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Nikon D200 High ISO Noise Reduction
© 2006 KenRockwell.com

I bought mine from Ritz here. I bought another D200 from Adorama here. Also try Amazon here. Adorama usually has D200/18-70 kits in stock here. It helps me keep adding to this site when you click these links to get yours.

HIGH ISO NOISE REDUCTION SETTINGS

Here's the good part. The D200 can be set to different levels of noise reduction to let you choose your tradeoff between noise and detail. Set this one way or the other and you can make the noise measure ay way you want it. The D70 and most cameras allow no control. This is cool, but I leave mine on normal.

The D200 noise reduction is smart. It smoothes the areas where you'll see noise and tries to leave edges and detail alone. You can see it does an excellent job of smearing over the noise and leaving edges sharp. The bad news is that I've never found any NR which is smart enough to smooth noise while leaving the underlying subject textures untouched. Look at our faces, my shirt and the texture of the picture frame. As the NR gets cranked up you'll see those textures go away with the noise.

Old timers will see this as similar to fine-grain developer. It made the grain a little less, but also dropped sharpness. Thankfully edge sharpness is unfazed, but texture and details evaporate with this NR.

D200 NO High ISO NR D200 Hi ISO NR Normal
D200 Hi ISO NR Low D200 Hi ISO NR HIGH

Analysis

Look at my wife's face. It's completely missing eyes, nose and smile in the NR HIGH example! Noise goes away, but so do our faces!

Now do you understand the futility of testing camera noise looking at blank cards? Unlike film, digital camera images vary their noise reduction depending on the background from region to region inside the image. You have to look at the images yourself to compare one camera to the next. A camera with no noise sounds great unless you lose all your details and textures!

Remember that these are all 100% crops, which at normal screen resolutions are equivalent to printing the entire frame at 45" (120 cm) wide.

I'm leaving my D200 on its Normal setting.

The various NR settings have different effects at other ISOs. Try them yourself; I'm too tired to post them al here. Sorry, I do this entire site as a volunteer. Feel free to help if you've found all this work helpful.

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