Board index Equipment Digital Cameras Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Digital Cameras

Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Posts: 16

Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Post Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:29 pm

I am trying to improve my 'bird' captures, especially around our property. My camera is a Canon 30D, the lens I am using, Canon DO IS USM 70-300 mm lens, F4.5-5.6. Noise seems to be ok up to around 500 iso, but often that is not sufficient to match high speed shutter settings. When pushed to 1000 iso I start getting noise showing up. Any ideas how I can get around this? I know there is a much faster Canon Zoom lens available (2.8 by memory) but the price is somewhat beyond me, (or my wife would kill me, choose whichever you deem appropriate). Any suggestions would be most appreciated. I do have a faster lens, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens, but it is not sufficient to get close to the subject. I have a very old version of Photo Shop which has no noise filter on it. Again, buying the latest version of Photo Shop would end up with my wife being charged with murder!


Posts: 410

Re: Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Post Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:25 pm

The Canon software (Digital Photo Professional or DPP available on the Canon site but you should have got a disk with your camera) is really great at reducing noise. The tool palette had a section for reducing "Luminance noise reduction" on either Jpeg or RAW shots. Experiment with different levels - I think you'll be very happy.

Noise will be exaggerated when the frame is underexposed - such as with spot metering on a light colored bird with dark green bush background.

Posts: 1360

Re: Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Post Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:27 pm

Try NeatImage for noise clean up, and many others swear by noise ninja, which I haven't used. It's stand alone or a plugin, and although not too cheap it is worth it for what it can do and a damn sight cheaper than the new high end cameras which handle noise far better than cameras could only a year ago, or faster lenses!!!

I personally avoid increasing ISO if I can, but know I can get away with ISO800 (or higher if desperate) and then clean it up with NeatImage if I need.

This isn't meant as a show and tell but rather to make the point - I took the pictures below at ISO800 (in error :oops: ) with a point and shoot (Canon S3) and cleaned up the shots up using NeatImage.

Posts: 1245

the Canon 30D is exceptionally prone to noise

Post Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:06 am

especially if you underexpose; your best bet is to always add exposure compensation at ISO400 and above, put the camera on a monopod so you can photograph at slower apertures; and buy a Canon 400L f/5.6 ( is a place to buy used equipment, as is A better option would also be to get a used 40D; faster focus and better at higher ISO. The thing about the 30D is that it has some of the BEST color rendering I've encountered and a VERY good meter for the price. So, if you have to stay with the 30D, you have a very capable camera. Also, if you use the Canon utility (not DPP, but the other one) it has a very good algorithm for extracting information from your file. I've switched to Adobe Camera Raw with PSCS3, so I don't use that utility very often.

look through this gallery to see the difference in color that the 30D makes

HTH, Mary in SW Florida

Posts: 2276

Re: Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Post Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:39 am

The manner in which Canon adjusts the sensor signal for various ISO settings doesn't follow what might be expected – progressive increases in noise as the ISO is increased – Canon does some fiddling mathematically to 'create' some of the ISO settings, as a result at some ISO settings the noise goes up when you expect it to go down. Following is a link that discusses this specifically for the 30D, these data help establish expectations for noise and ISO.

You can try different settings and see what works best.

Some general information the types of noise:

On the 30D I shoot at ISO800, and occasionally higher only if I have no choice. Noise is predominant in the shadows and dark areas, where the signal is low relative to the noise (low S/N), and as we pull up the shadow detail in post processing the noise follows. I shoot RAW and "expose to the right" while minimizing the overexposed areas as much as possible in order to reduce shadows/dark areas. Inevitably I have to do some noise reduction in post processing.

There are commercial products available to do this as Dave mentioned, and DPP can also be used as Brad pointed out. The chrominance noise setting reduces color noise and can be somewhat effective. I try to be careful in setting the luminance NR as this has a big impact on desired details in the photo, but usually I do the NR in Photoshop.

I use a Photoshop action, ISO PS NR, written by Dave Marsit that has 4 selectable levels of NR. I found this one to work well for reducing small amounts of noise without compromising the photo details. The action is provided for free, has been around for several years, I've used it on PS7 through CS3, it’s worth a try. Here's a link with some examples of the performance, unfortunately the download link is dead.

You should be able to download it from here:

There are other photographer-contributed PS actions you could try as well; I suggest a Google search on free Photoshop actions.

Lastly is the lens, I have the same one and do not use it for birds. Mary made a good recommendation with the 400/5.6, 300mm is a little short for birding, you have to crop a lot unless the birds are quite close, also the 70-300 DO is not a very sharp lens.

Good luck.

Posts: 16

Re: Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Post Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:58 am

Thank you everybody for the invaluable tips, very much appreciated. I will follow up on all of them.

Posts: 78

Re: Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Post Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:21 am

I'd second the NeatImage suggestion. Its very good software, and you can download noise profiles for your camera at various ISOs and exposure times. Alternatively, you can just sample a bit of noise from the picture.

I know I probably don't need to point this out, but a faster lens would help you use lower ISOs. Not the most helpful advice, I know, especially since lenses like this are hard to hide from the wife :evil:

As an aside, I was once criticized for not shooting birds at ISO 100 :roll: ...

Posts: 16

Re: Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

Post Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:52 pm

Thanks jniemann. Yes, I would be in heaven if I could purchase a faster 300 or ideally 400 zoom lens, 2.8. That would give me the versatility I need. Unfortunately the price is way out of my budget right now, darn it.
I do appreciate you (and all the others) taking the time to offer very useful advice. I do use a very good quality tripod and shutter release cable.


Board index Equipment Digital Cameras Canon 30D, Iso-Noise, your help/opinions please?

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