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Old Dec 10, 2005, 11:24 PM   #1
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A friend of my is thinking of buying this camera, Ive read there is an issue with noise. As Im a canon DSLRowner I cant advise her so would be interested in any opinions of those in here who know more about this brand
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Old Dec 10, 2005, 11:31 PM   #2
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Does it have noise? Yes, so did my Sony F717. I've owned my FZ30 for a week now and I've been playing with it. I took the following photo at 400 ISO inside, with christmas tree lights in a dim corner of an office. There's noise there, but not what I was expecting after reading some of the reviews. You can judge for yourself.
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Old Dec 10, 2005, 11:44 PM   #3
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aladyforty wrote:
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A friend of my is thinking of buying this camera, Ive read there is an issue with noise. As Im a canon DSLRowner I cant advise her so would be interested in any opinions of those in here who know more about this brand
The FZ30 is well worth considering the noise is higher than a DSLR but at ISO80 NOT a problem.

My Gallery with some FZ30 pics http://boyzo.zoto.com/



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Old Dec 11, 2005, 12:35 AM   #4
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I ordered this camera but am still waiting for it, so I can't speak with experience yet. What I can tell you is that I was very much aware of the noise issue with this camera before making the decision, and what I did to see just how serious a problem it was was to find as many full resolution images taken with this camera as I could, analyze them closely in Photoshop, and see how effectively the noise can be cleaned up.

What I found was that images at 80 and 100 ISO do not have significant noise, images at ISO 200 at their worst might have some visible noise close up, and at ISO 400 the noise is quite noticeable. However, I have found that the noise in even the ISO 400 images can be cleaned up rather effectively with a noise removing tool like the "reduce noise" filter in Photoshop CS2, or even better, with a utility like Noise Ninja which is available for CS2 as well as older versions of Photoshop and I believe as a standalone program. Neat Image is also a good solution for less money, though it's not as simple to use.

The key is that the worst noise produced by the camera is the color noise. If you open up a photo taken at ISO 400 in Photoshop and run the reduce noise filter on it, setting the reduce color noise setting rather high and turning everything else off, you get an immediate, significant improvement. In my observation, the worst photos I've seen which were ISO 400 taken in dark lighting doubled in quality with that simple adjustment (when viewed at 100%). In fact, the images often appeared to increase in detail after removing color noise. With ISO 200 pictures the improvement was less dramatic, but still brought them nearly to the quality level of an ISO 100 image.

You can further enhance many images by reducing luminosity noise (the "strength" slider in the reduce noise filter) and applying some sharpening, but those settings should be determined on a shot to shot basis. I find that I prefer not to do too much with the luminosity noise since too much reduction makes the image look like it had a paint filter applied, and with the color noise removed the remaining noise looks more like natural film grain anyway.

Since I'm a person who enjoys tweaking images in Photoshop, and found that getting sharp, high quality images with the FZ30 was a simple and practical procedure, the decision was a no-brainer for me.

NOTE: After testing all 3 noise reducing tools I mentioned above, I found that they were all pretty comparable, but I did notice that the Reduce Noise filter built into Photoshop was not as effective at preserving original colors when reducing color noise. Typically it would tone down any heavily saturated colors, which in some cases helps to clean up color aberration, but in others can make parts of a photo duller. The third party programs were also better at smoothing out luminosity noise consistently throughout an image, provided better tools for sharpening details, and were faster. Still, it takes very close observation to see much difference in the results.
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Old Dec 11, 2005, 2:48 AM   #5
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I recently posted this personal research on this subject: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23. To summarize: Is noise an issue? Only at ISO 400, and no worse, in fact better, than most other small sensor cameras. The amazing optics and clarity of the lens make up for it however.

Since I have posted this, I have actually received my FZ30 and I LOVE IT. Noise is not an issue so far. I keep it at ISO 80 whenever I can, but I also have Neat Image as needed. See this shot below of my baby boy. It was takenin almost complete darknesswith an indirect external flash from about 12 ft away at medium zoom, and I added noise reduction only to soften the skin. Very clean, isn't it?


Also check out my galleries at http://euromaninla.zoto.com/galleries. Most of these shots were taken with the FZ20 whichhas about the same noise levels as the FZ30.


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Old Dec 11, 2005, 3:03 AM   #6
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sounds like a great camera but sometimes you need to use higher ISO than 100. I set my digital rebel at ISO 400 for most of my photos with no noise at all, as long as she is happy to be limited to the ISO numbers described in here she will be fine



Thanks for all the comments
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Old Dec 11, 2005, 5:30 AM   #7
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aladyforty wrote:
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sounds like a great camera but sometimes you need to use higher ISO than 100. I set my digital rebel at ISO 400 for most of my photos with no noise at all, as long as she is happy to be limited to the ISO numbers described in here she will be fine



Thanks for all the comments
Julie...I am itching to get my 2 cents worth in here, before you call it a wrap. I believe there are other features in any camera that ought to be looked at in addition to noise at the high end of this cameras iso settings. If your friend will need lots of shots at iso's above 200, perhaps then the software solution should be considered, before writing this camera off as a possible choice. I have found the zoom, and 8 MP range plus IS and just the whole package to be so well put together that it quickly becomes a versatile, competant, easy to use camera that just invites you to use it. My own experience with it with wildlife and birds alone (just to mention one area) just encouraged me to really seek out more and more opportunities there because I finally started getting really nice results with it. (as opposed to the disappointing rsults I'd had to lump for years with my 7i) I don't doubt there are a lot of other possibilities besides the 30, but I would advise against letting the noise issue be the deciding factor. The fun factor with this one is very rewarding, and anyone given the chance to try this one out with the option of returning it if not satisfied ( I was allowed 30 days) should jump at the no risk chance, I would say. I've had so much fun with the one I bought, I couldn't wait to punt one more opinion your way. Best regards, good luck to your friend with her decision...

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Old Dec 11, 2005, 5:47 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input Kenneth, she has gone ahead with ordering this camera because on the whole she shoots flowers and landscapes and still photography and is not at all interested in a DSLR. She is a VERY good photographer, Ive seen what she can do with a little Sony digital cam. However she wants an advanced prosumer digital like this and is willing to pay the money for the best camera on the market. She came down to a Fuji (not sure which one) and this camera and this one got the nod because of image stabilization. Im sure it will suit her well. And as we all knowit also has a lot to do with the photographer, I get shots as good as some of my mates with the top end DSLRs with my digital rebel 300d.



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Old Dec 11, 2005, 11:36 AM   #9
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good choice - the fuji's better ISO performance comes at the expense of detail, including at lower ISO's.
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Old Dec 11, 2005, 12:37 PM   #10
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Great, Julie. Invite her to join this forum. I would love to see her shots.


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