K-7 High ISO NR (pics)

Started Jun 28, 2009 | Discussions thread
Joe Barnhart Veteran Member • Posts: 3,393
Detail is not 'signal'

wy2lam wrote:

Joe Barnhart wrote:

Really, all this "sky is falling" talk about noise is watering me
off. Noise is the flip side of detail. You either get lots of both
or little of both.

Nonsense. You're saying that as S goes up, N also goes up. From this logic, S/N measures are meaningless.

I did not say "signal" I said DETAIL. The fact is that the sensors used in different brands of camera have very similar basic noise characteristics. The noise is dictated largely by the physics of the device -- light-gathering size of the pixel, bulk material properties, etc. The difference in the way cameras look is largely due to post-processing of the sensor data.

Those cameras which opt for "lowest noise" do so at the expense of smoothing detail -- edges or (usually) textures. That is what gives some people the buttery smooth images they lust for. I do not like the buttery smooth approach as it leads to images that look plastic and fake (to me).

A shot taken at ISO 1600 or 3200 better damn well have some noise because the algorithm to remove only noise while leaving all image detail in place DOES NOT EXIST.

Again, if you want to see what a noisy image looks like just look at a piece of FILM push-processed to ISO 1600. Photographers who complain about the noise of APS-C at those speeds will be horrified to see the noise of film when exposed at a similar speed.

(P.S. I know all about S/N. I hold an MSEE from Berkeley and I've worked in test and measurement my whole career.)

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