Reflections on noise

Started Oct 1, 2005 | Discussions thread
rennie12 Senior Member • Posts: 2,844
bernardL - Thanks for posting those are really really

nice shots and of course make your point about noise...

I have reconsidered an earlier post in this forum when I suggested it was a waste of time to try and convince Harlan and people like him that noise was not really an issue with the FZ30.

The point is to demonstrate to visitors who are CONSIDERING purchase that the FZ30 is really a great camera (it is) and that they should try it themselves rather than taking the word of people who have "tried it in the store" or "looked at noise on the internet".

I do NOT understand why some people are so anxious to convince visitors the FZ30 is a bad noisy camera. If you are interested buy one from a site which allows returns and try it yourself. Make prints. That's the only way to really really judge for yourself. It will be helpful (with ISO 400) if you understand why incamera processing is undesirable and understand how to actually apply Neat Image, Noise Ninja and postprocessing sharpening.

(Very briefly incamera processing is undesirable because it cannot be reversed later whereas you can change and/or experiment with postprocessing without altering the original).

Also just in case we have a beginner read these posts - NEVER process or work with or save a jpg. If you save a jpg over itself - processed or not - you are multiplying a lossy save and will get artifacts. Save a jpg to a PSD, TIF or other nonlossy format before working with same.

When you test a new camera - and all new cameras should be tested - I suggest a repeatable outside subject (I use a retired train in a park) - preferably one you can use for all cameras so you are familiar with the subject. Use a tripod (and remote if you can). Shoot one correctly exposed (this is absolutely vital with digital) - one correctly exposed image at each zoom setting, ISO, image size (inc RAW), shutter speed, and fstop you expect to ever use. I suggest setting NR and contrast low. (I suspect saturation should be low but have not tested the effect of applying postprocessing saturation changes - I am still using normal for saturation).

This is quite time-consuming particularly with a camera such as the FZ30 which has a very wide zoom range (with dlsrs it is even worse because you test all zooms etc with all lenses). We are talking about hours, not minutes.

You now have a record of what YOUR camera is capable of. You can print these, and postprocess them to get an idea of exactly what the camera is capable of. This is even more time-consuming if you like large prints (as I do).

This is really the only way to be able to tell what a camera can do.

Please note if you are interested enough to try this that correct exposure is a MUST for digital. Note that pre- and post-exposure histograms do not always read the same, and note that in the FZ series the histograms are rather minimally readable anyhow. With the FZ series (I have the FZ15 and 30) I bracket all exposures on this test series and take basic exposure choices using both the appearance of the prints AND the histograms in PSCS2 and/or Breezebrowser. When one has good exposures, compare the histogram in PSCS2 with the incamera postshot histogram - you will shortly learn what the incamera histogram should look like for properly exposed images.

Sound like a lot of work? Yes it is. If you find another way - or a better way - to find out what your camera is actually doing - please let me know. I wouild love not to have to do this. Particularly since, for myself, I also run a series of tests freehand stabilized vs monopod stabilized vs tripod of the same subject at various ISOs, speeds, etc.

(If you are interested I recommend monopod over 200 mm with a tripod ever better - altho the FZ series stabilization is, imo, superior - for example - to the Canon inlens stabilization at the same zoom ranges...)


'Never, never, never give up.' - Winston Churchill

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