Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Why is everyone hung up on NOISE!?!

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  • #25045
    EyeDocPhotog
    Member

    So I’m in the park late this AM shooting my daughter and her friends in a chinese new year celebration / playdate. I brought along my 50D (which I’ve been using more and more lately because, well, I still like it). I’m shooting away, and in the corner of my eye I see a person with a machine gun full-frame gizmo I’ve heard of, I think the name starts with an N or something.  One of the other parents I figure. The action dies down for a few minutes and the girls start playing some stationary games. Me and the other parent start feeling the gravitational pull toward one another’s camera, and I can already sense he was going to speak first.

    He’s going on about burst rates and movie mode, all the while eyeing my camera with that look of “mine’s the camera that Scott Kelby wishes he could afford, so I know I got you beat.” Even though I have my own Gatling gun at home, I started playing the ‘you really don’t need a Ferrari if the speed limit’s max 50 mph.’ Then he starts in with the no, I have it for the noise reduction.

    The NOISE?! Again with the noise. Every day, all over the internet, “how noisy is the sensor?” WHO CARES?? 25 yrs ago, no one ever talked about noise – now, it’s ‘oh, my camera can shoot ISO 1,000,000 with no reduction in image quality.’Are you going to use that to it’s full extent, take a photo in complete darkness then frame it 50″ x 75″??

    Really? Who’s printing out any of these photos BIG, anyhow? For that matter, who’s printing ANYTHING?? Wedding photographers you say – the biggest they usually go is 20 x 16, which my wife and I have in our livingroom. All the rest is FB, twitter, flickr, picasa, yada yada, but NO PRINTS. So why worry about noise? When my dad shot film and we picked up the 4×6 prints a week later, never once did he say “Jeez, look at all this film grain!! These all go in the bin!!”

    I’ve got a 1Dx which is a speed demon and whole lot less noisy then my 50D, but if 25 years from now I’m feeling nostalgic and looking through 4×6 shots of my 8 yr old playing with her friends in the park that one Sunday for chinese new year, ain’t no one gonna be worrying about noise in the image.

    #25047
    IHF
    Member

    I print nearly every photo I make.  Large?  eh, about 30% of the time.  With that said… I sometimes purposely make noisy pictures, or even add “grain” later if I want to.  I don’t think it’s about the noise, even when people say that it is for them.  It’s about light sensitivity and low light performance.  You aren’t going to use a crappy sensor if you are finding yourself often shooting in low light situations.  I don’t get too involved in gear talk, I’d rather talk about pictures and photographs than the gear used to make them.  Meeting gear heads in real life…. well I nearly always get a chuckle at their expense.  Your mega pixels and and frames per second, and LCD specs, and yadda yadda sensor,  just aren’t important but I’ll humor you and pretend that they are while we are talking 😉

    #25048

    I don’t know who else cares about noise, but I do.  Actually, I suspect a lot of people do.  Would you rather look at a photo in a newspaper or in a glossy magazine or book?  I’m betting the magazine or book.  Why?  Less grain, more detail, richer colour.

    I don’t know about 25 years ago, I know 40 years ago we talked about grain, and used ASA 25 slide film because it was far less grainy than ASA 400.  And it was much less grainy than if we had to push film.   Somewhere along the way ASA 64 came out and it was a bit of a compromise.  But in the 1970’s we definitely talked about grain.  Now since it is electronic, it’s noise.  I upgraded from tiny bridge cameras to dSLR’s because of noise, and upgraded my wife’s G11 to a G16 because I wanted to reduce noise.  I would love to get her into a camera with even less noise as she shoots in a lot of dark places without flash, but form factor and ease of use also play into the equation for her.  Isn’t noise one of the reasons we like fast glass?  You can open the aperture instead of increasing ISO, and you get a sometimes pleasing shallow DOF at the same time.  The reality is that even a cell phone camera can take a pretty good, noise free shot in good light, but as the light degrades so does the image.   With better cameras, you get a lot less noise in bad light, and to bring in the car analogy in a different way, I drive a van that gets relatively bad gas mileage, but I only have one parking spot and sometimes I need a van to carry more people or more stuff, but that means I’m driving a van when I’m just driving by myself somewhere too.  With a 50D and 1Dx, you have the advantage of being able to select the tool for the job.  Perhaps the D3/D4 owner only has one body.

    By the way, Scott Kelby was given some loaner gear by Canon, and he decided it was good enough keep and switched to Canon.

