D300 High ISO Pics...

Started Jun 10, 2008 | Discussions thread
Jim Kaye Senior Member • Posts: 2,794
Bibble conversion

Beautiful shots, Jan Anne. Thanks for making the NEF available for people to play with. As I have a D300 on order, I am quite interested in this.

Someone mentioned using Bibble and the Noise Ninja plugin but I didn't see a posting, so I tried my hand at it. (I am using NX2 more and more now, but I use Bibble for high-volume work where ultimate IQ isn't needed, like high school sports shooting -- it is just so much faster!)

Details, for those interested:

NN settings were default for Luma channel. For Chroma, strength 20, contrast 10, smooth 20, coarse noise turned on, turbo off, USM amount 0. Other settings: Highlight recovery 50, Color saturation +30. (I find a saturation boost helps when I apply aggressive chroma noise reduction. In this example, I like the greener/browner tones this produces, but that's a matter of taste and I don't know if it is faithful to the way the scene appeared at the time.) I saved the converted file as a TIFF.

In PS CS2, I cropped the original to match yours, resized, converted to sRGB, changed mode to 8-bits, and saved as JPEG max (12). For the 100% crop, I applied USM (80/0.8/5) before conversion to sRGB, 8-bit mode, and saving as JPEG max (12).

My take on this is that you have an image with wonderful details, but the details are very large on the sensor (compared to the the size of the pixels) because you were close to the animals and used a long FL lens (with TC). Not to detract anything from what you've done, this is an ideal situation for being able to preserve details with noise reduction. The problems always come in when the details are the same size as the pixels -- then it's much harder for any NR procedure to distinguish between details and noise, and the results get less satisfactory (especially areas of the image like hair, for example, where there are patterns to the detail which can easily be mistaken for noise and gen inappropriately smoothed out). At least that's my experience. In those situations, I often prefer to leave more "grain" (i.e., turn the luma NR setting down) and concentrate on chroma NR almost entirely. That wasn't necessary with this image -- I was able to leave the luma NR setting at default with no significant loss of detail.

Thanks again for posting and for sharing the file!
Jim Kaye

'I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.' -- Ansel Adams, 1981

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