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Digital camera noise becoming a problem...

by abstraqts / December 17, 2006 1:26 AM PST

I recently purchased a Canon A710. I usually use the highest quality settings (highest resolution and superfine - are there any other settings that I am unaware of?). On the highest resolution, I would get a substantial amount of noise, especially visible when I'm taking pictures of my artwork, indoors, with no flash. Even if I would resize the pictures in Photoshop, this noise would still be visible throughout the picture. And it seems as if the noise increased since I started using my camera one month ago, but I cannot really say for sure.

Is there anything I can do to decrease noise? Any camera settings? And physical settings? I know that Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro have some noise removal features, but the picture ends up looking more blurry instead of simply better.


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What I find to reduce such noise is more light.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 17, 2006 2:25 AM PST

Add more light.


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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 17, 2006 4:00 AM PST

You don't have enough light.......

It is time to bring out your Sherlock Holmes cap.

All digital cameras write a lot of information about the camera onto the photo file as the photo is taken. This is EXIF information.

Most photo manipulation software has a method of letting you read this information.

Look at the EXIF information in one of the photos that is showing this high noise level.

Look for the shutter speed, aperture setting, and ISO setting

More than likely the ISO setting will show a high ISO number (ISO-800).


Thing to do to shoot at low ISO settings:

1. Since you are shooting without flash, I would suggest you set up some lights to better illuminate your artwork.

2. If you don't care to use extra illumination; you will need a tripod to support your camera, because you must use a slow shutter speed to get a good image.

Switch your camera to Aperture Priority mode.
(the Av setting on the knob on top of the camera)
Now you need to consult the manual and see how you select an aperture setting. You want to set the aperture to either f5.6 or f8

Now consult you manual again and find out how to set you ISO setting to a specific setting. It is probably set to Auto now....change it to its lowest setting (80).

Now put the camera on the tripod and take your picture.
The camera will automatically select a shutter speed to give you a perfect exposure. That shutter speed will be slow, it could be several seconds. Make sure you do not jostle the camera when you press the shutter switch.

If you have trouble and continue to jostle the camera. Set the camera to take a delayed picture. Your camera has a choice of 2 or 10 second delayed shooting.


Regarding noise removal software....
This can be used in some circumstances, but it will cause you to loose some fine detail.
i.e. a surface that has a pebble finish will likely end up looking smooth.


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by abstraqts / December 18, 2006 11:16 PM PST
In reply to: EXIF

Thank you. You have been very helpful.

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Try different settings
by prasadp77 / December 21, 2006 9:30 PM PST

I don't understand why many a times Bob answers with so many reservations on the words and the answers are not so helpful...

Anyways, I am another A710IS user and I had this problem in the beginning as this is my first Canon. My previous one was Fujifilm.

The noise in the picture doesn't really depend on what picture setting you choose like superfine or fine, that is the compression level for jpeg file format. Of course, superfine will be much better than fine but that is not what you should be looking at.

The other reply has offered you enough advice to start looking at but what I do is, using manual mode. Keep ISO 80, highest I will go is ISO 200, if its too dark around (but then I will see enough noise in the picture) Keep longer exposure times and bigger aperture. You will have to do this using a tripod or with stable support like a bench or so. If the scene is not well lit and if you use flash then depending on the scene, you have two options. If you are shooting indoors then you may get your problem solved and you will have a nice picture but if this is say, evening shot of the landscape then, it will be more darker than what it is to your eyes so there you will have to switch off the flash and expose it for longer duration. The major catch here is your ISO speed, if you leave it on Auto then it tends to choose ISO 200 or 400 depending on the illumination and the worse part is this ISO is not quickly visible in EXIF. There is some tweak to figure it out. You won't see it under informative display mode either (press display button till you see a histogram below the picture)Choosing this higher ISO ends up with a noisy image.

So indoors I use flash to default level and most of the time, my problem is solved but if this is landscape picture then I will not use flash. As said before, the picture will be dark. I use a photo editor and manipulate with shadows and mid-tones. thats it. The problem solved.
I must say that A710IS has a bit of learning curve, depending on what your experty is and which cameras you have used before. I am yet to explore all scene modes.

Still you fail to solve the issue, then I recommend you to spend some 30-40 USDs on noise manipulation program like Noise Ninja or Neat Image. I read the reviews saying they do a quite decent job.

