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Thread: Why all the noise about noise?

  1. #1
    eNo's Avatar
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    Why all the noise about noise?

    Along with rethinking my obsession with sharpness, I am also reconsidering my outlook on noise. Yes, if I can take steps to avoid noise that's a good thing, but if I don't completely succeed, should I beat myself up or toss the image? Is it really that terminal to have noise in an image, even noise visible at regular display resolutions? See my thoughts on the subject at:

    http://esfotoclix.com/blog1/?p=707

  2. #2

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    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Yes, I tend to agree with you.

    For some time now, I have been pondering the paradox about previously trying to avoid grain on film then finding that some people are getting nostalgic about it now and wanting to add grain in order to create realistic film effects. But I suppose nostalgia isn't what it used to be!

    For me, particularly with macro images, I can accept a bit of noise in the background and to some extent it can give a photo that extra bit of 'human touch' while an absolutely perfect image may look too artificial.

    Excessive noise on the main subject is a different matter; although when shooting an unusual insect, for example, without flash in poor light I would still consider any photo which is sufficient to aid identification to be a success.

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    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    I think noise is very much over-rated; for the most part it's only visable on the screen at high magnifications, and isn't visble when looking at complete images.

    Obviously it's nicer to minimise it anyway (you wouldn't normally TRY to capture noisy images), but like most things in photography, ISO selection is a compromise - and if it means noise -v- no image, I'll take the noise any day.

    I think the reality is that photographers worry about noise far more than the public general.

  4. #4

    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Better to get a faster shutter speed by increasing ISO and thereby avoid camera shake and blurring, than to go for a noise-free image. Noise is everywhere - telephone calls (which are amplified) TV's (interference from the weather), bad tracks on an album, radio reception, and generally we ignore it or don't notice it. Why get over-heated about a little noise in a shot?

    There's a serious danger, I think, in seeing perfect gadgets, and their anticipated perfect performance as being treated as a substitute for our imperfect lives. "I have the best, costliest, most perfect camera, and it processes shots to perfection - ergo, I'm a perfect person". It's all bosh!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    "I have the best, costliest, most perfect camera, and it processes shots to perfection - ergo, I'm a perfect person".
    Hey Rob, welcome to my world

    Now, seriously;

    Noise can usually always be reduced to acceptable levels, in images, by using Neat Image or a similar noise cancelling program/plug-in. Same for that annoying drone on aircraft flights, a pair of noise cancelling 'cans' (with or without music of your choice via iPod/MP3) are THE best defence

    Cheers,

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    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Same for that annoying drone on aircraft flights, a pair of noise cancelling 'cans' (with or without music of your choice via iPod/MP3) are THE best defence
    Hi Dave,

    You reminded me of a time a few years ago when I was "in to aviation" in a big way. My preferred headset was a Bose Aviation X - a top-of-the-line headset worth several thousand (NZ) dollars, and even when flying commercially I'd still take then on board to cut down on prop noise.

    On most occasions I'd ask the crew if I could sit up front in what's called the "jump seat" with the pilots (side note; I've never been refused - bet you wouldn't get that happening in many other countries!), but on one particular flight I got on board late and wasn't allowed upfront until the aircraft was airbourne.

    When you sit up front the first thing the crew will do is give you a headset - and to this day I can remember being able to say "no thanks - I brought my own"

    I was wonering if the crew ever thought "bloomin heck" - times are tough when even the passengers have better headsets than us!

    Ironically, a few years later the airline upgraded all crew to the same headset as I used to use.

  7. #7

    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    My preferred headset was a Bose Aviation X - a top-of-the-line headset worth several thousand (NZ) dollars, and even when flying commercially I'd still take then on board to cut down on prop noise.
    Colin,

    I think you need to watch this. It lasts 60mins and is available until Oct 5. Very interesting http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...wj/Upgrade_Me/

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    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Colin,

    I think you need to watch this. It lasts 60mins and is available until Oct 5. Very interesting http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...wj/Upgrade_Me/
    Hi Rob,

    I have a feeling Colin may not be able to, I think "they" know where you are and due to copyright, market releases, et al, prevent the programme being served abroad.

    I know my daughter couldn't keep up to date with Eastenders (Doh, where did I go wrong?) while in Tenerife via the BBC iPlayer.

    I have to say I didn't watch it - should I?

    Cheers,

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Hi Colin,

    I was wonering if the crew ever thought "bloomin heck" - times are tough when even the passengers have better headsets than us
    So you passed them around for a flight test then?

    I just use the relatively cheap pair available from Maplin (a UK electronics retailer) rather than anything branded. Bose would be nice but reality bites ...

    Needless to say my son 'had' to have Sennhieser (sp?) though - am I a mug (guess who paid)?

    Cheers,

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    Re: Why all the noise about noise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    So you passed them around for a flight test then?

    I just use the relatively cheap pair available from Maplin (a UK electronics retailer) rather than anything branded. Bose would be nice but reality bites ...

    Needless to say my son 'had' to have Sennhieser (sp?) though - am I a mug (guess who paid)?
    I did offer them to the captain, but being the professional that he was, he probably thought better of the offer. (on that note, it was always a pleasure flying up front -- true professionals, every last one of them).

    I'm thinking of getting a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort II's - I've got a pair of Sennhieser's - or rather I did have until my daughter got hold of them! (still have them, but the cable is down to about 4 inches long now, bless her).

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