Adobe Camera Raw 6 have included a new noise reduction function. The performance of this noise reduction is so well that could render my noise ninja plugin in photoshop useless. Better still, as the noise reduction is built in to the camera instead of photoshop, it make an integral flow in my raw process workflow very nicely.
To use this function, you go to the detail panel (1 in the below screen shot) of camera raw. In this panel, you could find the color slider (2 in the below screen shot) under the noise reduction section. You could zoom in to 100% and look at an area where noise is most prominent before you start with this adjustment. Then drag the color slide from 0 up slowly until you find all color noise is gone. Wow, that is it. I am impressed by default the kind of detail that is preserved with the noise removal.
This time, I am trying to look at the result of a mild digital push on files taken from my D700. The following are 2 file taken at 2 EV apart that I took for making an HDR image. I took these 2 file too see how it go if I push the -2 EV file so that it look like the 0 EV file. It is quite amazing to see that after the process, the -2 EV file don’t show any noticeable noise after the push. You could see the 100% comparison here, the left half is the 0EV while the right half is the -2EV after push:
They all told you that shooting at lowest ISO if you want the best image quality. That is only true if you could hold you camera steady! The rule of safty shutter speed states that you could hand held to shoot at 1/(focal length of your lens used) seconds and still get a blur free picture. The focal length of your lens needs to have the DX factor considered. That is for a 200mm lens on a DX format camera, your safe shutter speed is 1/300 seconds instead of 1/200 seconds.
For the case of the 200mm lens, this is not already possible to keep shutter speed higher than 1/300 seconds. So, the choice is using a higher ISO value or shoot continuously for 3 to 10 shoots (depends on how far you are below the safe shutter speed) and hope that one of them is blur free.
If shooting at higher ISO is your choice and you shoot with a Nikon camera, then you have the Auto ISO as your assistant. When set properly, the camera will adjust the ISO automatically to make sure the shutter speed won’t drop below the minimum shutter speed. For example, if your Auto ISO is off and your exposure is 1/60 sec and F5.6 at ISO100. With Auto ISO turn on and minimum shutter speed set to 1/125 seconds, you camera will set the exposure as 1/125sec and F5.6 at ISO200.
To set up the Nikon Auto ISO function, you need to set:
1. The minimum shutter speed – This is the shutter speed the camera will try to maintain with increasing ISO value.
2. The maximum ISO value - This is the highest ISO value the camera will try to increase to before it stop increase ISO value further to maintain the minimum shutter speed
3. You need to turn on the Auto ISO function.
Oh! Why the minimum shutter speed for my D60 only at 1/125 seconds only? Nikon thinks that D60 users won’t use any telephoto lens? Or they think their VR technology is good enough when shoot at 1/125 seconds and there is no need to use higher shutter speed?
My suggestion goes with the higher ISO, higher shutter speed to guarantee a blur free picture with more noise. As you could still fix the noisy picture somehow at a later stage to see if you could still keep the photo but a blurry picture always go to the recycle bin.