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Can noise be avoided in PnS Digital Cameras?

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Old 09-30-2006, 04:12 PM
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Donamai Donamai is offline
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Post Can noise be avoided in PnS Digital Cameras?

Keyword: Noise, Noise, Noise


I keep looking for information on how to avoid noise in my digital camera. I have a CANON PowerShot S50, 5MP and I would like to know if there is a way to improve image quality regarding noise.

I have done some research on the ISO setting of my camera but somehow I can't grasp it yet since I am not a photographer I hardly understand some of the process involve in how to use it best. I know my camera has different settings for this but it is a matter of calculation and light that I think gets the best result.

For my images I usually use NeatImage when it comes to retouch or fix anything on my PC, which is fantastic. Now the challenge would be to set the camera to do a little bit of work on keeping the image a little less noisy.

I have noticed that the noise is increased more when light is low or the resolution of the image is compressed when saving.

1. Though the manuals of the camera say what the options are used for, would anyone would recommend a good way to avoid noise in a digital camera?

2. Are there new cameras out there with a better process of Noise?

3. How can I better save a file to balance the volume of noise?

4. What is the best way to use or learn about the ISO settings?

Sites I have seen:

Thank you for your time!!
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:54 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Re: Can noise be avoided in PnS Digital Cameras?

Hi, Don!

If you haven't gotten acquainted with's website yet -- I encourage you to do so -- there is a full review of your current camera as well as forums for owners/interested folks of most digital camera makes (Canon has a large forum for P&Shooters and separate forums for those using Canon DSlrs.

Some of the basics about noise are
1. the higher the ISO speed, the more likely that you will notice noise.
2. the less light available on the subject area, the more likely you will notice noise. [the LESS light available, the MORE likely that you will have to increase your ISO speed OR use flash] ISO speed is dependent upon the amount of light available to shoot the photo.
3. the smaller the digital sensor in your camera, the more noise it will create while creating digital images (point/shoot cameras have more tendency for noise than large-sensor DSlr camreras -- it's the law.
4. noise reduction software was created because a lot of folks didn't want to look at so much noise
5. noise isn't the worst thing that can happen to your photo (noise reduction inside some camera models can make photo details look mushy and like a water-color picture -- more people are shooting raw format so that they can decide how much noise reduction to use instead of letting their cameras make that decision.)
6. there are different types of noise -- luminance and color -- and one may bother you more than the other

According to the DPreview review of the S50, it showed "low noise" at ISO 50 -- but this was several years ago, and compared to current cameras, I think you will find that it is noisier than a Fuji 30 at ISO 50 or 100 or even higher. But still, with this current camera, you will avoid noise more if you only use ISO 50 or 100, shoot in daylight or with flash and ensure that you have plenty of light on your subject -- which will better allow you to use the slower 50 ISO. Then if you are bothered by any noise you see -- use a noise reduction program. There are free ones for download, and others that cost some bucks. I use Noiseware by Imagenomic ( ). Others I have used, and that are mentioned elsewhere on RetouchPro and DPreview are Neat Image and Noise Ninja. Try some free downloads before you decide whether to buy one over another or to use a free version.

I shot with an Olympus C2100UZ from 2001 until last month -- it was only a 2megapixel camera, and usually did fine in daylight shoots. There was color noise evident when I didn't have enough light or shot higher ISO, but most of the time, there wasn't enough to bother the photo.

When we were shooting film cameras, higher ISO meant grainier photos -- high speed films were generally only used by photo-journalists who took photos of accidents, crime scenes, etc. in low light for newspapers. The newspaper photos were low quality and mostly black/white at that time, and no one expected to see sharp, well-defined images in a newspaper. Photographers who shot for pay often used ISO 64 slide film or 100 speed at the highest. There was much ado when someone used 400 speed for anything professional. Now a new generation of folks who have never shot film are shooting ISO 1600 and arguing about which cameras have the cleanest images.

If you want to get a newer camera which doesn't show as much noise, you can read DPreview's reviews on point/shoot cameras (Canon and Fuji currently have the lowest noise, among a few others). You do not have to buy an expensive SLR camera (as some will say on the forums at DPreview), but if you had reason and money to do so, there would be very little noise evident at ISOs up to 800 or above -- depending on the camera you chose.

Last edited by CJ Swartz; 09-30-2006 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:44 PM
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Donamai Donamai is offline
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Thank you CJ

Hey CJ

Thank you very much for the info. It cleared all of my doubts!

After I read your post I searched out for more information and I think I am beginning to understand "NOISE" now.

I have change the way I look at a picture and see what I can do to improve not only the quality but the way to avoid the saturation of noise.

Now a little practice goes along the way.... but thank you!
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Old 05-20-2007, 05:59 PM
biskit27 biskit27 is offline
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Re: Can noise be avoided in PnS Digital Cameras?

i dont know if this is helpful at all, but I remember hearing awhile back that there was a filter somewhere that reduces noise based on camera profiles. You'd open up the profile in the filter and it was supposed to remove whatever type of noise your camera was prone to capturing.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:12 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Can noise be avoided in PnS Digital Cameras?

Since this post showed up again today, I thought I'd share an observation. I recently took some outdoor shots in some harsh sunlight. It was noon and the sun was very intense. I was shooting a soccer match. The sun reflected white off the faces of many of the players, but at the same time the shadows were very dark. I was shooting at canon D30 at 200 ISO. What I noticed in post processing was terrible noise in the shadows. Has anyone else had this experience? I tried removing the noise with a noise filter, but I just couldn't remove it all without messing up the rest of the photo.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:38 AM
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Re: Can noise be avoided in PnS Digital Cameras?

I have had a similar problem with the noise skydog, but I try my best to keep the ISO as low as physically possible.
On a side note: To fix the issue in photoshop, I used the dropper to select the shadow areas, then make them in to a new layer. Now run the noise filter on the shadows layer to get shut of the noise, and then flatten image. That tends to give you a nice clear image, with noise free shadows
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:30 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Can noise be avoided in PnS Digital Cameras?

good idea..thanks
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