8 Bit Banding on 16 bit Clear Sky / Photoshop 22 / Sony a7R3

New Here ,
Nov 27, 2020

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Hey Folks,

I'm glad that I'm not the only one with such a Problem, but I see that most of the Users have that Problem in Premiere and Videofiles.

 

I use a Sony a7III & Sony a7RIII - Shooting in RAW - Opening my RAWs in Capture One, edit them a bit, export them as 16bit TIFF 300px ProPhotoRGB into Photoshop 22.

 

No Problems so far. But my Wife told me, that my Instagram Pictures with Clear Sky or Slow Colour Gradients like Vignettes have like massive Bandings! I was shocked how many Pictures showed that Problem - so I thought - ok its Instagram - although I upload my Pictures with 1080 some of them have that Banding, some have not - So I look at the Pictures in Photoshop and that Banding starts there! In Capture One, no Banding, in Photoshop - The Banding Game is massive! What is the Problem here? I read that I have to add Noise but come one? That just can't be the Case right?

 

I use a GeForce 1050 TI, I7 8700 Processor, 32GB DDR4 Ram, I tried to deactivate my graphic card acceleration -> Banding even worse! I tried to export from C1 in 8bit, 16 bit, sRGB, AdobeRGB, PhotoRGB, 72px, 240px, 300px, as PSD, as TIFF, as DNG.....I tried to open the RAW in C1, in Lightroom, in CameraRAW.....I think I tried every way and the Banding is always there....so this is my Last Unicorn....I tried to reach for Help in Forums, Friends and the Store I bought the Camera. No One can imagine what Problem I could have...."What? I never heard of a Problem like that, I think you do sth wrong!" OH REALLY? -.- 

 

I will add some Pictures but I think most of you know what I'm talking about. Before I forget. I use Filters like NIK and DXO but all in 16bit - the Banding is already there when i first open the exported TIFF in PS. in C1 - no banding - after export as TIFF 16bit ProPhotoRGB in Photoshop -> BANDING!

 

3 Pictures are already with Instagram Compression - One is the JPG File after C1 Export. You will see the Banding already in the Upper Right Corner....

 

If anybody can help me, I will pay you for your Help because Photography is my Job.

 

Stay healthy and thank you for your time and sorry for my German English...

 

King Regards

 

Tom

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Import and export, Problem or error

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 27, 2020

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Several things going on here, but all ultimately have the same cause.

 

Banding happens in reduced bit depth, and banding is cumulative. If you're working with 16 bit data, any banding is in your display system.

 

8 bit data have only 256 discrete steps per channel, so an 8 bit file will always show banding in smooth gradients. A jpeg is always 8 bit, but in addition the jpeg algorithm compresses the color component much more aggressively than the luminance component, so that adds color banding on top of the "normal" 8 bit banding.

 

Quite aside from that, your display pipeline is 8 bits, video card, calibration tables, the display panel itself. TN panels are even 6 bits plus dithering to add the last two bits. So again, it is inevitable that you will see 8 bit banding on screen, even with a 16 bit file. The only way to avoid any banding on screen is to get a 10-bit capable monitor (usually quite expensive).

 

All these add up, and in some cases the result can be very pronounced and irregular banding with colored bands.

 

The standard way to deal with banding is to add a tiny amount of noise. Not so much that it's visible, just enough to break up the banding. A photograph usually has enough noise to conceal banding, but not always, particularly if it's very downsampled (like for web).

 

One important point: Lightroom, and probably also Capture One, uses dithering when it displays the image. Lightroom has no support for 10 bit monitors, but you will never see any banding in Lightroom because of the dithering.

 

I'm typing this on a laptop, but I'll look at the screenshots when I'm back at my workstation. One thing I can promise you, is that there are no problems with Sony a7riii files in Lightroom. I use that camera, plus an a7rii.

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New Here ,
Nov 27, 2020

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Thank you for you Answer! 

 

I have the same Problem in Lightroom and I use 16bit Editing because the Plugins work better, especially with Sunlight or Reflections. I understand the Banding Problem and I will try the Noise-Edit - To Buy a 10bit Screen is not a good solution for me, because I want to have nice Pictures on my Homepage & Social Media - Like I said, the Banding after Instagram Compression is horrible - and I see other Profiles from Photographers, clear Skies or Colour Gradient Backgrounds - no Banding at all.

 

Thanks for your Tip!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 27, 2020

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If you see banding in Lightroom, it has to be somewhere in your display system. No other explanation.

 

In addition to the things mentioned above, which are all normal and unavoidable - there is also the possibility that you may have a defective monitor profile. Are you using a calibrator to make your profiles? If not, bad manufacturer profiles are quite frequently being distributed through Windows Update.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 27, 2020

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I've now looked at your images on my Eizo CG2730, and I agree. There is more banding here than there should be, but I don't understand where it can come from.

 

Are you using custom or third-party camera profiles in Lightroom?