OTHERWISE, replace your A710IS with Fuji FinePix F30 Zoom, if its still possible.

Hope, I have made the point in this rant, else post back and may be we could take it with some example.

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Sometimes a little grain must be smoothed
by Leighow / December 21, 2006 11:28 PM PST
In reply to: Try different settings

All of the above responses are great -- thanks.

I have a Canon G2 that allows me to bracket shots and run at ISO 400. ISO 400 can be grainy and ISO 200 is "not bad". But I like to push the color and Unsharp Mask of many of my best photos. That too can bring in grain.

This was especially true last Fall when I was in Nova Scotia and shooting rough waves in twilight mist and in the morning's gorgeous sunrise. At these times there is no room for a long exposure, so I shot at ISO 200, 400, and bracketed shots for a while and then just backed off to one exposure as I was worried about flash memory.

Anyway .. .what I did to finalize the best photos -- many were just exactly what I dreamed of -- was to use Photoshop to examine the grain in each channel WINDOW

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CANON digital Camera's...
by castingRod47 / December 21, 2006 11:15 PM PST

The best camera can still take Bad-shots/
How To:bring your photo's home:?:
I always "pick" my shots..even sitting at home I can "pick" my shots and then go get em'/..I have several places to capture Digital Photo's..and..Digital Video..
My favorite device for Captureing Digital/is the Tri-POD..its a sure fire application/add your 10-second TIMER setting..and you've got a sureshot..
I have found that resolution setting are all about FILE-size..
I use three differant SD-chips..this way I can manage my PROJECTS..
A 16MB usually arrives w/the Camera..I bought two other's at 128MB + 256MB/I have the CANON A410/so...2048 x 1536-1600 x 1200-1024 x 768-640 x 480....the last FORMAT I use to ship over a Dial-up Connection..I was always useing the 1600 x 1200 from my NIKON E2100 to this CANON A410..but know find 1024 x 768 a good FORMAT for my DVD-slide shows..
Manual Settings..I think are best..but I use the AUTO and VIVID also..
I never use any other ISO/100 has always been a favorite..since 35mm I would choose Slide Film for an even lower ISO Number-FUJI FILM made a 1600-high speed 35mm FILM/great color..
Light is your BEST compliment for photography..but AUTO settings can become confused in Bright Light shots..I like to stand in the SHADE/filming out into Bright Light..
Your PC is the other compliment to getting a good shot to use in a PROJECT..
Don't over-do the Adjustments allowed in PC Editing Software..
I have a couple of simple STEPS:
1./Start w/LEVEL FIX(prepare to HIT-undo)
2./If you had to un-do LEVEL FIX(CLICK)Contrast-Brightness..
....make your Adjustment there..lowering CONTRAST can reveal some other Adjustemnt(maybe needed)..Brightness is a matter of "inspection" like music to the EYE..
3./ really TRICKY....I use two places to decide..
...The RED-zone...and the BLUE-zone..TINT for me is usually a place to get nice GREEN-grass..or from a LOW Light level in the Shot..I attempt to FIX the Fabric of Cloth(People's Clothes)..not to lose the Folds or what-ever..BRIGHTNESS is also a BALANCE for FABRIC/CLOTH..
4./ much SHARPNESS can ruin a Digital Photo..
...I like to use Microsoft PICTURE It 7.0...seldom do I make a Sharpness Setting above 25/that was useing my NIKON E2100...w/this CANON A410 I might go as high as 30-because the CANON Sharpness to start is durable(you can actually)use a Sharpness Adjustment in a WIDE-set of from 17-->>30..useing the 30 is really approaching DISTORTION(in my subjects)...
Color in all ADJUSTMENTS/use UN-DO....try again...
5./RED-EYE...I have found the RED-Eye Remover NOT the greatest..
...This is why I load the FULL Version of my MS-PICTURE It 7.0 Software..After the Red-Eye FIX has been performed I will choose a "button" to place inside the EYE..attempting to get a Color-match to the Subjects real eye..the Pupil is so small that when the Photo is Re-Sized to NORMAL it looks better I think..
The rest is need to know every ITEM available in your Editing Software..useing the MOUSE can be an investigation into Digtial Editing..remember to have a Back-Up of your JPG-File.

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Main things to look for are:
by wbenton / December 23, 2006 6:48 PM PST

Do NOT use Automatic Mode... you'll find the same problem on the older film versions of the Canon A-1, AE-1 and AE-1+Program. Good cameras don't take good pictures by themselves. Good pictures are taken by Good photographers with Good cameras.

