Wednesday, February 03, 2010

PhotoFAVS Wednesday: It Sure Was Noisy Last Wednesday

Good Morning Everybody,

1078 I’m doing a quick "in and out" this morning since we are getting things ready for our trip to New Orleans tomorrow and I have a portrait shoot in just a few hours. I have the honor of photographing one of the leading religious leaders in Cincinnati, Ohio today, in one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the city, Isaac M. Wise Temple.

I've worked with him many times over the years at both weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvah's.  I’ve even photographed his daughter's wedding in 2007.  In fact, that's the one, uber blogger and all around nice guy, Scott Kelby, came up and helped out with the shoot [link].

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to today’s assignment.  With a great client and stunning location we should get some outstanding photographs.

PhotoFAVS Wednesday: It was A Little Noisy Last Wednesday

Boy, last week's post was another real "comment" magnet.  I think part of it was, dare I say it, a bit of JPEG reflux disease ;~)  Mention that you shot JPEGs and the flood gates open. Like I said, it’s one of those religious digital arguments.

Anyway, let's revisit the topic once again.  Here is the link to last week's post right here. To review, I mentioned that I really liked how my cameras, Canon 7D and 5D Mk II really do a good job with the built in noise reduction algorithms. Since I've been a JPEG shooter for most of my digital shooting career, up until 2 years ago, I was pretty experienced on the topic.

I liked what I saw in the noise department when it came to in-camera noise reduction. Add a touch of Noise Ninja or NIK Dfine 2.0 and you were looking at a darn good, high ISO print.

High ISO - 12800ISO w-NN

Just check out this image I made with the Canon 5D Mark II right after it came out in November, 2008.  By the way, you can read the entire article right here.

A few readers suggested that I was "double-dipping" by running the noise reduction in the camera and then again with noise reduction software.  I guess I'm thinking no big deal. The end result was always a great very low noise image when I followed this procedure.  In fact I’m looking at a 24x36 print right now on display in my studio that I shot in 2006 with a Canon 20D, ISO800, JPEG mode. The image was then run through Noise Ninja, printed in-house on my Epson printer that looks absolutely great.  In fact NAPP used it in their national print ad last year.

Another reader suggested that I could still shoot RAW and use Canon's CPP software to process out the noise reduction, too.  That's true, but that meant lots of added workflow overhead.  Lightroom just didn't process the EXIF data quite the same way, if at all, to give me the same result as CPP.

That meant that I was back in the same old boat of processing my RAW image in Lightroom or Photoshop and still not getting the result I was looking to obtain.  Simply, I liked the "double dipped" noise reduced look of my images.

You may suggest running the RAW file twice through the NR software, but I just wasn't as pleased with that result as  was when shooting JPEG and then hitting the image with NR.

I called my Canon rep, Mary Mannix, to ask her recommendation.  Although she corroborated my position, she added that the issue of noise reduction's "look and feel" was really a personal experience for each photographer.  Bottom line - everybody sees noise differently.

So, I guess, enough said on the subject.  For me, especially in a wedding situation where we are blazing through 3500 images per job, it's sure OK with me that some of the low light images are shot in JPEG mode. Looks to me like it saves lots of time in the long run. So, in closing, let me say one more time, in-camera noise deduction is still clearly one of my PhotoFAVS.

The new cameras have additional noise settings that I want to try too.  I'll keep you posted on that in the future.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  I've got to get packing and get on my way to my shoot.  I hope to post an image or two tomorrow for you.  Hope to see you then.

And don't forget to check back tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday: 10 Profit Building Uses For Banners.

See ya' then, -David

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