Now that I photograph wildlife, it’s a whole new story.
I used to photograph people, places, and things using the lowest ISO possible. That is no longer possible when I am outdoors photographing birds and other moving subjects. My camera settings are typically in manual mode, with the aperture set to the widest lens opening and the shutter speed set to 1/1000 second or faster. I set the ISO to auto, being careful, it does not go above 10,000, but sometimes it does go higher.
I have switched from a DSLR system to a mirrorless camera.
I am a Canon user and recently invested in the Canon R3 full frame camera and RF lenses. The Canon 100-400mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/8, and when I use a 1.4 teleconverter, I lose a stop of light, so I am shooting at f/11. I can still achieve a creamy background, but it is not exactly a very wide open aperture and coupled with the faster shutter speed, my ISO peaks. This results in digital noise.
What is digital noise?
Digital noise is a degradation in image quality caused by a high ISO. Usually, it is because of a low light situation, or it could be caused by using a fast shutter speed which can result in a high ISO. In the past, an ISO of over 400 was considered noisy. As camera sensors have improved, so has digital noise. Full frame sensors generally produce a less noisy image than a cropped sensor.
The best ways to reduce digital noise:
- Shoot with the lowest ISO possible.
2. Utilize the Noise Reduction feature in your camera. You can adjust the setting to high in some cameras.
3. Shoot wide-open if you can afford a telephoto lens that opens up to f/4 or wider.
4. Shoot in RAW and process the image in Lightroom or ACR using their noise reduction adjustment,
The best way I have found to treat and remove digital noise is to use a third-party plug-in called Topaz AI Noise Reduction.
Topaz is an easy fix to most of my images.
The image of the female cardinal was run through the program. As you can see, the original is very noisy because it was shot at 12800 ISO. I have such a high ISO because I chose a fast shutter speed to stop the wings’ action. The male cardinal pictured below was shot at 6400 ISO on a dark and dreary day.
The Topaz program has four modules, and I find that standard works the best. A bonus is that sharpening is part of the software.
Here is a 20% discount code for the software PICTURECORRECT
Let me know if you have any questions.
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