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09-28-2011, 02:19 PM   #1
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Noise optimisation

What is the best way to keep noise under control? I've read a lot over the internet about how importing in different programs changes the noise profile and all that, so I'm wondering, what are the pros and cons of different importers, colour spaces, whatever?

Also, has anyone managed to get an ISO 51200 image that looks nice? I'm wondering whether the massive amount of noise can be used to a beneficial effect somehow... Everyone always used to love film grain, there must be some way to utilise the 51200 noise

09-28-2011, 02:37 PM   #2
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Hi,

Noise reduction software has come a long way and can deliver stunning results.

I've been trying to get my K-7 noise under control since I had it.
Unfortunatly it needs it for any ISO starting at 1600 for low contrast pictures.

Experimenting with many, many utilities, my choice is:
- Lightroom 3 noise reduction for 80% of the pictures needing cleaning up.
- Topaz DeNoise 5 for the big problems.

Both manage to limit the amount of smear and retain a good level of detail.
I do not use my K-5 at ISO 51200, but I do have made some pretty nice birding photos at near dark at ISO 40000 with it. Nice enough to me.
Topaz I never use anymore, the K-5 noise is such (small, not so grainy) that I leave it with the Lightroom noise reduction. LR 3 is good enough.

I do shoot RAW only, so do not care about the in camera noise reduction functions.

Hope this helps.

Bert
09-28-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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Yeah that's reassuring, I've been using LR3 NR on any photos that need it for a while now, and have had some good results.

I think that the noise at ISO 51200 (or thereabouts, 12800-51200), can be quite nice if you get a REALLY good exposure, seeing as the dynamic range is so limited at those settings. Especially towards the lower end, it can certainly lend the pictures a grainy texture that, I think, adds to the shot.
09-28-2011, 10:44 PM   #4
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I don't really understand what the big deal is with noise.
You can kill it (and mush out whatever detail that was there) or live with it.
Don't combine high ISO with underexposure ever.
Don't expect that there will never be noise, it's bound to happen. It's part of the process.

Having said this, I've found the best way to deal with noise is to make prints.

09-29-2011, 08:44 AM   #5
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It's not trying to get around it. I shoot with NR off and rarely use it in Lightroom, but I wanted to experiment with super-high ISO shooting and see if I can pull something fancy out of it. Film shooters love the grains of the film they use, I'm curious as to whether changing numerous variables can result in a desirable kind of noise in a digital shot at ultra high ISOs.

And yeah, I've noticed that a well exposed 51200 shot looks fine. I'll just stay away from 51200 methinks, 12800 is fast enough.

And colour noise is the devil.
09-29-2011, 09:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I don't really understand what the big deal is with noise.
You can kill it (and mush out whatever detail that was there) or live with it.
Don't combine high ISO with underexposure ever.
Don't expect that there will never be noise, it's bound to happen. It's part of the process.

Having said this, I've found the best way to deal with noise is to make prints.
I can agree with that....and printing often eliminates a lot of the noise we see on screen. Some shots need to be clean, some just don't. I think we have become obsessed with a lot of things that are often less important than we have come to believe...and a little noise is one of them.

This one at ISO 12,800 already had some noise....but was not bad for my eyes.
[IMG] [/IMG]

Taking it to DxO FIlm Pack 3 for conversion added some noise, but didn't ruin the shot....at least not for me?
[IMG] [/IMG]

I think it all depends on the particular shot and the particular viewer...and just how particular they are. I'm pretty easy.....If I like a shot for its subject and/or composition and other factors, noise or spot on focus are secondary.
Regards!
09-29-2011, 09:51 AM   #7
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This one was done using ISO 40000 and LR 3.4 NR:



Handheld @ 250mm, through a window, almost dark.
09-29-2011, 10:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bymy141 Quote
This one was done using ISO 40000 and LR 3.4 NR:



Handheld @ 250mm, through a window, almost dark.
ISO 40,000, geez louise. *looks at K-7's ISO 1600 disparagingly*

09-29-2011, 10:34 AM   #9
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Sorry, I just checked the Exif:

ISO: 40000
Shutter speed: 1/125
Ev: +1.3
Focal length: 400mm
Aperture: f 6.7

Handheld.... I guess if I used a higher shutter speed @400mm, it might have been a lot sharper picture.

- Bert
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