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ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (contd.)

In-camera High ISO noise reduction

A new feature that has trickled down from the EOS 40D is optional 'High ISO speed noise reduction' which can be enabled via C.Fn II-4. As you can see from the graph below this appears to apply stronger chroma noise reduction while maintaining luminance detail (it made almost no difference to luminance noise). This leads to images which have less noticeable color blotch-type noise and more film like grain, the only downside to using this option is reduced buffer space in continuous drive.

Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity on the vertical axis (note that the standard deviation scale here is magnified 2x compared to the graphs on the previous page).

In-camera High ISO noise reduction Off / On (ISO 200 - 1600)

Canon EOS 450D
ISO 200
ISO NR Off
Canon EOS 450D
ISO 400
ISO NR Off
Canon EOS 450D
ISO 800
ISO NR Off
Canon EOS 450D
ISO 1600
ISO NR off

Canon EOS 450D
ISO 200
ISO NR On
Canon EOS 450D
ISO 400
ISO NR On
Canon EOS 450D
ISO 800
ISO NR On
Canon EOS 450D
ISO 1600
ISO NR On

RAW noise reduction

Both Digital Photo Professional and Adobe Camera RAW have selectable noise reduction options providing control over chrominance and luminance noise reduction independently. The new version of Digital Photo Professional provides a 0-10 scale whilst Adobe Camera RAW provides a 0-100 scale for each. It's clear that even when the EOS 450D has its 'High ISO speed noise reduction' option disabled (as it is by default) there is still some noise reduction being applied by the camera.

The crops below show the effect of using various noise reduction options in Digital Photo Professional as well as Adobe Camera Raw's default output for reference. Obviously both programs offer a far finer degree of control over noise reduction than we're showing here.

  • Canon DPP Off / Off: Luminance and Chrominance NR 0 (zero)
  • Canon DPP Off / High: Luminance NR 0 (zero), Chrominance NR 10 (maximum)
  • Canon DPP High / High: Luminance and Chrominance NR 10 (maximum)
  • Adobe ACR default: Luminance NR 0 (zero), Chrominance NR 25

Raw Noise Reduction comparison ISO 800

Canon DPP
Off / Off (default)
Canon DPP
Off / High
Canon DPP
High / High
Adobe ACR
(default)

Raw Noise Reduction comparison ISO 1600

Canon DPP
Off / Off (default)
Canon DPP
Off / High
Canon DPP
High / High
Adobe ACR
(default)
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