Noise, Noise, Noise!

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
Ok... with all of the back and forth about who makes the noisier cameras (and no, i don't mean mirror flap), what steps do you pixel gurus take to reduce the amount of noise in your images?

No, not post production, anybody can fiddle with photoshop. I'm talking shooting techniques that effectively reduce the amount of inherent noise in a photograph.

I've been tickled pink about my D200's performance at ISO800+, but maybe I'm just missing something ;)
 

leandroc76

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2003
152
0
Ok... with all of the back and forth about who makes the noisier cameras (and no, i don't mean mirror flap), what steps do you pixel gurus take to reduce the amount of noise in your images?

No, not post production, anybody can fiddle with photoshop. I'm talking shooting techniques that effectively reduce the amount of inherent noise in a photograph.

I've been tickled pink about my D200's performance at ISO800+, but maybe I'm just missing something ;)
I've been tickled pink about my D200's performance at ISO1600, H.3, H.7 and H1.

It's good looking noise!!!
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
That's what I figured...

Ok... moving on to image doctoring... do prefer to underexpose and lighten the photo using an editing tool?

Or are the noise reduction programs worth the cash?
 

leandroc76

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2003
152
0
That's what I figured...

Ok... moving on to image doctoring... do prefer to underexpose and lighten the photo using an editing tool?

Or are the noise reduction programs worth the cash?
for certain types of shots, and this is just my preference, depending on how much solid areas are composed (i.e., black backgrounds) I use Noise Ninja. It is very good at toning down the noise, however it does flatten the image and will lose some of the original pop.

secondly noise is preferential. I wouldn't worry about it much because the D200's ISO performance is outstanding compared to say the D70's.

My rule of thumb, if there is no "information noise" as opposed to "Bokeh Noise" don't touch it. It will print much better if unprocessed.
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
for certain types of shots, and this is just my preference, depending on how much solid areas are composed (i.e., black backgrounds) I use Noise Ninja. It is very good at toning down the noise, however it does flatten the image and will lose some of the original pop.
I'd stand by Noise Ninja too. It does a very good job of retaining detail without causing the image to descend into plastic land.
 

failsafe1

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2003
619
0
Use lower ISO and proper amount of light. If you are needing ISO 800 that implies you don't have proper light. Then noise may be simply a part of your photo you can't get rid of. There are programs like Noise Ninja that people use with some success. I don't use it so I can't recommend it. You can take your photos into Photoshop change your mode to Lab Color and guassian blur the noisy channel.
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
Exposures are fine, if a little on the dark side- I was taking pictures at a sporting event from upper reserve seating at night. Not too much you can do in a situation like that I suppose :p
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
And I hypothesize that shooting in the cold might help reduce sensor noise.
For some types of sensor noise, yes I'd agree. For amp noise I don't think it would make much difference.

And all this "just expose properly" is fine in perfect conditions. Buy if you are (as I was recently) walking around a friends Wedding reception snapping away you don't always have that luxury. No-one wants blinding with a flash so it's available light only and I'm having to shoot at ISO 1600/f1.4 to get the pictures I want. That's when Noise Ninja comes in :)
 

Mike Teezie

macrumors 68020
Nov 20, 2002
2,205
1
This will sound like I'm trying to be cute, and talk trash to all the Nikon guys in the thread - but I'm not.

I shoot with 5D cameras, and noise just isn't something I worry about. I don't hesitate in the least to turn to 1600 in a super dark church. I've gone to 3200 and sold 12x18 prints before from the files, that looked great.

I obviously go as low as possible, but with my cameras I fear no ISO!

:)
 

compuwar

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2006
4,717
2
Northern/Central VA
And all this "just expose properly" is fine in perfect conditions. Buy if you are
Getting exposure right is more important in imperfect conditions.

(as I was recently) walking around a friends Wedding reception snapping away you don't always have that luxury. No-one wants blinding with a flash so it's available light only and I'm having to shoot at ISO 1600/f1.4 to get the pictures I want. That's when Noise Ninja comes in :)
You can fill flash bouncing off the ceiling or a bounce card and it won't blind people but will give you much better pictures if you balance the flash against the ambient light.

I'd suggest a quick Google for "dragging the shutter" to see what well-used flash looks like (not the deer-in-the-headlights overly flash lit look you're probably imagining.)
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
Thanks for the hints folks ;) I've got a handle on exposing properly:D

I'll look in to Noise Ninja in the future if I think I need to doctor any of the photos.
 

jeffzoom91

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2005
201
1
Florida
I only have an Xti, which is way out classed by the 5D and/or the D200. But still "fear no iso". Mostly because the image don't look that bad. I mean, go grab a $400-$500 advanced p&s from 03' or 04'. Then you'll know why I don't mind the noise. ISO 200 on one of those thing is like 1600+ on my Xti.

As for the "expose it right noob!" discussion:

I can't, I really can't. The display on the camera is so F**Ked up, I can't tell exactly what the picture looks like until I get them home. :eek:
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
Thanks for the hints folks ;) I've got a handle on exposing properly:D

I'll look in to Noise Ninja in the future if I think I need to doctor any of the photos.
So an example of Noise Ninja usage on an XTi image. ISO 1600, shot in RAW mode.

These are 100% crops of a section of the image showing what Noise Ninja can do.
 

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leandroc76

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2003
152
0
amazingly, I don't see anything wrong with the first shot!

that's not bad noise,

The noise, us Nikon shooters see, especially 800 ISO and up, is the white streaky noise due to being unexposed.

It happens, I crop it out, and run NN.

However, the D200 is probably the best Nikon body under $2000 with such great noise performance, maybe even the D80 can compare.
 

OreoCookie

macrumors 68030
Apr 14, 2001
2,681
69
Sendai, Japan
I only have an Xti, which is way out classed by the 5D and/or the D200. But still "fear no iso". Mostly because the image don't look that bad. I mean, go grab a $400-$500 advanced p&s from 03' or 04'. Then you'll know why I don't mind the noise. ISO 200 on one of those thing is like 1600+ on my Xti.
You pretty much nail it. (The same goes for whitebalance, too.)
I'm sorting through old pictures from 2003/04 and I'm amazed what todays' cameras can do. Making it sounds as if a picture is `unusable because of noise' usually makes me chuckle ;)