Exercise: Your Tolerance for Noise

For this exercise, you were asked to find a situation that fulfils the following criteria.

  • Daylight indoors ( For the amount of light – outdoor sunlight would be too bright to allow high ISO settings, while much darker would involve long time exposures)
  • A combination of sharp detail and texture less areas ( Such as a white wall ) with some of the texture less area in shadow.

Set the camera on a tripod.

Start by taking a series of identical photographs, changing the ISO setting from one to the next.

Use the aperture priority setting so that there will be no difference in depth of field. My camera was set to F.4 and the ISO ranged from 100-6400

I decided to use the morning light, and photograph my wardrobe door, as it is white, and situated right next to my bedroom window. I stuck a black chandelier sticker onto it, as this was detailed and would help with showing noise.

I have included the original image, and a cropped section where I have zoomed in, to show the noise.

ISO 100:

Clear Image

ISO 100 (1)   ISO 100 (2)

ISO 200:

Clear Image

ISO 200 (1)   ISO 200 (2)

ISO 400:

A clear image, but a small amount of noise has been introduced.

ISO 400 (1)    ISO 400 (2)

ISO 800:

Noticeable noise, especially towards the top of the image where there is some shadow. You can begin to see noise in the dark shadow areas also.

ISO 800 (1)   ISO 800 (2)


ISO 1600:

Noticeable noise all over the image

ISO 1600 (1)    ISO 1600 (2)


ISO 3200:

Noticeable noise all over the image. More noticeable towards the top and in the shadow area.

ISO 3200 (1)   ISO 3200 (2)


ISO 6400:

Noticeable noise all over the image.

ISO 6400 (1)   ISO 6400 (2)


I will put the cropped images next to the ISO 100 and then I can compare them easier.

                               ISO 100                                                                           ISO 200

ISO 100 (2)    ISO 200 (2)

                                 ISO 100                                                                       ISO 400

ISO 100 (2)    ISO 400 (2)

                                  ISO 100                                                                       ISO 800

ISO 100 (2)      ISO 800 (2)

                                 ISO 100                                                                        ISO 1600

ISO 100 (2)      ISO 1600 (2)

                               ISO 100                                                                           ISO 3200

ISO 100 (2)     ISO 3200 (2)

                              ISO 100                                                                          ISO 6400

ISO 100 (2)    ISO 6400 (2)

When looking at the images magnified, I can see that with ISO 100 and ISO 200, the images are clear. With ISO 400, graininess begins appearing in the top area of the image, however, it is still usable as the detail on the sticker itself if clear. When I got to ISO 800, there is noticeable, yet faint, noise all over the image. The detail on the sticker is becoming less sharp. ISO 1600, the noise is increasing. With ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, there is significant noise all over the image, but it is worse towards the top of the image, where there seems to be a shadow, as the noise is more noticeable there. The detail on the sticker is blurred and not sharp. These images would be unusable. In my opinion, the best ISO to use in order to have less noise in your image is between ISO 100 and ISO 400. Any ISO after 400, you will begin to see noise in your image, even if you use a fast shutter speed.






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