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Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:33 AM   #1
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Noisy Pictures

My pictures still have a lot of noise in them with my D40. I'm only shooting at ISO 400, so I don't see why I would still have a lot of grainy-ness. Is it because I don't use the flash and try to adjust the manual settings? Does the aperture size and shutter speed also have anything to do with noise? How about size picture size and quality (I have mine set to Large size and Fine quality)? Maybe because I have my color saturation at "+" like Ken Rockwell recommends?

Here are some examples:








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Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:49 AM   #2
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Post some pictures as examples, and maybe some 100% crops.



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Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:51 AM   #3
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Of the "technical things", it's the ISO and Shutter Speed that will add up the noise.

The ISO is the big one, the higher the ISO speed, the more "sensitive" the sensor is, and thus it is also more sensitive to noise.

You will also notice that you get more noise at longer shutter speeds.

Want an easy way to fix it? You've got two choices.

1. Reduce noise in post processing, PS has a built in noise reduction algorithm which is ok. There are aftermarket plugins like Noise Ninja that are great, and other software packages like DxO will nuke it too.

2. You can adjust your compositions to reduce noise. Most of the time you will see noise in your photos is when its in an area without much contrast or detail. Lets say you take a picture of a wall in your house in low light, you'll see noise all over it probably. However, if you were to take a photo of something with more contrast in the scene, say a stack of books on your desk, you won't notice it as much. Also, shadows will bring out more noise than highlights will.

Oh and I forgot #3. Use a flash. The onboard flash stinks, but the SB-400 is cheap and produces great results. When used properly, nobody will even know you used a flash when looking at the final shots
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:55 AM   #4
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Your noisiest picture you posted was at ISO800... lol.

VTEC nailed it on the head.



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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:02 AM   #5
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Examples added, thanks for the advice.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:07 AM   #6
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Okay, I'll get the SB-400... but f*ck... it's like I have downgraded stuff of everything my lady has (She's packing a D50 and I bought her an SB-600). I was always told that I should never use a flash when doing car pictures, because no camera shoe (is that the right word?) flash can fill in enough for something the size of a car properly. But... your guys' pictures tell me different. Just need to wait until I pay off the $3K I spent on Jenny a bit before getting the flash though.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:11 AM   #7
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Well it's not that they won't fill properly, you just have to position your strobes correctly and they'll give you dramatic lighting effects.



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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:15 AM   #8
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Position my strobes? As in plural SB-400s/600s?! Oh my God... I'm out of the March photo contest. *Waves white flag.*
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:23 AM   #9
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Well you don't need plural but you can if you want.

Don't even trip man, I have a flash, and it's from the 80s. SB-24 still kicking... it's slow as ****.



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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:36 AM   #10
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Outdoors with a flash is usually pretty crappy, but if you slow sync, which gives a chance for items not hit by the flash to properly expose, it can still come out alright. Indoors, it's flash FTW. An SB400 will bounce off the ceiling quite nicely and do the trick. The only things you miss over the SB600 is the ability to remotely control other flashes not connected to the camera, the ability to swivel sideways, and a little bit of power. No biggie there. Learn how to use the D40/SB400 like a pro and you'll have better shots than her D50/SB600
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTEC-v6! View Post


Outdoors with a flash is usually pretty crappy
Oh you'd be surprised...



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Old March 3rd, 2008, 03:01 AM   #12
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Oh you'd be surprised...
Depends how its composed and how much juice the flash has
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 07:39 AM   #13
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The two problems with these photos are the underexposure, which can make the noise show a lot more. I notice that you had your exposure compensation locked at -1.33. -0.67 or 0.0 probably would have been better. You would have been forced to a higher ISO, but with a better exposure it probably would have looked better. You're also using a slow lens. If you were using your gf's Sigma 30mm f/1.4 which is a ton faster, you could have shot at a much lower ISO as well. Or better yet, try an 18-55VR lens. You probably could have shot those with a VR lens at 1/5s rather than 1/15s which would have helped also. Or just keep a tripod handy in your trunk.

Oh wait, I just read the big thread. Was this with an 18-55VR? Try a slower shutter speed with the VR turned on. And yeah, the + saturation setting probably isn't helping as far as noise goes. A lot of this would go away and your photography would improve if you start doing post-processing, or get a really freakin HOT lens to put on your 40.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 07:49 AM   #14
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I just dumped the 2nd photo into DxO and after adding +2 to the exposure compensation and seeing the preview with auto noise reduction it already looked a ton better. It wouldn't process for some reason though. Either the file was too small or I didn't have the right module. Generic error 159 I think, whatever the hell that is.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 08:34 AM   #15
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Anytime I take pictures of a car in low light...I don't even try to do it without a tripod. That's the key for me...I can sit it on the tripod...shoot @ ISO100 and leave the shutter open longer.

