News and Views from Dave Wilson

Archive for June 11th, 2010

High ISO and Noise Reduction

by on Jun.11, 2010, under Photography

As you’re probably aware, I’m currently enjoying my honeymoon period with the new Nikon D700. One of the most promising features of the new camera is its ability to shoot at amazingly high ISO settings. The basic sensitivity settings go to 6400 ISO with a couple of “Hi” options taking you all the way up to 25600 ISO.

Shooting at up to 6400 looks fabulous. This image was taken at 3200 and has had no processing other than a crop (Click here for the original sized image). If I ran some minimal noise reduction on it, it would definitely be as good as any 800 ISO image from the D90.

Electric Parade Cast Member

How does the camera cope at the stupidly high settings, though?

To try this out, I set the sensitvity at Hi02 (25600 ISO) and shot some tests inside some of the darker Disney rides. The following image illustrates the results both straight out of the camera (top left) and after a run through Imagenomics excellent Noiseware Pro (bottom right). You can’t really see the effect in the small image here but take a look at the original to see just how well the noise reduction worked. The result is a bit posterised but still definitely usable for small prints or emergency use.

Example - High ISO with Noise Reduction

I don’t know about you, but I’m stunned at how well both the camera and the software do on these images. The camera gives me at least 2 stops more usable sensitivity than the D90 and Noiseware probably adds another 2 stops to this allowing me to shoot comfortably at 6400 ISO and not have to worry about significant noise. In an emergency, I can take it all the way up to 25600 ISO and still be confident of ending up with something usable in low resolution applications. Wow!

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