    Who prints?  Well again, I do.  I hardly ever print for myself.  I like slides, so images on a monitor work really well for me.  I print for others though, sometimes to go on a wall and sometimes to go into binders.  My wife likes prints, so I print on 8.5 by 11 photo paper and she inserts the pages into plastic sleeves in 2 or 3 inch binders.  Some pages are one image to a page but others are 4 or 6 to a page.  To my amazement, she has 22 binders of them so far! If asked, I would say I don’t print much, but obviously I do.  I’ve also done a dozen photo books, a few were printed by Blacks, then I discovered others had better layout software so, more recent ones were done by Blurb and Photobook Canada.  Grain/noise starts to be a problem if you are printing a full bleed two page spread (sometimes called “double truck”) in a larger album size.  A favourite size is 8.5 by 11 landscape, so a double page is 22 inches wide.  In the professional series, books go up to 12 by 17.5 landscape so a double page is 39 inches.  One of those starts at $330, but they make a nice coffee table book.

    #25050
    Don
    Member

    Maybe the other photographer isn’t so lazy as to worry about an extra couple pounds when shooting, so he uses a full size camera all the time.

    #25053

    Maybe the other photographer isn’t so lazy as to worry about an extra couple pounds when shooting, so he uses a full size camera all the time.

    LOL!  Well, that may be.  The difference between my Rebel, flash and a couple of lenses, a 10-20, 18-250 and a 50, plus batteries and other miscellaneous stuff compared to a 1Dx with flash, 16-35, 28-300 and an 85 plus batteries and other miscellaneous stuff is about 8 pounds.  At my age, carrying that extra weight when I don’t need to is wearing.

    There are times when the smaller body can deliver just as good results, or allows me to go somewhere I wouldn’t bother to go with the heavier bag.  Also, there are times the bigger body and lens just attract too much attention.  With the smaller body I’m not noticed as much.  When I really don’t want to be noticed I take my wife’s P&S, then I am almost completely ignored.  Sometimes getting the shot requires specialized gear, and sometimes that gear is a smaller camera.

    #25056
    JLiu
    Member

    ….why would there be concern about noise in the AM? Were you shooting pre-dawn in overcast conditions? Not worth your time. Move on.

    #25059
    Bill
    Member

    Noise?  And shooting 12 frames a second is somehow going to reduce the noise. I would love to see that technology in action.  EyeDoc, I think this guy from what you explain is just a gear-hound and uses that rapid fire technique to drum up conversation so he can “talk” about his gear.  And when I say “talk” I mean show it off.  From what you are stating, it sounds like he doesn’t know much about his camera except that it has a lot of features that do nothing for the final result.  Maybe, if he lowered his shutter speed, bumped up the ISO and maybe, just maybe used a flash, his shots wouldn’t be so noisy, even shooting above 6 fps and in low light.  Full frame is fine, I’m all for it, hell why not bring out the medium format Hasselblad.

    I get the shooting fast for “catching the action” but rapid firing shots of little girls in the park for a Chinese New Year Event, sounds just plain stupid to me.  Sports or fast moving action shots, okay sure, but in low light, without high speed sync flash, not going to work.

    When I do my surfing shots, I typically use my big lens and I get the looks.  The whole setup looks like porn on a tripod, but I don’t go out there with it just to draw up a conversation about it.  Besides, if I am talking about it, I’m not shooting, so I am most likely missing the shots I need:
    IMAG1520
    I use the gimbal for a couple of reasons, smooth shots and I don’t have to try to hold the lens while shooting, kind of going with what CC stated.

     LOL!  Well, that may be.  The difference between my Rebel, flash and a couple of lenses, a 10-20, 18-250 and a 50, plus batteries and other miscellaneous stuff compared to a 1Dx with flash, 16-35, 28-300 and an 85 plus batteries and other miscellaneous stuff is about 8 pounds.  At my age, carrying that extra weight when I don’t need to is wearing.

    CC, I do the same thing, when just shooting around town, I’ll bring my smaller bodies out for use, it’s just easier on the wrist.  My Rebel T3i has pretty much the same sensor as my 7D minus a lot of speed and other useful features, but it is so lightweight, it is practically a P&S.  And it fits with all my lenses, so perfect.  I think I get funny looks sometimes when I am walking around with my T3i and have expensive glass attached to it.