Canon has always made Good cameras, including their Digital ones. Much better in my opinion than Nikon for both older film models and the newer Digital ones as well.

Use manual settings. This will take a bit of time and patience, but at least it's cheaper using a Digital camera than it used to be with a 35mm film camera as you don't have the costs of the film or the development fees to worry about.

Follow the rules below:

1. ISO Speed... keep it as low as possible. The brighter the surroudings by natural or man-made light, the better the picture will be, but even in darker indoors environments, still try to keep it low (100 - 200 max). Nothing over 200 or you start getting grainy results.

2. Adjust your aperature according to the environment you want to shoot. If you have a bright background (sun shining through a window) and want a good picture of somebody inside the room, close your aperature setting down about 1.5 or so depending on the brightness to get a better picture. Auto settings try to balance the bright back with the darker forefront and you'll get a much darker picture than you want. Similarly, in darker indoors settings, you'll want to open your aperature up as much as possible to get in as much light as possible. If you open it up too much and indoors lighting starts to give a hallation effect, then drop the aperature down 0.5-1.0 to loose the brighter lit indoors scenes.

3. Use a flash where possible, but there are flash limitations as well. Pros use the more expensive flashes that allow you to bounce the flash at various angles and cover various distances. These techniques with the right flash and intensity can be used to properly light somebody standing even 15 feet away (if the flash and camera are set up properly). But using that same flash setting for somebody only 6 feet away, you will blind the people you want to take a picture of and make the picture TOO bright as well.

4. DO NOT USE White Balance. This is another grainy producer.

5. If you don't want to use a flash, then carry a tripod with you, but your subjects must stand still too. If you have a tripod but your subjects are moving... then you'll need some kind of flash.

A combination of all 1, 2, 3 & 5 will give you your best pictures with little or no grainy effect what so ever... but you've gotta learn how to use the camera to do what you want with it. If you set it properly... it will take good pictures. If you screw up the settings, depending on what you screwed up... your picture will also turn out screwed-up. (* GRIN *) But if you let the camera do everything for you... you'll never know what you get.

Personally, I like to set everything manually myself as that way I know what I'll get every time... but remember... I've been using Canon AE-1's and A-1's since 1977 as well.


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by lochalk / December 29, 2006 1:31 AM PST

Hello there. As with what most other cnet forum users said, low ISO, and ample light is the way to go. Generally, the higher the ISO, the more noise you'll get becuase it's trying to compensate for the low amount of light. Try to catch natural lighting whenever possible. What I've found from experience is that digital cameras seem to work best under conditions with adequate natural light.
I've noticed that you like to photograph artwork indoors. Are they framed? Sculptures? etc. You should consider that it is very hard to take a picture of a framed piece of art, without having an reflection on the glass, so becareful, try at an angle!
Again, refer to your camera's manual, and then go natural!
Good Luck!

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Light was my big problem
by BowerR64 / December 29, 2006 1:53 AM PST
In reply to: ISO

In the begining i started with an A70 or an A510 P&S camera. My problem as is many others was lighting. There was never enough light. Light is the key to good photographs. I went to a forum at the begining that was full of SLR users and all i kept hearing was dont use flash dont use flash. That maybe ok if you use an SLR camera with an ISO range of 3200 but with these P&S cameras flash is almost a must. The key is learning how to use it. When to bounce it, when to use it as a fill, when to diffuse it or what ever. Flash is the best because its small and portable. Why do you have that camera? because its portable. We cant carry around big umbrellas with 1000 watt halogen lamps so we need a small portable powerful flash.

I took probobly 500 shots with my A70 and probobly another 500 with the A510 then i thought well ill just pay $500. and get the canon S2 and all my problems will be solved. They wernt, i just spent more money to have the same exact problems.

I won an auction some one was selling some older 35mm camera parts. I won a hotshoe flash in the auction and all my problems were solved. here i spent about $50. on clamp lights, sheets, white foam board and all this lighting junk and all i needed was this little box with a bigger more powerful flash. Once i figured out how to control that thing i was good to go. Now if i need extra lighting i just hold this thing in my left hand pointed where i need it and im good.

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(NT) Add light.
by Ryo Hazuki / January 11, 2007 12:58 AM PST
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