How to deal with high ISO noise

Discussion in 'Aquarium Photography' started by 2in10, Jan 27, 2013.

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  1. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    Sparks, NV
    Here is how I deal with high ISO noise. Use RAW format in your camera if it has it. JPEG photos can be corrected but your results will not be as great due the fact that correction in JPEG images is very limited. The procedure is the same. Experiment with your photos to see what works best for you. Use a setting with the lowest sharpening level, this is critical as sharpening needs to be done outside of the camera if at all possible.

    Starting with taking the shot I increase the exposure by 1EV with the expansion ISO (12800 in my camera) if your camera has it. For the highest native ISO (6400) I increase by 2/3EV. For the next highest (3200) I increase by 1/3EV. Then take your shot as normal.

    Import the images to your PC as usual. Open them up with your raw converter/photo editor. Make sure it does no corrections or set them all to zero. I would make all adjustments like cropping and straightening here. Adjust your exposure value down by the same amount you increased it in the camera. Turn on camera/lens correction. Now adjust the noise reduction. If you can import the photo into a noise reducing software like Topaz DeNoise to do this step. Now import the resulting photo back into you editing software and complete the processing steps you would normally do saving sharpening for last. Sharpen conservatively.

    Good editing programs are Lightroom, Photoshop and DxO Optics. DxO optics has 2 levels, Pro which is for APS-c format cameras and Elite for full frame cameras. It will let you know which one to buy when you follow their suggestion link and enter your camera body into the page.

    I have used DxO Optics for these exercise.

    Here are some samples.

    This one has been cropped and has had the white balance corrected only.

    This one has had exposure compensation added.

    This one has had noise reduction added. I let DxO Optics decide how much and I would say that it is conservatively done.

    And here is the completed project. Sharpening and other processing added.

    Your results will vary depending on how aggressively you apply noise reduction and sharpening.

    I suggest getting DxO Optics as it will be cheaper than buying Lightroom and Topaz DeNoise but not by much. Photoshop will run you a whole lot more and you will still want to get a denoising software.