Color accuracy or noise?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Bart Borcherding, Apr 11, 2004.

  1. Hey all,

    Quick question. I'm trying to decide between two cameras. Camera A and
    camera B. I was reading an article on-line which stated that in their
    color accuracy tests comparing fine-quality JPEGS, camera A beat camera B
    and scored higher than any other 6mp dslr.

    At ISO 200, noise was low for camera A, but higher than camera B.

    My question is which one of these criteria (color accuracy or noise) should
    carry more weight when deciding which camera to purchase?
     
    Bart Borcherding, Apr 11, 2004
    #1
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  2. Bart Borcherding

    Drifter Guest

    I should think that would depend on you and what you plan to use the
    camera for. Either issue can be corrected for in a photoediting
    program but (for example) excessive noise would really annoy me as I
    do quite a bit of low light level photography.


    Drifter
    "I've been here, I've been there..."
     
    Drifter, Apr 12, 2004
    #2
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  3. I personally find it's much easier to shift color than to try to lessen or
    remove noise.
     
    John R. Duggins, Apr 12, 2004
    #3
  4. Bart Borcherding

    Chris Guest

    When you go above ISO 200 or so, many cameras, espicially Point & Shoot
    cameras, will develop significant noise. Some cameras it takes ISO 400 to
    reach "noise level".

    I don't really believe noise to be a big problem, as editing software can
    fix a good deal of noise issues. That said, and that most cameras
    experience an increase in noise at higher ISOs anyway, my advice is to pick
    the camera with the best image quality at default (ISO 100) settings.
    Anything else can usually be corrected. I have a nearly worthless Creative
    Webcam, pre-megapixel, and with the right editing tools, I've found I can
    produce images comparable to maybe even a 2 MP camera of today.

    It's not just a camera, or an editing tool, or even the right printer. It's
    a combination of all of these points, and how they interact with eachother.
    Good luck.
     
    Chris, Apr 12, 2004
    #4
  5. Bart Borcherding

    Mike Kohary Guest

    Hi Bart - go Hawks! :) I would consider overall image quality (which
    includes color accuracy) at ISO 100 before anything else. If you plan to do
    a lot of indoor/low-light shooting where you'd use ISO 200 or above, then
    you might want to give that more weight. But if you're like most people,
    and are just going to shoot in daylight and other typical daytime
    situations, I wouldn't think the noise at higher ISOs would be as important
    a factor as color accuracy. (FWIW, either issue can be corrected in
    software.)

    Now, tell us what cameras A and B are. :)

    Mike
     
    Mike Kohary, Apr 12, 2004
    #5
  6. Bart Borcherding

    Chris Guest

    You just waited for me to say it first, didn't you? ;-)
     
    Chris, Apr 12, 2004
    #6
  7. Bart Borcherding

    Mike Kohary Guest

    I have a bad habit of not reading whole threads before adding my response,
    so I tend to "ghost" other people's responses sometimes. Sorry - it's not
    intentional! ;)

    Mike
     
    Mike Kohary, Apr 12, 2004
    #7
  8. Thank you Chris. Very good points and you've helped me a lot. I think.
    hehe Decisions decisions.
     
    Bart Borcherding, Apr 12, 2004
    #8
  9. Hi Mike! Woohoo! Hawks are number 1!! hehe
    Well first off I have to tell ya. This camera that I get will be my
    toy. The video camera will be my wife's toy. <grin> The video camera
    will mostly be used in the theater in low light situations, but although
    I definitely will take my camera into the theater to take some snapshots
    of my son from time to time, that will not be how it is used most of the
    time. I think most of the time I will be outdoors with it. I am a
    total beginner atm, but someday I'd like to be able to do things like
    this:
    http://www.kohary.com/photography/images/washington/dewey_mushroom_
    740.jpg

    I like that photo. I'll be happy if I can do similarly well.

    John said in an earlier response to my post that he would rather correct
    for color than noise. How hard is is to correct for noise? I'm just
    now learning a little about Photoshop and have seen a little of how
    color is corrected, but have not gotten to the noise part yet. Is it
    really hard? Or does it not work all the way all the time?

    Well... I purposely did not name names because I did not want to start a
    this camera is better than that camera war. <grin>

    But, if you really want to know. Camera A was the Nikon D70 and camera
    B was the Canon Digital Rebel EOS 300D. The Nikon, "they" said had
    better color accuracy, but the Canon had less noise at ISO 200. I am
    leaning towards the Nikon, but I really have not decided yet. I need to
    read more about the Canon.

    Thanks for the response Mike and nice to see you in another NG. You
    have good tastes. hehe
     
    Bart Borcherding, Apr 12, 2004
    #9
  10. Bart Borcherding

    Mike Kohary Guest

    Thanks. It was actually a very easy shot...to tell you the truth,
    circumstance goes into making a good shot as much as skill, technique or
    equipment. I could have taken that shot anytime, but because I chose to do
    it in the early morning on a lightly overcast day with dew aplenty on the
    ground - that's what makes the shot. You can't set that up; you just have
    to be there at the right place at the right time. In this case, the
    mushroom was in my own yard, I knew it was there, and I just thought about
    what the best time to take a shot of it would be. To me, the circumstance
    was the key to what was technically a simple shot with no special settings
    (I literally just got down on the ground, zoomed in, composed and shot - I
    even let the camera choose the exposure setting).
    What you said - it doesn't work all the way all the time, for noise or
    color. Ideally, I'd rather not correct either color or noise. Try to get
    the best shot out of the camera that you can. No matter what, you'll always
    tweak it, but the less you have to correct, the better off you are.

