I'm shooting handheld indoors without flash with my 5D3 all the time these days, it seems. Shame on me, I know, but these are often social / performance events where the flash would not be welcomed.
In these situations, I leave the zooms at home and shoot either my trusty 50/1.4 or the surprisingly good new 28/2.8 IS. To avoid wide open softness, I am pushing ISO into 3200-6400 levels to allow either lens to be stopped down a bit. I won't lie that I push ISO even beyond 6400 periodically.
I am shooting RAW in these situations with the High ISO NR turned off as it seems to do nothing to RAW files (I presume it's a JPG-only feature?).
I generally prefer capturing sharpness + detail with noise than softening up the image by cranking up the noise reduction. That said, if I can chase the noise intelligently without much detail being sacrificed, I'd love to hear how.
Can folks on this fine forum please give advice on:
1) Best RAW processing parameters to managing noise in Camera RAW. I get lost on the five noise reduction sliders (Luminance, L Detail, L Contrast, Color and Color Detail) -- so pointers on which to use and when would be terrific.
2) Are there other settings in camera that are recommended for shooting in these indoor/handheld/low-light situations?
3) Is Camera RAW is the best tool for noise reduction work? Should I use another RAW handler? Does saving noise work for Photoshop to manage a better path to take? Advice appreciated!
Thanks for your help!
I can comfortably shoot ISO 12,800 Color Images and 25,600 B&W's on my 5D3. 51,200 B&W's if needed.
I use LR4 and its Noise Reduction software. I generally apply color NR until its gone, and enough Luminance NR to lower the grain, Not to remove it. (which can be done to smooth-en portraits if needed.)
You can Use the Median Distort tool in Photoshop and selectively remove noise from an image. Its usually not needed.
The best thing for noise is to nail your exposure. I've gotten Usable ISO 3200 Files from a 5Dc because I nailed the exposure.