Photographs and Noise.

First of all a very simple explanation on what noise is. If you think of “grain” when using film, I guess the quickest way of explaining “noise” is its equivalent using a digital camera. In both cases, the problem tends to occur the faster the ISO of the film (or ISO setting on a digital camera) is.

However most of the smaller digital cameras are fixed or, if not, tend not to go further than ISO 400 where “noise” is very small. However with the DSLRs (digital single lens reflex) cameras such as Nikon, Kodak, Minolta or Canon “noise” does occur, especially if set to ISO 1600 or ISO 3200.

There are several software programs on the market that will deal with it but, in my opinion, and thousands of others, “Noise Ninja” is one of the best programs around. With the dollar rate at the level it is, we are talking about £25 for an instant download if you go for the double option of the stand-alone program and the Photoshop add-in filter.

Each camera has a setting that you can download so the software will perform best with your photographs.

I took a photo of a bedside radio using ISO 3200 and flash and got a picture absolutely contaminated with noise…

Photo with noise taken at ISO 3200 – Photo by Andrew Taylor

I emailed it to my friend in Nottingham on his suggestion and he fired it up in Photoshop and using his Canon 10Ds settings (my camera is a Minolta D7 DSLR) he ran it through the filter and here is what was returned.

Noise removed by Noise Ninja – Photo by Andrew Taylor

What a difference! Far more noticable on a full size picture but here if you use a strong magnifying glass. You can also double-click on the photographs to see a slight enlargement that shows, nore clearly, the “noise” or lack of “noise” depending on which picture you enlarge.

Once I get the plug-in for Photoshop I can feel more relaxed at taking photographs on ISO 3200 in the great dark British winter!


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