    Noise can be difficult to correct for, because it can make your image soft.
    Color is easier to correct for in general, but not always. If you didn't
    get enough information in the original shot, some shots can be nearly
    impossible to color correct.

    Having said that, I figure that noise need not be a factor if you shoot at
    ISO 100, and then you can focus on overall image quality. All cameras will
    get noisier as you raise the ISO, but that isn't always bad and sometimes
    adds a lot of character. Plus, you can avoid going to ISO 200 or higher in
    many situations, by using the flash, etc.
    I kind of thought you might be comparing those two. ;) Who isn't these
    days? Honestly, you can't go wrong with either one - they're both superb
    cameras. You can get into nitpicking features of one against the other, but
    that might just drive you insane more than it drives you to a decision. Do
    you already own lenses for either line? If so, buy that brand so you don't
    reinvest in new lenses. If not, read reviews and anecdotes, but try not to
    get paralysis by analysis. ;) As a Digital Rebel owner myself, I can tell
    you it's a joy to work with, and the color accuracy is perfectly awesome (as
    I'm sure the Nikon is as well). It is also virtually noise-free up to ISO
    400, and only slightly noisy at ISO 800 - not nearly enough to be a bother.
    At ISO 1600 the noise actually becomes a factor, but no matter - I just
    don't shoot at ISO 1600.

    Also, the not so well-kept secret of the camera manufacturing industry is
    that the camera body matters a lot less than the lens does. You could go
    with either the Nikon or the Canon, but it's the lenses that will make all
    the difference in the world. The stock lens that comes with the Digital
    Rebel is just fine (I can't speak to the Nikon, but I'm sure it's fine too),
    but if you decide to invest in a sweet lens at some point, either camera
    will kick ass and take names.

    I just ordered a new lens today, the Canon EF 70-200mm f4 "L" USM. The "L"
    designation is for Canon's high-end line of glass, and my understanding from
    all the research that I did on it (a month's worth - at $600 it's 2/3rds as
    much as my camera) is that it's a superior performer compared to my kit
    lens. I'll post some sample shots after I play with it for a couple of
    weeks, and I plan to do identical comparison shots with my kit lens and the
    new lens, to try and show just how much the lens can make a difference. The
    point is that the camera body is just a storage vessel - the lens is what
    actually takes the picture. I think you're making a good choice in going
    with an SLR at all, which ensures that your camera can grow along with you
    as your skills improve. For all you know, you could outgrow a standard
    point-and-shoot in no time at all. (Just don't try to learn every function
    of the camera when you first get it - it will overwhelm you as a beginner.
    Set it to auto and learn how to work with the lens first, then take it one
    at a time...how to change the ISO, how to use exposure bracketing, etc. If
    you get the Rebel and have questions, you can always e-mail me, or just post
    here where the folks are very helpful.)
    I look for the low volume/high content newsgroups, and seem to have good
    luck finding them. Just avoid the digital photography newsgroup, which is
    cluttered with far too many pointless digital/film advocacy flame wars. ;)

    Mike
     
    Mike Kohary, Apr 14, 2004
    #10
  11. Cool. Do you find yourself letting the camera set the exposure mostly
    or do you fuss with the settings most of the time yourself? I'm
    assuming that most folks let the camera pick exposure settings most of
    the time and then just over ride the camera on the more difficult shots?
    Is that correct?


    Gotcha. This makes a lot of sense. And the type of shots I see myself
    taking will allow me the time to get setup properly to hopefully get the
    correct settings for the shot.


    You are more right than you know. hehe. I am going crazy right now. I
    have no idea what to do. I'm getting really excited to get something.
    I've been reading everything I can get my hands on, on both cameras, and
    you are correct. I am finding myself over analysing this decision.
    Just like I did with my wife's minidv.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought I read somewhere (I think
    I'm now starting to see things) that the D70 starts at ISO 200. Is that
    the slowest you can shoot on that camera? If so, would that be a
    problem?


    I agree with you hear, but I can tell you that this is going to be a
    problem for me as well. I am the type that will just dig into the
    manual and try to learn everything there is to learn right now. Of
    course I won't be able to do it and of course I will get frustrated at
    first, but then I will settle down and take things a little slower.
    That is the way I am with everything. <grin>

    Thanks for the offer of e-mailing you. I just may take you up on that,
    even if I don't get the Rebel. Of course if I don't get the Rebel I
    won't expect you to know much about the other brand. That's ok. I'll
    probably just be asking more general photography questions anyway. That
    or I might be complaining to you about Robin or something. <grin>


    And a huge amount of OT smut.

    I really like this NG. I look forward to reading all the messages when
    I get home from work every day. By reading everyone here I am really
    getting stoked to get my own camera. Soon!

    Thanks again Mike.


    baRT...
     
    Bart Borcherding, Apr 15, 2004
    #11
  12. Bart Borcherding

    O R Guest

    Lack of noise (at least less of it) is more important than color
    accuracy in most cases. Unless you are photographing human skin, no one
    will be able to tell whether color is accurate or not. Even human skin
    can look better if color inaccuracy is an improvement over a pale
    natural color. The exception is medical photography, when you want
    jaundice to look like jaundice.

    I love it when a photo of my back yard shows my yellow-brown grass to be
    green.

    With the exception of those few times that you want noise as a dramatic
    affect, it is just an indication of inferior equipment. Color
    manipulation is easier and more successful than noise manipulation.
     
    O R, Apr 18, 2004
    #12
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