luminance noise and chroma noise: What is it?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Marc Wossner, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. Marc Wossner

    Marc Wossner Guest

    Hi ng,

    Trying to understand noise in digital photography I read about
    "luminance noise" and "chroma noise" without getting what those
    concepts really mean. - Are they the peculiarities of some more
    general noise phenomena (like dark current, quantization or photon
    noise) in those two information channels or are they in fact noise
    phenomena on its own and if so, what causes them?

    Thanks for your input!
    Marc Wossner
    Marc Wossner, Jul 3, 2007
    #1
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  2. Marc Wossner

    John Sheehy Guest

    Marc Wossner <> wrote in news:1183502269.277259.69850
    @k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com:

    > Trying to understand noise in digital photography I read about
    > "luminance noise" and "chroma noise" without getting what those
    > concepts really mean. - Are they the peculiarities of some more
    > general noise phenomena (like dark current, quantization or photon
    > noise) in those two information channels or are they in fact noise
    > phenomena on its own and if so, what causes them?


    They're just ways of interpreting RAW data. Most digital cameras use a
    sensor covered with little red, green, and blue filters; 1/4 covered with
    red, 1/2 covered with green, and 1/4 covered with blue. How chromatic the
    noise is, in the final image, depends on how the RAW converter interprets
    the pixel-level data; it's a matter of style. Generally, manufacturers
    with lots of noise in their cameras are more prone to use an interpretation
    that filters out the noise in the virtual chroma channel, leaving the noise
    to appear to only affect luminance.

    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
    John Sheehy, Jul 4, 2007
    #2
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  3. Marc Wossner

    acl Guest

    On Jul 4, 3:50 am, John Sheehy <> wrote:
    > Marc Wossner <> wrote in news:1183502269.277259.69850
    > @k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com:
    >
    > > Trying to understand noise in digital photography I read about
    > > "luminance noise" and "chroma noise" without getting what those
    > > concepts really mean. - Are they the peculiarities of some more
    > > general noise phenomena (like dark current, quantization or photon
    > > noise) in those two information channels or are they in fact noise
    > > phenomena on its own and if so, what causes them?

    >
    > They're just ways of interpreting RAW data. Most digital cameras use a
    > sensor covered with little red, green, and blue filters; 1/4 covered with
    > red, 1/2 covered with green, and 1/4 covered with blue. How chromatic the
    > noise is, in the final image, depends on how the RAW converter interprets
    > the pixel-level data; it's a matter of style. Generally, manufacturers
    > with lots of noise in their cameras are more prone to use an interpretation
    > that filters out the noise in the virtual chroma channel, leaving the noise
    > to appear to only affect luminance.
    >


    even if all 3 channels are sampled at each location, you'll still get
    chroma noise. This is because noise is uncorrelated between the R, G
    and B "sensors". But what you say is indeed true.

    So, to answer the OP's question: in a bayer-sensored camera, each
    pixel actually samples one of R, G or B colours, and the actual colour
    is interpolated using neighbouring pixels. Since there is noise, and
    this noise is not correlated between pixels (ie if the fluctuation is
    "up" in "this" pixel, it says nothing about the neighbouring pixel,
    where it could be "down"), we get fluctuations in colour, in addition
    to fluctuations in intensity of received light. What it ends up as
    depends on the raw conversion.

    This is probably extremely confusing as stated! If you (ie the OP)
    don't understand, do ask, it's probably the fault of a bad explanation
    rather than you.
    acl, Jul 4, 2007
    #3
  4. Marc Wossner

    Marc Wossner Guest

    <big snip>

    > This is probably extremely confusing as stated! If you (ie the OP)
    > don't understand, do ask, it's probably the fault of a bad explanation
    > rather than you.


    No, both of you gave very good explanations and I do understand now
    where the two types of noise come from.
    Thanks!

