1600 is the new 200

I am now using Lightroom 3, having upgraded from 2.6. Strongly recommended. Very strongly: worth every penny of the $99 upgrade fee.

If you do not yet know about Lightroom: you need it (or if you use a Mac, Aperture, the other option. For PC, Lightroom is the only option). The apps organize, keyword, rate and find your files, or rather allow you to do so; and they allow you to do 99% of the editing you’ll ever need, non-destructively and quickly. Much more quickly and conveniently than in Photoshop, which in spite of its name is aimed at illustrators.

Lighroom 3, which I will review in more depth soon, is superb. The major function is the noise reduction. 1600 ISO is the new 200. It is magic.

Look at this image of a student at the Henry’s imaging show recently (and I know you are reading this!). Shot at 1600 ISO with the Canon 1D Mark IV. Click on the image to see it larger:

An image shot with off-camera flash at 1600 ISO

An image shot at 1600 ISO

Superb quality!

But the original was more noisy, especially since I had to push it half a stop (yes, it was a dark room).

Here is a piece of that image. When you click it, you see it at its original size.

An image shot with off-camera flash at 1600 ISO, before Lightroom noise reduction

before noise reduction

Now look what happens when I apply some noise reduction:

An image shot with off-camera flash at 1600 ISO, after Lightroom noise reduction

After Lightroom noise reduction

And that is just after dragging the slider,. I could play with the parameters to make it even better.

Magic, pure magic. I shall be shooting tomorrow’s Bat Mitzvah party muchly at 1600 ISO, I imagine.

0 thoughts on “1600 is the new 200

  1. Jeeeze, that guy sure is a handsome devil. I wish I were even remotely close to how attractive he is. Neither myself nor Matt Damon hold a candle. 😉

  2. Hi Michael,

    Great blog—full of lots of useful tips. I’ve owned Lightroom for over a year now and have barely touched it (ashamed to say), but after seeing your before and after with the noise reduction feature in play, I simply MUST work with it! I’m not even shooting that high (rarely over 400) and still occasionally get more noise in skin tone than I care for. This is the answer. Thanks for the demo and keep up the good work!

    Cindy Dyer, Dyer Design & Photography


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