BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Indoor/Low-Light Photography

Photography Question 
Damien J. Koracevic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/4/2006

Too Much Noise in Low Light Situations

Hi, I've just bought a Nikon D80 as an upgrade from my D50. The problem is when I'm shooting at dusk/night on long exposures. No matter what ISO I choose, I seem to be genarating far too much noise. I've turned on the noise reduction in the camera's menu but still there's loads of noise. Can somebody tell me what I'm doing wrong?? Thanks.

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11/4/2006 12:04:44 PM

Deb James
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2006
  I have a Nikon D70, and I also get a lot of noise when shooting long exposures at night. From what I understand, this is typical. Try using noise reduction software such as NeatImage, Noise Ninja or Noiseware. They're all relatively inexpensive and they work wonders.

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11/5/2006 10:04:01 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  ok, how long of an exposer? I read somewhere that if you talking LOOOONg exposures such as doing star trails at night where you go from 15 mins to 30 Mins, you do get noise and a good way to combat it is, after the shot, let the can finish its internal processing and then put you lens cap back on and do another shot, as long an exposuer as the first and apply it over the original in ps. I guess what it does is cover the noise and you can adjust the opacity to let your stars show through,, I have never done this so I dont know if it works good or not but its worth googling to look into!
does your cam have a function to cancell noise on long exposures?

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11/7/2006 7:03:32 AM

Judy G. Larson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/28/2005
  I use MS Pro Digital 9 and find that the Remove Dust tool is very effective for improving photos that are noisy. I thought that all photo software had tools to help with this problem. Is that not so?

The Remove Dust tool in Digital 9 is found under Touch Up/Other Photo Repair/Remove Dust.

Thank you,

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11/7/2006 7:25:30 AM

Nanette B. Stephens
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/8/2005
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  I don't know if this helps, but I took a couple photography classes when I bought my N80 and we did night shots. My Husband helped me by making sure all of our outside lights on the house were out, used his meter to help meter the shot and set up my settings, and I used the bulb feature on my N80. I did several shots of stars, the moon, etc. and had no problem with noise even when I blew them up to 8 x 10. I had to stay outside for 30 minutes to get these shots and I used my cable release for shooting the picture. Good luck.

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11/7/2006 7:29:01 AM

Phyllis C. Stockfisch   I shoot with the D200 and have spoken to several other Nikon users that are all saying the same thing, noise when you least expect it. I think there may be an issue with newer camera's that Nikon is selling. I never had an issue with my D100. What gives Nikon?

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11/7/2006 11:49:05 AM

W.    Bigger sensors?

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11/7/2006 12:10:33 PM

Phyllis C. Stockfisch   I had not thought about the biger sensor. Interesting theory. I tried to ask on the Nikon web site, of course they did not respond. Typical Nikon. I have not had the camera long, I am going to send it back to Nikon and see what they say. The noise has been randon, even appears on perfectly exposed photos. I can understand the underexposed stuff by why correct exposures?

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11/7/2006 12:48:32 PM

Damien J. Koracevic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/4/2006
  Thanks for the replies people, I too have tried to contact nikon but with no reply. Im going to try some software thats stated on this page and see. Im currently using photoshop cs2 and its not great at reducing noise but its just about ok. Also if I use bulb mode for a 30min exposure I get these purple blobs in the top two corners??? Cant be right surely.?

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11/7/2006 2:02:01 PM

Ben LindoPhotography   Damien? The D50 is alot less noisier?
How long was the exposure? Can you try doing a long exposure with both cameras using simular settings and exposures. And post them somewhere where we can see ? :)

I'd like to see how noisy 'noisy' is...

Sometimes people think its too noisy by looking at the photo at 100 percent but when you print it, most of the noise will not be visible unless your printing it really big.

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11/7/2006 4:27:29 PM

Damien J. Koracevic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/4/2006
  I will go out at some stage this weekend and get some long exposures, I do find it noiser than my d50 but as has already been said, this may be due to the bigger sensor. No belive me I got the d50 when it was first on the market and thought it was superb, Now ive got my d80 (great camera in every respect) I can visably notice the diffrance in noise. When I get a few exposures I will put a link on here for you all, to see what you think. Also im hoping that the purple faded corners are there so you can see.

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11/8/2006 11:47:19 AM

Ben LindoPhotography   The purple blobs might be vignetting caused by your lens or lens hood, usually it happens with wide angle lenses.

If this is the case you can reduce it by removing the lens hood and stopping the apparature down a bit... at F/8 it should be fine.

I know the 18-70kit lens vignettes at wide angle and lower aperature numberes.

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11/8/2006 6:02:40 PM

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