High ISO and noise reduction

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Pboud, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Pboud

    Pboud Guest

    Hey guys

    I was recently shooting a night concert and had to crank the ISO up to
    (usually) unreasonable levels to get clear shots; this was a spur of the
    moment thing, so I was stuck well away (had to use 70/300 maxed out) and
    hand-held (absolutely *no* room for a tripod.. I'm *SO* buying a
    monopod). I was able to clean them up using noise reduction, but I'm
    curious as to the 'acceptable' level of noise reduction vs shot softening.


    Is there a rule of thumb on level of aggressiveness for NR or is it
    strictly subjective? I tried to stay below the 50% mark for NR so as not
    to loose edges.


    Pboud, Jan 4, 2008
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  2. Pboud

    G.T. Guest

    I don't mind noise unless it really detracts from the shadows. That
    being said at their size on photo.net your shots look great.

    G.T., Jan 5, 2008
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  3. Pboud

    just bob Guest

    I agree with the OP: the noise at that res is OK.

    Note that with a monopod you maybe be able to get your shutter speed lower
    however that will result in even more motion blur in your shots since your
    subjects are moving, which may or may not be what you want.

    As for NR it really depends. If your lens is super sharp you can apply
    massive amounts of NR and it still looks OK and maybe add a little unsharp
    mask, afterwards, too.

    You will need to do some tests and see what works for you.
    just bob, Jan 5, 2008
  4. Some noise (grain) can add character to a shot, and even at "larger size"
    I have no problems with the small amount of noise in your images. The
    detail is still there, and it could be lost with too much noise reduction.

    Was this an outdoor event? The performers look rather cold!

    David J Taylor, Jan 5, 2008
  5. Pboud

    pboud Guest

    New Years show, about -20C with the windchill.. You can see the flame
    heaters in the full band shots (to the left of the bass player). They
    were bundled up something fierce. :p

    pboud, Jan 5, 2008
  6. pboud wrote:

    David J Taylor, Jan 5, 2008
  7. Pboud

    flambe Guest

    When you start looking for noise, regardless of ISO, in APS sized dSLRs it
    is not difficult to find.
    What to do with it is another question, more aesthetic than anything else.
    More often than not what is objectionable on a computer monitor will be far
    less so in a print.
    I have experimented with the Adobe controls, Noise Ninja and more recently
    Noiseware. These methods are all effective for cleaning up high ISO high
    noise images but less so for the more common noise you see at lower ISOs.
    Particularly for lower ISO noise when you sharpen the image for printing
    often the noise reappears, telling you how the software "lowered" the noise
    to begin with.
    flambe, Jan 5, 2008
  8. Pboud

    pboud Guest

    I caught that one a few times ;)

    pboud, Jan 5, 2008
  9. Pboud

    Pboud Guest

    Thanks.. I was happy with them; so, apparently, was the band :D
    Pboud, Jan 7, 2008
  10. You seem overly concerned over noise. From a technical POV that's
    important, but from the 'emotional impact' (call it 'wow factor',
    if you like) it's usually not a big problem.

    However, between the JPEG compression and the reduced display
    size, blowing up the images to 2x or 3x (I know, unfair! :)
    shows rather smoothed areas where one would expect textures
    (e.g. http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6793849, the
    violin, which exhibits sharp contours. The jeans show some
    texture, the coat however is widely texture free ...)

    So I would say you maybe overdid NR there a bit --- or maybe the
    "compression for the Web" was too enthusiastic.
    1/50s is already on the very short side for moving people,
    and 1/25s (http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6793849)
    is really slow: the motion blur of the hand shouldn't be much
    more --- unless you really want motion blur.

    Shooting with a faster lens would help a lot. F/2 instead of
    f/4.5 would give you roughly 1/120s, f/1.4 even 1/250s, and also
    help the AF a lot. Yes, even fast fixed focal length lenses like
    stopping down for maximal sharpness, but with the motion blur
    you already have lost maximum sharpness. (It also means moving,
    usually closer, for you loose the 'convenience' of changing the
    focal length on the fly).
    Some noise can actually increase the apparent sharpness ---
    personally I prefer some noise than plasticy or watercoloured
    images. I also prefer slight under- to oversharpening, but
    that's a question of taste.
    Try not to loose details.
    50% in what context? (There are many NR programs and procedures,
    none of them easily comparable to each other!)

    Just "50% NR" is like saying "I shot 35". 35 what? 35 Pictures?
    35mm film? 35mm focal length? 35 subjects? 35 year old people?
    The number 35?

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jan 9, 2008
  11. Pboud

    Pboud Guest

    New Toys need to be played with, don't they? :D
    Likely the first bit.. First foray into high iso shooting so not used to
    NR software.
    Nope.. what I want is faster glass, I think.
    Closer would have been nice, but like I said..this was spur of the
    moment so I was well back and to the side. I'll be looking at faster
    glass this year, so this should be going nowhere but up :D.
    Again, I'll play around to see what effects I like.
    Sorry.. Nikon Capture NX. They've got a basic NR scale
    42, actually..
    Pboud, Jan 9, 2008
  12. Pboud

    Ray Wallace Guest

    That was the shot I liked best of the bunch...her left hand, fiddle, face
    all sharp with that motion blur of her right hand showing she was really
    cranking on that bow. Combine all that with the great pose and it makes
    for an excellent shot IMHO.

    Ray Wallace, Jan 14, 2008
  13. The in-focus microphone should have been photoshopped out, or blurred.
    What was the point of focus? It appears to have been at the site of the
    legs, as the jeans are somewhat in focus an the upper body not; also the
    distracting microphone may be on the same plane as the legs.

    Like the drama of the shot, but agree with those who note the
    painterly/plastic look of the hands and face.
    John McWilliams, Jan 14, 2008
  14. Pboud

    Pboud Guest

    Yup. all good points. I'll have to look at playing with the microphone a
    bit. Focus point was face, but she was weaving a bit and it was dark. :)
    Pboud, Jan 14, 2008
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