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ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (contd.)

In-camera High ISO noise reduction

From the graph below you can see the three noise reduction settings of the HX1 at work at the higher ISO settings. The small sensor of the HX1 produces a great deal of image noise at higher ISO settings, and to some extent the highest noise reduction setting reduces the visible noise at ISO 800 and above. What is not seen here is the amount of detail destroyed by noise reduction at these ISO settings.

In-camera High ISO noise reduction settings (ISO 800 - 3200)

These crops give you a better idea of how much of the detail is destroyed by noise reduction as it works hard to keep noise down at high ISOs in the HX1. The highest NR setting does reduce the visible amount of noise somewhat compared to the NR standard setting, but it is also causing ugly smear patterns. The lowest NR setting shows that there is a little more detail recorded by the sensor at high ISO settings, but at the expense of higher visible noise. Whether lower noise or higher amount of fine detail is better depends on your personal preference and your intended use for a particular image. Though we would like to see the inclusion of RAW image recording so that you can make the decision on noise reduction vs fine detail in post-processing, this is still the exception and not the rule in superzoom cameras.

NR -
ISO 800

NR Standard
ISO 800
NR +
ISO 800

NR -
ISO 1600

NR Standard
ISO 1600
NR +
ISO 1600

NR -
ISO 3200

NR Standard
ISO 3200
NR +
ISO 3200
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