I also went through the whole "my pictures have way too much noise!!" thing...but a lot of the "pros" here assured me that it's not that big of a deal because:

1. composition will make or break a picture...not the noise. if you have a perfectly composed picture...the noise won't matter.

2. you're never looking at the picture at 100%


I would suggest getting DxO...it's a great program. That's what I use now to process my photos. Then I toss them into PS for final touch ups and any kinda artistic changes I want to make.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 10:48 AM   #16
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Speaking of DxO, I tend to leave my D80 (and D40) in "Normal" mode as far as settings. The resulting output is kinda drabish, but it makes adjusting later in DxO a whole ton easier and cleaner looking. In color mode III / Saturation + it'll tend to completely overcook the colors for people photos, and desaturated photos never quite look right. The opposite doesn't seem to be true, though. Drabby looking photos with neutral colors can be punched up a bit (or a lot) and still look pretty natural.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 10:52 AM   #17
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^Agreed, but with an exception

I've started shooting in JPG+NEF though which kind of nullifies that.

The JPEGS are still processed in camera for quick grabs off the memory card, but if I want to really process or tweak an image, the RAW file won't be processed in-camera, and DxO will take care of all the color, sharpening and contrast on the software side.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 11:18 AM   #18
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TRAITOR! lol
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 11:28 AM   #19
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damn kuya, by the end of the year...you'll be a pro at photography.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 11:31 AM   #20
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TRAITOR! lol


Don't worry, I'm only using it to fix my mistakes
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 11:33 AM   #21
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I don't know how to work it, but is exposure compensation when you mess with the "F" rating thing? For some reason, sometimes it lets me go to a lower number sometimes, and sometimes it makes me stay higher. I notice that when I press the +/- button next to the "take picture" button, and turn the wheel left, it makes things brighter... but somtimes it lets me only go down to 4.5... but sometimes I can go lower.

And no, it's not with the VR lens. I haven't bought one yet.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 12:17 PM   #22
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What you're seeing there is the f/stop adjustment. The 18-55 is rated at 3.5-5.6 which means that at 18mm you can stop it all the way down to 3.5, but at 55mm, you can only go down to 5.6. Anything in between falls somewhere inside those two.

However, that is NOT what we refer to when we talk about exposure comp. The only time that button controls the f/stop is when you're shooting in M mode. If you are in P,S or A, it controls the exposure comp. Try putting it in A mode, where you can adjust your f/stop (aperture, hence the A). Then hold down that button and adjust the wheel, you will notice that you can go either positive or negative, that's your exposure compensation. A +1 is a full stop brighter than normal and vice versa.

The use there is lets say you take a picture and it comes out dark for whatever reason because the meter locked on to a bright spot, you can increase your exposure comp to "compensate" and fix it
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:11 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuya Master View Post
I don't know how to work it, but is exposure compensation when you mess with the "F" rating thing? For some reason, sometimes it lets me go to a lower number sometimes, and sometimes it makes me stay higher. I notice that when I press the +/- button next to the "take picture" button, and turn the wheel left, it makes things brighter... but somtimes it lets me only go down to 4.5... but sometimes I can go lower.

And no, it's not with the VR lens. I haven't bought one yet.
dood! You need to get this book. It's like 15 bucks, or you could probably eBay one for even less. After that things will make a lot more sense.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:13 PM   #24
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Don't worry, I'm only using it to fix my mistakes
ok ok I shot RAW this weekend too. My cousin was going to a friend's bar mitzvah and was in her very first more formal dress, and I was supposed to have like 30 minutes to do a nice family shoot. Her parents were going too, all dressed up. But knowing women... they were running 30 minutes late so I only had like 5-10 minutes to shoot before they had to go. Instead of snapping a hundred or so pics and hoping to get a dozen or so really nice ones, instead I got a whole 24, of which I'll be able to get maybe just a couple of really nice ones. So I show RAW, and from the looks of things I'll need it. No time to shoot. No time to dial in the camera, just shoot and run.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:19 PM   #25
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Okay, going to the bookstore to see if they have it in stock. Also... if ISO makes for ugly noise, why do people say that the D40 is better than the "X" and "60" in regards to it having a higher base ISO (200 for the 40 vs 100 for the X and 60)?
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 02:22 PM   #26
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Because the 6MP sensor inherently has lower noise than the 10MP sensor due to the photosites on the sensor being bigger. Kind of voodoo stuff
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Old March 10th, 2008, 06:11 PM   #27
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how would you set the strobes on the flash correctly. For example in this picture

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