    Marc Wossner
    Marc Wossner, Jul 4, 2007
    #4
  5. On Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:37:49 +0100, Marc Wossner wrote:
    > Trying to understand noise in digital photography I read about
    > "luminance noise" and "chroma noise" without getting what those concepts
    > really mean. - Are they the peculiarities of some more general noise
    > phenomena (like dark current, quantization or photon noise) in those two
    > information channels or are they in fact noise phenomena on its own and
    > if so, what causes them?
    >

    My understanding of these two noises is rather simplistic. The luminance
    noise is when pixels show different brightness but are of the same colour.
    An example is that of a grainy looking sky in an high ISO image. All the
    pixels are blue but with different luminosity. Chroma noise on the other
    hand is when pixels show different coulours when they all should be of the
    same colour. One example is that of an underexposed image brightened up
    during pp. Quite often both types of noises are present simultaneously.


    --
    gautam
    Gautam Majumdar, Jul 5, 2007
    #5
  6. On Jul 5, 1:20 am, Gautam Majumdar <> wrote:
    > On Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:37:49 +0100, Marc Wossner wrote:
    > > Trying to understand noise in digital photography I read about
    > > "luminance noise" and "chroma noise" without getting what those concepts
    > > really mean. - Are they the peculiarities of some more general noise
    > > phenomena (like dark current, quantization or photon noise) in those two
    > > information channels or are they in fact noise phenomena on its own and
    > > if so, what causes them?

    >
    > My understanding of these two noises is rather simplistic. The luminance
    > noise is when pixels show different brightness but are of the same colour.
    > An example is that of a grainy looking sky in an high ISO image. All the
    > pixels are blue but with different luminosity. Chroma noise on the other
    > hand is when pixels show different coulours when they all should be of the
    > same colour. One example is that of an underexposed image brightened up
    > during pp. Quite often both types of noises are present simultaneously.
    >
    > --
    > gautam


    I would say that luminance noise is a fundamental noise. The noise in
    the pixels themselves is essentially a luminence value, because the
    pixels are responding to the real or apparent fluctuations in the
    arrival of photons.

    In a focal plane with a Bayer or similar array of color filters,
    chroma noise is an apparent noise due to the fluctuations in pixel
    response altering the ratio between various colors. The CCD itself
    knows nothing about "color".
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Jul 5, 2007
    #6
  7. Marc Wossner

    acl Guest

    On Jul 5, 3:03 pm, Don Stauffer in Minnesota <>
    wrote:

    >
    > I would say that luminance noise is a fundamental noise. The noise in
    > the pixels themselves is essentially a luminence value, because the
    > pixels are responding to the real or apparent fluctuations in the
    > arrival of photons.
    >
    > In a focal plane with a Bayer or similar array of color filters,
    > chroma noise is an apparent noise due to the fluctuations in pixel
    > response altering the ratio between various colors. The CCD itself
    > knows nothing about "color".


    Even if there is no bayer sensor, you'll get chrominance noise. If you
    have 1 "sensor" for each colour at each pixel, the random variations
    in intensity will not be correlated between them, thus you'll get
    colour variations on top of the luminance variations. The source of
    both would be, as you say, randomness in the luminance at each
    photosite/sensor (but since each measures number of photons within a
    single passband, this ends up contributing to the luminance noise
    too).

    If, instead, you could directly measure the wavelength of each photon,
    you'd still get both luminance and chrominance noise: luminance for
    the same reasons as now (eg shot noise, read noise contributing to
    variations in the number of photoelectrons etc; that is, variation in
    the number of photons detected), and you'd certainly get noise in the
    measurement of the wavelength (since you're essentially measuring
    energy when you measure wavelength). I have no idea of the magnitude
    of this noise in the wavelength measurement; it would depend on how
    you measure it, for example. Maybe it could be made inconsequential,
    maybe not; I haven't thought about it and can't be bothered to find
    out what has already been done in this area to get an idea. Anyway, in
    this case, chrominance and luminance noise would have different
    fundamental causes.

    Of course, what you say is true for actual existing cameras :)
    acl, Jul 5, 2007
    #7
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