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Gear Talk => EOS Bodies - For Stills => Topic started by: unfocused on January 23, 2013, 01:30:30 PM

Title: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: unfocused on January 23, 2013, 01:30:30 PM
Reading this discussion ( and seeing some of the great examples of higher ISO on the 7D I thought I'd start a new thread and ask people to share their tips and tricks for getting lower noise at higher ISOs on the 7D.

I consider myself reasonably competent in Photoshop and Camera RAW, and as long as I keep the ISO around 400 (I'm an old film guy and that good old Tri-X film speed remains my 'standard') I have no problem enlarging prints to as much as 24 x 36 with no visible noise. But, once I go above 800 everything seems to fall apart.

I'm very impressed with some of the work shown in the other thread by those who shoot at higher ISOs and I'd like to know more about their post-processing techniques. Please share.
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: K3nt on January 23, 2013, 01:43:30 PM
I use a combination of softwares, whatever gets the end result I'm looking for. Some of them work better in some conditions and some better in others, but my few go-to programs are:
Aperture 3 + Noise Ninja plugin (need to upgrade to new Photo Ninja but resent the idea of another stand-alone app).
PS5 Extended (inc. ACR) and Color Efex Pro 3.

99% of the time these will do.

I've created some Aperture Import Presets for different scenarios I seem to find myself in more often than others:

Indoor - High ISO preset: (this usually means some sporting event of exhibition, no flash allowed)
Boost: 0.70
Hue Boost: 0.55

Sharpening: 0.85
Detail: 0.75

Moire: 0.50
Radius: 4.00
De-Noise: 0.60

This will be applied to each RAW image as it is imported from a High ISO shoot. I then use either the Noise Ninja or PS5 to clean house and make the final image. I'd say processing time varies from 2-10minutes depending on what I want the final result to be, and how much in a playing mood I am.  ;D
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on January 23, 2013, 01:46:02 PM
The lower DR is part of the culpret, a perfect exposure is needed.  The camera will take acceptable low light images at ISO 3200, but you have to nail the exposure and use NR.  I prefer to stay at 800 or less when possible.
1.  If you can, bracket exposures and pick the best ones.
2.  Don't use jpeg, use RAW.
3.  Use a newer version of raw conversion software.  Algorythms have greatly improved in the last two years, and noise is less apparent.
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: Fleetie on January 23, 2013, 02:20:58 PM
Cool. It. Down.

Carefully, gradually, and without condensation.

Cooler=quieter, with sensors.

In practice, this means taking your camera to the coldest room in the house and letting it cool down there, before going out with it. Assuming "out" is where you are going with it. If you're wanting to shoot indoors with humid steamy people around, it might be harder to do satisfactorily.

Pumping your 7D with liquid nitrogen or stuffing it with dry ice are both probably bad ideas.
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: digital paradise on January 23, 2013, 02:24:23 PM
First off is to remember the 7D has a light hungry sensor. Correct exposure is the key particularly at high ISO's. It is not forgiving and underexposure at high will not yield good results.   

You have two key sliders in PS - Color and Luminance. DPP calls Luminance Chrominance which is actually correct.   

ISO 12,800 with no NR. You should always do this at 100%.


ACR sets Color NR at a  default of 25 you can increase it until the color blotchiness goes away. Sliding any higher when it is gone as it does not gain anything. I find 25 is pretty good and usually leave it there.

You can see the difference between the color blotchiness between the first image and this one. I set Color to zero in image one so you can see the difference.   


Now you use the Luminance slider. This gets rid of the grain or noise. Be careful with it because it effects the image sharpness. The higher you go the less sharp your image will be. You will really notice it when you sharpen it. It is upi to you how you want to balance sharpness vs NR.       


A little more detail. (

Also in the sharpening sliders you will see a slider called masking. If you hold  the option key (mac - not sure about PC) and move the slider to the right you will see a lot of white at first. The further you move the slider more white disappears. At around 80 you will see very little white, only around the edges. These white edges are the only thing being sharpened. The black background will not be sharpened. Not using the masking slider only sharpens the existing noise in the background or other unwanted areas. I'll se if I can find a visual example of this.             

All the above works in LR as well.

Next I like to use this method. Another edge sharpening technique. I don't use it for mass edits in LR as it takes too  much time. I just use it for hobby shots. (
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: digital paradise on January 23, 2013, 02:30:27 PM
If you scroll down to the 4th and 5th images you can see the difference masking makes. (
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: unfocused on January 23, 2013, 04:11:37 PM
Getting some good tips here. I hope it continues. One aside on sharpening. Lately I've been playing a lot with Scott Kelby's technique of using the high-pass filter.

For those unfamiliar with this filter, it is in the "other" submenu in the filters menu. A quick summary: duplicate the layer (cntl-J) select the duplicate layer. Go to the high-pass filter. Set it at a low level (just enough for the edges to show up -- usually somewhere between 2-4)

Apply the filter. Then in the layer's panel, using the drop down list at top, select hard light to start. If that is too intense, try another choice (soft light).

But don't quit there.

Add a layer mask and then, using a soft edged paintbrush, paint out the details where you don't want them (oftentimes, with a person, I may only leave the mask visible for the person's eyes and lips, giving them soft skin but sharp eye features. For shots of things or nature, I will usually paint out the layer mask in the sky or background -- in other words, any areas where you don't want every little detail to show up.)

Anyone else use this technique? I've saved several shots where my focus was just slightly off. With careful masking and painting, only the details you want to pop will really pop.
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: tortilla on January 23, 2013, 04:13:39 PM
- shoot RAW
- only use 'full' ISO (like 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 ...)
- turn off 'long exposure noise reduction' in custom settings (yes it removes hot spots on the sensor, but it also adds noise)
- turn off 'high ISO speed noise reduction' in custom settings
- I've not tested this, but this is recommended on other forums: don't use ISO 6400. Instead use 3200 and underexposure 1 stop. Turn up brightness 1 stop up again in post processing.
- google ETTR (sorry, I don't have time to explain it right now  8))
- turn of noise reduction in DPP (especially luminance NR makes it only worse)
- use third party noise reduction in post. I use NeatImage - maybe it's not the best, but results are impressive. It's also free and very easy too handle. You don't have to bother about settings (but you can when you want).
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: AlanF on January 23, 2013, 04:59:24 PM
In agreement with the others: raw; raw; raw. I use PS and reduce luminance by 50% for bad cases.  I used to use Noiseninja on jpegs, but raw and luminance reduction is so much better. The 7D is still an excellent camera.
Title: Re: 7D Noise Reduction Tips
Post by: pdirestajr on January 23, 2013, 05:27:18 PM
I use fast glass, shoot in raw, over expose slightly, then pull back in post.