    #25177
    fstopper89
    Member

    Noise makes a difference to me much of the time but not always. The overall quality, including the crispness/sharpness (not referring to focus here) can be very dependent on the level of noise-less-ness of the camera’s sensor, most often visible of course in low-light situations. When shooting indoors, at weddings, or portraits in darker/shaded areas or at dusk, I would never want to use my older Rebel because of this. It’s not that I’m going to necessarily print every photo, but having the option to do so, and giving my clients the option to do so (in large sizes) to me, is part of the professional aspect. Given good lighting conditions, a low-end or older body with a sensor that produces more noise is still going to produce a good photo and be relatively noise-free. Because I’m not always shooting in perfect lighting conditions, I use a camera that can handle low light well- the 5D Mark III.

    #25183

    Until the other day I would have said in bright light almost any sensor will deliver.  We spent last weekend in Yellowknife with a group of friends.  In mid-afternoon, with a bright blue sky, scattered cloud, and subjects standing on a snow covered frozen lake, my Rebel figured ISO 400, f/9, and 1/1250th would deliver — so pretty bright.  A friend shot the same scene from almost the same place, with a tablet.  We received a copy of the image from the tablet.  The Rebel produced a very low noise image with clear blue sky.  The tablet’s sky is full of noise and looks awful!

    #25218
    picstop
    Member

    Because noise can ruin a photo. It can add “texture” to where there should be none or little and can reduce fine detail. Some people notice this in the final result more than others. I am cursed with noticing it more than some. Noise also interferes with the colours in the image. As good as most modern NR programs are, they only guess at what the purple blobs would have been and subtle colour gradations can suffer. Go to some of the camera forums and see how many people complain about seeing noisy blue skies. Personally I don’t think a pic should be completely plastic but I’m not a fan of noise and don’t miss my iso400 film days. My situation is also a little different, having to shoot weddings in good light and bad ( in level and quality which is tough on a sensor) so I have to fight against noise more than many people do. I’m looking forward to the next version of the 5D series that will hopefully give me better results at iso 3200 and who knows, maybe even 6400.

    #25220
    Visionthing
    Member

    I know I’ll get pounced on for saying this but…unless you care ultimately it  really doesn’t matter. Sincerely what do you want the end result to look like and how are you going to use the image? I know photographers [professional ones] who purposely use noise as an aesthetic choice. Not on every image mind you, but noise can add mood to your image, so it entirely depends on what your goal is.

    Grainy and/or out of focus images can work but it depends on a lot of other elements as well. Keith Carter is one of my favorite fine art photographers and very little in his images are in focus, but he personally happens to like no grain in his images. What matters to me is the emotional impact of an image, I’d take that over digital perfection any day and that is the harder skill to develop!

    #25222
    EyeDocPhotog
    Member

    Now that my friend CC has learned me how to virtually eliminate noise by adjusting settings CORRECTLY on my camera and in ACR for RAW images, I feel as though my photography has taken a huge leap forward.

    Note that I have also experimented with grainy images DELIBERATELY, for art’s sake. I will echo Vionthing’s words.

    #25410
    annaya
    Member

    CC, I do the same thing, when just shooting around town, I’ll bring my smaller bodies out for use, it’s just easier on the wrist.  My Rebel T3i has pretty much the same sensor as my 7D minus a lot of speed and other useful features, but it is so lightweight, it is practically a P&S.  And it fits with all my lenses, so perfect.

    —————————-

    emma

    #25474
    shazzad
    Member

    Generally I don’t think a pic should be completely plastic but I’m not a fan of noise

    #25499

    After much soul searching I purchased a 7D Mk II body today. It came with a camera bag, extra neck strap and battery! An extra break is it takes the same battery as my 5D Mk III, so I can charge two batteries at once now.
    We attended a charity dinner tonight and I took the new camera along to see how much abuse it could stand. Turns out it can stand a lot. I took 450 photos and used half a battery, give or take. The photos aren’t trying to be great photography, just test shots to see what the camera can do with ambient light. Look at the photo quality, then look at the EXIF data.
    I don’t have a raw converter on this computer and have to upgrade the OS before I can install Canon’s software, so these are JPEGs that have been straightened and cropped. I had it write raw files to a second card so later I will process some of them to see how they compare. It’s late so only 5 photos. They start here:
    2014-01-01_05-26-02_3Z4A0295
    and run to here:
    2014-01-01_05-34-34_3Z4A0345

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