Buddy – 3200ASA

You know, over the years I haven’t bothered much with cleaning up digital noise.  I generally just shot at 400 or 800 and never did get around to futzing with it with the 40D.  But while I was comparing images from the 7d and the 40D in terms of noise at higher ASAs I found myself reading a lot of pixel-peeping remarks about both the 40D and the 7D.  A bunch of people were saying that the 7d was soft and not all that great above 1600, and then just for the fun of it I went back to see what people had been saying about the 40D and found a whole bunch of people back then saying that it was also soft and noisy.

I had made a lot of progress yesterday with packaging and the usual grind and found myself starting to futz around with noise reduction programs (Neat, Ninja and the DPP thing that comes with Canon oh, and the LR3 NR) and before you knew it I was experimenting with whether I could get decent (artistically pleasing) shots with the 40d at 3200 (which I had stayed away from).

With some help from Buddy I did test shots with the light of the t.v. and a small light about ten feet away, shooting at f1.4.  I also downloaded some large jpgs from the 7d.  My conclusion was that the 7D was at least (and I’m not including the extra resolution here) a full stop better in terms of noise, maybe two stops.  But I was also able to get pleasing results with the 40D at 3200 after running it through Ninja (Neat was also good) and then adding film grain with LR3.   I think from a pure noise POV the Canon 5DII is the winner, and if money weren’t an issue, that would be the way to go.  But in the meantime, I think I’ll stick with the 40D until prices drop on either the 7D or the full frame baby.

Anyway – here’s one of my little Buddy experiments.


I was going to put up a full frame crop but of course when LR3 is running something crashes – in this case it was PS.  Maybe tomorrow.  But I suppose you get the idea… maybe… or know it already… or really don’t even care.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

5 thoughts on “Buddy – 3200ASA”

  1. A way that I use Ninja (PS Plugin only) for noise is to make a mask using ‘find edges’ in PS. Duplicate it. Invert one of them. This mask defines the edges. You can load separately as a layer and sharpen as you like. The ‘un-inverted’ mask defines the opposite, all areas of the photo that are NOT edges. Here’s where you would apply the Ninja. This way, you can sharpen details without sharpening noise and reduce noise without softening details.
    Sorry, but you’ll have to make up with PS for this.

  2. Thanks Bob. Me and PS are still good pals. I don’t use it for exposure type stuff; but if I need a mask – I still have to go to PS. Do you ever use the masking brush in Ninja — or it’s just more exact / easier in PS. db

  3. Bob, first time I read your comment, I sort of just went through it quickly without realizing how powerful that is. I’ve been using it for the last hour or two on different older noisy images and it gives a lot of control over the thing without having to “paint” in Ninja or create hand drawn masks. Thanks!

  4. Glad to hear it’s working for you too. By the way, Happy Birthday on the 1st. Mine’s on the 2nd. We’re probably about the same age too.

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