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Author Topic: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?  (Read 5356 times)

MikeRoss

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Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« on: March 21, 2016, 07:07:14 pm »


Just returned from a beach vacation with some nice images of sunrise on the beach - but on closer examination I see a high noise level in the images. I used a long exposure at a low ISO (4 seconds @F11 @ ISO 200) which gave a good result image wise except for the overall noise level.  My question for those with an opinion is what are the trade offs between the use of high ISO setting and short exposure versus the lower ISO and long exposure settings. Is it likely that one will be better than the other? Is there some kind of break even point? I have not needed to think about this one before. The camera is older - D2X so I suspect that later sensor designs will have better overall noise performance. Just wondering, thanks.

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qwz

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2016, 01:09:38 am »

It's strongly depends on particular camera tech.
Some will have more noise (heat noise) over a time of exposure. Some have more read noise on high-iso.
You have to test your camera in your usual exposure levels.
For somea cases is better to do set of shorter exposures like a astrophotographers do.
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razrblck

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2016, 02:56:50 am »

You can always try ETTR to lower noise levels even more if it's bothering you, and for longer exposures it's better to stay at lowest ISO possible, especially with older cameras that might suffer more from heat and read noise issues.

Noise will always be present if A) you shoot at high ISO, and/or B) you underexpose your image (even slightly). You can still shoot at ISO 1600 and get little noise if you get the settings right and the scene helps you as well, but as soon as you get some dark areas and push shadows in post you will see it clearly as day.

There is no universal right or wrong nor is there a setting combination that will always give you little noise. You need to deal with tradeoffs as settings all depend on the scene you are shooting and the result you want to achieve.
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SangRaal

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2016, 07:42:37 pm »

You might want to try a noise reduction program like Topaz Denoise 6, It is very effective. I do a lot of wildlife photography and many of the animals are crepuscular with flat(pre-dawn with ground fog) and low light at dusk and dawn. to get decent pics from super tele lenses and fast shutter speeds to stop action I often have to use iso 25,600 and 52,000 and get noise plus banding. Topaz has a 30 day free trial period plus a good tutorial on how to use the program. 
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 06:26:15 am »

I don't think 4 seconds is even close to the limit where leaving base ISO is worth even considering. Of course this will depend on the camera but years ago I did some tests with my Canon 350D and I recall exposure times of 2min at ISO100 didn't improve at all SNR by pushing ISO and reducing exposure time. It was the opposite.

Regards

Enviado desde mi GT-I9195 mediante Tapatalk

JohnBrew

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016, 08:05:24 am »

I think it depends on the brand of camera and how well noise reduction works. I've shot low ISO for 30 minutes with the D810 and had no noise. I've shot my Leica M-P at higher ISO for 2 seconds and had noise so bad the image wasn't usable.

Colorado David

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 04:33:46 pm »

I've shot water and with both the D800 and the D810 for :30 and had no perceived noise at all.

dwswager

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2016, 11:43:58 am »

Just returned from a beach vacation with some nice images of sunrise on the beach - but on closer examination I see a high noise level in the images. I used a long exposure at a low ISO (4 seconds @F11 @ ISO 200) which gave a good result image wise except for the overall noise level.  My question for those with an opinion is what are the trade offs between the use of high ISO setting and short exposure versus the lower ISO and long exposure settings. Is it likely that one will be better than the other? Is there some kind of break even point? I have not needed to think about this one before. The camera is older - D2X so I suspect that later sensor designs will have better overall noise performance. Just wondering, thanks.

I shoot a D810 and so I don't remember off my head older tech.  But in general 4s is not that long and high ISO noise would likely far surpass long exposure noise.  I also find long exposure noise somewhat easier to subdue than high ISO noise.  Additionally, newer Nikon bodies are a lot less finicky about underexposure.  But then, you would be better going even longer exposure and exposing ETTR.  But this is all dependent on the camera model and even to some extent the camera settings used.  I do not do any noise reduction in camera, but at times, I might use the long exposure noise reduction feature, but never the high ISO reduction...up till now.  That might change with improvements.

Bottom line.  Test it yourself.  Fairly easy to do in your spare time between outings.
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MikeRoss

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2016, 08:58:20 pm »

Thanks everyone - I got plenty to try and to think about...
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FelixBelloin

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Re: Noise performance - Long exposure versus high ISO setting?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2016, 04:33:31 am »

Hi Mike, I asked myself this question many times and came across a few articles which answer just that.
I would suggest you read this one which is really well made: http://dslr-astrophotography.com/iso-dslr-astrophotography/
Hope that helps,

Felix
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