 

I don't get any banding on a7riii files here. This is processed with the Adobe Color profile:

20201108-DSC00332_der_untergang_2.jpg

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 27, 2020

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Here's a crop from another. If there was any banding, it would show here (and this is still a jpeg, so a little would be expected):

20200916-DSC08693.jpg

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2020

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https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62010566

 

Found the Problem - it is Sony. Never had that Issue with Nikon or Canon. Glad I found a Page where the Problem is shown. And I see that Banding on your Pictures - Not only the JPG Compression - but you should make those Pictures with a Nikon D850 - thank me later.

 

Thanks so far

 

Bye

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2020

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No way. I'm not buying any of that.

 

First of all, Sony firmware is now up to 3.1. The dpreview thread mentions 2.0.

Second, you need to set the camera to 14-bit, not 12-bit raws, and uncompressed.

 

Here are the very same examples, straight out of Lightroom, and with a very steep curve applied on top in Photoshop. If there was any banding here, it would pop straight out and be very obvious. I don't see even the slightest hint of any banding here on my Eizo CG2730. There simply isn't any. Of course, I can't answer for how the web browser handles this.

banding-1.png

banding-2.png

 

I rather suspect ProPhoto as the problem here. It is well known that ProPhoto files can show banding on screen in some circumstances, probably because it's so large that small inaccuracies get amplified in the conversion into the monitor profile. This is well documented.

 

Try the same, but open into Adobe RGB instead of ProPhoto.

 

FWIW, I've used a Nikon D810 for many years, so I'm well familiar with Nikon.

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2020

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I loved the D810 - best Cam in 2014^^

 

ok so i watched your pictures in 4 diff. screens - no Eizo, normal Screens & TVs, where normal People watch Stuff. And on the Dark Picture there is Color Banding - the Color/Contrast-Transition aren't smooth at all sorry dude. The Problem does not occure on bright or overexposed pictures - and mostly on blue skies, dark areas like vignetting - so kinda bad examples you posted there.

 

I was at my local Store where I bought my a7III and a7rIII - and guess what the Salesman said:

 

"We know the Problem - we will take back your Gear, sorry for that - lets hope the next Customer won't see the Banding (laughs)"

 

and I was like *.*

 

So they know that the Problem still occures, FW 3.1 - I have a Friend with FW 3.0 - same Problem.

 

 I tried to work with sRGB - it is sliiightly better, but man - i dont want to change my Workflow just because of some Blue Sky Pictures - I can buy a Canon 400D with a 18-55mm to start with Workarounds.

 

I tested the Nikon Z7 at the Store - side by side to my Sony a7III and I took a Picture of the Clear Blue Sky. Guess which one had massive Banding? sRGB, Uncompressed RAW of course (14bit only in Single Shooting Mode? Seriously? ) - Nikon Z7 - Smooth like Cream. Buy it or not - but that Problem is on the Table.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2020

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"I tested the Nikon Z7 at the Store - side by side to my Sony a7III and I took a Picture of the Clear Blue Sky. Guess which one had massive Banding?"

 

You tested with jpegs in the store?

 

The problem with banding is that there are so many places it can happen, and as I said in my first post, it's cumulative. Every link in the chain has to be ruled out one by one. And it's also almost impossible to demonstrate its absence in a forum, because the web browser tends to add a little on its own.

 

Until I see any, I still don't buy it.

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2020

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The RAWs - I wanted to see the Difference on Screen. But it was a Samsung Screen no Eizo or sth professional - but the Nikon Picture was like a Painting in the Blueish Area....

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2020

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You did all this today, after you discovered a thread on the dpreview forum this morning?

 

And you took all this at face value immediately, went to the store where they took both your Sonys back, and you walked out with a Z7?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2020

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Here's the last example I'm going to post, again with an extreme curve on top that would bring out every bit of banding there might be. But there is none. If you see banding here, it's your display, or monitor profile, or video card, or web browser.

 

And this is exactly the situation where the dpreview thread says it's most pronounced:

final.png

 

Yes, we have seen a very few cases where camera profiles in Lightroom have caused similar issues. These have all been fixed quickly. And in some cases, lens profiles have had concentric rings, but they have followed the correction geometry.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2020

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OK, one more. If you see any banding here, it's in your display system or web browser color management.

final_2.png

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2020

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Where did I say that I walked out with the Nikon? The Store will take back both Cameras, and I'm gonna think about what Camera I will take. I think I will go back to my old Workflow with the D810 or D850. Not a Fan of that NewNew.

 

I get you, believe me - But - if my Screen is old and bad, why do I see the Banding on my Samsungs Phones? on 3 other Screens? I think you didnt get my Problem - The Banding after Photoshop is there but not that terrible, it gets terrible when I upload it on Social Media where Compression hits in. Especially IG - and I informed myself how one should upload Images with what Compression, Quality, Measurements etc. Whats your thing with the Screen? And I get it that every Picture and Scene is different - in the dp thread they are talkin about Bad Posterization in Blue Skies and Vignetting - and if your Cam is fine, why should my Cam be fine? And why did the Salesman without any Reaction said that he knows the Problem and will take the Cams back? Why is google full with threads with this Problem? Why did I never had this Problem in 10 years with Nikon or Canon? Why does my Sony a6500 make better Pictures of the Sky as my Sony a7III?

