5D MK II and Noise Reduction

Started Mar 20, 2011 | Discussions thread
Michael Thomas Mitchell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,489
Re: 5D MK II and Noise Reduction

First, I am in general agreement with gdanmitchell... third party noise plugins are far less important than they were some years ago. Both Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom have EXCELLENT noise reduction characteristics which virtually eliminates the need for anything further.

Next, it must always be remembered that noise reduction in post is always a matter of compromise: more noise reduction equals less detail. Thus, the best noise reduction involves an intelligent balance of each within the context of a given image and its native ISO setting. You will want to learn the best combination of both noise and sharpening settings.

Third, and finally, when it comes to digital imaging, you must always consider OUTPUT. That is, what is the final form of a given image. If it's an image that will be displayed on a monitor or just a small print, then noise reduction may not even be necessary as simply down-sizing an image will correspondingly reduce noise "size", as well. Thankfully for you, the 5DII has an awful lot of pixels to work with. Thus, reducing the image during conversion to even 6MP in size will dramatically reduce the apparent noise level. Ten years ago, the original Canon D30 was generally known not to produce good results at ISO 1600. Indeed, looking at images taken at that setting at 100% was not very impressive. I learned, though, that the images were actually quite good when printed no larger than 4x6 (or roughly 2.1MP). In those days, my wedding albums used genuine photographic prints in hand-assembled template-style books. It became commonplace for me to feature low light wedding ceremony images captured at ISO 1600 and printed at 4x6, and even occasionally at 5x7. Even an 8x10 print -- at about 7.2 MP -- is just a fraction of the pixels available on the 5DII, so otherwise noisy images should print fine even at that size.

PhotoJeffNJ wrote:

Afternoon All,

Thanks for your insight. As I hopefully indicated, I am playing around with the 5DMK2 to see how to use it intelligently. You know how it is after a few years with a camera--you just know where NOT to push. The 6400 I've bee using to shoot for this test was (mostly) just that--a test. The extra 1/2 LB in weight from the 20D is somewhat substantial after 15 or so minutes--gym membership perhaps?

Your collective comments have given me some interesting ideas (as it relates to my new camera).

The one question that sticks out it my mind is regarding the "use" comment. I am conscious that size and usage will matter, but how do you recommend seeing how it looks on output (whether JPG or Printed) unless I print it. Aye, there's the rub. I'm curious if you have any thoughts on how to gauge the noise output based on printing before printing.

Thanks and Regards,

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Michael Thomas Mitchell

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