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Unread 10-29-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
Access
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High-noise or High-ISO processing?

This weekend we were shooting at night without a whole lot of light and the only ISO that I could get to work for photos with a reasonable shutter speed was H2 (102400). The noise I got in the shots precludes a lot of the processing I normally do, forget about trying to bring up the shadows, pushing the tone curve or anything like that. My question is how do you deal with noise and what combination of filters or techniques are the best?

I figured it's best to watch the shadow and black levels very closely, trying to limit the contrast to where the noise is passable and just black out the rest. Right now I am doing +50 luminance and +75 chroma for noise reduction in LR4, then I'll apply the topaz filter (DeNoise) rather liberally, as high as I can set it without destroying detail (generally around +60 to +100, +100 in the shadows with +80 detail recovery, blur and grain both set to 0), and finally apply another topaz 'pop' filter to add some of the local contrast back into the final image.

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3307337/
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3307431/

How can I improve, on the second one for instance?
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Unread 10-29-2012, 02:25 PM   #2
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I have a few questions but they are about what happened before the shutter button was pushed.
I know iso 102400 > no picture but a photoshoot at iso 102400 is insane. I donít think thereís much you can do to a picture with that much noise and motion blur. It falls into the, ďjust be happy you got somethingĒ bucket. The only software I know that can deal with that much noise is DXO. However, it has to be a RAW file.

If youíre game, and you have the RAW file I could run it through DXO just to see how it turns-out. It wonít fix the blur but might clean-up the noise.

This is how I deal with low-light noise:
I know the limit of my gear. I know how much control I have to compensate for that limit. If Iím beyond the controllable limits, cannot add some light, or unable to move to a better lit area then I use a tripod and a very understanding model.
If I have manageable noise I run the file through Noiseware first. If itís nightclub level noise and the shot is really a keeper, Iíll run the RAW file through DXO.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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Yeah this was a special case, Nighttime and ISO at the max in order to get the light from the costume itself. Some of the later shots are better lit, but for this reason also lack this kind of effect.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Access View Post
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3307337/
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3307431/

How can I improve, on the second one for instance?
Here is a quick edit of the second one:
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3307509/

Ran it through "Noise Ninja" photoshop plugin (now called "photo ninja" I believe)

I also tried to change the colors a bit.

Some of the more advanced (and expensive) noise reduction options might help a bit like that plugin, but there isn't much to work with.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 03:31 PM   #5
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Yeah since I have the raws, I will try the demo from DXO. In reality there's a lot more detail there in the second photo, it just gets wiped out by the processing.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 11:44 AM   #6
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I'm not sure why you had to shoot with that high of an ISO. Her shadow is so well defined from a light source that the light source should have been sufficient for a lower ISO. What were your aperture and shutterspeed settings, if you don't mind? Personally, if I feel an image is way too noisy, then I'll edit it more as a painting than as a picture. Topaz Labs has Denoise, which I use to remove as much of the artifacts as I can, then I'd use Topaz Labs Clean, which gives the appearance of tiny brush strokes which also sharpen the image. You should be able to adjust the settings to ignore all of the solid black parts, so it only sharpens the lines in the image. So up close it will look like a drawing/painting, but from full view people probably won't notice.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 12:29 PM   #7
nathancarter
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I can't see your images, the links don't seem to work.

Without being able to see the images, I would say drag the shutter:
Use a slow shutter speed and a moderate ISO to expose for the costume's lights, then use a little bit of fill flash to get crisp detail in the rest of the costume.

Usually, random ISO noise doesn't bother me much, but the banding that happens in H2 (and even H1) are pretty distracting. I'll happily go up to 25600 on the 5D3, as long as I can get a perfect exposure with that ISO; when you're hitting those limits, there's no room to push it up or down in post.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 03:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TykeJack View Post
I'm not sure why you had to shoot with that high of an ISO. Her shadow is so well defined from a light source that the light source should have been sufficient for a lower ISO. What were your aperture and shutterspeed settings, if you don't mind?
Those shots under the gazebo were taken at ISO H2 (102400 according to the manual), 1/1.8 (85mm), shutter speed around 1/60, varies due to 0/-1/+1 bracketing that I was using. I wasn't as interested in the shadow as much as the illumination.
ie. http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3307682/

I am quite impressed with DXO. It does have the the same kind of 'painterly' effect. You can't expect perfection at ISO 102,400, pretty good for what it does.

"the banding that happens in H2 (and even H1) are pretty distracting" - fortunately this is easy to get rid of, even the topaz filters can do a good job at that.

Last edited by Access : 10-30-2012 at 09:49 PM.
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