to edit/post process the photos in a program like ACR but if the raw convert is creating white specs in the shadows when doing minimal adjustments it completely defeats the point of shooting raw. The Sony A7iv files in ACR perform worse that +10 year old files from my Nikon D7000 and Fuji Xpro1. 


By @AB842

Yet I can render your under-exposed raw without the white spots and provided a screen capture. Can you not render that one image, that is so under-exposed, without the white spots as I did?

The spots are in your raw, again, maybe you bought the wrong camera. Nothing you've provided has illustrated that there is an issue with LR/ACR. That isn't Adobe's fault.

Minimal adjustments? The point of raw is for the photographer to render the image, not accept a baked adjustment by the camera into a JPEG.

IF indeed your new Sony is worse than your 10-year-old D7000, why did you buy it without testing it first? Maybe you should return it since you told us, it proves your point; it IS in the raw data as RawDigger shows. That LR can remove it visually has been shown.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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Before I leave (because we're kind of done here), one reason your 10-year-old camera may appear to produce less noise than the new one is because it seems you shot at high ISO and a high ISO can actually produce LESS noise than a lower ISO if the old camera isn't ISO Invariant like your new camera. Here's an example of such an old camera. IDENTICAL exposure as shown in LR, but the higher ISO has less noise than the lower ISO. Why can be explained, but not in this thread:

 

Higher ISO has LESS noise than  lower ISOHigher ISO has LESS noise than lower ISO

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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I hope you watched that youtube video because it makes it pretty clear Capture One and Imaging Edge don't have the same issues ACR is giving me. As for the ISO invariance comment, the dual ISO is 3200 for the Sony a7iv which all the examples have been taken at so the sensor should be performing at the best quality the camera can deliver. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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Yes as mentioned by @thedigitaldog , both Texture and the lack of luminance noise reduction both contribute to the noise.

To further reduce visible noise, use the masking slider to prevent flat areas from being sharpened.

Hold down the Alt key when dragging it – white areas will be sharpened, black areas will be protected.

See screenshot at 100% view below with my settings.

 

image_2022-02-06_214830.png

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2022 Feb 06, 2022

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@thedigitaldog @Per Berntsen I just performed a test where I shot the Sony A7iv and Fuji XT3 with identical settings (3200 ISO, f/2.8, 1/200) with their lens caps on (pure black) and performed the same edits in lightroom (+1 on the exposure slider and +25 clarity). The Fuji file has minimal white noise while the Sony file it literally covered it. 

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/14L6AuD9RmPY70A8bh_joUUAcpcGXvuEG?usp=sharing

 

Fuji.raf - Raw file from fuji with no adjustments

Fuji.dng - Adobe lightroom export with the edits listed above

Sony.arw - Raw file from sony camera with no adjustments

Sony.dng - Adobe lightroom export with the edits listed above

 

That is not a normal amount of noise for a camera from December 2021. And again, for the Sony camera the issue is insanely worse in Adobe Camera Raw than it is in Imaging Edge (Sony's raw convert) and Capture One. So either I have a defective camera or adobe raw is not properly interpreting Sony A7iv raw files. Sony and Adobe technical support refuse to help me so what am I supposed to do?

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