Tag Archives: cameras

defining acceptable noise levels

after about a week now with the canon g10 one of the obvious issues is noise. i knew it would be an issue. i wasn’t surprised. but i just didn’t remember what the noise reduction post-proccesing in p&s cameras was like. it reminds me of the days with the sony 828, the 717 and the p5 before that. recent years with dslr have spoiled me.

and it’s not that dslrs don’t produce noise – they do! even the 5d at iso 1600  or 3200 does. but the noise in the dslr images cleanly melts away with noise reduction post-proccesing, almost without leaving a mark. with the g10 it’s more of an effort, once again.

today i read something that makes me rethink my definition of acceptable noise levels. ziv koren (line of firevisa) , a photographer and instructor i greatly admire, and a canon ambassador, recently published his review of the new canon 5d mii on the canon professional network site.  viewing the images embedded in the review i feel the noise screams out of the photos. it’s very evident in the first photo in the purple sky, in the distant mountains and in the dark foreground at the bottom.  it’ also very evident in the other photos when you click on them to enlarge. it’s almost the first thing i see in the photos!

on one hand, these were shot at very high iso speeds (25,600). but on the other hand they’re only web-sized! and i am sure they were edited and post-processed either by ziv or by canon before being displayed on their site. i put so much effort into winter moonlight  just so the noise would not be as evident as it is in ziv’s 5d mii photos. before rethinking the definition of acceptable noise i would not have dared to display a shot with as much noise as ziv’s photos on this blog, on my site or anywhere else. 

and now? i don’t know! with dslrs aspiring higher and higher in terms of iso speed are we psychologically more willing to accept the noise that come with it just because these are high iso, expensive, dslrs? then how about equivalent noise levels with the g10 at iso800 or above? quoting ziv: “I can’t say that the pictures were clean from noise, but they’re usable“.

what are acceptable noise levels today? what is usable?


Filed under photography, ziv koren