 

I get what you want to say and I appreciate your Time - but I dont need anybody to tell me that my Screen is bad or that I exaggerate or overreact. 

 

I understand that every Gear has its Pros and Cons - but for me, that Issue is a No-GO - because I post my Pictures online on Social Media and dont want to think about how I can shoot a Picture or not - how I have to change my workflow with Blue Sky Pictures etc pp. I post LowLight Pictures, Landscapes with Clouds, People, Animals, Families - everything fine - but when a Clear Sky appears, the Instagram Compression hits me in the Heart. If you dont get that, please dont answer - My Head is exploding right now because I have to overthink my Investment of over 5000€.

 

Good Night

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2020

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3 Examples of what I mean with Social-Media Compression:

 

1. My Picture

2 & 3 other Profiles with no Sky-Banding

4. My Picture with no PixelBanding in the Light-Glow-Area

 

 

1.jpg

 

2.jpg

3.jpg

 

4.jpg

I tried every Setting, 1350, 1080, 2000px, 72% 76% 30% Compression - My Compression-Game is always on Max. I dont want to Print my Pictures and I dont want them to be perfect, but I dont want to have Problems when I upload Clear Skies. One more

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2020

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One of the "conclusive" examples in that dpreview thread was a white wall shot. So I duplicated it. This is a white wall out of focus and bounce-flash lit, so very evenly lit. The lens is the 90mm/2.8 macro.

 

Then I put this extreme curve on top:

curve.png

 

Here's the result. Yes, some odd vignette correction here - but no banding:

banding-3.png

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2020

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Took this Shot after Resetting my a7rIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 / sRGB RAW uncompressed

 

Capture One -> no Edit into Photoshop -> directly exported

 

Have the Issue with my 35mm, 85mm, 50mm ....so yeah....dont know....

 


DSC00004_C2.jpg

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 29, 2020

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You will always encounter some banding when "stretching" data in insufficient bit depth. That's when it happens. In fact, that's the definition of banding.

 

I still suspect ProPhoto contributes. It's so large that the lower saturation "useful" data are extremely compressed compared to Adobe RGB (or DCI-P3). It's not necessarily a problem as long as it stays ProPhoto, but it can quickly become a problem when converted into any 8 bit pipeline like jpeg (with its own banding issues due to compression), or your monitor profile.

 

You're also using plugins here, which is another unknown factor, perhaps in combination with extreme adjustments in Lightroom.

 

Some lenses have a high degree of vignetting, which may require strong corrections.

 

Again - it cannot be emphasized enough: banding is cumulative. It's vey tempting to put the blame on a single component. Usually though, several things interact and pile up, until you suddenly notice it.

 

Oh, BTW: "no Eizo, normal Screens & TVs, where normal People watch Stuff. "

That's no argument. That's an argument for the opposite, a really good reason why you need a good monitor. You need to know your image is right before you publish. You can't do that on a crappy TV, it doesn't tell you anything at all. What other people use has nothing to do with it.

 

 

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New Here ,
Nov 29, 2020

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You don't understand what I mean.

 

Its like in Music-Production. When I produce a Song on a 4D Surround System with 5.1 Dolby and 5Hz Bass Drops, 40khz Whistle Leads - No one with a 10€ Speaker will hear that Sound.

 

When I see how Photographers post their Pictures, having an Apple or normal Win10 Laptoip from Lenovo, and habe no Banding although Social Media Compression is added, then I'm getting Curious.

 

And again, I understand what youre saing. Better Monitor, better Control over Colours and Image. I get it. But you cant tell me that every person I see on Instagram, has an Eizo Monitor, and THATs the Reason they habe no color bandings on their Pictures. I showed you Screenshots of my Samsung Phone - its a Galaxy S10 - old - I know - so I should get a Phone with an Eizo Screen? Oh Wait -  I Need an iPhone with Retina Screen? You really dont get what Im saying...in every post you're writing the same Infos, starting with: again.....

 

I also posted you a dark Picture - its WITH Social Media Compression - why on earth isnt there any Banding then? Its the same camera, the same lense, same Filters, same everything. And yes, I get it, Color Banding is always different  -  but then again - Why doesnt this happen on Pictures from others? Why am I still writing - I already know what you will write 😄

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Nov 29, 2020

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I think the key thing here is the social media compression. This is not under your control, and it is notorious for going for small sizes at the expense of quality.

If you have a good looking file on your local disk, you upload to social media and it looks bad, and you download and it still looks bad, then it is the social media that did it. No use talking about the details of your apps, settings, processing or monitor. Or do you mean something different by "instagram compression" than this process?

 

Now, if SOME images remain undamaged, perhaps there is either a clever strategy used by those photographers, or more likely just good luck in the interaction between the pixel data and image compression.

 

Another factor: as the artist you are extremely in tune with your own work. You got it exactly as you wanted it, and are sensitive to any change at all. For the work of others you might just be applying lower standards. I see no problems with any of the examples you posted - I mean I do not SEE anything. Clearly you see these particular images differently.

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