EOS 5D MK II – quick noise/vertical lines/banding test

So, through gritted teeth we acknowledge the limitations of this wonderful camera. One of the issues I had noted earlier on, was the problem of vertical banding/noise/lines. Whatever it is, it isn’t pleasant and I need to get to he bottom of the conditions that make it worse.

One of those conditions is making a film that involves a blind man’s darkened house. A lot of GHOSTGIRL’S scenes are in low light. Although it was a good test for the camera, we failed to spot the noise issue on the camera’s monitor or on our lovely Marshall monitor.

Of course when I checked out the day’s rushes and on our big plasma, I had a slight “Oh dear” moment.

Didn’t have time to get to the bottom of it then, but I am on the case. 1st point of call was to use only the recommended ISO’s from Philip Bloom’s blog on the Zacuto shootout – http://philipbloom.co.uk/2010/03/24/shootout/

I also played with the Highlight Tone Priority setting, as you can’t physically set ISO 160 whilst HTP is enabled(although apparently it shoots at a lower ISO than displayed in this mode and then compresses the picture to bring the exposure back up-I think…).

I thought I would use this HTP mode as the first test and I noticed the difference, especially when I bumped up the mid tones in FCP Colour Corrector.

I am going to shoot some more, and research a bit more. i may have missed a couple of articles online.

BTW apologies for the mis-captioning clip 2 should say Highlight Tone Priority DISABLED!

More tests to come…

One response to “EOS 5D MK II – quick noise/vertical lines/banding test

  1. Hi Dave I am a beginning film student and am working with DSLR’s for video also. I have a Pentax kx . There has been some information about banding on several sites which I saw that may help you with this issue. Was the banding due to florescent lighting and some of the people talking about this issue say that it could be motor noise from the auto focus. You could try using manual focus and stay away from florescent light . The other issue was with certain lenses showing more banding than others

    Canon statement:

    To Owners of the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera

    Thank you for using Canon products.

    We have learned that some users of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera have identified two types of image quality phenomena that appear under certain shooting conditions.

    1. “Black dot” phenomenon (the right side of point light sources becomes black)
    2. Vertical banding noise

    We are currently investigating and analysing the causes, and examining measures to reduce or eliminate these phenomena by providing correction firmware. An announcement will be made on http://www.canon-europe.com as soon as measures have been determined.

    Details of the phenomena and shooting conditions under which they are likely to occur are as follows.

    1. “Black dot” phenomenon (the right side of point light sources becomes black)
    When shooting night scenes, the right side of point light sources (such as lights from building windows) may become black. The phenomenon may become visible if the images are enlarged to 100% or above on a monitor or if extremely large prints of the images are made.

    2. Vertical banding noise
    If the recording format is set to sRAW1, vertical banding noise may become visible depending on the camera settings, subject, and background.
    ▪ Vertical banding noise is not noticeable if the recording format is set to sRAW2.
    ▪ Vertical banding noise does not occur if the recording format is set to RAW or JPEG.
    ▪ Noise can be reduced if C.Fn II-3: Highlight tone priority is set to 0: Disable.


    Canon apologizes for any inconvenience caused and thanks photographers for their patience.

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