megapixels and noise
I have been reading comments on some of the newer cameras that have a lot of megapixels and still have small sensors creating a lot of noise in the pictures. My question is; If you set the quality to medium so you are not using all those megapixels, is the noise reduced? We are planning to get the Powershot S5 for my dad. I like the idea of the 12x zoom and the higher resolution LCD, but he mostly likes to work with smaller pictures. If he sets the quality to medium rather than fine, will this reduce the noise problem?..

Comments (6)

No. Simply put, the noise results from the physical size of the individual sensor elements, so using fewer of them wouldn't change the overall rate of noise per element...

Comment #1

The problem with noise isn't a problem until you shoot at higher ISO.

If you stay 200 or under it shouldn't be a problem. All point and shoots have this problem just like red eye. Did I say all, I'll say it again all point and shoots have these problems. Your father will enjoy the S5. All three of my children have that camera...

Comment #2

I have an older camera now - Olympus C5060.

But what I've often noticed (in other cameras too) is that noise occurs - *even at low ISOs* - in low light situations.

Dont know if that's the case with more recent cameras... But saying that I had a quick look at the review and I think I'd be quite happy with a Powershot S5 !.

And I would use highest quality setting.

And if you *really* want to "control" the noise more -.

If you can adjust incamera sharpening I would reduce that.

And use some processing programme after that can sharpen outlines as opposed to the whole image and/or noise reduction software - but really - for small prints I dont think this would be worth the effort - unless you enjoy that kind of thing!..

Comment #3

"No. Simply put, the noise results from the physical size of the individual sensor elements, so using fewer of them wouldn't change the overall rate of noise per element." Jesus...and to think that I advised a newbie to come to this part of the IR forums... Karen you have probably found out the answer to this by now but still, with a digital camera you can't (at least not with the current ones) select which pixels to use to take an image. The sensor is divided up into pixel sites, there's no way to combine them to improve the SNR of each pixel (at least, again, with the current crop of cameras, some mfg have been working on this for a while now but it hasn't come to market). When you set the camera to save the image in lower resolutions than the maximum, that's exactly what it does. It takes the shot at the maximum resolution then throws-away rows and columns of pixels to downsize the image.

The limit being of course 1 pixel with no noise...

Comment #4

Resampling down does (usually) reduce noise. The interpolation used by most cameras and editing software to produce smaller images does not simply throw pixels away when downsizing. It determines the value of a pixel by calculating a weighted average of surrounding pixels. This has the effect of averaging noise too, which makes it less visible. The more you downsize, the cleaner an image looks. That's why a high ISO image that may not look good printed at 8x10 looks fine at 4x6. Increasing the JPEG compression (reducing the quality) also has an averaging effect, though it is much more subtle than resampling down...

Comment #5


"I have an older camera now - Olympus C5060 but what I've often noticed (in other cameras too) is that noise occurs - *even at low ISOs* - in low light situations" Yes, and I have a newish Olympus E-510, and it is also very noisy in low light situations, even at the lowest ISOs, like ISO 100. Noise is a terrible enemy of image quality, and sensor designers have to give it a lot of consideration, and Olympus really dropped the ball on the E-510...

Comment #6

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