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09-05-2007, 11:58 AM   #1
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Noise Reduction and Raw Processing

I've read to shut off in-camera noise reduction when shooting at high iso's. Has anyone shut it off for all kinds of shooting (100 iso) when knowing you will process the photo in raw mode? I see the options and default settings for sharpening and noise reduction in lightroom- would it be better to avoid doubling these efforts and just have lightroom do all the noise reduction and sharpening?

09-05-2007, 12:11 PM   #2
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You don't mention which camera you're using, but if it's a K10D, the noise reduction option is just a "dark frame substraction" for long exposures (the camera takes a second image with the mirror down and uses that to remove hot pixels and other undesirables from the actual image).

The type of noise reduction you're thinking can't be adjusted or turned off on the K10D. That being said, I'm not sure if that noise reduction is at all applied to raw files, or just to jpegs (I've shot almost exclusively jpegs up until now).
09-05-2007, 12:41 PM   #3
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I think it depends on how poorly you make the original exposure.

I shoot RAW without noise reduction at the lowest ISO that allows a proper exposure with the hold technique available--funny how well that gets drilled into a person after thirty years. I think Lightroom is fine for routine photographs, Photoshop is best for 'work for hire' and various other softwares have particular strengths that make them valuable from time to time in either venue.

I shoot fast with a great deal of spontaneity and any in camera processing impedes the effort; besides the computer is both faster and residence to much more powerful graphical routines. I chimp only the first few frames of a new situation, but I have twenty-five years of film shooting and processing experience---I usually know what I captured and when I'm done.

I don't know your source, I would probably suspect it's validity and I seldom need to refer back to anything I've read either during the shoot or the processing. One thing I don't do is create more work for myself by doubling any effort.

Of all the extras on the modern digital camera, I most frequently use ONLY the white balance (and I suspect that's unnecessary some of the time). WB is one of the two primary ingredients delivered to the RAW converter for it to make an RGB file--the other being the RAW data itself.

In short I don't let the camera make decisions or process beyond what is necessary to get it to my computer. Once it's on the computer I make as few changes/corrections as possible. I'm very old-school!


QuoteOriginally posted by Kemal Quote
I've read to shut off in-camera noise reduction when shooting at high iso's. Has anyone shut it off for all kinds of shooting (100 iso) when knowing you will process the photo in raw mode? I see the options and default settings for sharpening and noise reduction in lightroom- would it be better to avoid doubling these efforts and just have lightroom do all the noise reduction and sharpening?

Last edited by jfdavis58; 09-05-2007 at 09:00 PM.
09-05-2007, 01:10 PM   #4
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I forgot to add, yes, I'm using the K10D.

09-05-2007, 01:57 PM   #5
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i think his question is valid.
it is just a question of whether or not to use that function of the camera.
jf, i think you have a good point in there: dont use any function that you can do in the computer for the reason that the computer can always do it better....
i also agree that using all of the bells and whistles does impede your effort. knowing what you are going for and then shooting it is still accomplished without tweaking every single setting in the shooting machine...
however, there is also just as much reason to use them. every added feature is a potential tool to use.
sometimes when im on a shoot and i have a break, i hang out and convert some raw files in the K10D to jpeg and sometimes apply filters to the jpegs...i get some ok stuff and hey, i dont have to turn it in anyway.
i havent noticed any difference in what the noise reduction in the camera does...so its turned off....

so i agree.
make sure you rely and depend on the basics

and i disagree
make sure you get to have fun and tinker with what you've got.

the K10D kicks and deserved to get used.
09-05-2007, 08:27 PM   #6
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Kemal,

Good question. I own a K100 and K10 and have left noise reduction on. I searched both manuals again to find out more about this setting. The only place it is refered to for usage is when the camera is in Bulb mode and a long exposure is expected. Whether or not it has anything to do with jpg or raw I do not know but I'm almost positive that it has nothing to do with a per say "noise reduction" post proccessing algorithm that some P&S and other DSLRs use during in-camera raw to jpg conversion. The only reference I can find to it elsewhere is in a list of features and it states "Noise reduction function activates for long exposures". Since you would only use bulb mode for exposures longer than 30 sec all evidence causes one to conclude that the custom menu supplied noise reduction toggle is meaningless when shooting any shutter speeds slower than that. The default setting is "ON" I don't think the engineers at Pentax would enable a default function of the camera if it resulted in degraded image quality. I have tried 30 sec long night time exposures with it On and with it Off. I shoot in RAW and I haven't seen any difference.
As far as high ISO noise. I know there is no NR on those!! It's pretty &^@$% obvious! I have Neat Image and have worked myself to a frazzle playing with high ISO images. I quit a long time ago. If I can't shoot 800 or lower on the K10 or 1600 or lower on the K100 I use a flash. The resuts are so much better.

Chuck
09-06-2007, 02:10 AM   #7
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you should be able to see the difference of it being on and off. here's a simple chart taken from Digital Camera Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons of Popular Cameras – DigitalCameraInfo.com.



QuoteQuote:
The Pentax K100D makes relatively noisy images at manual ISO settings--noise rises steadily from ISO 200 to 3200. The 3200 setting looks worse than grainy – it looks lumpy. Cheers to Pentax for giving users the option, but this 3200 should have been called an "extended range," or "High Mode." Oddly, the K100D's noise scores got higher when noise reduction was turned on for short exposures. The feature is meant for long exposures – 1 second or longer.
so, generally it's bad to have on unless you're shooting >1 sec and then it's going to be beat by your computer when you pp so why even bother.
09-06-2007, 05:16 AM   #8
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Noise reduction

The noise reduction done in the camera for long exposures removes noise caused by heating of the sensor chip. It subtracts aberrant, hot pixels and is not intended, nor can it, remove all the 'graininess' noise caused by pushing the chip to higher ISOs.
During standard, daytime shooting, the noise reduction has no effect on being able to go from one shot to next as you can tell from shooting in rapid fire mode. However, for long exposures like night scenes and astrophotography, it does kick in. I'm not sure exactly what the shutter speed is where the transition occurs though.
Because the in-camera noise reduction is intended to remove anomalous pixels, it does engage when taking long exposure RAW images too.
I'm no expert in this area, but from my reading on astrophotography, and a little tinkering on my own, it appears to me that shooting long exposure light frames without noise reduction (to speed up how quickly you can take successive shots), then shooting dark frames and averaging them for subtraction later is more effective than just photoshopping the light frames alone.
Steve

09-06-2007, 05:41 AM   #9
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well, testing shows differently.

QuoteQuote:
Oddly, the K100D's noise scores got higher when noise reduction was turned on for short exposures. The feature is meant for long exposures – 1 second or longer.
it's also pretty easy to see in your own photos. with it off, shooting at iso800-1250 yeilds less visable noise. at iso 400 and lower, it's not so obvious but still there.
09-06-2007, 07:34 AM   #10
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If you are a real photographer, any vintage (but certainly this applies more to recent inductees more than those with a lifetime of varied experiences) then graphs and numbers are mostly nonsense. Opinion heaped upon opinion. Real photographers are not usually engineers or scientists--they should be artists!

My engineer side gets a real kick out of this graph: what units are %noise? what device measure such a variable? As artists the real measure of success is the 'ohs' and 'ahs' of those who view the art. That and the chinka-chinka of coins flowing into the artist's pocket.

Shifting gears then, is Kemal even reading/listening? If so, I bet he is more confused than when he posed the question.
09-06-2007, 08:10 AM   #11
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If you read the review you'd know they used Imatest for noise. Any "real" photographer would want to know how good their gear is and how to work with it's cons.

Imatest - image quality evaluation software
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