Fuji S9500; how to reduce noise in RAW pictures

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by libeco, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    So after introducing myself in the proper forum, it is now time for my first question.

    I recently started taking pictures in RAW format (after some weeks of getting familliar with my Fuji S9500 in JPEG-mode and mostly auto-mode). The first thing I noticed was the huge amount of noise in almost every picture I took. Searching on this forum and the internet I found many discussions about noise in RAW pictures, so I guess it's just there, nothiong you can do about it.

    What I would really like to know is how to reduce the noise when taking the picture (and let Photoshop and some plugin take the remaining noise out later on the PC). I already saw a topic where Mohain explained the S9500 takes less noisy pictures when slightly overexposed. But I'm wondering how do I see how much I should overexpose, should I really look at the little line at the bottom of my screen and have the yellow marker a little to the right (how far?) to overexpose a little? Or should I just take loads of pictures with different pictures for every picture I want?

    So far I have experimented with changing the focus, aperture and shutter speed, without looking at the deeper settings in the menu. Besides lots of fun using my camera it also gave some frustration about not being able to get rid of the noise completely.

    I hope someone can help me.

    PS. I have my ISO set at 80.
     
  2. ftops

    ftops TPF Noob!

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    typically, my comfort zone is 2 clicks under-exposed. as for the noise problem, i was initially going to suggest lowering the ISO, but youre already fairly low.

    try closing down the aperture, but not too much. if the shutter is open just a tad longer, but the picture isnt coming out overexposed, it should soften the image a little bit. whenever i have a problem with film grain, i just add a very slight gaussian blur and the picture is greatly enhanced.

    its really a toss up between how sharp you want the picture to be and how blurry youll allow it to get.
     
  3. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your answer, but now I'm a little confused, you say you are slightly underexposing, but like I said before I saw a reply by Mohain in that topic where he said about the S9500:
    Do you use a S9500, or is this a general tip?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have also noticed that sometimes, my RAW images have noticeably more noise than a JPEG shot...and I'm shooting with a Canon.

    I later realized that I was at a higher ISO setting than I would have liked...but still, the JPEG was smoother. I think this is because the camera applies some noise reduction as part of it's process of saving the JPEG image. Now that I use RAW Shooter Essentials to convert my RAW files...I check the noise reduction level. If shooting at higher ISO levels, or with subjects that show more noise...then I just move the slider up.

    Try adjusting the noise suppression when you are converting the RAW image...or run the image through a noise reduction program like Neat Image.
     
  5. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nothing beats an ideal exposure but it is true that underexposing can increase noise when the exposure is corrected in post processing.

    For ftops: I'm running around trying to correct your misinformation on the forums but you're running pretty far ahead of me. Blur and noise have nothing to do with each other. Suggesting that he introduce camera shake and blur into an image to improve noise is simply senseless. If you like your images blurry that's fine. Preferences are a personal thing. But let's try to keep advice to a certain level of accuracy and usefulness.

    For Libeco: It is hard to understand why you suffer from noise in a raw image. Could you mean that you see noise in the post process in some situations. If you are talking about noise in the unedited RAW file, then it must be invisible unless you enlarge things severely. Am I wrong?
     
  6. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. Neat image was something I already tried, however, I just wondered if there are any tips for reducing noise in the actual image. By now I think noise is just something I'll have to live with, but are there things I can do to minimize it so that the little noise that ends up in the image can be removed later?

    Or am I just too lazy to do some work in Photoshop and I just have to accept noise is there and I DO have to edit it out later?

    Thanks!
     
  7. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    Well, in some images it is unvisible untill zooming in to 100%, but for instance this image here I took (although it was more of a snapshot to just do some testing with raw images) shows a lot of noise.

    Resized to full view
    [​IMG]

    100%

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Noise is something that digital photographers have to deal/live with...just like grain was for film photographers...but at a low ISO setting with good exposure on a DSLR...noise shouldn't be a problem...at least not a big one. Is it possible that you are just zooming in too close and 'pixel peeping'?

    Maybe show us an example, along with the EXIF data.

    {edit} you beat me to it :D
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In your example, the worst noise is in the shadow areas...which is typical. Your shot is exposed for the sky...not the buildings...so the buildings are severely underexposed...which brings out the noise.

    One way to deal with this...would be to mask off the sky area (in photoshop) and apply noise reduction to just the shadow areas. Or run it through Neat Image and then layer the resultant image back onto the original and mask off the sky on the new layer.
     
  10. libeco

    libeco TPF Noob!

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    By reading many articles on this forum, tutorials and websites it seems to me like knowing your way in Photoshop is maybe more important than taking the picture itself (probably not true).

    So I'll just keep reading the tutorials, websites and this website and continue asking questions, I think that works best.

    Thanks for the help guys!
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's certainly not more important...but it surely helps. Shooting RAW images with a DSLR...can be compared to people 80 years ago...who shot black and white film and developed & printed their photos in a dark room. The exposure is just one step in the process. It seems to have been overlooked, over the last 30 years, that photo labs have been doing a lot of the work for us. Color negative film doesn't go from exposed film to prints...all by it's self. Now with digital...we cut out the middle man and take control of the process ourselves...and knowing how to use the tools (photoshop) really does help.
     
  12. Mohain

    Mohain TPF Noob!

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    Hi lieco,

    I used to suffer badly from noise on lots of my images on my s9500 when i started using it and I relied on Noiseware pro (Photoshop plug-in) quite a lot to get rid of it.

    I found the best way to deal with the s9500 noise is to correctly expose and when you can expose to the right. You can turn on your histogram when you're taking pics and see it in the viewfinder and use the exposure compensation slider to bunch up the historgram to the right and then correct exposure in ACR in Photoshop. More on reading histograms here.

    Other tips is to keep the ISO as low as possible 80 or 100 if you can. However I can get very usable images even using ISO 800, with a decent exposure and a bit of help from Noiseware (this image was taken at 800ISO). when using photoshop turn off any sharpening in ACR and just do it right at the end of your PS process, after any resizing. Extensive levels work in PS can also add noise, so it's best to try to get it as right as possible in camera.

    When taking landscapes with the s9500 I set the camera colour to Chrome, iso80, F8 and use AV and the exposure compensation slider, whilst checking the Histogram. Polarizer filters and ND grads help with skys so you don't have to muck around too much in PS.

    Most of the images in my gallery (in my sig) are taken with my s9500, although I have now got a DSLR :D

    Sorry for the waffle! Good luck and happy shootin'

    Mohain :mrgreen:

    EDIT: I don't think the noise in that image you posted is that bad. Always seems to be worse in blues, too!
     

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