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Old Aug 10, 2008, 7:18 PM   #1
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i have a nikon d40 and i was wondering.. what are the best ways to reduce photo noise?? what setting should b altered and how shud they be altered (iso, exposure) which of these setting should be reduced or increased (and how) to reduce noise in dim light situations
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Old Aug 10, 2008, 7:30 PM   #2
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There's alot of factors that contribute to noise. The most important are 1) shooting at the lowest ISO possible (while getting the aperture needed for your desired DOF, and the shutter speed needed either to convey motion or stop motion, depending on your wishes), and 2) nailing the exposure, as underexposure will lead to higher visible noise. If your shooting in low light, having noise free images is very difficult, especially if you're not using flash. The higher iso's and longer shutter speeds both result in higher noise. Any iso over 400 is going to show some noise. Noise can be reduced in post work using noise reduction software, like noiseware, or noise ninja.
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Old Aug 10, 2008, 9:11 PM   #3
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Can you post some samples of what you're seeing?

If you reduce the resolution of your image, that will likely also obscure or eliminate the noise you're talking about, so they should be 100% crops, about 640x480 or 800x600,so the noise is visible.
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Old Aug 11, 2008, 1:15 AM   #4
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i will be using flash. so just to make sure, will increasing the shutter speed while shooting a stationary object object in dim light reduce noise at around iso 200 using a flash
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Old Aug 11, 2008, 4:56 AM   #5
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danielpouldar wrote:
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i will be using flash. so just to make sure, will increasing the shutter speed while shooting a stationary object object in dim light reduce noise at around iso 200 using a flash
Using flash and the lowest ISO is the best case scenario for having the lowest possible noise in dimly lit situations. Don't get so hung up on shutter speed, as the flash burst will freeze the motion and prevent most blur. You really could just set the camera in P mode, and if you need to adjust ev either up or down if you need to slightly adjust the exposure.
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Old Aug 11, 2008, 1:13 PM   #6
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would you suggest working with exposure or aperature more when it comes to dim lighting situations??
also wud getting an external flash eliminate (to some extant) having to change settings such as exposure, iso, aperature, etc.????
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Old Aug 11, 2008, 2:07 PM   #7
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When you use a flash, the aperture is only to adjust the depth of field, not the exposure. The shutter speed is immaterial because the duration of the exposure will be governed by the duration of the flash. You should use an ISO setting that will result in no noise, say 400 or lower.

Another option, btw, is a large aperture lens.
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Old Aug 12, 2008, 5:55 AM   #8
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danielpouldar wrote:
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would you suggest working with exposure or aperature more when it comes to dim lighting situations??
also wud getting an external flash eliminate (to some extant) having to change settings such as exposure, iso, aperature, etc.????
Exposure really isn't a setting. It is a result of the combination of iso+aperture+shutter speed. As such, you really can't adjust aperture independently of exposure. Every aperture adjsutment (and shutter speed and iso) adjustment affects exposure. There are many ways and combinations that will give a proper exposure.

If you want to minimize playing with settings, just set the camera on P mode, set the iso at 200 (turn auto iso off) attach a flash and fire away. The camera will select shutter speed and aperture. You may have to fine tune the exposure by adjusting the ev either plus of minus, or by adjusting the flash ouput, based on your histogram.

For a little more control, set the camera to aperture priority, select the largest aperture (smallest f-stop number), and the lowest ISO, (again turn off auto iso) atttach a flash and fire away. This gives you control over DOF (large apertures will result in less DOF...sharp subjects blurred backgrounds, small apertures put more of the background in focus) and allows the most ambient light into the scene. The camera will select the proper shutter speed.

Either way, turning auto iso off and selecting the lowest ISO on your camera will result in the lowest noise.
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